I tried....

Usually when something needs to be done around the house my husband is either putting it off, too tired, forgotten to do it, didn't have time,.....so I have established this poor habit of doing everything that needs to be done myself. Quicker and more efficient. Lately I didn't even bother to ask him for help any more..maybe because I was secretly hoping that by taking on so much he would realize how unfair it was and how much weight he put on my shoulders. That of course didn't happen. It had gotten to the point where he would even call on me for technical chores...setting up the xbox, see why the tv wasn't working,...... Lazy? That too but he really can't figure some stuff out. Luckily i'm quite the "handy" type. 

Long story short....after reading some of the previous posts I realized that by taking everything out of his hands, i wasn't stimulating him and by doing everything for him I wasn't helping him feel like the "man of the house". I figured he would benefit more from taking on a project and finishing it. So I decided to "give" him a simple chore. I bought a side table two days ago. Instead of taking it upstaires myself and setting it up I waited for him to come home to get it out of the car (it was quite heavy) and set it up upstaires. He said "now? i will get it later" I was calm and said "oh baby would you mind getting it now, i would like to see if it fits". He didn't like it but accepted anyway. Got it out of the car, upstaires, opened the box, took out all of the pieces (3) and looked at everything that was in front of him on the floor. He seemed puzzled. He looked at the instructions, the examined the pieces, ....that went on for what seemed to be forever ( i was sitting on the floor beside him, knowing how to do it but keeping my mouth shut just to give him a chance to figure it out himself). He got nervous, stood up and said "i think there are some pieces missing here, you need to take it back to the store". I looked up and just felt really sad for him. He just wasn't able to figure it out eventhough the instructions were crystal clear even from where i was sitting.

Of course I did it myself as soon as he left the room, 5 min later I had my side table. The next day i'm sure he saw it but never said a word.


Sidetable story

That's actually a funny story, Stella!  And I bet lots of readers see their own attempts at  trying to hand things over in your words.  I think you should try again.  Don't take this the wrong way, but next time I encourage you to:

  • suggest a project that is in the realm of things he's good at and perhaps you're not so good at
  • don't set it up as a test.  If you choose to sit with him, help him out.  Else don't sit with him (you would resent it if he asked you to do something, then sat there watching and didn't help out!)
  • cede control

The issue is one of your not taking control of everything.  In this situation, you still had control even if you weren't doing the work.  He was trying to do his best for you, because he wants to show you he cares, but you didn't cede control.  As long as you are dictating what happens, when, and how, you'll know you haven't gotten to your goal of giving him back some of what he needs to do.

SO, sit him down and approach the issue head on.  "Look, I'm taking on too much of the responsibility around here and it's making me uncomfortable as well as grumpy.  I need you to take control over one or two things so I'm not completely overwhelmed.  Can we decide together what those things will be?  What do you wish to take on as your own responsibilities here?"  Then, listen to what he is saying, talk with him about his plans for how he will take the things on and then LET HIM.  Don't supervise, don't comment, don't tell him how to do it better, or how you would prefer it get done.  If he decides to do the laundry, don't scold him if he puts the reds in with the whites (you might ask him "do you know that you won't end up with pink underwear if you do the whites separately?" and leave it at that).  I'm not saying shun him or ignore him...just give up control.

As you can see from this excellent example, it's harder to do than you might originally think...your actions are really embedded in control now and you don't even know it.

Good luck, and let us know how your next tries go.


Conflicts Around Household Tasks

I completely understand where you are coming from stella7. I believe my wife feels very much like you do. Below is the conversation my wife and I have every morning. We car pool together to work so this is guaranteed to make the car ride become long, painful and filled with silence: "Did you (insert any task here) "No" "Did you put it on your (insert any of the remembering tools I've tried) "Yes" "Why didn't you do it then?" "Well, (insert any excuse)" or "I forgot" Believe me when I say that like your husband the second answer is actually sincere--I would imagine that like me, your husband comes home to a list of unfinished tasks that seem endless, and because we have trouble staying on one thing for long, the tasks continue to pile up to where we feel like we're "spinning" i.e. trying to finish something(s) as fast as possible. As you probably know, we're terrible multi-taskers. I must admit that my marriage is in dire straits because there's been no progress in remembering or completing anything. I imagine that you, like my wife, feel very alone in your marriage with your husband and resent his "selfishness." My only advice to you is that it's not apathy that dictates you husbands actions...it's an "out of control" feeling that all of us ADDers are dealing with every moment of every day. I know that the angrier my wife gets at me, the more "pouty" and distant I become. I realize that the more patient I am and listen to my wife's frustrations, the more she feels that at least I'm trying to change, even if its at a snail's pace. Maybe you could just ask your husband to listen to your pleas and understand where you're coming from. You'll have to do it in some area where the distractions are kept to a minimum--for example, I seem to listen and focus on my wife much better when we're working in the yard--I have a certain task to do--which involves vigorous activity and a strange calmness about it. Good luck to you, and I hope I've given you a small ray of hope.