Needing Some Encouragement

I quit my part-time job today.  In January of 2010, my DH and I discussed some options for me to add some sort of activity to my life.  I had become somewhat depressed that my whole life basically revolved around chores and carting our 3 kids around, and I am not good at doing chores in the first place!  We considered whether I needed a hobby or volunteer position and we settled on a part-time job.  So I started looking.  I had not worked in 10+ years and I had to create a resume, prepare for interviews, etc.  I was very anxious, nervous and insecure!  But for some inexplicable reason, at this point DH stopped supporting me almost altogether.  So I did all of it on my own--could not even get him to review my resume in a timely way, so I just moved on and started submitting it.  I was offered a part time position at our church for about 10 hours a week.  Great!  The transition to a job after 10+ years was HUGE and scary and exciting for me.  But still not much encouragement from DH.  Hmmm...  

Long story short, I had a really hard time balancing everything.  My time management was horrible.  We had both hoped that by having some structure and something else to do, maybe I would actually get more done at home because I tend to get "more done in less time" if there is some sort of deadline.  But I had underestimated how much of an adjustment going back to work (even part time!) would be for me.  The stress of new responsibilities and expectations and new people to please, totally wiped me out mentally and physically.  Still, NO SUPPORT or encouragement from DH.  I had nothing left to take care of my household.  I hoped that my stress and anxiety was temporary until I got settled.  I felt very alone as I tried to juggle all of these new experiences.  Apparently, I was doing great work because my boss gave me more responsibilities and hours.  Now I was up to 15-18 hours per week with an added area of responsibility.  I did a good job at work, but everything else suffered.  Now my DH was IRRITATED.  This was NOT what he signed up for!  He thought I would get MORE done at home and I would be happier too.  But I was stressed out a lot, drained/exhausted and certainly not doing any chores!  Things had gone from bad to worse.

I talked to my boss about me having to pick up slack for co-workers, and he addressed it.  I also tried to do better about my own boundaries and time management, and things got a little better for awhile.  I knew my DH was still unhappy, but working was also very fulfilling for me.  I got praise and compliments from my boss and peers--it made me feel good for a change!  And I was so HURT that my DH was not supporting me and in fact seemed to be resenting me when we had made this decision together in the first place!  Did he not expect SOME transition to be necessary for me?   I expressed to him at some point that it had really hurt me, and he seemed to realize that I was right and apologized.  But even though I got my work hours better under control and did better, if I ever expressed ANY amount of stress or had to leave our kids at home while I was working (they are old enough to stay alone), it seemed to make my DH angry.  So finally this weekend I told my DH that I was planning to talk to my boss and possibly tell him that I needed to resign following a project that will be completed in July.  I wanted to know what he thought.  He was very hesitant to tell me "what to do" but with some prompting, he admitted that he would "love it" if I quit, but made it clear that he was not telling me that I had to do that.  But I am at the point where I want to do whatever it takes to help improve our marriage.  And if our family is suffering due to some part-time job that is "optional" anyway, I need to make a change!  

So I was super anxious about meeting with my boss today because I hate any sort of conflict or confrontation, and I also hate disappointing anybody!  But in order to motivate myself, I convinced myself that I needed to hate disappointing my DH the most.  I texted DH this morning and told him I was nervous.  He replied that it was all going to be okay.  Very nice.  I worked on another project at home this morning for our daughter and sent an email about it to my DH so he could look over it.  He replied that it looked great and that I was doing a really great thing with what I had planned.  Very nice.  Then in the early afternoon I had my meeting.  It went well and my boss was very complimentary and supportive.  I had been giving off some signals that this may be coming, so he was half-way expecting it.  He did offer to let me try to work from home, but I did not think that would help so I said no thanks.  I texted my DH after the meeting and told him I quit my job.  He called me a few mins later (very nice) but my son was in the car with me and DH was traveling so he kept losing cell signal and we couldn't really talk.  He called again while I was waiting for the doc at my son's checkup (very nice), but then the doc walked in and I had to hang up.  By the time we left the appointment (took 2 HOURS!), it was almost 5pm and I had no dinner plan.  My son was begging for pizza so I asked my DH if that was okay with him?  Yes.  And he agreed to pick it up on his way home.

