Friday, July 9, 2010

It's Been a Bad Day (please don't take a picture)

Last night was date night, and it was supposed to be fun. Instead it sucked, and turned into a big fight at 4:30 am this morning with both kids suddenly in bed with us.

Which had the effect of making me realize that some Very Important Something just might be missing between DH and me.

I know I have been bitching a lot... you all out there on the internets are probably sick of it. But I told myself I would always keep it real on my blog, because I am unable to in my real life. So please bear with me.

This morning was the first time I have ever really wanted to leave my marriage in a real, granular way. I actually started to plan it in my head, and that scared me. Why? Because for the first time I felt truly hopeless about DH's ability to make the changes we've recently discovered in therapy that he needs to be making. In his behavior, I saw visions of his fucked up parents. Let me be clear: I'm NOT talking abuse, nor any of the Four A's that for me would be an automatic "adios" to my marriage.

To be more specific, DH made me feel like the worst mother in the world - and I might add, like I am operating as a single parent here- for no good reason. He basically said I was "coddling" the kids by letting them be in our bed (after they had spent the entire night up until 4:30am in their own beds), and "coddling" them by not letting DD cry it out in her crib (CIO doesn't work at that hour when she is already standing up in the crib), and "coddling" DS because at 2.75 years of age I let him drink from a bottle and because he won't sit still and cooperate for a diaper change. (the only way to rid DS of bottles is to rid DD of them and she is only 9 mos old.) Why am I putting my excuses/responses in parentheses anyway? I know what the fuck I am doing - it is called SURVIVING!

I love how DH only has actual parenting opinions in the middle of a fight at 4:30am. I also love how DH arrogantly assumes he knows better than I do despite never having read a single fucking book about raising a child nor even looking at a single fucking parenting blog.

So there's that, plus the date night from hell where I realized, if I were just meeting this guy for the first time tonight and he acted like this, I'd never see him again. He just had the personality of a grapefruit last night. This was the same guy who last week got an email from the place we went to and forwarded it to me and said "let's get a sitter and go to this" - so I set everything up and at 5 o'clock yesterday he had forgotten all about it and said "do we have to go?" I said no, we could do something else, and by the time he got home he changed his mind and wanted to go. Then he had nothing to say the entire time. I kept trying to talk about something, anything, light things like what's going on in the world, and he was just not there. And I realized I no longer have the patience for him. I needed to be able to look forward to a good night out and have it happen. And there was no good reason it shouldn't have.

Reading back over this it all seems trite - but I can no longer deny it - for me, the connection is just no longer there. The intellectual spark, the fascination about the world, SOMETHING, fuck even LeBron James's announcement I would have been happy to talk about, but instead he was a total dud. And for the life of me, I cannot deal with it. Then he is a total unhelpful dick this morning? I may be at the end of my rope. I am seriously contemplating checking into a hotel this weekend.

I need a sign.


Jac said...

Oh Hush! Hang in there. The middle of the night fights are the WORST. DH and I finally had to come to an agreement that said that anything said between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m. could not be held against the other party the next morning. Ugh. My husband is also one who has never read a parenting book, but is quick on advice when he doesn't like a situation. It drives me mental when he says DS is spoiled if he has a tantrum (um he's not spoiled, he's TWO!). The implication in statements like that is that I am spoiling him. I am at fault, I am a bad mother.

As for the lack of spark/connection/effort, no suggestions for what you can do. I was there once. Pre-kids. Serviously contemplated leaving, and came very very close to behaving inappropiately with a co-worker (stopped only because Jac, like Hush, ain't no cheater). But it wasn't because I didn't want to or because I was in love with my husband. I can't even tell you what turned it around, except time and effort. But it did turn around.

This is rough. Maybe you SHOULD check into a hotel for a couple of days, just to get some breathing room. I'm lucky cuz DH travels a lot for work now and that actually makes things easier to keep the spark alive - I miss him when he's gone, and we have things to talk about when he's back.

You are still in the first year post-baby. It's not a great vantage point to see clearly or make decisions. You sound like you really, really need a break. A proper, overnight, two or three day (at least) break. Complete with spa and wine. I wish I lived closer, I would make that happen for you.

