Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My Husband Won’t Take Vacation Time to Celebrate Our Anniversary”

My husband and I unexpectedly had to take his three children from a previous marriage for the school year. I have dedicated so much time to them without a break and have made SO many sacrifices! All my time goes to the children, and I am so limited with my time because I have to watch them, pick them up from school, help them with homework, make sure they do chores, cook, etc. We don’t know anybody who can watch them as all family live several states away, and we don’t trust hiring people from the internet (like on care.com). So we haven’t had a single date night in a year. We get one morning a week to spend four to five hours together, but that’s filled with grocery shopping and household chores.

Our one-year anniversary is coming up in a few weeks, and my husband’s mother will visit. But with my husband’s work schedule, we will only have one day to celebrate – Sunday. This anniversary is so incredibly important to me. I haven’t been able to enjoy my first year of marriage, or my first pregnancy, as we have had to stress about the kids. I recently received a scholarship that allows me to not work and allows me to focus solely on school, but it’s like I have a second job with the kids (and I will even forget that I have class because I’m so engrossed in helping them with their homework or cooking dinner). Our one day to celebrate is a Sunday, so virtually everything will be closed early or just closed for the day.

I have tried talking to my husband about it, but he says we will have plenty of other anniversaries in the future, etc. Am I being ungrateful, realistic, or hormonal? I know he has vacation time but he is unwilling to use it for some reason, despite my making it clear that it upsets me that I can’t enjoy, at the very least, our one-year anniversary. — Tired and want a break

The lifestyle you’ve described here is not sustainable. You are a stepmother to three children, whom you have for at least this school year and will have again for periods of time in the future. You are also pregnant with your first baby. The slog of parenthood as you’ve been experiencing it isn’t going to change much. Even if/when you don’t have your stepchildren staying with you — and, again, you will likely have them on occasion and perhaps for entire school years again (did you not discuss this with your husband before you married?) — you will have your own biological child/children. And trust me, if you think having school-aged kids is challenging, wait until you have a baby or a toddler home with you all day, every day. Talk about not ever getting a break!

But, look, you CAN get a break if you want. You CAN — and absolutely SHOULD — have date nights with your husband!! (If you continue skipping this vital part of maintaining a marriage, at some point your bond is going to unravel. Doing household chores together once a week is not the kind of quality couple time that is going to sustain you through life’s challenges!) You need to find someone to babysit the kids. Saying you simply can’t hire someone from the internet and calling it a day while sacrificing your life — and your marriage — to relentless demands of parenting 3+ kids and running a household without ever having a break from it is shortsighted.

First of all, sites like care.com do a pretty good job of vetting their members. Babysitters bring references and potentially lots of reviews. You can interview them and have them visit your kids in your home while you are there, so you can see how they interact with them and get a feel for who they are. If that still doesn’t feel comfortable for you, get word-of-mouth recommendations from your parent network. You have a parent network, don’t you? These would be friends you’ve made who also have kids, or the parents of friends your stepkids have made. Have you joined local parent groups where you can meet up with other parents in the area, share information (like about camps, fun things going on, and babysitters), and ask for resources? You can find such groups on Facebook, for example, and through your kids’ schools, and even in Yahoo forums. If you’ve even made a single parent friend in the area — and if you haven’t, I urge you to do that! — you can even propose a babysitting swap where you (or your husband) watch that person’s kid(s) and then they watch yours.

My point is, you’ve unnecessarily limited yourself and then acted like a martyr and blamed your husband for not taking vacation time so you can have a date. I mean, think about that for a minute: your husband has three kids whom he’d probably like to vacation with or for whom he’d like to use vacation time to visit when they aren’t living with him, and yet you’re upset that he won’t use vacation time to have a date with you because you, for some reason, aren’t willing to hire a babysitter, something most couples feel more than comfortable doing, especially for their school-aged children (read: not babies). And you’ve decided that the one day you actually DO have someone to watch the kids while your husband has off from work is a day everything is going to be closed. Really?! No brunch spots open on a Sunday? No parks to go picnic in? All movie theaters closed? Not a single place to have a glass of wine? I find that hard to believe, and it strikes me that you’ve put conditions on your husband to prove his appreciation of you, which isn’t fair. If you feel under-appreciated by him, TELL him that; don’t ask him to use a vacation day as substitution for communication.