When he GOT home with the pizza, he said hello but not much else.  We ate and then he went out to the garage to reorganize his tool bench.  Okay.  Once when he came back in to put something away, I asked if something was wrong?  No.  Okay.  I tried one more time before I had to leave to take our son to his drum lesson.  I went out to the garage and asked if he was irritated with me about something?  No.  Okay.  At some point in there he asked me what I was doing (I was on the computer) and I told him I was working on the same letter that I had sent him to review earlier today.  This probably irritated him because I was hyper-focusing (obsessing) about it somewhat.  Then when I got back from the drum lesson, we watched TV and played with our computers a while.  I was chatty about various things, but he did not seem very attentive, so I let it go.  At one point he told me that there was pizza left that needed to be put away and since he picked up the pizza, he was not going to clean up the kitchen.  Um, okay.  Then at about 10pm he got up to go to bed.  And I am still up, on this website at 3:40 AM!!!  I have not done this in so long.  I have been going to bed with him most nights and I will just read in bed if I am not ready to go to sleep.  But I am really HURT (again).  I thought that if he didn't want to support me WORKING, he would at least support me QUITTING!  I know he was supportive this morning and tried to call me twice, so I am probably being overly sensitive.  But this is a really BIG DEAL for me.  And it feels a bit like a failure too, although I am trying not to let those thoughts creep in.  I really NEEDED SOME COMFORT from him, or maybe even some appreciation?  And I feel like I got nothing and that maybe he was mad about the stupid pizza or something, even though I asked him if it was okay.  And so now that I am feeling hurt, I have instantly reverted back to my "old ways" of staying up too late and hanging out on the computer for hours!  Ugh.  I refuse let myself slip into a whole phase of this, but I am having to fight that with all that is in me!  This whole job thing was a fiasco from beginning to end.

Non-ADD spouses, please take note and realize how easy it is for us to backslide to old habits and coping mechanisms when we are feeling vulnerable and insecure and you fail (or forget?) to encourage us.  And I know he had tried and had done well earlier in the day.  But seriously, he didn't even ask me about my meeting or talk to me about how I was feeling about it once we were finally face to face?  I am HURT.  And maybe I have no right to be because I have caused him so much hurt in the past, but I AM TRYING and whether I deserve his support or not, I still NEED it.  Darn it, I QUIT MY JOB FOR HIM today!  I didn't even get a "Thank you" or an "Are you okay?" or a hug or 5 minutes of concern!

BUT I WILL GET UP TOMORROW (if I ever go to sleep!?) AND KEEP TRYING.  I WILL NOT SHUT DOWN.  I WILL NOT GIVE UP.

It is really odd to read this

It is really odd to read this because I can identify with so many of the behaviors of both of you...as I have done them/reacted similarly.

You have to make an effort to address these things as they arise and NOT stew over them or obsess over them. If you asked him if he was upset about something and he said no, then just let it go. What seems/feels like such a huge deal to you, is probably just an afterthought to him. (this works both ways...doesn't necessarily have to do wtih you having ADHD and him not having it) Ideally, because it matters SO much to you, it should to him..but he's not a mind reader. I feel many times in the past that I have been 'left to go to bed alone' like your husband did last night, not really knowing what I had done wrong because my husband wouldn't just come out and say something was bothering him. You both were guilty of that last night, if he was indeed upset about something.

I admit that there have been times that I was upset with him about something...but in my mind to bring it up and discuss it would be more damaging than for me to just 'work through it' on my own.  I KNEW if I addressed it, it would put him on the defensive and immediately start a fight. Since I am not very good at hiding my feelings, and he's overly sensitive to our interactions, then he knew something was wrong. I would even tell him "really, it's nothing...I just have a lot on my mind" or something to try and diffuse the situation before it became a fight, but he would react to that by shutting me out (becoming angry with me, sleeping in the den, etc) There were MANY times that it wasn't him AT ALL (PMS? Bad day in general) and he would not believe me, take it personally, and shut me out.

Maybe your husband was worried. Maybe he was processing the reality of you not having a job now..and that extra income. I'm sure given time he'll realize it is for the best for everyone, but that doesn't mean that it maybe isn't scary to him to be the sole breadwinner again. Maybe he saw some positives of you working that he'll miss, but eventually let go of. This is where marriage gets really, really tricky. Even if he was upset, you still need to try and not react as if it is the end of the world and break back into an old comfortable habit. If he says he's not upset, then take him at his word. If he feels it is worth addressing, trust him that he'll address it.