Sorry for the esssay.

blue said...

This sucks, Hush (wish I knew your real name) and I'm sorry. I've sooooo been where you are right now.

I agree with Jac that a night of two away might not be the worst thing ever. Sometimes, though, I can't go away until I've said everything that needs to be said. This would entail having a huge fight *first*.
If you already told him off completely and "had it out" then perhaps a short break would be good. Don't think of it as a matrimonial break, just a get-out-of-my-physical-space-before-I-smack-you break.

My perspective may not be the best since DH and I have been arguing a lot lately and I am actually pissed off at him right at this very moment... Unfortunately, what I'm mad about is that he doesn't always use good judgement while parenting alone, so I can't exactly get away from him and the kids, (at least not without worrying that he's going to leave our son sleeping in his crib while driving to pick up our daughter at camp ((which happened today)).

There must be something in the air because I'm really pissed, too. Spa and wine and bitch session sure sounds good right about now.

BUT I will say this: don't give up just yet. You really are still in the crazy-making first-year-with-a-baby abyss. Even when you think it won't get better, things can and do change once those tiny people get just a little bigger and you can think again. Maybe it's a good time to plan that trip to see your friend in Europe?????

blue said...

p.s. Glad you're keepin' it real, Hush. Don't worry about us getting sick of it. We wouldn't be here if we didn't like you!

Anonymous said...

Hush, I can really relate to your post. And of course I don't know the details, don't know your husband, or you, or what the bigger context is. But I will just say that about 18 months ago, I felt done with my marriage (we have a now 3.5 y.o. "spirited child" whose birth really strained our skills, marriage, etc.). I used to daydream about being a widow (horrible, I know!) because I'd be guilt-free and FREE. To start over, to pick differently, to choose another man. We started seeing a great couples therapist. We've had ups and downs, and yet I see a ton of progress in the past year+. We've had crappy dates like the one you describe, where I knew if I'd just met him and he acted that way we'd never have married... but for us, the key piece has been taking that frustration back into the therapist and clarifying what the impact is on me, what the nonverbal messages are, and for me to hear where my husband stood (his actions and his intentions are often out of whack due, I think, to lack of awareness and habit of just coasting while I do double-flips to make stuff happen!). It was really hard/impossible to have those conversations in a productive way at home, but with a facilitator we can.

So... I hear you. We are in a much, much better place now and what I can offer is the hope and reality that you guys may be able to move out of these patterns. No guarantees, but I would NEVER have expected to see how things have shifted and progressed. It's a work in progress, but it IS progressing. I hope you experience the same. I'd say our therapist has been crucial. She's found our common ground, interpreted our bitchy, defensive, controlling, passive, whatever behaviors in ways that focus on our shared desire for connection, building empathy for the other, intentionally focusing on each other and "showing up" to things like dates with energy, etc. (and, of course, I believe my husband needed that redirection a lot more than I did. Yet I play my role too.) I think many, many marriages go through really tough times. It's hard to be married! Good luck and hugs to you.

caramama said...

Oh, my friend! That's just sucky sucky SUCKY sucks! You bitch all you want. We are hear to listen to whatever you have to get off your chest.

Like @Jac, my hubby and I also had to agree that anything said in the middle of the night could not be taken into account in the light of day. I also firmly believe in not making crucial decisions about things, especially marriage/relationships, when you've got a child under 1. Maybe even under 2. Or 3! Neither of you are functioning the way you normally would, even if it doesn't feel that way when you are in it.

You saw that I just had a weekend with just my baby, while my hubby and 3 yo were away? What I didn't write on my blog is that the time away from my hubby was also really needed. He is a great man, but like anyone you live with all the time, he can get on my nerves. Having space and time from him made me miss him and long for him to come back.

Maybe you need to go flirt with that guy again in front of your hubby. Get things fired up in the bedroom again, and maybe the date nights will be a little more exciting? I have no idea. I just hope that things start to smooth out for you.

@blue - "worrying that he's going to leave our son sleeping in his crib while driving to pick up our daughter at camp ((which happened today)" He did WHAT? I smacked my hand against my forehead when I read that!