Something that really stuck out to me about your letter is when you write: “I haven’t been able to enjoy my first year of marriage, or my first pregnancy, as we have had to stress about the kids.” I cannot underscore enough how unhealthy and damaging this is. You are going to have kids for the foreseeable future – your stepkids and you bio kid(s); if you can’t enjoy life as a parent, you’re in really big trouble. You have to find a way to cope with the stress a little better, to practice some self-care, and to prioritize quality time with your spouse or he’s not going to be your spouse for much longer. Ask your husband for help (!), outsource anything you can afford to outsource (like hiring a housecleaner once or twice a month), do things you actually enjoy when the kids are at school and you can find an hour or two of down time, and for god’s sake, HIRE A BABYSITTER! I am not being hyperbolic when I say that your marriage — and your sanity — is depending on it. Ask someone for a babysitter recommendation ASAP.

***************

Follow along on Facebook, and Instagram.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.

38 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Ange April 2, 2019, 7:18 am

    Yeah dude you have to sort that out, I can feel your stress all the way over here. Is there not even like a Sunday school or something you can send the kids to for the morning? I dunno how they work so I’m just spit balling. But if you’re placing these kinds of restrictions on yourselves now before you even add a baby it doesn’t matter what anniversary it is because you won’t be celebrating it.

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  • avatar

    ktfran April 2, 2019, 8:04 am

    I agree with everything Wendy said.

    I honestly rolled my eyes at the “I can’t have a date on Sunday because nothing is open/everything closes early.” If you’re in the U.S., I promise you that you can still have a fun date. Businesses want your money. Something is open.

    Day dates are great! You’re less tired than in the evening. They can last longer because you have all day. Etc., Etc.

    Look, I know life can throw you a curve ball and sometimes it’s rough. I find that people who try to come up with working solutions instead of being pissed off that something isn’t quite how they pictured it are far happier in life. This Sunday date thing is a perfect example.

    Also, if you’re extremely stressed and tired with school, raising step kids, the pregnancy, talk to your husband (fwiw, it sounds stressful to me). Find ways to alleviate some of the burden. Wendy gave you great suggestions. If there is no family close by, lean on your community for support.

    For instance, as long as I don’t have a prior commitment, I babysit my good friend’s kids… for free… when they need it. They have two other friends in the city they’ll ask too. The key is to not ask all the time and people will gladly help you out occasionally. It’s ok to ask for help!

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  • avatar

    anonymousse April 2, 2019, 8:09 am

    Wendy is spot on, there are so many ways to find a qualified and safe sitter. You can ask other parents in the kid’s classes, search for local mom groups on FB and find a sitter that way. You can ask for references and even use a nanny cam if you are that worried. One easy way we do date nights- we put the kids to bed and then go out. The sitter literally watches TV and the kids sleep. A teenager could “watch” them.

    How old are the kids? Can they help? Can they do some of the leg work? Most kids love to be a helper, or be in charge of the younger ones.

    I also agree that you need to figure out how to live with this. I mean, they’re children, not nuclear warheads. It’s no surprise it was really hard and stressful at the beginning (and daily life can be challenging) but there should be a point where you can coast along pretty easily. Use your calendar app. Use a reminder app. Life is not going to be perfect. . You’ll forget stuff, maybe miss a class. They’ll forget books at school. Dinner will get burned in the oven. It’s just life. Everything will still be okay.

