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Sunday, 25 March 2001

Q & A: Wants Husband to Help Around The House

Written by  Dr. Louise Klein

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Q & A: Wants Husband to Help Around The House

QDear WholeFamily Counselor,

How do I get my husband to understand that I don't have any free time to myself? I have a three-year-old daughter who demands all my time. I work full-time and my daughter goes to preschool. By the time I get home from work I am tired and have to make dinner, clean up the dishes and get my daughter ready for bed. I don't have time for myself except on the weekends, if that.

He tells me I don't love him like I did before I had my daughter because I spend more time taking care of her than quality time with him. He never helps me with her at all. I have told him if he helped me more often with her and things around the house I would have more time for him. But he just keeps complaining I don't love him and don't want to spend time with him. What should I say to him or do? HELP!!!!!!!!


Frustrated and Confused

ADear "Frustrated and Confused",

My first suggestion would be for the two of you to get some marital counseling, but given the description of your husband, he probably wouldn't agree to it. He probably feels that this is your problem and that all would be fine if you just paid more attention to him. So, what can we do for you?

Your schedule would exhaust Superman. How can you get some help?

Could you afford to hire a teenager to help you with your daughter or do some chores like light cleaning or laundry? How about getting a sitter for a weekend afternoon so that you can take a nap, or read, or have a bubble bath? You need to start finding ways to do little things for yourself that will make you feel good. When was the last time you went to the movies with a girlfriend? Do it for yourself; you work hard and you deserve it.

I would really like to see you get into counseling on your own. There are some serious power issues in your marriage that need to be addressed. Your resentment of your husband's lack of help, and lack of interest in your daughter, is obvious. I'm not saying that it's your responsibility and yours alone to make this marriage work, but if he won't get some help, then you need to for your own sake.

Maybe you're reading this and thinking, "But I'm already so maxed out. How can I find the time or money for therapy?" Try calling around to some local mental health clinics. Some have Saturday hours and you could get a sitter or a friend to take your daughter for an hour.

Ask your doctor for suggestions. Many therapists offer a sliding fee scale. Perhaps a local church or synagogue has a counseling service. Sometimes they even have some childcare available, too. I strongly urge you to get some professional help. This situation won't improve on its own.

Even though you may be feeling resentful at this time, try making a change in your routine and see what happens if you do. For example, try suggesting to your husband that you get a sitter for Saturday nights and that it's up to him to make the plans. It doesn't matter what you do, just get out of the house and be together. If he gets it together and you two enjoy some quality time, great. If he doesn't follow through, then you'd have to question if that's what he really wants and if he is really interested in making this marriage work. I don't know how old your husband is, but there's a lack of maturity on his part that is having serious consequences on your lives.

You sound like a strong, smart, competent woman. It's time that you put some energy back into yourself. You and your daughter will benefit from it.

Dr. Louise Klein

Last modified on Tuesday, 26 April 2011 02:58
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Dr. Louise Klein

Dr. Louise Klein

Louise Klein was born on the West Coast of Canada but lived for many years in Los Angeles and Philadelphia. She has a doctorate in clinical psychology from Widener University in Pennsylvania. Dr. Louise Klein is an experienced therapist in insight-oriented talk therapy. She has worked with individuals, couples and groups for many years. Her experience with families includes stepfamilies, adoptive families, nuclear families and families dealing with illness or death. Dr Klein is also trained in thought field therapy and regression therapy and has taught and worked internationally. Louise Klein lives in a rural community with her husband and St. Bernard and has a stepdaughter in college in New England.

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