Non-ADHDers - especially Non-ADHD men: Please Help!

I'm thoroughly confused!

Ok here's the thing:

My husband's 43rd bday is tomorrow.  My 5 year old is very excited and has been planning to make a bday cake for weeks.  We had a get together last weekend with friends, one of whom also had a july bday, so DD and I made cupcakes and decorated them for THAT celebration.  Now tomorrow is the actual DAY of DH's bday and my DD wanted to have a 'family' party.  we have balloons, silly string, noise makers etc... a few days ago, DH informed me that we have to go to a potluck with people who are also fellowship recipients for this summer's research thing-a-ma-jigger.  I told him that DD had been planning a party, and asked if we should just bring the bday cake to the potluck.  He is shy, and easily embarrassed, so I assumed he'd say no, which he did:  "I dont' really know any of these people, so No." is what he told me.

We are on an extremely tight budget this summer, so I did NOT buy necessary items for cake baking for tomorrow because he'd veto'd the whole cake thing.  But then tonight as I was getting the kids ready for bed he announced that he was going to go to the store and asked, "ok, what do you want? cake mix? what kind?" Since he told me he didn't want a bday cake in front of these strangers,  I had changed the plan with my DD and we were going to instead make him a surprise pancake breakfast, but I needed maple syrup, which i'd planned to get tonight.  So I told him to just get maple syrup.  He looked at me like I was nuts, so I wrote out an explanation on a piece of paper so DD wouldn't hear and get upset that I gave away the surprise: 'I was going to do a breakfast bday thing since you didn't want the cake at the potluck - but if you want a cake at the potluck that's fine.'  He let out a bunch of exasperated sighs and said, "JUST TELL ME WHAT TO GET!!!"  I started to panic, because I'd thought i was perfectly clear, and was confused.  I just said, "I'm sorry.  I really, really don't understand.  I thought you didn't want a cake at the thing." and he said, "Well, they said to bring dessert." and I said, "Yes, and you told me (and the kids) that we'd bring a watermelon."  he replied, "well, we can bring a watermelon AND a cake.  It'll be fine."  All of this was in a very impatient, angry tone that I could see and hear but had NO clue what it meant or why he was so annoyed with me. 

finally I just told him to get a cake mix, and some vanilla frosting.  He then decided that it was too late to go to the store and he'd go in the morning.  I said, "But... if you are going in to work at 9, why do you need to go to the store?  I've got plenty of time to go tomorrow..."  He just got annoyed again.

What did I do wrong?  And what should I do tomorrow?!?  Should I do the cake or not?  I CAN'T do the pancake thing now because i've got no syrup.  I can't get out early enough to buy some and have everything ready by the time he's got to leave.  Why did he change his mind all of a sudden???  And if he did just change his mind, why didn't he just say that?


Stop trying so hard.  Do not

Stop trying so hard.  Do not make a cake.  It will only remind him of the argument.  Bring a watermelon.  Or bring a cake. We women try too much to please everyone.  It's just dessert.  It wouldn't matter if you came wiht nothing, really.  It is just you trying to be perfect.  If you want to make a torte, or cupcakes, or a regular cake or a birthday cake or ice cream.  It just doesn't matter.  It won't matter to him either.  If it does, he has other issues that he is attributing to the cake emotion. Take care of yourself to not be angry over this.

Agree- but adding one more thing...

I agree that you should stop trying so hard and GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK!!! You are wonderful and thoughtful to have been trying to plan different things for your husband.

When my husband and I have been in a rocky patch, he treats me like this too- it's not right. Loud sighs and bristling body and acting like I've somehow done something to piss him off or annoy him...

The fact is- he is the one who is confused about whether he wants a cake made for his birthday or not. You have done nothing wrong. From your previous posts- I know you struggle with feeling inadequate as a mum and as a homemaker and that you are kind of depressed. So you are likely feeling sad and upset about this and like you must have done something and are to blame for your husband's bad mood.\

Well- you did nothing! you wanted to make your husband a cake. When he said no, you wanted to make him pancakes. When he scoffed at that, you said you'd make the cake. Then you even tried to make sure he wasn't inconvenienced by going to the store and offered to take that on. You've actually bent over backwards to try to avoid any problems.  Your husband is probably just stressed and taking it out on you. It's not right. you shouldn't have to walk on eggshells like that.

Having said that- don't make a big deal out of it- just tell him- "you know what? I'll figure it out". Then go to the store and get a watermelon and cake mix and icing. Bring both to the party. Maybe bring some candles along in your pocket in case- but don't put them on the cake. Help your kids make him a nice card. Then if he's an asshole to you- don't lower yourself to his level and engage in a fight. Also- do NOT apologize to him! Just stay silent and keep your distance. If your husband's anything like mine, he'll catch himself and realize he's been a jerk and apologize. But you skulking around guiltily will give your husband ammo and somehow validate the idea that you should be blamed for something. which you shouldn't... because you've done NOTHING WRONG. Screw that!

Anyway- sorry to get so fired up... I get picked on a lot for imperfections and I'm sensitive to the issue. :)

Mystery solved!