    Figure out methods of planning or scheduling that work for you and use them. There will be trial and error. And don’t expect perfection. Why isn’t your husband helping more? Does he work seve days a week? He needs to be helping, too.

    And when the baby comes, everything is going to get harder. Are you ready for that? It will be all of this on very little sleep, with a constant little mouth to feed and change.

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy April 2, 2019, 8:18 am

      I’m concerned for her about the lack of sleep, too, on top of managing the three older kids. LW, you have a limited time to figure out how to cope a little better with the demands of parenting school-aged kids before a newborn enters the picture and really turns things upside-down for a little bit.

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    • avatar

      anonymousse April 2, 2019, 8:19 am

      I do think you’re probably feeling resentful about this. This wasn’t the plan, and I understand that. Your husband should be doing more to help, or help you get help. They’re is kids. All of the work shouldn’t all be dumped on you, especially when you’re pregnant.

      The Sunday thing, I can understand that. I grew up in a rural area and most everything was closed early on Sunday. To go anywhere to eat, you’d have a 30 minute drive. In Utah, most businesses are closed on Sunday, (even in SLC) because religious beliefs about Sunday being a day of worship. If you weren’t near a big town or city, you were out of luck, even for coffee (which is on the whole considered a stimulant and wasn’t even sold at many gas stations!) You can literally drive through fairly big towns that don’t have any coffee shops.

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      • Lucidity

        Lucidity April 2, 2019, 9:04 am

        Even if literally everything is closed, you can still have a fun, romantic date, LW! Do you have nature trails anywhere near you? Pack a picnic lunch and go for a bike ride or hike. Or get your MIL or a babysitter to take the kids out of the house, to a park or something, make an elaborate brunch and spend a few hours in bed together. There are so many ways to make the day really special without patronizing a business.

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  • avatar

    thatgirl April 2, 2019, 9:15 am

    Where is your husband in all of this daily cooking, carpooling, homework supervising? I can’t imagine doing everything, every day with no help!
    Can they not ride the bus to/from school? Or is that a choice to take them and pick them up? Can they carpool with neighbors with alternating weeks for you AND your husband to switch off? Can dinner not wait an hour so you have more help preparing the meal with your husband’s help? Why is he not doing more to help with managing the children in the evenings?
    Divide and conquer! If all of everything is falling to you only, your issues are greater than where to have your anniversary celebration.

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  • avatar

    LisforLeslie April 2, 2019, 9:19 am

    You are a newly wed dealing with some difficult circumstances. Your husband is probably stressed to the gills, worried about the kids, worried about the baby and he’s asking you to manage your expectations appropriately.

    You are focusing on the what the anniversary event is and not the real issue here:
    You have been blindsided by having three kids full time unexpectedly and you’re likely taking on the lions’ share of the work and you need to feel appreciated. You’re about to have a baby thereby changing your status from woman/wife to mother/wife which for many women is a hard transition. You want to know that he sees you as his woman/wife and not just as a mom.

    Talk to him about needing to feel like your marriage is important to him and it’s not all about kids and kids and kids. What you do is less important than being together. Schedule a couples massage. Go to brunch. Sit in the back seat of a movie theater and make out. You have options.

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    • avatar

      ktfran April 2, 2019, 9:29 am

      A few other ideas I was thinking of…

      Go “parking” and make out like teenagers
      If financially feasible, rent a hotel room. You don’t even have to spend the night. Spend several hours. Order room service. Or pizza. Or pack sandwiches and enjoy time together without chores and kids
      I still like the picnic and hike/walk idea
      Canoeing (you don’t have to do much of the work, he can)
      A zoo? Miniature golf?
      A long drive, taking in the scenery and enjoying each others company
      Bike riding

      The key, ask him to plan so you get a break. Give him ideas though so you’re not disappointed if he plans something you’d hate.

