Wedding Woes
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Stop with the avoidance and have the hard conversations.

Dear Prudence,

We live in a high-cost-of-living area. When we had our daughter three years ago, my wife was determined to stay at home so I had to take another position in the company. It requires me to do a lot of international travel. It has been a huge issue in our marriage. My wife expects me to jump right into helping around the house and parenting our daughter as soon as I get off the plane. Most of the time I am jet lagged to the point of being a zombie.

My wife rejects any of my solutions like getting a part-time house cleaner or a meal prep service. This is negatively affecting my health. I dread going home more than I do going through the airport. I have started lying and adding an extra day or two to my trips so I can just check into a hotel here and relax. It has been helping, but I hate lying. I know it would not look good for me if and when my wife finds out, but I need this downtime. I really wish my wife kept her job even if it meant paying most of her salary for daycare. I hate this and the stress of being on one income. What else can I do? My wife wants to have another child now and I am just dreading the additional stress that would bring.

—Stressed in Seattle

Re: Stop with the avoidance and have the hard conversations.

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    This reads like a letter from someone who has believed the 'relationships should be easy and if they feel like work, then you're not in the right one' lie.  Marriage is a partnership and that requires constant communication about everything.  There's nothing too big or too small that doesn't need a conversation.  

    Where was the conversation before ever having kids about how y'all planned to raise them?  When she was pregnant, the conversation about SAHM vs. working? When you took this job, the reality of traveling, especially internationally, all of the time? The division of labor if she was SAHM and you were 50%+ travel?  And so on and so forth.  Why do you have to live in a HCOL area?  Is it family keeping you there? If not, is there an option to live somewhere more affordable and take a job with less demands? 

    This letter is what happens when you just do shit without actually talking about it.  Stop extending your trips and take a week off work, and have the conversations over several days. Bring facts and figures, but also tell her how you feel and let her tell you how she feels.  If you can't do that, suggest a therapist.  If neither of y'all want that, then this will never be functional.  

    And use protection until you're on the same damn page. 
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    It's wild to me that the wife needs help.  The LW doesn't have the energy to give it, at least not after the long flights.  But she's refusing pretty easy solutions, like occasional maid service and meal prep delivery options.  I assume they can comfortably afford both of these things.

    Definitely a lot more communication needs to happen.  Especially with the wife wanting a second child.  And I think some of what the LW says needs to be a blunt.  Like they absolutely need X time to decompress after an international trip.  Either the wife waits until that time is over before expecting help or they look more at other ways to help her, like a maid service.

    And this discussion can lead into a real look at what having a second child will mean for both of their time and energy level constraints.
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    It's wild to me that the wife needs help.  The LW doesn't have the energy to give it, at least not after the long flights.  But she's refusing pretty easy solutions, like occasional maid service and meal prep delivery options.  I assume they can comfortably afford both of these things.

    Definitely a lot more communication needs to happen.  Especially with the wife wanting a second child.  And I think some of what the LW says needs to be a blunt.  Like they absolutely need X time to decompress after an international trip.  Either the wife waits until that time is over before expecting help or they look more at other ways to help her, like a maid service.

    And this discussion can lead into a real look at what having a second child will mean for both of their time and energy level constraints.
    If the 3 year old is home all day with the mother (and not at full/part time pre-K). Even with occasional maid service and meal prep solo parenting for weeks at a time (assuming that’s how long he’s gone if it’s international) is exhausting. That’s every morning routine, night routine, meal, bath, meltdown. It’s completely reasonable she wants the other parent to actually parent when they come home. 

    That said- this is completely unsustainable. LW needs to have a real conversation with his wife about how this is impacting him. Maybe it’s her going back to work, but maybe it’s him finding another job with less international travel. This isn’t going to work if you don’t talk to each other. 
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    It's wild to me that the wife needs help.  The LW doesn't have the energy to give it, at least not after the long flights.  But she's refusing pretty easy solutions, like occasional maid service and meal prep delivery options.  I assume they can comfortably afford both of these things.

    Definitely a lot more communication needs to happen.  Especially with the wife wanting a second child.  And I think some of what the LW says needs to be a blunt.  Like they absolutely need X time to decompress after an international trip.  Either the wife waits until that time is over before expecting help or they look more at other ways to help her, like a maid service.

    And this discussion can lead into a real look at what having a second child will mean for both of their time and energy level constraints.
    If the 3 year old is home all day with the mother (and not at full/part time pre-K). Even with occasional maid service and meal prep solo parenting for weeks at a time (assuming that’s how long he’s gone if it’s international) is exhausting. That’s every morning routine, night routine, meal, bath, meltdown. It’s completely reasonable she wants the other parent to actually parent when they come home. 