Ok, so...  I figured out what the whole cake thing was about:

WIFE presenting a birthday cake in front of colleagues=embarrassing & inappropriate

5 year old DAUGHTER presenting a birthday cake in front of colleagues=insanely cute and sweet.

Originally, my husband gave his knee-jerk reaction to my suggestion of doing anything for his bday in front of his colleagues that would draw attention to him.  As a few days went by and he realized that DD#1 had a whole design for a cake all planned out (and even made a sketch) he decided that he really WOULD like to have her give him a cake at the party.  He did NOT communicate this to me, but thankfully, I figured it out at the last minute.  (I'd told her that we could make the cake but would sing happy birthday and eat it AFTER we came home - so as to avoid any embarrassment).  i'd even asked one more time, "Should we bring the cake too, or just the watermelon?"  DH gruffly said, 'I don't care... I really don't care." and let out an exasperated sigh.  I figured, y'know what?  The man said he doesn't care, and DD has spent 2 weeks planning, and thinking about this damn cake, so i'm gonna let her bring it.  So we got in the car and she said to him, "Ok Daddy, this big pan has a bunch of CHICKEN in it for the party.... it's NOT any kind of dessert at all!"  He immediately played along with her and seemed really happy... we got there and DD told everybody who would listen about her cake and how it was a surprise and that 'my daddy thinks its a pan full of chicken!"  One guy even went along with her ruse making a big show of putting on oven mitts and putting the pan on a trivet.  Then after we ate, DD was just beside herself with excitement and did her big 'reveal.'  she uncovered the cake to the ooooh's and Aaahs of the people in the kitchen, and put the candles on.  Then we 'surprised' DH and everyone sang 'happy birthday'.  The cake turned out great:  she made it a beach theme with crushed graham crackers for sand, candy 'beach balls', a strip of blue gel icing for water and some paper cocktail parasols for beach umbrellas.  one guy said to her, "HEY!!  You told me there was chicken in there!!!  Where's the chicken?!?  I want some chicken!!"  Which of course sent her into high pitched, adorable giggles. 

So - all is well.  DH looks like a great dad and I do NOT look like a crazy wife.

YAY me, for finally having the ability to (sometimes!) understand body language and facial expressions when people do not say what they mean or mean what they say...

OHHHH Good Job figuring that out!

I didn't see your post as I haven't had time to be online much lately--in-laws are moving to another state and we are helping out.

I think you did exactly right.  It was your husband sending mixed messages, but just for future reference I might know where the mixed messages were coming from (and I don't think this is right but I have been guilty of doing the same at times as has my husband).  You react quickly to something, and you are trying to back off the quick reaction without having a huge discussion about it so I really believe his first offer to go to the store for cake mix was likely him trying to signal you without the convo about how he's ok with the cake idea now.  Again the easy thing to do is just say, "I am sorry I reacted so quickly about refusing the cake.  I don't want to do anything to diminish DDs happiness and I really don't mind getting a cake in front of everyone"

He just thought he could somehow avoid that.......esp since he probably ended up feeling excited about how special he'd feel about getting the cake from his DD in front of everyone, and like you said that wasn't his reaction to getting a cake from an adult in public so it took him a bit of time to process it out.

I really think he was just embarrassed and didn't want to keep being questioned about it because it is somehow 'wrong' to care too much about what your birthday surprise is esp if it is from your daughter.

I want to make clear that I think he handles these things absolutely wrongly and that he puts too much blame onto you for his reactions.  I just think sometimes I can follow what his thought processes might be......maybe we have some neurosis in common :)  I do promise you that I don't treat my husband that way nor would he permit me to do so though I am definitely the more emotion personality in the family.

You really do need to follow tell him to back off when he is getting his crazy on :)  I believe there is something to that whole 'we teach ppl how to treat us' theory.  If I am getting my scowl on and anyone in my family calls me on it, then I immediately have to process whether they have a point or not......usually they do!

Pbartender's picture

Saving Face...

"You react quickly to something, and you are trying to back off the quick reaction without having a huge discussion about it..."

Yep.  Sometimes people make a knee-jerk decision without thinking the consequences through, but the decision is made such that they can't easily back away from it.  So, the person must stick to the decision, unless someone gives them a way out...  A way to change their mind, without it making them look like they made the wrong decision.  Stubborn pride plays a lot into it.

That might have been what was going on with your husband...  Is offer to buy cake mix was, in effect, him asking you to give him an emergency exit from his earlier rash decision.  Switching from cake to syrup might have made him feel like you were denying him that way out, and he might have been swallowing all his pride just to make that concession.

That's not to say he reaction was appropriate by any means, but I've been on both sides of that sort of situation and can understand the frustration on both ends.



Yep, I immediately knew

Yep, I immediately knew exactly what went wrong in that (ellameno) were supposed to 'get it' that he wanted a cake now, prollie felt like a heel for saying no earlier, and didn't want to have to explain it anymore than "I'm going to the store to get a cake mix..want anything else?" Stubborn pride indeed...nothing more.

Thanks everybody!!

boy.  there are so many things I need to learn about 'reading' people.


At least now I can SEE when something is amiss... I just can't always decipher what the hell I'm supposed to know/do....