Monday, March 19, 2007

Does not play well with others

So, I am wondering if what is happening with me is normal married person stuff or not... I am feeling like a big failure in this whole partnership of marriage thing.

For the past few days I have been in the new apartment and my DH has been in the mobile home getting his things in order (theoretically anyway). And aside from having to clean two kitchens every day... I am much happier this way. I kinda wish we had the cash to just stay like this.

Maybe I am just happy to have a dining table to eat at and no one calling me to do something every 20 minutes.... I don't know. Is that just shallow selfish and unloving? Maybe because we have four kids I just am not coping very well with a needy adult right now (not that I think he's faking his illness or is just a lazy jerk).

Today for example I got up and made blueberry muffins and sent the kids off with nice lunches I had prepared most of the night before. Layla actually said on the way to school this morning, "Mommy this is the first time we are really ready and on time to school." It broke my heart because I knew what she was saying. I was just there getting them ready and they had a bath and everything the night before and their clothes were all laid out. Normally DH consumes so much of my morning with all his little requests that I end up feeling all rushed... And since his work is all over my dining table I just let the kids eat at a little craft table they have and everything is really loose and I somehow never get things done in time.

Now I will admit that in my discussions about all this with DH he has proposed a solution. Wake up earlier and do all your prep then. But somehow it just doesn't feel the same. No matter how early I get up I feel like I am rushing to get a lunch packed and clothes ready... I am just the type of person that has to do it the night before.

I am more centered when I am not with him. I think most of it is this night job truthfully. I wake up and the kitchen is a mess from him preparing food when he gets up, his clothes are all over the place and no matter how I left things when I went to bed they are always a disaster when I wake up. And for a person like me the overload means I just give up. I don't know anymore. I am starting to think that we are clashing to a point where it is effecting our time with the kids, and the way they are being raised.

I guess the truth is that if I have to choose between being a good mom and a good wife, good mom has to win. But how it is right now I am in the middle and doing a bad job at both. It's like both are a full time job and I am just taking from the one I am not focusing on when I am dealing with the other and both end up being half accomplished.

DH needs a wife with no kids. I think all the time about suggesting to him that he finds a second wife but I think that is not the solution really. What if she wants kids? How can he even commit to someone else when his health is so uncertain and he is not even sure about the security of the family he already has? How would he have us both so involved in his businesses like he wants his wife to be? There is no easy answer. It just seems that in the current situation every ones needs are going unmet, mine included.


umm yehiya said...

Well, you ask if you're normal in these feelings. Does at least 1 other person knowing what you're talking about validate that normalcy?

I'm not involved in my husband's job - alhamdulileh! - and I only have 1 kid thus far (soon another, insha'allah!!), but from the time I got married a little over 3 1/2 years ago, I get those feelings of suffocation from time to time. Don't get me wrong - masha'allah, he's a good man, good muslim, and I love him - but he is an INTENSE person. Has a lot of intense interconnection, needs, and energies, emotionally, physically, etc.

It just boils down to us being different in a lot of ways, I think. I always wonder if growing up in the Egyptian culture is partially what formed him in this particular way.

I grew up here, in the US. Although both my husband and I were always closer to family than friends, and out of friends, preferred to choose only a close 1 or 2 rather than a large group, I STILL spent a LOT of time ALONE, my whole life - alone time for thinking, daydreaming, reading, being creative, and just BEING.

I think in his family - maybe in his culture? I really don't know - he spent most of his freetime (when he wasn't studying their intense Egyptian curriculum) WITH people, talking, laughing, sharing, being CLOSE. It was all about interpersonal relationships, whereas, in my opinion, our culture in the US focuses a LOT more on cultivating individuality and being independent.

When he's home, he pretty much anticipates time TOGETHER. This is great a lot of the time, alhamdulileh - it means he also loves to be very involved in being a father to his son. Sometimes I wander away to do my own thing, however, which has left him hurt sometimes, saying that I'm avoiding connecting-time.

I find myself feeling guilty - really guilty - for secretly trying to avoid time together sometimes, or feeling relieved if he has to study or if, on those rare occasions, he's going out with a friend. I just get tired, like you, of the pulls from another person. I don't know if this makes me selfish; if so, I hope to improve. But as it is, I get to a point where I just want to do my own thing, my own way, without comments or involvement on another person's part.

I think I've adjusted & grown a LOT in the last 3 1/2 years - I always tell people it was harder for me to get married & learn to be a wife than to become muslim, alhamdulileh. I've just had to get used to someone being in "my close personal space" all the time. I have to roll my eyes at my own persnickety self here, because the truth is, he DOES work outside the home, alhamdulileh, and I AM *sort of* by myself during that time....except with a lot of preschooler connection going on as well.

