Struggling a bit (or maybe a lot, come to think of it)

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    • #116879

      Hi, hello, first-time poster, blah blah blah…

      Okay, so my wife and I have been married for 18 years, and although we’ve had the occasional squabble over the years, things have been getting increasingly tense between us over things which ostensibly shouldn’t be issues…and while I’m not trying to absolve myself of all blame in this situation, I definitely don’t feel like I’m the only one at fault.

      This is a typical weekday at my house:

      * I get up at 6:15 to start my daughter on the route to getting up for school, making sure she’s got breakfast and something for lunch.
      * I take my daughter to school at around 8 a.m.
      * I come home and wake my wife up for work at approximately 8:30 a.m.
      * I get my wife her meds for the day. It’s a cocktail of bupropion, wellbutrin, and adderall.
      * She stays in bed until the possible second, then frantically hits the restroom and gets dressed, generally only having breakfast if I bring her something. Sometimes she will ask me to make her something. She will virtually never get / make herself something.
      * I generally take her to work. I work at home, so I generally don’t need the car, but she’s usually running so late for work that she’d rather I drive her to make sure she gets there on time. Sometimes she will drive herself on Friday because it’s her lightest day. Once every couple of weeks, she will get frustrated and tell me to tell her when she can take the car. I will invariably tell her that she can take it most any day, because I don’t generally need it unless I know that I’ll have to pick up our daughter after school.
      * If she hasn’t eaten breakfast when I drop her off, she will generally ask me – or I will offer for her sake (and the sake of her co-workers) – to run get her a drink and either a doughnut or a muffin. If she hasn’t brought lunch or enough drinks for the day, then I will invariably get a text later in the day wherein she will ask me if I can bring her lunch & drinks.
      * When my daughter gets home from school at around 3:20, I make sure she’s got a snack, after which she’ll get started on her homework.
      * When she gets off work, if she hasn’t driven, then I go pick her up.
      * When she gets home, she’s usually exhausted (her job has some physical demands to it), so she goes and crashes in the bedroom and watches TV. Barring bathroom trips, she generally stays in the bedroom for the duration of the evening. This tendency has resulted in yours truly taking over dinner duties for the most part, although the additional reason for this is that the kitchen is “too small” or “too cramped” or “has too much stuff” and is therefore too frustrating for her to work in it for an extended period of time.
      * I have asked repeatedly for assistance around the house, because I do actually work at home in a non-househusband manner, and it’s getting increasingly difficult to balance that work while also handling dinner, doing dishes, washing clothes, straightening the house, cutting the grass… You get the picture, I’m sure. And if that picture also involves me failing to do most of these things at the top of my game, resulting in getting so backed up on all of them that it looks like a total pig sty, then you’re 100% right. But she almost never manages to help me, and it almost always manages to get worse around the house, which invariably leads to her complaining about it. And round and round we go.
      * I also get regular complaints about how I’m not romantic enough, how we never go anywhere. But as often as not when I want to go somewhere, she has a headache, so we don’t go anywhere. But she says if we planned ahead, then she’d have something to look forward to and focus on. This tends to only work in the long term, however, and for big trips, i.e. cruises or flying cross-country.
      * Oh, yes, and she also has a tendency to stay up late and then not sleep well when she finally does go to sleep.

      I love her. I have no doubt that she loves me. But something needs to come off of my shoulders and onto someone else’s, because I’m exhausted and frustrated and…well, mostly just those two things.

      Anyway, if you’ve got thoughts or just empathetic comments, I’ll take either one. Thanks for reading this far. You’re probably exhausted now, too!

    • #116886

      I do empathize with you. Currently, you are doing the lion’s share of running the household and your frustration and resentment are understandable. It’s important to address the situation as resentment only grows, from my observations.

      You don’t mention income or number of working hours you both put in. If you work fewer hours and earn less this could have a bearing on the situation. On the other hand, if you both earn the same amount and do similar work hours not so much….

      I suggest you crunch these numbers and see side by side who is putting in the most working hours – yours includes the time it takes to be a taxi driver and managing household chores. And how much who puts into your joint kitty? This will give you tangible data on which to base a discussion of fair division of labour moving forward.

