Login required to started new threads

Login required to post replies

Prev Next
Re: Is there any reasonable way I can help my wife with her stress levels [Tridiot] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
You asked for reasonable options. Storing up enough milk so she can get away is exactly what she needs. Go the extra mile to make it a luxuriously liberating full day away from all of youse guys. :) Just my two cents from a wife whose hubby watches the "pack" so I can get away to do my tri stuff.

~~ kate
Quote Reply
Re: Is there any reasonable way I can help my wife with her stress levels [dreaming~big] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
I hear ya. She's been trying to store enough up for that upcoming weekend (3 days, 2 nights). Feedings every 3 hours from 9am to 9pm. She pumps once a day to get to that, with at least one bottle during the week. I don't she can really produce more than that.
Quote Reply
Re: Is there any reasonable way I can help my wife with her stress levels [Tridiot] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
Wow. She sounds really tied down. Best of luck to you. Hopefully as the baby matures a bit she'll see a light at the end of the tunnel (so to speak).

~~ kate
Quote Reply
Re: Is there any reasonable way I can help my wife with her stress levels [Tridiot] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
Tridiot wrote:

Yesterday she seemed to have the realization that things can't be the way they were before we had our second, let alone our first. I think I did a quintuple take when she said that. What is obvious to one person isn't always obvious to another. I didn't realize she'd been operating under that worldview for nearly the past 3 years. It boggles my mind, but that is what she was evidently aiming for. I hope this is a good first step to changing.


Make sure that her perfectionism doesn't leave your marriage out in the cold. You two must make fun time for each other; this is something that you must insist on. The babies need quality time and so do you ;-)

DFL > DNF > DNS
Quote Reply
Re: Is there any reasonable way I can help my wife with her stress levels [Tridiot] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
I'm no longer married and don't have kids but I got thinking about this thread last night.

Whenever I go through a period of needing everything perfect and needing control over all things around me, I feel the least in control. Controlling how the towels are folded, the floor is swept, etc is a way to bring control to chaos. The stress isn't because of the need for perfection, it is because she feels out of control and is trying to find ways to feel in control. She is controlling what she feels she has the power to control right now.

Since you are a wild-card that she can't control, you are a source of stress. Even if you aren't doing one thing "wrong." Since you aren't satisfied with life right now, she likely is terrified you will leave and find a life more interesting.

I imagine your job dissatisfaction has more of an impact than you think. Even if you are financially stable, potential to lose steady income is extremely unsettling. That is the one thing that I lose sleep over and will send me completely sideways. Financial instability with two kids, I can't imagine. Even if it is perceived. What about health insurance? How long would it take you to find a new job? How long would your savings last? If you had to live off your savings, what would happen if it ran out?

These are all reasonable questions but may not be a reasonable thing to worry about right now.

Somehow you need to help her feel more comfortable with chaos. Find ways of assuring her there is a soft landing if the shit hits the fan.

For me, I always felt better when I had a plan B, C and D lined up. Maybe walk through everything she is worried about and come up with those plans. Saying, "Don't worry we have savings." isn't the same as saying, "Don't worry. If I'm not working, we need $xxx to get through each month. With our savings, we can live for xx months without selling anything. If we get rid of xx expenses, we can live xx longer on savings. If savings runs out, we have x other options."

She needs to know you are in it for the long haul and aren't going anywhere. Physical affection goes a long way to accomplishing that. I don't mean sex, I mean holding her hand. Hugging. Hand on her hip. I knew my marriage was in trouble when he stopped wanting a hug and kiss when he left for work. "I love you" sounds hollow after a while.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Jen - @ultragrrl

"In order to keep a true perspective on one's importance, everyone should have a dog that worships him and a cat that will ignore him." - Dereke Bruce
Quote Reply
Re: Is there any reasonable way I can help my wife with her stress levels [JenSw] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
Thanks for your thoughtful response Jen. I'll definitely talk to her about some of these things. I try and make sure she knows exactly where she stands on our finances (I don't like the thought of her not were it to become important due to something happening to me), but it has been more of a "See, look at our bank and investment statements." and not "our monthly costs are $x and so we could survive for $y months with me not having a job."


I'm the more physical affection oriented person in our relationship, interestingly enough. We have taken the Love Languages test a few times, and what we both value are pretty much the exact opposite. Makes it hard to remember the "golden rule" for affirmation etc.
Quote Reply
Re: Is there any reasonable way I can help my wife with her stress levels [Tridiot] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
First off, I appreciate that you are concerned about your wife and her happiness and your marriage. That right there is huge. I am glad you two are talking to someone.

Second, I have been in your wife's shoes: two small kids, no time, messy house, husband always gone, etc etc. It is hard. But it is just a phase. It feels like it will go on forever but it won't. I did a lot of what your wife is doing now, like exercising and hanging out with friends, generally reaching out and trying to have some non kid interests. Like your wife I thought my husband couldn't do anything right (he couldn't!), but unlike your wife, I was pleased to have a housekeeper every other week. My husband was so free to do what he wanted when he wanted, and I was so housebound with the kids. It was a stressful period for our marriage, too, but I kept reminding myself it wouldn't last forever.