Like you, I drift into occasional thoughts of, maybe a second wife would be good for him...maybe he could be more fulfilled with those needs, then...but like you, I banish the thought - because what if she wanted kids? And what if I was consumed by jealousy? So I don't wish for that situation....

Anyway. Sorry to ramble...but you sounded like you wanted to know you aren't the only one - and I can totally sympathize with the relief it must feel to have your own personal space.

Imaan On Ice said...


I'm too tired to be polite. He is SELFISH. It's HIS ways that are affecting your time with the children. How can anyone occupy a whole diningtable for months and months, while the rest of ya'll suffer?! Seemes like you need to put your foot down.

I also believe it will be better to be a good mother than a good wife.

It's a virus all over the world seemes like. Theese baaad men (I'm not saying your husband's ALL bad of course, I'm sure there is plenty of good stuff too) are really making a mess. Sad.

I hope all will be better, inshaAllah.


Romer!can said...

I must admit surprise as your apparent comfortableness with multiple wives. I certainly didn't expect that.

You're not selfish for find it a burden to be at someones beck-and-call every 20 minutes. A partner should not be abused simply because she has chosen submission. That's no longer a partnership.

Um Zakarya said...

No its not anormal what you feel.I've been feeling the same with my husband for 5 days.He's always asking million things from me and seems to not see when I'm sooo busy.I have just one child and feel like I have 2.So how would I feel if I had 4 kids like you??!!
I think we married men, not children and they have to understand, as u said, that to be a good mother is our priority.
They have to share our life as husbands not to ask us to be their second mother.
We have to feel we are a team and they help us to be the best mother for their children, not to give us more work especially when they see we are busy.

I think Imaan is right there are too many selfish men all over the world and we must not accept everything and anything from our husbands or we will lose ourselves and we will die from exhaustion!

Thus, I think a second wife is not the right solution.If he spends good time with her because she has no children, you will feel she is the wife and you're the babysitter, you will be jalous and the situation will be worse than it is now; and if she wants children, it will not be better for you, as your own kids will have to share their time with their daddy with others.

Wish you the best in your marriage and motherhood.Keep hoping everything will be better and talk with your husband, sometimes lack of communication can destroy relations.

umm yehiya said...

Assalaamu alaikum, sisters.

I'm sure that everything's been said with the best of intentions.

However in reading the responses after mine, the first question to pop into my mind is, how is this USEFUL, labeling someone as "selfish?"

I don't think that really helps - because I don't think you can make someone change. Yes, communicate - but you can't make someone change the way they are. The only things you CAN change are your own actions, outlooks, and decisions about how you feel & approach a situation.

I think women telling each other, "your husband is selfish!" only serves to make the situation worse. Because then the wife feeling down can play the blame+label game - can REALLY get going with the self-pity, saying to herself, "Man, I sure have a selfish husband! That !@#$%"

And that doesn't help. Because what IS the solution? What CAN be done? The solution, I would HOPE is not divorce - i.e., "get rid of that guy!" or, "he should be like someone else!"

Believe me, I've thought about all these issues. I think, surprisingly, my own parents, when I've OCCASIONALLY approached them for confiding in, have been the ones to immediately get me to think more diplomatically about the situation.

Everybody has their flaws. You do have to learn to communicate & work together, understand & appreciate each other. These things are SO important. But we have to focus on what we can DO to improve a situation - and focus on on the good things in our partner that we are grateful for. Nobody's perfect or gonna meet your needs all of the time. So, from my own experience, in my own opinion, it doesn't help to start labeling or calling names - either internally or externally. Then you just get stuck in a pitiful rut.

That's my 2 cents. : )

Anything good I've said is from Allah; anything incorrect is from me. Istaghfirallah.

cncz said...

salam alaikoum
my husband and i have no kids but i know what you are saying, he is needy, and i can never just do my thing and plan things my way, every five minutes there is a request or an interruption or head was about to nod off agreeing with you reading your post. I don't know if it is that they are both intense people or what, but that is how I see it. And he tells me too, "well just wake up earlier" but i could stay awake 24 hours and still not do everything I "should" do. Macha Allah you do it with four kids.

Anonymous said...

Masha Allah

beautiful advice from umm yehiya, simple backbiting someone and providing no solutions does not help.

UmmLayla said...

Jazak'Allah Khair for all your responses... It's nice to know I am not entirely crazy (although I will admit to being a little touched).

I know that there is no easy solution to DH... And I know a part of me would be jealous of a second wife... But more importantly for so many reasons I couldn't recommend him as a husband to another Muslim woman right now anyway (which is another story entirely). I guess I look at it because I feel somehow if he was happier and had more attention it would be helpful to our relationship. Right now I am just basically feeling like I can't do all he wants, no way.

Life is hard. Marriage is hard. I guess it just takes patience and hard work, something I have a lot to learn about;)