Melba said...

Oh dear. Hugs to hush. I haven't been reading your blog all that long so I don't want to act like I know all about your situation. But here's what you wrote in April: "DH really is a wonderful husband - sometimes a r'tard and sometimes unbelievably selfish, but mostly really, really good. I think this is worth working on." This was one of the first posts I read on your blog. I didn't comment on it then because I was "new" and didn't feel like I should. Anyway, my comment back then would have been "yes it is worth working on, if it wasn't, you wouldn't still be in the relationship."

The only real advice I can offer is that you shouldn't make a decision when you are still mad. Which you clearly are. And I agree with the others that you should probably wait until DD is over a year. Or over whatever age it is that you start to get your sanity back. I think that sleep deprivation and the frustrations of parenting small children really cloud our judgement and make us lash out at our spouses more than we otherwise would. Maybe DH is frustrated by DS's bottles and its easier to blame you than to figure it out himself. He lashes out at you because he's tired and frustrated and parenting is effing hard and so is marriage. Maybe he finds it just as hard as you do, even if he doesn't say it, and he has a crap method of dealing with it (i.e. being an ass to you). I don't know. I don't know him so I probably shouldn't assume this stuff.

So take some time (whether in a hotel or just letting things be for a while), get yourself in a good, rational place, and think things through. The decision to leave or to stay can't be made while coming off the emotion of a big middle of the night fight. And its something you probably need to think of for a while. Take the next three months, set a date like DD's first birthday, to re-evaluate and see where things stand.

Good luck hush. I really hope you can save your marriage, because I'm one of those hopeless romantics that thinks that marriage can be forever if people marry the right person and then work on it hard. But I'm also realistic, and I know that sometimes it can't go on.

And if you can't bitch about this stuff on your blog, then where??? Glad you're keeping it real. :) Take care of you.

Melba said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Melba said...

Sorry for the double post. Er... make that triple including this one. Please delete me!

Cloud said...

I we get tired of reading it... we can stop reading! Vent as much as you need to here.

I obviously can't tell you what you should do, but I have been so mad at my husband that I've wanted to pack a bag and go away for a night. I've never done it, but I've thought about it.

I can tell you that I sometimes find it hard to switch to "being a couple" mode on dates- it is hard to go for a long time just communicating about household and parenting essentials, and then have to switch to something deeper. Our solution has been to schedule in more frequent times to talk, to keep in practice. Maybe you've seen me write about our Friday night beers tradition before? That tradition is really important to our marriage. We don't do it every week, but we don't skip without a good reason, either.

That said, I'm a firm believer in the idea that both people have to be in the relationship and working on it. You can't save it alone. So you can come up with ideas, but he has to at least commit to trying them out.

I will say, though, that if no one had slept and it was 4:30 in the morning... probably neither of you were really at your best. I've said some horrible things to my husband in the middle of the night, and he's said some horrible things to me. Sleep deprivation is a real mind f&%#.

@blue- I can't even begin to think what I'd do to my husband if he did something like that! Wow.

Claudia said...

Hush, I'm aching on your behalf. I know the feeling, and though my DH is a great guy, he's been a real ass, too.
I'm not going to chime in about baby being under 1, because you know your relationship, you know his pitfalls, and it is what it is.
What I will say is this: do-over. Go up to him, tell him exactly how fucking pissed off you are about how the last 12 hours have transpired, and say you want that to NEVER happen again. The last nasty fight my DH and I had ended up with a code word: tortillas. If we started spiraling out of rationality like that again, we must use this word as a signal to just stop talking.
Then ask for a do-over. Whether you want to do over the date night, or just call a truce, try to drop this nasty episode and pick up with the therapy and progress and yada yada you've been working on.

I so understand how angry you are. I so understand the temptation to say fuck it, how is he ever going to get any better and not become his parents if he doesn't try harder. But men, you know, those PIG headed people, need to make their changes/decisions/insights in their own glacial time. I think most straight women should be sainted for just putting up with them.

Fist bump, sista.

Claudia said...