    That said- this is completely unsustainable. LW needs to have a real conversation with his wife about how this is impacting him. Maybe it’s her going back to work, but maybe it’s him finding another job with less international travel. This isn’t going to work if you don’t talk to each other. 
    Exactly.  I remember when I went back to work I felt totally zapped that I was doing all the childcare all day long.  It was physically and mentally exhausting at the newborn phase and once they're on the go, it's so tiring.  They're active, messy and full of opinions and needing stimulation.  I'm grateful my kids were in daycare.

    I fully believe that the mom is worn out but I think there's a major issue here that she's not facing and a reality that she's not getting.  She CHOSE to be a SAHM.  This is a role she actively pursued and she's actively resistant to employment.  Based on where they are I'm interpreting the LW as 'i had to take a job that paid more due to the income loss'.  

    They need the very real conversation that by making the choice to be a SAHM it means she's taken on that burden.  And the flights, time and jet lag are also something that he's facing.  Continuing that with another child means an additional 5-6 years after baby #2 (assuming she's not going to try to homeschool) before the second kid starts schooling meaning it's going to be more of the same.  

    They will absolutely not have a sustainable marriage if the wife absolutely refuses to compromise here. 
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    banana468 said:
    It's wild to me that the wife needs help.  The LW doesn't have the energy to give it, at least not after the long flights.  But she's refusing pretty easy solutions, like occasional maid service and meal prep delivery options.  I assume they can comfortably afford both of these things.

    Definitely a lot more communication needs to happen.  Especially with the wife wanting a second child.  And I think some of what the LW says needs to be a blunt.  Like they absolutely need X time to decompress after an international trip.  Either the wife waits until that time is over before expecting help or they look more at other ways to help her, like a maid service.

    And this discussion can lead into a real look at what having a second child will mean for both of their time and energy level constraints.
    If the 3 year old is home all day with the mother (and not at full/part time pre-K). Even with occasional maid service and meal prep solo parenting for weeks at a time (assuming that’s how long he’s gone if it’s international) is exhausting. That’s every morning routine, night routine, meal, bath, meltdown. It’s completely reasonable she wants the other parent to actually parent when they come home. 

    That said- this is completely unsustainable. LW needs to have a real conversation with his wife about how this is impacting him. Maybe it’s her going back to work, but maybe it’s him finding another job with less international travel. This isn’t going to work if you don’t talk to each other. 
    Exactly.  I remember when I went back to work I felt totally zapped that I was doing all the childcare all day long.  It was physically and mentally exhausting at the newborn phase and once they're on the go, it's so tiring.  They're active, messy and full of opinions and needing stimulation.  I'm grateful my kids were in daycare.

    I fully believe that the mom is worn out but I think there's a major issue here that she's not facing and a reality that she's not getting.  She CHOSE to be a SAHM.  This is a role she actively pursued and she's actively resistant to employment.  Based on where they are I'm interpreting the LW as 'i had to take a job that paid more due to the income loss'.  

    They need the very real conversation that by making the choice to be a SAHM it means she's taken on that burden.  And the flights, time and jet lag are also something that he's facing.  Continuing that with another child means an additional 5-6 years after baby #2 (assuming she's not going to try to homeschool) before the second kid starts schooling meaning it's going to be more of the same.  

    They will absolutely not have a sustainable marriage if the wife absolutely refuses to compromise here. 
    But choosing to be a SAHM doesn’t mean you are signing up to do all the parenting all the time. She’s not telling him not to travel or reduce his hours, sounds like she’s asking him to parent when he’s home. He’s actively lying to her about when his trips are

    I just don’t think she’s the only who needs to compromise. She does need to hear him and help figure out a situation where he’s not completely burned out, but surely this isn’t the only job in the world that he can take either. The agreement they had isn’t working out so they obviously need a new one that they need to address together. 
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    banana468 said:
    It's wild to me that the wife needs help.  The LW doesn't have the energy to give it, at least not after the long flights.  But she's refusing pretty easy solutions, like occasional maid service and meal prep delivery options.  I assume they can comfortably afford both of these things.

    Definitely a lot more communication needs to happen.  Especially with the wife wanting a second child.  And I think some of what the LW says needs to be a blunt.  Like they absolutely need X time to decompress after an international trip.  Either the wife waits until that time is over before expecting help or they look more at other ways to help her, like a maid service.

    And this discussion can lead into a real look at what having a second child will mean for both of their time and energy level constraints.
    If the 3 year old is home all day with the mother (and not at full/part time pre-K). Even with occasional maid service and meal prep solo parenting for weeks at a time (assuming that’s how long he’s gone if it’s international) is exhausting. That’s every morning routine, night routine, meal, bath, meltdown. It’s completely reasonable she wants the other parent to actually parent when they come home. 

