Friday, August 11, 2006

Home not so sweet home

My right to be in my home seems to be under attack.

I know this sounds crazy, and I don’t think there is even a solution outside of separate houses (which incidentally has been proposed). But I need to talk about this… Because talking feels more productive than crying, and I want to say it to someone before the separate houses thing actually happens without any feedback as to whether or not I have sealed my fate by doing it.

I hate to talk about personal things (like I said I have promised not to gab about my marriage), but I feel that the need for a sounding board about this outweighs that right now. That said, here goes.

DH told me today, in no uncertain terms that I can’t be in the house after 10am anymore because he has to sleep. Which simply means that I must be in the store after 10am every day with the kids. This sucks on so many levels.

1. My house is a mess (because I am never there) and if I am never there I can never clean it. Also, if I do ever clean it I will never be there to enjoy it. Hmph.

2. I have to try to get meals ready to accommodate the “eat as soon as we get home” style we are living with, which limits me severely.

3. I like being home, especially on weekends. And I am bitter that he gets to sit there and relax alone, which I never do.

4. I just trained someone for the store so I can be home.

5. I have to try to bring things to the store to feed the kids in the absence of a kitchen. And being without a kitchen all day with five of us sucks.

6. Dividing time between the house and the store means dragging things back and forth between the two places all the time and losing stuff in the process.

7. I have the bad feeling that his wanting everyone out of the house is the major motivation for him to send the kids to school this year.

8. I feel putting his sleep before 5 other people’s desire to be at home is flat out selfish. Of course he will say I am selfish for wanting to be at home when clearly he needs to sleep so he can work.

I don’t know whether to cry or start looking for an apartment for him or what. I would move, but I feel the larger place should be for the kids and me. If his sleep has to be separate I want him to be the one to move to a studio or something to sleep and work.

I guess I would say just go do it, but I am afraid it will lead to us separating (which is not what I want). Of course the tension is so high surrounding this subject that we may just end up divorcing if it continues… I know from talking to him that he doesn’t understand, and he will never see that his job disrupts our family. He told me the other day that it could be worse because his job could involve traveling and I told him seeing him only on weekends would be easier… Which went over like a lead brick. He is still mad about it. And I stand firm that trying to live life around his sleeping all day is not working. We are at an impasse. I will never be able to keep the kids quiet enough or meet all the demands he makes while trying to sleep; it just makes me bitter and mad… No matter how hard I try to overlook it. Ya Allah. I even found myself having to go sit in the visitors lounge with the kids and an hours old baby when he can to visit me in the hospital so he could sleep in the bed in the room. I felt soooo taken advantage of. Basically, I was mad that he came at all if he was just going to sleep. And every day at home is the same. I am on edge because I know the kids will wake him or he is expecting me to leave or he is sitting in bed asking for things so he doesn’t have to get up… I am not a good wife like this. I am not a good mother like this.

So, what is the end of all this? Can I ask him to get a place where he can sleep and work undisturbed without causing a huge uproar? He himself has suggested it… But I am afraid to demand it. On another level, I have days where I am ready to get divorced just to have my own space… And shaiton is there, “What are you getting from this relationship? When has he ever helped you with anything? When has he ever gotten you a drink while you were in bed? You have the right to relax in your own house too!”

You know those moments in your life where you can just physically feel shaiton’s presence? I am having more and more of those every day. It is getting harder and harder to be rational. And I KNOW my DH feels that I am the abusive irrational one in this situation. I need respite. I need to take a sabbatical from this relationship. But I am afraid that would seal my fate. I have to make things work and I am just grasping at straws for a way to do that. I can’t be a tolerant peaceful wife with these things hanging over my head. And I can’t be out of the house with the kids all the time like that. HELP!!! Maybe this marriage is over and I just don’t see it.

14 comments:

shazia said...

Sister, salaam aliakum... I am actually in the middle of cooking dinner and came to check my email and happened to see your post.

The thing is that I don't have a comment... I don't know what to say, except that i had to let you know that you are right. Every single one of your points are valid. It is your right to be in your home... and isn't that more Islamic anyways?! I am frustrated at your situation! But have patience, remember it is a test, be calm, be nice to your kids and have fun with them - even at the store, just try not to get angry... the anger is from shaitan... I just for the past 2 days felt myself crumbling under the pressure of kids/work/hubby/cooking/cleaning/just life in general. Remember the ease will come!

Sister, May Allah increase your patience, protect you from shaitan, and give you peace soon. ameen.

wa salaam,
Shazia.

Zafira said...

