When you marry someone you plan on spending the rest of your lives together. You sign up for a partnership. You’re each expected to help the other and support each other, not just financially speaking, but emotionally and morally. When you come to a decision to start a family, you think that it will be 2 of you raising the kids – feeding, bathing, reading, carpooling, and caring for them when they’re sick. For a long time now, I’ve been feeling like I’m a single parent. I do 99% of the carpooling, reading, feeding, bathing, and caring for my kids. My husband feels that since he is the sole bread winner for the family that is his contribution to our marriage, our family. That being the sole bread winner excuses him from any other responsibilities or obligations to me or our kids. Every birthday, anniversary or special occasion that goes unacknowledged is because he’s too busy with work. And it doesn’t bother him because he claims he wasn’t raised to acknowledge those special events/days in life. My birthday came and went without so much as a “Happy Birthday” being uttered. And now, his birthday is coming up and his parents fully expect me to have a dinner/birthday cake for him. He and our son’s birthdays are just a few days apart so traditionally I do get a cake for both of them. Well, guess what folks, not this year. It may sound petty and trite, but, you know what, I’m done. I spent 4 days in the hospital with our 2 year old daughter, got out 2 days before my own birthday, and I couldn’t even get a “Happy Birthday” out of him. And when I asked him about it, his defense was that I don’t spend enough attention to him and his needs so he didn’t feel like acknowledging my birthday. I got the same response when Valentine’s Day came along. I, at least, made an effort and got him a card and some nice chocolate (he LOVES chocolate), and what did I get – NADA, NOTHING, ZILCH, THE BIG GOOSE EGG. Well, I’m spending too busy taking care of the house, doing the laundry, making the meals, cleaning up the messes, driving the kids around, paying the bills, making the beds, cleaning the dishes, feeding the cat, emptying the garbage, doing the grocery shopping, trying to drum up new freelance work and taking care of the existing client I do have, helping him out with his business paperwork, driving our friend to rehab and any other doctors’ appointments or places he needs to go. This time I’m too busy to acknowledge his birthday. So for the first time in our history together I am not getting my husband a birthday cake or even a card.
Is this the beginning of the end? I don’t know. We’re both willing to try to work on our marriage and seek counseling, and we have our first session Tuesday night. I'm afraid of what's going to happen. I'm afraid because there is a small part of me just doesn't care anymore. I feel like I've been chewed up and spit out. I know I'm not perfect and I have my faults. I've tried not to be a demanding wife. But I don't think it's too much to expect for my husband and the father of my children to actually want to be part of our lives, to be an active participant. I haven't felt that way in a while. Even my 8 year old son feels this way. When my husband announced that he had to work today instead of helping me and going with me to chaperon our son's birthday party, I ask L if he was upset that daddy wasn't coming. His response was "Not really. He'd just yell anyway." That kind of says it all. When my husband does make the time to be an active participant in our lives, most of the time he's not happy about it or enjoying himself. If this was happening just once in a while, I'd understand - we all have days like that. But with my husband it happens a majority of the time.
I just don't know what to do anymore. I just know that something has to change - one way or another.