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  • bittergaymark

    Bittergaymark April 2, 2019, 9:48 am

    Thank God so many people have yet another kid when they can’t handle the fucking three that their partner came with.
    .
    What a brilliant and sound plan!
    .
    Ugh… just so fucking over it. Over willfully clueless straight people and their laughably self created problems that seemingly only result in a catastrophically over populated world.
    .
    And then, surrounded by the hopeless messes of their own making… they whine and worry about vapid and shallow things like one year anniversaries. Sigh…

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    • avatar

      Ruby Tuesday April 2, 2019, 5:20 pm

      Yeah, I don’t know how to sympathize with a person that describes stepkids as a “second job.” If you don’t want to be a stepparent, don’t start a family with someone who already has kids.

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      • bittergaymark

        Bittergaymark April 3, 2019, 2:56 am

        ^^ EXACTLY!!

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  • avatar

    ron April 2, 2019, 10:25 am

    Yes, some people aren’t cut out to be parents. LW has a scholarship but got pregnant in first year of marriage. That’s fast, before she and husband really have a fair chance if their marriage is going to work out, and it doesn’t sound like it is working out. It sounds like husband has not interest/ability in co-parenting. She mentions a lot of parenting chores that she alone does at times when he should be home. Why is she tasked with helping the kids with homework? I think having a kid together, when he already has 3, is an especially bad idea given his lack of interest in actually being a father.

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    • avatar

      ktfran April 2, 2019, 10:34 am

      Unless he doesn’t get home from work until 5:30 or 6:00? I can see wanting homework finished before dinner. However, I do agree that he should be pulling his wait when he gets home. Helping with dinner or dishes. Picking up. Putting the kids to bed. Etc.

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  • avatar

    csp April 2, 2019, 11:15 am

    LW – I am sorry that you are feeling overwhelmed. You got thrown into the deep end of parenting. Now, I think your problem with communication here. You are thinking that you have had a rough year and your anniversary should be a moment to reflect on this big year and appreciate the hard work you have put in. Your husband is just seeing it as one day out of many and is seeing all the work and all the needs and is in crisis mode. You both are in crisis mode. I am guessing with 3 kids and 1 on the way along with you at home and in school, money is tight.

    Here is what you need to do. You need to talk to your husband and lay out what you want and why you want it. Tell him that you want to connect with him as a couple. That you don’t want to get lost with the kids and the responsibilities and want some time the two of you to be together. Say it is important because you love each other. Tell him that you want him.

    My husband and I have been married for 12 years and there have been different times along the way that we have come to each other and said that we needed this. It doesn’t have to mean money, it can be going bowling or axe throwing or just a hike in the park. Just find times to not talk about kids and remember why you fell in love. I hope that helps.

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  • avatar

    TheHizzy April 2, 2019, 11:24 am

    Going into a relationship with a man with older kids (all over 17 at the time, not all ALMOST 20) I had to reflect what would happen WHEN one, or more, wants or needs to live with us. (which BTW we’ve already had several live with us) Why was this not discussed before you got married? They sound like they’re younger kids (still minors) and what happened if the bio-mom suddenly passed away, or just decided to quit being a mom and drops them off with you, and you guys are the sole caretakers?

    This was an important conversation to have BEFORE you got married. Take this as warning to each person on this site dating someone with kids. Talk about what it’ll look like when you guys have to become caretakers for step kids.

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    • avatar

      csp April 2, 2019, 12:17 pm

      I have to say I am sure they discussed it. But it doesn’t mean that they day to day grind doesn’t get to you. My son was the most planned child in the world (years of trying), that doesn’t mean that the day in and day out doesn’t become a grind. She hasn’t said she doesn’t want them with them. She is saying that her life is stressful and wants one night with her husband.

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      • avatar

        Ruby Tuesday April 2, 2019, 5:21 pm

        The grind will get to you a lot faster if you think of the kids as a job and not as children in need of parenting.