Salam Alaykum

Why would having each your own spaces "seal your fate"? Do you mean, it would be the first step towards divorce? Inshallah, Not. It could be the first step towards relief and a huge weight off both your shoulders. He gets his sleep undisturbed, you and kids get your space. It's not a "traditional" arrangement, but it could work for both of you, given all the pressures you both seem to have in your lives. I'm just speaking off the impression i got from your post. Also, most people tend to be extremely temperamental and defensive when they don't get a restful sleep. I know i am, and often don't have any control over my emotions. Maybe your DH has reached a point of extreme exhaustion and frustration, and the tension just keeps rising.

My opinion is, don't be so scared of a separate housing arrangement. It's clear this current one is not working for you. It doesn't mean your marriage is over.. it's just a different accomodation. If both of you are well rested and in peace, family time together would probably be more enjoyable in the long run. Separate housing is better than divorce, after all.

I hope i didn't sound preachy, just trying to help.

Salams

Romerican said...

Firstly, marriages do end. And life does go on.

Secondly, I wouldn't understand anyone who might suggest that acting the part of abject slave would be more holy in any way.

Having dispensed with two generic, defensive thoughts, perhaps it is becoming obvious that some vacation is needed. He needs to sleep, you need a home. Is there a relative -however distant- or other close person with whom you could stay for a week?

Proposing a vacation would put you in a healthy environment for a short, predetermined time. In addition, it would give him the chance to sleep and, hopefully, get a small taste for what life without you is like.

It needn't be a vacation taken expressly negative. There are ways to dance around the issue so no one's ego is directly bruised.

And your host needn't know all the motiviations and sordid details motivating the vacation. It's just a vacation and HE couldn't come because HE is working.

Far be it from me to play expert. We're strangers. It's just that you sounded fairly logical and compassionate from what I read.

ummali said...

I have so much to say that I hardly know where to begin. I will simply say that, though there is nothing wrong with separate dwellings it seems from what you have written here that you are being mistreated and harmed. I will keep you in my du'a.

UmmBadier said...

Asalamu Walaikum,
Sister I'm sorry to hear about this struggle with your home. You are already giving up so much of your rights. Yes, it's unreasonable on his part. Subhannallah, I know of so many brothers who won't even let their wives leave her home...except maybe to go to work...
My hub used to work nights when we had 1 kid and a baby, it was difficult for him. Of course, as a mom it's a little difficult for me to be too sympathetic...when was the last time you slept more than 4 hours at a time?
It did improve when we moved into a ranch-style home where our room was at the back and me and the kids were mostly in the front part all day. Maybe you could find a better living situation. Maybe you could get a camper out in the drive-way...I kid not! How many teenagers live in the garage in this country...maybe you could move to a place with a garage that could become his den...
Have you tried ear plugs? In my college days I had roommates and HAD to use them. The wax ones that conform to the ear work really well. Also maybe one of those white noise machines.
Asalamu Walaikum

Honorary Arab said...

Asalamalaykom,

First of all, I want to commend you for blogging what is real. I didn't start blogging because there were a hundred other ways I could cope and just chose this way. NO! I was really at my wit's end, as you are now. Blogging has helped and inshahallah will continue to help me see the truth in print.

I don't recommend two houses. The money, the time apart, the dangers of living like single people... No. But, he does need one day of solid sleep.

Is he really doing his best to get rest? Often, my sleep-deprived husband stays up to watch movies and then is a bear the next day.

Is your bedroom sound and light proof? See what you can do to keep that one room quiet and dark.

Can your kids go visit family one day a week?

It will, enshahallah, work out, but STOP thinking divorce. Not helpful. Keep going on in peace and love. Think about creating harmony, but you don't need to be a doormat in order to get it for him. It shouldn't be for just him, anyway. It should be for the whole family.

Keep us posted!

aoife said...

Salaams,
I know how hard this is. It doesn't get easier either. Hubster works odd hours, need to do daytime sleep on weekends, all while my son and I are awake and roaring. Right now, what works for us on this front is husband sleeping in one of the bedrooms with the door locked. Also, investing in some earplugs wouldn't go amiss either. I remember college and i have to say I would have gone crazy at some point without them.

I am really sorry that you are having a rough time. Insha'allah, no matter what decisions get made, I hope you find respite from the angst of it all.

Surviving said...

I also think your husband is being unreasonable. I'm sure there are things he could do to get more sleep short of kicking all of you out of the house or having seperate homes. I'm sure with a new baby in the house you are going without sleep as well.