I guess I'm not done.
I don't mean to dismiss your thoughts of hopelessness in the marriage. I just mean that this is one of those serious tests, and baling is not what I see someone like you doing. I fully understand the desire to, of course. I also think it's perfectly fine and healthy to have leaving fantasies, plans of action formulated, etc. I think it's a sign of strength and independence to be able to think about those things. It's also a fantasy, as in a release for your feelings.
But I also think that DH has it in him, much as it looks like that ship has sailed after that night. He had a regression, just like our toddlers do. We then have to remind them of what proper developmental behavior is, and get them back on track. It pains me to write that, because yet again we are stuck with doing all the heavy lifting. It sucks ass. But I've not found a way around it and have any sort of result I want.

Keep us updated.

blue said...

I didn't intend to hijack here... but just wanted to say thanks for the collective WTF about my hubby's poor judgement yesterday.

When I posted that yesterday I was still stewing and processing it. Then we had it out, big time. I told him, among many other things, that he did a really fucking stupid thing and that I don't know how I can trust him with the kids if that's the kind of judgement he is using. He says, DS was sleeping so soundly and he didn't want to wake him, he was just driving down the road and was gone about 15 minutes. It's weird because he's really a rational, careful man who has never done anything like this before. He apologized and said it would never happen again and that he gets it, so I guess I have to forgive him. But he fucking retarded?

OK, I'm done now. Thanks, Hush.

nej said...

Oh, jeez. I'd love to tell you all the stupid shit my husband has done but instead I will yell you that my dh and I have been together 10 years. In 2003 we split up (weren't married yet) because our relationship had gone to pot and the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back was when he opened the cabinet under the sink, pulled out the bottle of dish detergent and said, "it's amazing how we never run out of his stuff." really, asshole? Do you the magical house fairy comes along and fills the pantry with groceries and waves her magic wand to pay the bills and clean the house? So I packed my shit and left. It took me 6 months and two torrid love affairs to realize that no matter who I dated, I was still me and that I couldn't outrun or hide from my baggage. I knew my now husband was the right person for me because he loved me in spite of and because of who I was.

The other two times I've thought that I needed out was when ds was 3-5 months old and about four months ago when (surprise) dd was the same age. Hormones. Exhaustion. My husband's inability to grow boobs and sustain life. Just today (dd turns 9m tomorrow) we looked at each other and agreed that we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, even though I'm bone-tired and our plans to snuggle and watch a movie are being derailed by a baby who apparently needed to catch up on the daily show.

Anyway, my point is that I've been there and I totally understand both sides. I've been so fed up and defeated that I've left, and I've also been able to see the situation for what it is, and power through it. Only you know what your reality is and only you can do what's right for you. Trust yourself and make the choices that the you in five years will be proud of.

mom2boy said...

Sometimes people wait until 4 in the morning to say things they are uncomfortable saying at 4 in the afternoon.
In defense of stupid men/partners/spouses, I've been the other parent, the non-bio mom which I'm guessing is sometimes what it's like to be the dad to kids that are still really young and heavily dependent on mom. You don't want to say much about mom's parenting choices. You know she works harder than you, you know her job and skill set is something you just can't fully comprehend but admire immensely and yet, think, that maybe, just maybe, you do have a valuable opinion on how to make things easier, effective, etc. And even if the lines of communication are open, it doesn't mean you the non-mom are a good communicator or feel comfortable saying anything (until it's 4:30 in the morning and OMG why can't you mom get these kids under control b/c in my head it all seems so straight forward and simple!!) That said, I'm a mom with biological impulses now and I get how different it is on this side and big the divide can become. How much I'm willing to sacrifice, how close to my edge of sanity I'm willing to go for what I think is the best thing for Tate and the rest of the world be damned because y'all are grown ups and if I can suck it up, you can, too, or at the very least keep your non-helpful opinions to yourself. See the problem?
And add in ego and sleep deprivation and loss of intimacy and jealousy and resentment and well, it's a lot.
Divorce sucks. It's hard on kids. I did the best thing for me and therefore for in the long run for him but it's hard. It doesn't make parenting issues go away. It doesn't mean your son will give up the bottle any sooner or your daughter will sleep any better - it's all still there and now you have to navigate it all by yourself most days and nights but still with someone else's opinions added in.
Take a night or two away. Let your husband deal with both kids. See if he can get your son to give up his bottle or see if he can handle the tantrum that will most likely result and if he can weather it or if he ends up giving the bottle back to him. :)

Jac said...

