Dear Annie: I have been married to my husband for 20 years, and we have two children in their teens. Over the years, my husband has purchased rental property that will hopefully turn out to be a good investment. Along with maintaining those properties and his full-time job, he also participates in sports and plays in a band. This leaves me home with the kids four nights a week and sometimes weekends.
I also work full time and come home to laundry, supper and whatever needs to be done around the house and with the kids. By the time I’m done, it’s 9:30 and my husband is still not home. It gets really lonely here. I tried having my own after-hours activities, but when I’d return, there would still be dishes to wash, laundry to do and things to pick up. It was exhausting.
I feel like a single mother. It’s not as if his activities involve the kids. He spends little time with them. If I say anything or try to derail his plans with some family time, I am the bad guy, especially if he believes I’m only doing it to force him to spend time with his children. It’s frustrating, and I’m not sure how to rectify the situation. – Just Want Some Family Time
Dear Family Time: While your husband should certainly be spending more time with his family, you cannot force him to appreciate what he has at home. He’s too busy running away from it. Instead, concentrate on yourself. Your children are old enough to help with cooking, cleaning and laundry, and these are skills they should learn. Pick an evening to do something you enjoy, and tell your kids they are responsible for the household chores that night. Hire a sitter if you feel they are not old enough to stay home alone. And if the house isn’t perfect, so what? You have been carrying a big load for a long time. You deserve to decompress, too.