I'm not at all sympathic when my husband complains about being tired. He gets home late and stays up checking out the news on the internet instead of going to bed and he still gets more sleep then I do.

When I was in the hospital having my baby. My husband had gotten some sleep while I was in labor. I wasn't able to sleep. He brought the kids to see the baby. He laid down and slept. I finally woke him up and told him to either watch them or leave. I had just had a baby early that morning and was just way too tired to watch them. In three days I had less then 6 hours of sleep.

SUHAA said...

asalaam alaikum warahmat Allah,
dear sister. i pray to Allah Alone for your patience and steadfast. Life is hardship and hardship affects everyone in different ways. So remind yourself that Allah chooses tests for His Believers that He Knows they are capable of passing. Perform more thikr, talk to Allah..blog privately to Allah! I'm serious. At times I sit down and type or write letter to Allah because for me writing is a better output sometimes.

You need to talk with your husband and keep this between 2 of you inshaAllah. Perhaps there if he's just woken from a good sleep you can talk to him softly in a non-agressive/ non-assertive even way and start off by saying something that he would love to hear ..even if it means swallowing your "pride".(which really means just kicking Shaitan to the curb!) Or what about writing him a letter and sitting down infront of him and having him read it. You are the mother of his children! SubhanAllah, he loves and honors you..and even though there are many negative qualities there are probably so much more positive ones that Shaitan is covering. Perhaps if the children go to school things will be less loud in the home and you can always be involved with them and keeping tabs on whats going on in school too by creating a good relationship with their teachers inshaAllah. Ultimately if you put your trust in Allah He will help you. He knows the depth of your pain and perhaps the difficulities you are going through will be those deeds that lead you and your family into Jannah. You are a strong woman as you rebel against your society to be even a Muslim, mashaAllah! So just remind yourself that all your efforts that go unappreciated, unnoticed by your husband or by people..do not stand a chance of being hidden by Allah.
Do not give up hope in Allah's Help, there is no such thing as a hopeless situation. Remain patient and remember that Allahu ma'al sabireen. Allah is with those who are patient..especially at those times when it seems so credible to flip.

may Allah guide you and your family..seek Him, He'll make it easier on you inshaAllah.

your sis,
Suhaa

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Saniya.

amygdala said...

why is he at home sleeping in the day? he's working nights? my experience of working nights is that i'm so zonked i could sleep under concorde's flight path. i agree with the person who asked about whether he's really trying to sleep in the first place.
and btw, women generally have to function a bit sleep deprived once they have kids, and do they complain much? no, they get on with it. don't move out. eventually he'll reach the stage where he's so tired he'll sleep through anything. so sorry to hear that you're taking the rap for it all. much much love. ps is he on sleeping tabs? not necessarily recommending them, but if he's already on them they could be doing more harm than good.

Umm Isa said...

Bismillaah, salaamo aleikom dear sister! I have been reading your blog a bit sporadic (trying to use the net less and less). I haven't been here reading for quite a while, and I am sad to see how things are with you right now. I have no advice, no comments more than that you must rely on Allaah in this. I know you know that already but sometimes it helps when others say it too. Pray to Him for help, relief and guidance, make lots of dhikr and thank Him for everything that He has given you. I pray that this is just a small test from our Creator and that you will pass it with straight A's :) and that you will be greatly rewarded in next life.

I love you, my sister, for the sake of Allaah,
Umm Isa

peacefulmuslimah said...

Salaam Alaikum dear sister,

I haven't "back read" everything in your blog and excuse me if this is repetitive but I am wondering if your husband has no choice in working in this situation which seems to deprive him of quality family time and you of being able to peacefully enjoy your home.

If he can't turn on a fan, use ear plugs or some other strategy to sleep without kicking everybody out of the house and he can't find a different job, I would definitely suggest that he take a studio close by. I don't see where this arrangement would hasten divorce and it would probably be only temporary in that he is unlikely to keep this schedule forever.

BTW, I sympathize with your cross-cultural struggles. I am in the middle of them myself and at times wonder if it is worth it. But then I remember that the road walked by any man and woman has its twists and turns.

Take care,
PM

camilla said...

salaam sis,

I know things have been real hard on you, well sis it is really difficult handling kids, house and husband all at the same time. But be patience sis. I agree with the rest that divorce is not going to make things any easier for you. If you are the one to bring peace and happiness in your family, then do it. Your hubby will appreciate all that you are doing one day. Well sis, with a job, housework and a kid to look after, I feel the same too, but I try to get things done all on my own and yes I feel it is very unfair at times, but I am doing it hoping that one day things will change for the better. I pray the same for you sis.