Real progress will come when these kinds of things stop being treated as 'the end of the world'. Real progress will come when you can feel comfortable enough to say "my meeting went really well today, it was tough, but I'm glad it is over with" without waiting on him to ask you. You're 50% of the marriage, you don't need his permission to start a discussion. If he then seems disinterested, then you may just have to learn to live with that fact that it just wasn't as important to him as it was you. It is amazing the things that I've learned to accept are 'mine' and mine only to deal with because my husband just doesn't seem to care. It hurts, but I can either bring it up and add one more thing to the long list of 'things that need to change' in our marriage or I can just learn to live with it. Find the courage to discuss things with him if they are important to you. Find the strength to take him at his word if he says nothing is wrong..even if he's acting as though something is wrong. Not every little issue that arises can be resolved in a perfectl ideal way. Just go to bed, sleep on it, and usually by the next morning it doesn't seem to big. (((HUGS)))

Different Perspectives on the Same Event

The other day I finally told my DH how I was feeling about the way he responded on Monday when I quit my job.  I didn't really mean to, but we were arguing over something else and in my own defense, I brought it up as a possible explanation for why I might not be responding well to him in general. (Not necessarily ideal, I realize!) Anyway, without going all the way through our conversation, I will fill you in on what I learned.  

First of all, I need to clarify exactly what I did on Monday.  I said I "quit my job."  This is how I felt.  However...I actually stepped down from the biggest PART of it (after a project ending in July), and told my boss that I had not 100% decided about the smaller part of my job (it is not really a problem).  But I indicated that I would step down from that part also (around 6-10 hrs per week), if and when he decided to either hire someone else or restructure the position, OR if I came back to him after the other July duties are concluded and confirm that I intend to resign from those more minor duties also.

My DH's interpretation: I simply reduced my hours and changed my responsibilities AT my job (vs. quit).  Technically this is true.  He attributed my nervousness about the meeting to be about how my boss would react and that he would be disappointed or upset.  But when I told my DH that my boss was half-way expecting it and was very supportive, my DH concluded that my emotional issues were resolved and that it was no big deal.  That was why he never came back and asked me any more about it.

I called it "quitting" because that is what I did...at least emotionally.  The part of my job that I definitely quit was the part that was REWARDING.  It took skill and ability and talent.  And I did it WELL.  The OTHER (smaller) part of my job could be done by anybody (they are considering hiring a college student to do it!).  As I was expressing to my DH what was bothering me so much, I also figured it out (do you ever do that?!).  This job had built up my self-esteem and self-worth.  I was SUCCESSFUL at it.  I got the job by myself, did so well at it that I was given additional responsibility, did so well at THAT that my boss was willing to try to work out a way for me to work from home.  I got praise and affirmation and compliments at work.  Everybody thought I was great...except for my DH.  Because I was FAILING at home.  So I decided to QUIT all of that--the only part of my life where I was successful and affirmed--for the main purpose of pleasing my DH...who barely seemed to notice or appreciate all that I had just given away...FOR HIM.  It is painful just to write that.  

Well, the light bulb FINALLY came on for him (and me too!).  He realized that the job was meeting a need for me that HE was not meeting.  And he said he really WANTS to be the one to meet that need.  He wants me to feel fulfilled and appreciated and affirmed and valued by HIM.  He even admitted that maybe the reason he was not more supportive all along was that he was jealous, although I think he was just realizing it at that moment.  Wow.

Add wife: so let me get this

Add wife: so let me get this straight.. After 10 years home as a stay at home mom, you wrote up a resume, sent it in, then got the job?! Then you did so well that when you realized that it was not for you, at least for now, the boss offered you home hours because you were doing SO WELL? Okay, think about it- you were so successful at a time that the economy is still in a downturn and YOU ARE NOT PROUD of yourself?!!! This is awesome!! I also have lived that same "return to work" after a long time as a SAHM, and I jnow how scary that was. I could also see how your spouse had not a clue. I want you to think of it as TWO issues. 1) you going back to work, testing the waters, and being so successful; 2) the interaction with your husband over this. Please try not to look to your husband for validation or approval as proof of your success. I want you to KNOW it on your own, without needing your husbands say so first. ** having said that, I am not clear about how your husband was reacting, or really, why he was. Maybe he WAS mad, but ask him later and find out for sure... Do this instead of bathing in a pool of low self esteem ( though, I know horribly easy it is to do...) Fight that feeling and allow yourself to be proud of you)!! This, IMHO, is what you need to work on... Good job, coming from someone who knows how scary and hard that was... GOODJOB!**** okay, having said that..it is also my opinion that now that you know what the challenges were in keeping things balanced (family/work the age old lament of all moms!!), consider yourself informed as to what the challenges ARE! These are good things, because now you can better mentally prepare yoursel how to overcome it. Remember: Knowledge is power... So stop beating yourself up (and dont you dare think of yourself as having failed by quitting!!). Knowledge is power, and now you know what you need to work on to progress your development in life... It is all okay!