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      • avatar

        csp April 3, 2019, 8:16 am

        @ruby Tuesday – So I definitely call motherhood my second shift. I work full time and then come home and make dinner, run errands, do baths. It is a lot. That doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it. All things that are worthwhile are hard work. She just wants a night out with her husband, don’t shame her for that.

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      • avatar

        ron April 3, 2019, 10:54 am

        RT — It will also get to you a lot faster if your spouse doesn’t assume equal responsibility for raising his kids.

        Also, I’m curious whose decision it was that finding a babysitter, domestic helper who isn’t a relative was a non-starter. Many, many couples utilize non-relatives for childcare help. This decision seems VERY extreme. I’m guessing that he insists upon this, since she seems stressed enough that I can’t imagine her not jumping at this solution. Not even exploring specific individual helpers who are available? Nope, not buying that.

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      • avatar

        ron April 3, 2019, 10:54 am

        RT — It will also get to you a lot faster if your spouse doesn’t assume equal responsibility for raising his kids.

        Also, I’m curious whose decision it was that finding a babysitter, domestic helper who isn’t a relative was a non-starter. Many, many couples utilize non-relatives for childcare help. This decision seems VERY extreme. I’m guessing that he insists upon this, since she seems stressed enough that I can’t imagine her not jumping at this solution. Not even exploring specific individual helpers who are available? Nope, not buying that.

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      • avatar

        keyblade April 3, 2019, 11:21 am

        @Ron- If the lw is a mormon from an LDS area, she might be predisposed to thinking it’s her duty to be the primary care giver, to feel guilty asking to spend ANY money if her husband is the primary breadwinner, and to manage feelings of inadequacy from wanting what she needs and needing what she wants. Just sayin.

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  • avatar

    Vathena April 2, 2019, 11:28 am

    I agree with everything Wendy said. I am especially curious how it came to be that you married someone with three children, but apparently never discussed how to handle having custody of them. Then on top of caring for your three stepkids, you are about to add a baby to the mix? …You need a babysitter, STAT. My husband and I also have no family within 1000 miles, but we have had plenty of babysitters. We found several sitters and a nanny through a local parenting listserv, so another vote for the internet here! What are your plans for childcare for your infant? Are you planning to stay home full time? (Even if you are, you need backup and respite! No one can do it all alone.)

    As for your husband not wanting to use vacation days for your anniversary, consider that when your baby comes you will be glad he’s saved that time. IMO, it will be put to much better use supporting you and your baby in the days and weeks after you’ve given birth.

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    • avatar

      snoopy April 2, 2019, 12:13 pm

      This assumes that he will take those days once the baby is born.

      I think there needs to be bigger picture discussions with this couple. How are they handling jointly caring for 3, soon to be 4, children? What’s the big picture plan to ensure that neither is burnt out and both get personal time? How are they allocating husband’s vacation time overall? What the plan to use the days, are there days to spare? How are these days integrated into the bigger picture schedule of school vacations, exams (for LW), and the birth of a new child? How does the couple envision ensuring their bond is still strong and honouring the needs of each other?

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      • avatar

        Vathena April 2, 2019, 12:25 pm

        Totally – I was giving him some benefit of the doubt on the use of vacation days after the baby comes! One hopes that they have talked about that already…

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  • Guy Friday

    Guy Friday April 2, 2019, 11:28 am

    If there is no family close by, lean on your community for support.

    I don’t think this can be emphasized enough. Let’s even pretend that you have no friends who have kids. Surely you have friends you TRUST, right? I mean, I have no kids at the moment, but if one of my good friends came to me and said, “Hey, GF, would you be able to watch my kids for a couple of hours so my [husband/wife] and I can go have an anniversary date? It’s been really crazy and stressful at the house, and I think we need a little us time to reconnect,” I’d say “Absolutely! No worries.” Hell, you probably wouldn’t even need to say the last sentence to get me to agree; I just throw that in because very few people would object after hearing that. They’d bring the kids over, and I’d order some pizzas, watch movies, do whatever other fun stuff they want to do. I mean, it’s, what? 4-5 hours, max? That’s doable for most people.