    That said- this is completely unsustainable. LW needs to have a real conversation with his wife about how this is impacting him. Maybe it’s her going back to work, but maybe it’s him finding another job with less international travel. This isn’t going to work if you don’t talk to each other. 
    Exactly.  I remember when I went back to work I felt totally zapped that I was doing all the childcare all day long.  It was physically and mentally exhausting at the newborn phase and once they're on the go, it's so tiring.  They're active, messy and full of opinions and needing stimulation.  I'm grateful my kids were in daycare.

    I fully believe that the mom is worn out but I think there's a major issue here that she's not facing and a reality that she's not getting.  She CHOSE to be a SAHM.  This is a role she actively pursued and she's actively resistant to employment.  Based on where they are I'm interpreting the LW as 'i had to take a job that paid more due to the income loss'.  

    They need the very real conversation that by making the choice to be a SAHM it means she's taken on that burden.  And the flights, time and jet lag are also something that he's facing.  Continuing that with another child means an additional 5-6 years after baby #2 (assuming she's not going to try to homeschool) before the second kid starts schooling meaning it's going to be more of the same.  

    They will absolutely not have a sustainable marriage if the wife absolutely refuses to compromise here. 
    But choosing to be a SAHM doesn’t mean you are signing up to do all the parenting all the time. She’s not telling him not to travel or reduce his hours, sounds like she’s asking him to parent when he’s home. He’s actively lying to her about when his trips are

    I just don’t think she’s the only who needs to compromise. She does need to hear him and help figure out a situation where he’s not completely burned out, but surely this isn’t the only job in the world that he can take either. The agreement they had isn’t working out so they obviously need a new one that they need to address together. 
    I agree.  My point is that if she's burned out at being a SAHM it's a conversation that they both need to have.  He obviously needs to parent when he's in the house too.  I definitely greeted DH when I was on maternity leave that I needed the break but at the same time, he was also up with the baby at times at night and needed some time when he walked in the door.

    And if he's already at the end of his rope then the wife has to be told so they can figure out a solution.   
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    It's wild to me that the wife needs help.  The LW doesn't have the energy to give it, at least not after the long flights.  But she's refusing pretty easy solutions, like occasional maid service and meal prep delivery options.  I assume they can comfortably afford both of these things.

    Definitely a lot more communication needs to happen.  Especially with the wife wanting a second child.  And I think some of what the LW says needs to be a blunt.  Like they absolutely need X time to decompress after an international trip.  Either the wife waits until that time is over before expecting help or they look more at other ways to help her, like a maid service.

    And this discussion can lead into a real look at what having a second child will mean for both of their time and energy level constraints.
    If the 3 year old is home all day with the mother (and not at full/part time pre-K). Even with occasional maid service and meal prep solo parenting for weeks at a time (assuming that’s how long he’s gone if it’s international) is exhausting. That’s every morning routine, night routine, meal, bath, meltdown. It’s completely reasonable she wants the other parent to actually parent when they come home. 

    That said- this is completely unsustainable. LW needs to have a real conversation with his wife about how this is impacting him. Maybe it’s her going back to work, but maybe it’s him finding another job with less international travel. This isn’t going to work if you don’t talk to each other. 
    You may have misunderstood my post.  I agree he needs to parent and help with chores when he is home.  It sounds like he does.  Just not the first day he's back after an international trip.  He doesn't have it in him, which I can understand.

    I'd be more on her side for him helping the "day after trips" also, even if he is exhausted, if she would be more open to the maid or meal prep services he has suggested and it still isn't enough.

    But she won't even do that, so I have less sympathy.  The bottom line is that what they are currently doing isn't working.  And probably not for either one of them because I'm sure it's difficult to essentially be a single mother of a toddler half the time.  So they need to figure out what will at least work better before adding in another child. 
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    banana468banana468 member
    First Answer First Anniversary 5 Love Its First Comment
    edited April 12
    It seems like there's a LOT of control that the wife is taking here.   If she's turning down the suggestions of meal prep or cleaning services and doing these on her own but asking for his assistance it strikes me that she's someone who may have micromanaging tendencies which is in itself bad management.  If you must have it your way and can only put your trust for assistance in one other human it's a recipe for catastrophe and instance that nothing else other than your way will be good enough and she's setting herself up to be the person who can never have the break she also deserves.


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    I think this is a ESH short of situation. Husband is in the wrong by lying. Wife is in the wrong refusing help. They absolutely should not have another kid until this is worked out. Mom might haven bitten off more than she anticipated. Absolutely being a SAHM doesn’t mean that your partner doesn’t have to parent with you. But it sounds like she’s declining additional help when they’re both drowning. This isn’t a sustainable way of living. 


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