We Are Not a Burden

robyn May 15, 2012

With a new baby and children in general, comes a lot of giving of yourself.  This means sometimes ignoring your needs and wants, which can put your husband on the back burner.  I know mine has expressed this.

The Problem

Remember when it was just the two of you?  All those extra little things you did to make his day a bit better.  Those things that made him feel special and the center of your world (well, next to God).  The late nights with uninterrupted cuddling.

Well, in comes this amazing new life, a blessing, a great gift.  You are now parents.  With this you are exhausted, you don’t have space for yourself, much less someone who is perfectly capable of taking care of  himself.

Well, that was my attitude with our first two children.

To a large degree I left my husband out to dry, to fend for himself, because I felt like I was drowning.  But all these things I had trained him to be accustomed to had just disappeared.  Not only was he now even more pushed into the role of “having to be a man,” he now has a wife whose focus is someone other than him.

Yes, there is a time for self (and baby) preservation, but we can’t let it become our way of life.  Merely surviving is not good enough.  If our relationship is thriving then the rare days of, “Well honey, all I was able to do today was keep the kids alive,” will bring a smile to his face rather than a huge sigh of a burdened life.

Start with Small Changes

If you are feeling like life is hard and lacking luster — I’ve been there.  Feeling like you are so worn that there is nothing else to give.  Just act like you do.  Seriously, when you aren’t happy put on a smile — you might find there really is something to be joyful about.

Something that doesn’t take any extra time, but maybe a little biting of the tongue is in your response to your husband.  A few months ago I was having a bit of a challenging day.  My husband had asked about going that night to meet up with a friend.  My initial reaction wasn’t that great.

My thoughts were a little angry and jealous.  “Why should he get to go and have time with a friend, while I am stuck at home? . . . No, you need to come home and be with us.  You’ve been gone all day.”  But, then I knew he was going to be happier and less stressed if he was able to have some breathing space.  Him being in a good mood lets him interact better with me and the kids.

So instead of retorting to his text with a begrudging, response of “Fine,” I answered back with, “That sounds great!”  The funny thing about this was that because I had not been practicing this positivity for long, he thought I was being facetious with my answer.

Texting is wonderful thing!  But we need to be careful to think before we write. And remember too, that your husband cannot hear your tone.   How about a just because text for randomness sake?   I still get that little butterfly feeling when I get a random text in the day just because I love you!

Prepare a Place

My husband is OVERLY sensitive to smells.  There are days that just walking in the house can put him in a bad mood.  It drives me nuts!  I’ve been home all day, so the cooking or kid smell – so I can’t always detect it.  My solution is to make sure the windows are open and I’ve started something yummy smelling.

Coconut oil, eucalyptus and spearmint essential oil and tart burner make for a quick, easy and affordable solution!

Some other things you can do for his homecoming are really simple.

First, give yourself some time to be able to get outside if you’ve had a trying and busy day, so you can . . . be joyful when he gets there!

Don’t burden him with how stressful or hard your day was, give him some time to unwind and enjoy.  Do share with him and find out about his day, just don’t bombard him with it at the door.  Save it for the end or after dinner.

Have dinner close to being ready.  Have the kids going with a project or toys they can play with in a stationary manner.  Something like legos, coloring or play-doh are good choices, this hopefully will cut down on fights between them for Papa’s arrival.

One of my deepest desires is to make our home a sanctuary and safe place for my husband.  I want him to look forward to coming home to a restful place.  I know this isn’t always possible and at times our home has been far from it.  We have sometimes described it as a battleground, especially when I was working outside the home.

If you can take the hour before your husband arrives to set things in motion, you have more of a chance for success.  If dinner is ready, kids are happy and house is calm – all the unfinished laundry and dishes, toys littering the floor and works in progress can be more easily overlooked.

Spoil Him

Something I have added to my weekly routine is making sure I have more than just leftovers available for him to bring for his lunch.   Sundays, I prepare vegetables and protein for him for the week – as well as getting a start on my weekly cooking.

Recently I actually asked him to “score” dinner options.  I sent him a list of meals and asked him to add to it and then mark the ones he didn’t really like and then the ones that were his favorites.  I know it sounds a little business like to be emailing my husband about his preferences, but honestly it has helped SO much in our communication and being able to actually get stuff right.  It is so disappointing to work on a meal and then to find out that, no, he doesn’t like that at all – it was such and such he likes, not chicken pot pie.

So on a night he’s not going to be home, or home late I make something he’s not that interested in.  And at least one night a week I make something he likes that not necessarily everyone else does.  Lately, I’ve spoiled him with an evening banana pudding milk shake.

I’ve got to tell you, to read “Not gonna lie.  My wife is definitely spoiling me.  She knows exactly what to give me for lunch.  It’s healthy and yummy and filling.  And the last two nights has made me an amazingly yummy banana pudding shake!” as his status update, you know you have something down right.

My Contribution

I am a newly stay/work-at-home mom.  We are well into our seventh year of marriage, up until our third child was born I was working outside the home.  Sometimes a few jobs at once and contributing to a third of our income.

While I am LOVING being at home with my kids, I feel a little guilty.  I know I am only ten weeks into a new baby and balancing three kids for the first time, so I am trying to give myself a break.  But I struggle with feeling like the kids and I are a burden, one man supporting the four of us.  Nonetheless I am still coming to terms with not being able to add to our income.

So I am working hard to save us money.  Not buying those extra things I used to (you know that stuff on sale or clearance – you know you will use it, but don’t necessarily need it).  One way to avoid this to cut down on my amount of shopping trips and not wandering around in the store, but staying focused.  Also I focus on buying foods in season and thus on sale.