Ooo - I love @mom2boy's suggestion, of taking a few days away and telling husband to, by all means, fix the problem if he thinks he can.

hush said...

I feel so supported by all of your sweet comments & commiseration! Thank you!!! So, I spent 2 nights at a local hotel and did some serious thinking - and sleeping. A good night's sleep makes everything seem doable again. I learned that I want to stay married to DH, and I want to work things out. We had an extra therapy session to address everything and it really helped.

@Jac - I loved the 'essay.' It feels so validating to know that we are not the lone couple in the universe with this pattern. One of the new rules at our house is forgetting what we said at 4:30 a.m.

@blue - Oh my fucking gawd, he did WHAT???!!! Oh, Blue.... I'm so glad you were able to talk it through. Please keep us posted on how you're dealing.

@Anonymous - Thank you so much for your comment. You made me realize we needed an extra therapy session to process what happened. I'm so grateful.

@caramama - "Neither of you are functioning the way you normally would, even if it doesn't feel that way when you are in it." You are so right - that's now written on a post-it and tucked into my wallet.

@Melba - Thank you for reminding me of what I said when things were a little more normal for a minute at my house. I really appreciate the perspective. I will wait until DD's birthday before making any permanent decisions, though I'm pretty sure I will end up doing my part to work things out to the extent we can.

@Cloud - What you said about switching to 'couple mode' while being on dates - that was a total a-ha for me. We need more time to transition into that. Seems like 5pm is too early to start a date - we have too much housekeeping stuff that seeps into date time. Great insight. I love your beers tradition.

@Claudia - Thank you for the code word idea. "Tortillas." I just had a vision of myself grabbing an actual tortilla from the pantry and slapping his face with it. heh heh! In the heat of the moment, I have to find a way to remember to bring up the idea of a do-over.

@nej - That really resounded with me - we can't run from ourselves. Even if I left DH I'd end up with a blonde version of him with even more annoying habits, I know. DH really is the one for me. What the fuck is it about the year after a new baby that obscures that fact so well?

@mom2boy - Those 2 nights away brought about a huge change in DH. He realized he can't do it better, and that neither of us should ever feel like we're doing it alone. One of the things we're working on is how to talk about things before they pile up and become huge nasty middle of the night asshole statements.

Claudia said...

Major applause!
So glad to hear proper perspective has been restored, and FUCK YEA! to staying at a hotel!

blue said...

Yeah! Been thinking about you.... so glad about the 2 nights away and the extra therapy. You sound restored.

mom2boy said...

So glad you got some time to yourself and DH got a little perspective shift. Very good news. :)

Melba said...

Hey guess what! We *almost* got into a fight at 3:00 a.m. last night over why Annie won't sleep! And I was all "shut up, its 3:00 a.m. and this blamestorming doesn't count as conversation. You go heat the bottle and I'll get her screaming ass out of her effing crib for the 5th time tonight and we'll talk about what the hell we're going to do tomorrow."

So there, I learned from your experience and me and my hubby actually avoided a middle of the night fight.

Anyway, glad to hear you took your 2 days, slept, and came to the realization that you came to.

Also I think nej deserves the same collective WTF that we gave blue, for her husband's miracle dish detergent comment. W.T.F!

Parisienne Mais Presque said...

I'm coming in way late here and have no advice, except I'm cheering you on, hush, for doing all that you're doing to take care of yourself. You go girl!

Cloud said...

I'm glad things are looking better now.

Yeah, @nej- I agree with @melba- WTF??? Did he at least look sheepish when he said that?

And now I'd better start cleaning or I will end up in an argument with my Hubby. It is our big chores week....

Jac said...

Totally agree with Melba and Cloud, re: @nej's husbands comment about the dish detergent.

