I don’t want to play “doormat Wife” anymore …

Dear Gillian,

I am very very overwhelmed and stressed out. I have a two year old daughter who is a handful, a new puppy, and a newly disabled dog to care for. I work 4 days a week and my husband and I have been snapping at each other. I feel that nothing I ever do is good enough for him, and I feel that I do most of the housework, although I don’t want to play “victim” or “doormat wife” anymore. I know this sounds like just the regular stuff but it can be a lot..especially with cleaning the house, doing the laundry, making sure the puppy doesn’t go on the floor, commuting to work, watching my daughter so she doesn’t hurt the puppy. I sometimes get so upset that I end up screaming or yelling or crying. I don’t want to take it out on my family. I am just at my wits end and I Just want to be happy, calm and peaceful. Do you have any advice?

Dear Francine,

You do have got a lot on your plate don’t you.  When we put up with things for a long time they suddenly seem to get to bursting point, when in truth it has been bubbling for a while.

It is always hard for women in these kinds of situations because we keep going and seem to take on board all the jobs that need doing.  It is now time to put yourself first, just think about it if you continue this way you will be ill or may have a breakdown and then you will not be able to care for anyone and face a very slow recovery. So start learning to use the word “no”, also ask for help.

I know that sometimes it takes twice as long to explain how to do something and where things are, but once that is over the next time will be easier.  Your husband is perfectly capable of doing his share.  The important thing when you ask for help is your tone and approach.  Don’t wait till you are tired and upset, say you need a break and ask him to look after your daughter for a couple of hours one evening  or daytime this week and go to a yoga class or similar, meet with friends, whatever but start to hand over some responsibility.

If you can afford one, get a babysitter so that you and your husband can have some time alone together doing normal adult couple things.

Suggest ways in which your husband could help you but be prepared for the answer “no” and not get in an argument.  Sometimes the answer will be yes.  Likewise start using no but do not snap just answer gently.  When someone asks you to do something that is too much or hard for you to do then say no, with no long explanations attached. You do not have to feel guilty for not taking on someone elses work.

Consider finding a home for the puppy, having a 2 year old, disabled dog and puppy in the one house especially when you are so stressed is not good for any of you.

Ultimately there is a lot more going on behind how you feel right now, but as you are not here and we cannot address those issues then I hope these suggestions will help.

Here if you need me,

Gillian