Thanks, I Needed That!

Awww, thanks LuLu and Sherri!  You girls made me feel a lot better!  

I am debating whether to tell my DH that his seeming indifference about the whole thing has really hurt my feelings.  But honestly, tonight I am SO TIRED after staying up so late last night (THIS MORNING!) and I also forgot to take my meds today, so I figure it's probably not the best timing--who knows which direction THAT conversation would go?!  Maybe when it is a better time I won't even feel the need anymore.  But yes, I am proud in some ways of my success AT work.  The failure that I feel is that I could not balance it all successfully.  BUT, OH WELL--RIGHT?  My SIL (DH's sister) is a single-Mom and a teacher and when I told her I quit my job, I felt like an idiot saying to her I couldn't handle my little 15 hours per week!  :)  But she reminded me that she has no "other life."  And I also have to remember that I do have THREE children, including two middle schoolers (I totally think someone should figure out a way to just SKIP the middle school years!) one of whom also has ADD.  So my family is pretty high maintenance!

GOODNIGHT!!

Middle school

ADD wife, you've got that right. Middle school sucks for the parents and the kids. It really sucks for ADD kids. My parents-in-law put  my husband (they didn't know he had ADD) in a Friends School and he thrived on the individual attention.

My daughter is going through this right now. Grandson is just finishing 8th grade. They tried military school and that didn't help. He's a good hearted kid but that impulsivity, wow. Not sure what the answer is.

Yep

Totally agree!  I just finished my 2nd year in a row of 6th grade because my son and daughter are one grade apart.  YUK!!!  Fortunately, my ADD son has the Inattentive type, so he does not get into trouble.  BUT...he has NO CLUE how to keep up with his assignments, forgets to turn in homework, has no study skills, etc.  And any attempts we make to help him (such as making him WRITE THINGS DOWN!!!) are resisted and rejected because it makes him feel stupid to need any help (classic ADD--I do this too!!!).  And my daughter is a great student, but suddenly in 6th grade, her social life became the top priority and schoolwork gets whatever time and effort is left over.  She can get away with it for now because she is smart enough, but it drove me crazy for her to go from diligently wanting to make straight A's to not caring and making A's and B's (mostly B's).  Not to mention GIRL DRAMA.  UGH!  Thank goodness she doesn't like that either, but this has made her more prone to hang out with boys  because she says they don't have drama!  And that can be good OR BAD so I have to keep a close eye...

Our favorite is doing assignments and not turning them in

My husband assures me he did the same thing, but it is weird to watch a kid work hard to do the assignment, then not turn it in and get a 0, and then be in danger of failing a class.

My daughter (grandson's biological mom) never did her homework and went out the other door after I drove her to school. She got pregnant when she was 15. I don't know what the answer is. She assures me there is nothing I could have done that would have helped. (Not that that makes me feel any better) She simply could/would not do anything (like go to class) that did not feel good to her at that moment. No delayed gratification at all.

I Can Relate!

This year my SIL, who is a middle school math teacher, served as my son's math tutor when he needed help.  One time they worked for over 2 hours on his homework, studying for a test and completing an already PAST DUE assignment for quiz corrections.  He went to school the next day, forgot to turn in the HW or the quiz corrections AND failed the test!  I was fit to be tied.  In disbelief I asked him how he could POSSIBLY forget to turn in the assignments after he did all of that work?!  His answer was that the teacher never asked him for it.  GRRRRRRR!!!!!!  I literally thank GOD that I can relate or I might kill him! (JK of course)

Waiting Was a Mistake

(See my recent update to my own thread above)

I thought I was doing a good thing by not talking to my DH about my feelings.  I was proud of myself for exercising some self control over my emotions and not requiring immediate resolution and gratification.  I was hoping my feelings would just go away and I would get over it so we wouldn't have to have one of "those" conversations leaving me in tears and him frustrated or feeling guilty.  But what was I thinking?!  Of course I was not going to just get over it!  So instead, I stewed over it until it finally bubbled over.  We got it resolved, but it was not ideal.  Lesson learned: I need to COMMUNICATE!  (Duh)

DF's picture

ADD Wife........?

 You've been quiet for as long as I have.  I hope all is well.  I like to think we tend to break our habits and routines when life is looking good.  I hope this is true in your case.  If you get some time and are about - drop in and give us a line.  Best wished to you and your spouse.

DF -