      And if you can afford it consider outsourcing some of the jobs; remember just because you can do something….doesn’t mean you have to : )

      Some general feedback in response to your bullet-pointed list

      • Diet is super important for those with ADHD to be able to manage this syndrome well. Sugary laden, carby food the worst. I suggest small meals – all with protein. Lots of fruit and veg. And small snacks in between meals. PROTEIN in all meals and snacks. EG B’fast a quick healthy protein shake (fresh spinach and a scoop of sugar-free whey protein powder, banana, berries plus water or coconut water) – prep night before and leave in fridge; just push button in the morning. Lunch chicken salad. Dinner Salmon steak and veg; fruit for dessert. Snacks can be bagged up ahead and kept in fridge. Try 1 string cheese and apple, handful of nuts, hardboiled egg, peanut butter on celery stick.

      • Sweet high carb no protein foods like doughnuts about the worst thing – sugar seems to do a huge number on the ADHD brain; remember simple carbs turn to sugar also. Caffeine can be useful for some. But water needed for all…..the brain uses a huge amount to function. Hydrate all the time…

      • I think it’s important for kids to learn early to be responsible and contribute to running the family home; so assuming your daughter is old enough teach her to prep her own lunch and pop in fridge and get her breakfast set up the night before.

      • Your wife is old enough to do the same thing. Perhaps if they do this together, they can be accountable to each other? Make it a game??

      • Suggest you make an appt to have a meeting about household chores. Again if your daughter is old enough, she should participate. You make a list of all that needs to be done to have a fully functioning, tidy and relaxing home. Decide who does what best e.g. cooking, shopping, cleaning etc and divvy up the jobs. Plan what days jobs will be done and by whom, and make a spreadsheet of same. Put on the fridge. If you have a healthy income consider outsourcing some of the jobs to take the load off the family?

      • Have another meeting with your wife – make a specific time and day to do this. And discuss how to get more romance into your lives. And plan a trip or two to look forward to….see below re exercise.

      • Your wife needs to set an alarm for herself and get herself up; use an alarm on cell phone if loud enough or suggest getting a very loud and obnoxious alarm clock. Set and position either far from the bed….once up she probably will stay up.

      • Currently, you are parenting both your wife and daughter…. It’s a passion killer. If your wife would like you to be more romantic, she needs to stop treating you like you are her dad and she a child!!! Sounds harsh….but it’s the reality. Her choice….

      • She needs to know which days she will take the car, on a regular basis, so you can plan your day and she knows the night before she will be driving to work in the morning. Decide together. Make it structured….she needs that. And don’t cave if she is running late….if she runs late then she should bear the consequences, not you. Again, you are not her parent. And without any consequences, she is unlikely to start managing her time better…

      • And what seems to be missing in your overview is exercise! Exercise is a GREAT way to manage ADHD. It not only gives you energy, helps you sleep much better and burns off cortisol – a stress hormone that is likely coursing through your wife’s veins. But it obviously keeps you physically and mentally fitter. You could start small by suggesting going for a romantic walk in the evening. Make it fun. Maybe hold hands to reconnect romantically. AND walking side by side – shoulder to shoulder – is a great time and way to chat to each other. The kinesthesia of movement will help her focus better and make discussions easier. But mostly have fun and enjoy the fresh air and company.

      • And last but not least your wife needs to manage her sleeping habits better and on a consistent basis. Many folks with ADHD have trouble getting to sleep but without enough good quality zzzz’s the day starts off badly, and often snowballs from there. ADDitude has a ton of info on how to improve the situation. Read up on how to manage this aspect of your lives better.

      • I think with more structure around who does what. A better diet, regular exercise to lessen stress and some fun future plans coming up your lives could be much happier and healthier….but you need to work on it as a family unit.

      • AND take it one step at a time. Don’t try to change everything overnight…. choose what will give you the biggest bang for your buck and start there. Suggest diet and exercise primo. And keep track of progress and organize/introduce new strategies as you move forward…maybe set up weekly meetings to see how you are progressing? If your wife enjoys researching on the computer, she could find some fun holiday trips which you can book and look forward to. Perhaps as a reward after x weeks of progress??

