How to deal with a hidden 1950s attitude towards men and women
I have two young babies and am going through a very difficult time getting my marriage to work. It's a tough situation. At the end of the day, I don't want to be without my children, but I don't feel there is much hope for me and my husband to function the way a husband and wife should. We just have too many differences. My main issue with him is that he doesn't seem to understand (or care) about what I want from a partner. I am starting to see that is not just selfishness like I had thought, but he has a general belief that it is the woman's job to do all things related to childcare and house care. I am not sure how I missed this largely sexist viewpoint in him in the past. I guess because our situation was different. Prior to children, I just didn't need his help. I learned quickly in my marriage that he wouldn't help me with things that were important to me without complaining, so over the years I just started to do most things by myself. He doesn't cook, so I just thought..ok, he cant cook, Ill do that. At the time, I didn't take it as "the wife should do the cooking and when I get home, a meal should be there waiting. I thought I was cooking because I liked it and I liked cooking for him, not because he expected of me. Now, whenever we had plans with friends to go out or for the to come over, things were different. He would grill out. I'd handle the sides, it felt like teamwork. The happiest we ever were was when we were living around a lot of friends and this is the sort of thing we all did together. I just didn't see that when it was just the two of us, meals were solely my responsibility.
The two years, and really the last year, I have desperately needed a partner. I now have a 26 month old and another baby who just turned one. My husband, the man who helped create these children, has been gone. He works all the time. It was worse over the first 9 months of baby number twos life. He has been trying for a few months to be around more. But really, he travels all the time, or gets home after dinner, or is on his phone, etc. I see that he is trying to lessen this, but I still have so much resentment and hurt form the fact that until desperate pleading for him to be a part of out family, he just didn't want to be. Now, someone people may say, he was working, so what can he do? Well, how about get another job. I'm pretty confident that there is more than one job he could possibly be hired at. The real issue however, is that for him, work defines him. Work makes him a man. In a twisted way, it is where he is happy (although he complains about work issues all the time). His parents were like this, so he grew up with this type of family structure. The sad thing for me (or him) is, I define a man by how he hugs his children, how he makes them laugh, the type of role model he will be so they find someone who treats them right. The biggest fear I have write now is that they will think this is what a man is, someone who focuses mainly on work and money. Someone who in free time, sees the value in golf, rather than a day at the park with them. I'm scared shittless. And like I said, he is working on it. I think he may succeed, but in my heart, I feel that it is fake. An act. I have had to ask so many times for him to just say hi to his kids before anything else when he gets home.
We are in counseling. It is obvious the counselor sees no hope for us as a couple. As he describes, "we don't match up". How fucking sad is that. I've been married to a man for going on 10 years and we "don't match up". What have I been doing all these years? I think we are both afraid to let go. There is love between us, but we don't match up. Can someone change their fundamental beliefs of men and women so that we do match up?
Until this week, my husband had never made one of my girls' lunches for daycare. We have lived in current house for 8 months now and until this week, he has maybe picked them or taken them to daycare 5 times. It's a 15-20 drive and everyday, for months, I have been responsible for getting them there, with all of their needed items, by myself. I work full time as well, but I work from home so my husband seems to think this doesn't count as work. Sadly for him, we have made the same amount of money every year since we have been married (pretty much). Yet it is obvious he has no respect for my career, my success, me. He does not value my work, because he values himself solely on work. To acknowledge that I am successful at work and shouldn't have to only be a caregiver to children and him, well is must hurt his sense of self in someway. I find it very sad. In a lot of ways, I feel bad for him. I truly believe he has missed out on out daughters younger years. My mother has been helping to raise my children. My baby knew her much better than her dad for many, many months.
Im not sure what to do. Raising 2 young babies on my own, or what has felt like on my own, has been exhausting. All I have wanted is a partner. But now, I would be happy if it was just me and the girls. It would be nice to have less judgment in my life, less worry that I have one more person to cook for, clean for, etc. But I don't want to lose any days with my children. And although daily the love that I have for my husband diminishes, nothing would make me happier than if we could all make this work somehow.