She doesn't compare notes with her friends? This really helped me. My house was no worse than anyone else's. My kids were no more frustrating, just maybe frustrating in a different way. My husband was no more clueless or inept. It was good for me to see that my problems were pretty typical of the stage of life I was in. Has she read The Feminine Mystique or Of Woman Born? Both of these books from my mother's generation are about the dissatisfaction women feel with their roles as wife and mother. It isn't all sunshine and rainbows.

Did she work before kids? Does she miss her old life? Would a part-time job help?

Or maybe it is something completely different that is stressing her out. Some posters have mentioned PPD. That is why it is so great that you are talking to a counselor.
Quote Reply
Re: Is there any reasonable way I can help my wife with her stress levels [JenSw] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
JenSw wrote:
I'm no longer married and don't have kids but I got thinking about this thread last night.

Whenever I go through a period of needing everything perfect and needing control over all things around me, I feel the least in control. Controlling how the towels are folded, the floor is swept, etc is a way to bring control to chaos. The stress isn't because of the need for perfection, it is because she feels out of control and is trying to find ways to feel in control. She is controlling what she feels she has the power to control right now.

Since you are a wild-card that she can't control, you are a source of stress. Even if you aren't doing one thing "wrong." Since you aren't satisfied with life right now, she likely is terrified you will leave and find a life more interesting.

I imagine your job dissatisfaction has more of an impact than you think. Even if you are financially stable, potential to lose steady income is extremely unsettling. That is the one thing that I lose sleep over and will send me completely sideways. Financial instability with two kids, I can't imagine. Even if it is perceived. What about health insurance? How long would it take you to find a new job? How long would your savings last? If you had to live off your savings, what would happen if it ran out?

These are all reasonable questions but may not be a reasonable thing to worry about right now.

Somehow you need to help her feel more comfortable with chaos. Find ways of assuring her there is a soft landing if the shit hits the fan.

For me, I always felt better when I had a plan B, C and D lined up. Maybe walk through everything she is worried about and come up with those plans. Saying, "Don't worry we have savings." isn't the same as saying, "Don't worry. If I'm not working, we need $xxx to get through each month. With our savings, we can live for xx months without selling anything. If we get rid of xx expenses, we can live xx longer on savings. If savings runs out, we have x other options."

She needs to know you are in it for the long haul and aren't going anywhere. Physical affection goes a long way to accomplishing that. I don't mean sex, I mean holding her hand. Hugging. Hand on her hip. I knew my marriage was in trouble when he stopped wanting a hug and kiss when he left for work. "I love you" sounds hollow after a while.

That sound? That's the sound of a nail being hit squarely on the head.

The stress is a symptom. It's not the problem itself. The problem is a feeling of not having control. That manifests itself through stress. And I'd be willing to bet it's about not having the level of the control she wants over the kids. You mentioned that she compares herself to her mother: unfavourably? What's the betting that she's driving herself to be as good a mother as she perceives her own mother to have been?

All of the house stuff is about trying to make up for a lack of control in one area by asserting control in another. Trouble is, it's ineffective because it doesn't provide the control she really wants; on the contrary, it highlights how lacking it is.

The solution? Either win the battle of bringing up the kids just so (forget it) or give up the whole idea of trying to be the "perfect" parent. Accept the life isn't about straight edges and flawlessness. It's about coping with all the things that aren't that.

A damn sight easier said than done, unfortunately.
Quote Reply
Re: Is there any reasonable way I can help my wife with her stress levels [Tridiot] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
OP I didn't intend to give you a bibliography, but I thought of two more books about parenting young children while I was out running. They both shed some light on the feelings parents, particularly mothers, have during this time.

The first I think is called Second Shift and is by Arlie Hochschild, a WSJ writer. The basic idea is that work is getting warmer and cuddlier while home remains chaotic and has become more competitive. At work you do a good job and you get praise and money. At home you do a good job and probably no one sees it, and people just expect it. I don't recall whether the author explores how motherhood has become more competitive. (Like buying jarred baby food used to be fine. Now you make it, and it better be organic, and there is someone out there who grew her own carrots.)

The second is a new book and I think it is called All the Joy and None of the Fun. The basic idea is that while people describe parenthood as a joyful endeavor, not to be missed, the day to day reality of it is drudgery. There is polling data that shows if a mother is asked to rank activities, for example, ranging from returning emails to washing dishes to washing the baby, she will rank the childcare activities at the bottom, below some pretty boring other activities.

I offer these titles up to show the universality of your wife's problem (if it is her problem;we aren't sure she isn't upset about something else). Misery loves company? I think it gives some insight into the situation.
Quote Reply

Prev Next