We (meaning me and the kids), have been working hard on our garden.  I have made sure to plant things that my husband likes too, so I can add to his weekly veggie platter.  We have also added ten chicks to our two laying hens.  This is also part of my plan to monetarily add to our income.

Selling eggs, when they start popping them out in a couple months, will be a great start.  Once I get some regular customers I can sell our excess produce from the garden, yogurt, as well as baked goods and homemade canned meals.  These are things I am already doing for our family so it doesn’t add a whole new component to our lives – just bigger batches.

How are you striving to be a blessing and not a burden to your husband?

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  1. I can relate. I realized I but my husband last so many times. I see the stress in his eyes when he comes home to a mad house. I feel horrible. I try to make his lunch for him at least once a week. I try to give him a few minutes of quiet at dinner so he can process the change from work to house full of kids and craziness.
    The biggest thing that can help is respect. Text him , email, or tell him how much you appreciate him. The days my husband comes home and I stop what I am doing to give him a hug and a welcome home, our nights are great.
    Thanks for sharing your experience; we are not alone.


  2. Very good reminder. I try to keep treating my husband special, but realized recently that I have forgotten again, getting too busy with helping the kids, doing the chores, and looking out for needy friends, all the while my husband needs ME. The poor guy wanted me, not so much the family; I am his help-meet, not the kids, and our relationship will go the rest of our lives as our children move on. Guys need us so much, our attention, courtesy, and encouragement! Thanks for the reminder 🙂


  3. My oh my. This post pretty much kicked me in the pants! Thank you so much! I’ll definitely be making these changes in my own home, especially the small ones that I’ve been slacking on lately. Kid #3 has been teething molars, Kid #2 has been provoking his siblings and Kid #1 is EMOTIONAL!! (poor little girl) It’s all taking it’s toll on my sanity and we have not been a family at peace of late. Thank you for the reminder that the little things count and that Daddy is important!!! 🙂
    Although we are currently in a crumby little apartment, we are planning to purchase a house when our lease is up this winter. I’ve always wanted to grow and sell produce and other things like you mentioned you have done. Do you sell at your local farmer’s market, or somewhere else???


    • Thanks for the encouragement. We’ve had an emotional little girl too! Seems like she’s 6 going on 16 sometimes. Does make for a bit more stress with dad and I.


    • Oh, I haven’t started selling yet. I do have some people set up though. Just friends and friends of friend’s right now. There is a farmer’s market close to us. I need to find out though what the laws are for selling there, perhaps when I get into it bit more I’ll branch out there.


  4. Great post and reminders. It really is a privilege to get to stay home in today’s society. When the house is not a disaster and dinner is on the stove or almost ready, it makes a world of difference in our house! When I put out extra effort to treat him well, he in turn does the same thing for me which keeps our marriage on a good track. I’m blessed to have a husband who busts his rump to let me stay home and then comes home and works his tail off here to make our home nice. When we joyfully do our part, the Lord blesses us 🙂 Thanks for the reminders.


  5. I have to admit, I usually hate posts like this. My husband IS an adult, and I hate hearing that just when stuff is at the most stressful, I’m supposed to add one more thing to my to-do list — and it’s a person who’s supposed to be my equal partner. But there is some truth to it. I just had my second baby, and it’s been so stressful and tiring. And the whole time, there’s been my husband in the middle of everything, stressing out. He wants attention too, but I am just drained dry. I want help from HIM, not more on my plate! I spent a lot of effort doing much of the stuff you suggest — getting dinner ready just on time, keeping the living space clean, packing a nice lunch — and it was wearing me out and making me very resentful, especially because he wasn’t really noticing all the extra stuff I was doing for him.

    The trick for me was realizing that he didn’t want more DONE for him, just some time with me. On the one hand, that’s the hardest thing to give him when I’m always in demand. But on the other, that can be rolled right in with “me time.” My rest time is with my husband, so it’s kind of a duty to take it. In order to make sure it happens, I’ve tried to enlist my husband’s help. If he can handle bedtime while I do the dishes, then we’ll both have time to snuggle on the couch before we go to bed. He doesn’t mind doing a bit of extra work if it means we finally have a little down time together. Sometimes all it is is moving the baby into the cosleeper and snuggling with him for five minutes before passing out at night. But I’m trying to make time for the two of us, because we’ll both burn ourselves out if we don’t take it.


    • Totally understand. There are nights where we work together to get everything lined up so we have some much needed evening couch time. Sometimes it is hard.
      And yes, I have to shirk off that intial feeling of “You’re an adult! Do it yourself.” Though there are a bunch of things I see his mom just never taught him. Definitely something I am wanting to instill in my boys!


  6. Shay….what a wonderful post! I do most of what you write but one of the things I’m going to add is the veggie idea at the beginning of the week for my Love to take each day for lunch. Actually, he will probably munch on those throughout his day. ;o) Its a great idea!! Thank you for sharing this at WJIM.


  7. Thanks for sharing and linking at A Mama’s Story! You’ve inspired me with some great ideas and suggestions!


  8. […] me over at Modern Alternative Mama today where I share my struggles through this and some easy ways to start changing for the […]


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I’m Kate, mama to 5 and wife to Ben.  I love meeting new people and hearing their stories.  I’m also a big fan of “fancy” drinks (anything but plain water counts as ‘fancy’ in my world!) and I can’t stop myself from DIY-ing everything.  I sure hope you’ll stick around so I can get to know you better!

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