      The good news is you love each other. That is a great foundation on which you can make changes and build a future with structure, strength and purpose

      Best of luck…cheers, Lindsay

      • This reply was modified 2 years, 8 months ago by lindsay123.
      • This reply was modified 2 years, 8 months ago by lindsay123.
      • This reply was modified 2 years, 8 months ago by Penny Williams.
    • #116906
      Penny Williams

      It sounds like you’re enabling her to not do her share. You’re waiting on her in the mornings, doing all of the home tasks, taking care of everything for your daughter. Lots of people are tired after work, really tired, but they still take care of responsibilities.

      I suggest sitting down and making a list of all the family tasks and deciding together who will be responsible for each, with a ground rule that it’s more equal than it is now.

      I wonder if there’s some depression developing. Struggling to get out of bed and get going and then come right back to bed after work could be a warning sign of depression. It’s a possibility worth exploring.

      Recognizing Depression

      Work, especially if she doesn’t like her job or doesn’t feel confident or capable at it, can be super exhausting for those with ADHD. Having to try extra hard to meet expectations created for neruotypicals all the time is draining.

      ADHD Fatigue Is a Real (Exhausting) Thing

      ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Trainer & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #116937

      I found myself doing everything in our household too, but I managed to turn some things over to my boyfriend. Making lists and discussing things simply didn’t work. I had to decide for myself and then let him know I wasn’t going to do this or that any more.

      My main advice to you would be to stop doing things that she can do for herself.

      For example, she can probably do her own laundry and figure out her own lunch. She might have to wear dirty clothes to work once òr twice, or not eat the perfect lunch, but we’ve ALL screwed up from time to time and managed to survive and figure things out. I believe your wife can too.

      Some things might be a bit trickier. For example, if you insist that she drive herself to work every day, it might be too confusing if you make exceptions on certain days. Better to be consistent.

      You might want to make her dinner most days, since you’re already cooking for yourself and your daughter, and eating together as a family might be important to you. But if she eats different foods or eats at a different time, you could consider not cooking her dinner.

      People who work from home, as you do (and I used to), need to take our work schedules seriously. We are not housewives or househusbands or slackers who “might as well do it” because we’re “home all day anyway” or because we don’t punch a time clock.

      Also, beware of getting sucked into any new projects. If she wants to have a garden or a pet, or take a night class, or have the kitchen renovated, make it clear that this is her project and you can’t become involved. No, sorry, I can’t water the tomatoes or walk the dog or call the contractor, etc., etc. You want it, you figure it out.

      This is what worked for me. No need for negotiations or long discussions. Decide your own boundaries and simply say “I can’t do x any more” or “No, sorry.”

      We did consider hiring a house cleaner, and we were both willing to contribute to the cost, but in our case it didn’t work out. I have some experience with household help, and sometimes it really is easier to do it yourself.

      Good luck!

      • This reply was modified 2 years, 8 months ago by LoriR.
      • This reply was modified 2 years, 8 months ago by LoriR.
    • #116951


      I’m the ADD husband. My question – is your wife in treatment with a therapist? After my marriage (now 26 yrs) almost failed a few years ago, I found that meds weren’t the ‘fix’ I thought they would be; I needed to have a solid therapeutic regimen as well. Your wife needs to find way to create internal structures that work for her, and for your family. I’m grateful that I was able to find someone and put some of these things in place – it’s still in process. If that works, hopefully she will be in a more confident place in contributing to the family.

      One thing – this ADD does wipe us out. It takes a lot for us to get through the professional day (I’m a high school teacher of 24 yrs). Our energy reserve gets depleted more quickly, so it’s hard sometimes when we get home to stay on top of things. That being said, your being clear on expectations is essential – I’m speaking from experience on this. We divided up things in our family (no finances for me! I do house stuff…) so the roles are clearly defined. And though it took me some time to accept it (my sense of shame and self-esteem were REALLY bad for a long time), I’m ok now if my wife reminds me to do things.

      One last thing – you need to do the things to care for yourself here. If that means exercising, time outside the house with friends, hobbies, etc – do it! Schedule the time – you need it to stay energized for yourself. I know how much energy we folks with ADD can take. As others have said, the good thing is that you love each other – that saved me as well. I wish you luck going forward – I’ll check back from time to time to see if you post…


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