I think I need to start a blog - the regular feature would be WTF Friday - a place to record and commiserate about the stupid shit our family members say and do.

blue said...

I love WTF Friday! I'm so there, Jac, if you start a blog!

caramama said...

@hush - I'm really glad to hear that you got those two nights, your hubby got some perspective, you guys are doing an extra therapy session and that you are going to work on it.

@nej - Seriously, WTF? Did he really not give it any thought before? The house elves took care of it with their magic, I guess. do you see my eyes rolling? I know that kids think the toilet paper and soap magically appear in the bathrooms, but husbands? Get a clue, and get to the grocery store!

@Jac, @blue, @Claudia - You all need to start blogs, or at least twitter accounts!

caramama said...

(I finally found the book I've been wanting to mention, so I'm back to mention it!)

Years ago, I read the book Little Earthquakes, by Jennifer Weiner. In it, the character Kelly has some serious issues with her husband during the first year of their baby's life. I think about that book a lot when I am having frustrations with hubby when the babes are young, or when I hear about others having the same.

Since you are a reader, I thought I would recommend it to you. It's fiction, but some of it was just so true. In fact, I may reread it myself.

hush said...

@Melba - So amazing that you avoided a middle o'night fight!! And Amen to a "collective WTF?" for @nej's DH's detergent fairy comment!

@Parisienne Mais Presque - I appreciate that, thank you!!!

Ditto what @caramama said re: everyone starting a blog/twitter etc!!!

@Caramama - Thank you for the book rec!

nej said...

Sorry - had the in-laws in town. I love them, but jeezuz christ they are loud.

Yay, Hush! I'm so happy/relieved for you. I hope that this rough patch has been all the impetus you and DH need to make the necessary adjustments to your relationship.

As for my WTF with the dish detergent, um...NO he did not look sheepish. He didn't even realize that what he said was in any way assholeish. He was being 100% naive and sincere. So I left. DH and I were just co-habitating at the time and we broke up. For 6 months. And he went into a Wal-Mart for the first time in a million years and freaked the eff out - he couldn't handle the disorganization and chaos (I later enlightened him on the magical place called Target.) But he got it. He totally got it. He paid bills, shopped, mowed the lawn, scheduled car maintenance, etc for six whole months on top of his 50hr/wk job and his 100min/day commute. And since then (this was in 2003) he has been a completely different person. Mind you, we sometimes start slipping into our ruts and old habits, but we've been on the other side, and we don't let ourselves forget what that was like.

Which brings me to the whole sitting in the baby's room thinking I could totally be a single mom. The first year of a child's life kicks your ass. And I think the more you care/the better mom you are/the higher needs your child has/some combination of the previous statements...the more your ass gets handed to you. And I've been thinking a lot about this and my theory is this...sometimes you treat the people you love the most, the worst. It's the same way your child loses his/her shit on you because they're safe and secure in your love for them. DH and I were talking about that the other night - it had been a rough day and as soon as the kids finally went to bed, I just melted into a nasty pile of shit and started to get mad at him. But I wasn't really mad at him, I was just done holding it all together and being patient and loving and kind when really I wanted to knock someone's teeth in and since I fell so safe with him, I let him have it. It suddenly dawned on me that it was either them or him, and I know that unleashing on him isn't going to scar him for life. So we laughed about it and since then he's been much more patient with me and asks "are you mad at me or are you just frustrated?" and guess what? I'm rarely mad at him, and knowing that really helps us both. And hearing yourself say, "I'm mad at the baby b/c she's teething and pulling up to standing and up every 45 minutes and your parents are going to scream, I mean be, in town for three days and I'm just so freaking tired, but I'm gonna take it out on you because I can't smack a baby and I don't want your mom to think I'm a bitch," is really pretty funny.

hush said...

@Nej - Amen. "You always hurt the ones you love" (because we can) was the refrain of yesterday's therapy session. It reminds me of the way my mom can be a total bitch to my father and me when it's the 3 of us alone. Sometimes to her sister, too, if they have been in the same house again for more than 48 hours. To the rest of the world, she projects this fake image. All about there being no real consequences to the behavior. So true.