    No man is an island, unless you’re Simon or Garfunkel.

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    • avatar

      Ruby Tuesday April 2, 2019, 5:22 pm

      @bittergaymark is a rock.

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  • avatar

    ele4phant April 2, 2019, 11:41 am

    My anniversary is tomorrow and I am going to get a new storage unit and my husband is going to a notary to sign papers that prove he is legally empowered to sell his mother’s house. She is cognitively impaired and we need to sell her house to pay for her care, hence the storage unit and all the paper signing (and then the moving of stuff this weekend and last weekend, and really a lot of recent weekends).

    We’ll go out for a nice(ish) dinner this weekend, if we can make time.

    Your anniversary doesn’t have to be celebrated on the day. And when you do celebrate it, celebrating can be nothing more than just letting somebody else take care of your obligations for a little bit (for you, the kids, for me, my mother-in-law) while you and your husband get out of the house and do something, anything, together. Even if it’s just drive around, get some fast food and have an adult conversation together in the car.

    Sometimes life is hard and you have to take what you can get. You need a break, you need time with your husband, but maybe right now that’s not going to look like your ideal romantic date night.

    Let your mother-in-law take care of the kids Sunday and get out of the house with your husband. In the coming days or weeks, make finding a baby sitter you can trust a high priority so you are in a position to take advantage of future openings you and your husband can get alone time together.

    Life is hard. It won’t always be like this, but it’ll be like this for a while. Make figuring out how to maximize your brief windows for breaks a priority, and figure out what changes you can make to make your lives tenable for the foreseeable future.

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  • avatar

    LW April 2, 2019, 11:50 am

    Thanks, all. My husband doesn’t get home until 6:30PM, and he wakes up at 6AM every morning, so I know he works hard. I suppose I feel the need to contribute more (because I don’t work), and that resulted in me taking on most of the household chores.
    We definitely do not have a parent network, which is something I’ll focus on. My husband was military, and we have only had the kids over summer break, so we never had to build that network. They just went to summer camp and that was that. Our baby will arrive after the kids are back with their mother, so I’m not too stressed about that.

    And as someone correctly pointed out, we live in the rural south, so
    1) Definitely no alcohol sold on Sundays (I don’t drink, anyway) and
    2) Yes, almost everything is closed/closes early because it’s a religious day for everyone here. Here, religion > business.

    And lastly, someone pointed out that my husband and I need to find time to NOT talk about the kids, which is a very good point. I didn’t realize just how almost every conversation he and I have, it’s always about the kids (how they’re doing, if they did well in school, etc.).

    Thanks again. I will definitely need to work on the parent network and trying to get my husband to do a little more on his off days.

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy April 2, 2019, 12:09 pm

      Your husband doesn’t need to wait until his days off to help with the kids. They’re HIS kids, for god’s sake. He gets home at 6:30, not 10:30. There’s honestly no reason he can’t decompress/eat dinner for 30 minutes and then spend another 45 minutes to an hour with HIS kids, getting them ready for bed (bath, story time, brushing teeth), then spend another even 15 minutes doing some chores around the house (folding laundry, loading the dishwasher, packing lunches, taking out the garbage, whatever) and then still have a couple hours to relax before bedtime. I get that he works hard, but so do you. Just because your work doesn’t generate an income doesn’t mean it’s any less exhausting or any less valuable.

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    • avatar

      TheHizzy April 2, 2019, 12:09 pm

      If you’re in the military aren’t there parents already there and could be a good resource to help find day care?

      When we had kids living with us we had to designate “no kid talk” times. It’s hard, and you’ll slip sometimes, but you can’t make it all about the kids.

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      • avatar

        Ange April 2, 2019, 5:40 pm

        Sounds like he’s not military any more so those support networks they had there aren’t in place now? He ‘was’ military.

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    • avatar

      ele4phant April 2, 2019, 1:44 pm

      If you’re in the military, seems like there should be resources for families, or other ways to network with other military spouses that stay at home and care for their children (and could help refer you to a baby-sitter/would be willing to trade-off on child care).

      I get you’re busy and maybe move recently, but really if anyone is primed to have an easy network to plug into, I would think it would be you.

      Get on reaching out to other military families. See what resources your base has.

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    • avatar

      csp April 3, 2019, 8:21 am

      LW – I think you need to make it a priority to start building a community. I think it sounds like you need to take control of your schedule. Start finding other moms, try and organize chores on certain days. Once you control your schedule, I think you will find there is breathing room for you. I can’t tell you how important my friends are. I have neighbors that we can sit outside while the kids are playing and chat. We cover for each other and exchange helpful ideas. I will send my husband and my son out one day a month and I will use the time to meal prep so I have several dinners made that I can just grab out of the freezer. You can learn the tips to give you some sanity and to help build the family you want to have. You’ve got this.

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  • avatar

    Vathena April 2, 2019, 12:23 pm

    “Our baby will arrive after the kids are back with their mother, so I’m not too stressed about that.”

    But aren’t they going to be back with you at some point? For extended periods? Perhaps unexpectedly/permanently (as someone pointed out above, if anything happens with their mom, it will all fall to you)? It’s great that your house will be somewhat less chaotic when you have a newborn, but then you will have a mobile infant, a tantruming toddler, a backtalking preschooler who won’t stay in bed, etc. And you say it’s your “first pregnancy”, which implies that you are planning to have more. So NOW is the time to get your systems in place for raising 4+ children. Babysitters/mothers helpers (are you part of a church community at all? Maybe worth finding one for the youth group!), cleaning service, etc. And yes, your husband needs to step up his game in the evening hours.

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  • avatar

    anonymousse April 2, 2019, 12:23 pm

    I’m a SAHM right now, and my husband works a lot. BUT- depending on his work load (like if he’s exhausted or not) he will come home, take the kids to a nearby playground, make me dinner, give them a bath and put them to bed all by himself for the most part. He does it because he wants to help, but also because he craves time with the kids when he is home. He adapts to their schedule when he’s here. And when he’s exhausted I take on more of the household workload. We take turns. He might have a busy week, and the next week I’m worn out and he’s the support system. We tell each other what we need, we ask for help, we forewarn each other of events and keep a shared calendar to keep track of the really important things.

    I have a teenager who sometimes babysits after they’ve gone to bed, a SIL who watches them some times, and a local preschool that does drop in care.

    Ask the parents you see around, at the school they go to or literally anywhere else. Parents generally love to help other parents and give suggestions and advice and this is a common issue to need help with.

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    • avatar

      anonymousse April 2, 2019, 8:42 pm

      Is it possible that the preemptive disappointment about the anniversary is a symptom of a larger issue?

      You feel under appreciated. Tell him what you need. He’s not a mind reader. If you need more, ask for more. His mom can handle the kids.

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  • avatar

    Leon April 3, 2019, 11:01 pm

    I admire people who dates potential partners with so many kids. For me it would be a dealbreaker. Once I dated a guy whose father had six children from a previous marriage, then remarried to have three more. The second wife raised all the nine children. I mean, who does that? If that sainct woman did all that, I guess you, LW, could potentially do it. But I suggest you to get a divorce. You don’t seem really attached to the husband’s kids, and he doesn’t appear to be really wary of your needs (nor that you actively try to take actions to take weight off to this burden, tbh). But something I’ve learned from life is not to get married to carry someone else’s burden. My mother got married and instantly became the caretaker of my grandparents. She doesn’t regrets it, but she’s aware it wasn’t her duty to fulfill that role. So think really careful if your love is that big to take under your wing the whole package. It’s totally OK if it is not.

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