All By Myself: Why My Husband Doesn't Read Good Enough Mother

BY: - 5 Aug '11 | Marriage

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This is a special guest post from our friend René Syler who blogs at her Good Enough Mother site. Please show her some love in the comment section and check out Good Enough Mother when you get a chance too!

by René Syler

At the moment I’m sitting in Good Enough Mother World Headquarters where I have just finished the first of what I hope will be several life shows on our new Ustream.tv channel. But instead of feeling elated, I’m a little sad. Yeah we had technical errors, but that’s neither here nor there; I’ve worked in enough small TV markets to know if it can go wrong, chances are it will! No, I’m sad because, frankly, I feel like my husband has no idea what goes on in my life, nor is he all that interested.

Now I know I’m probably tempting fate writing this; heck some of you are probably covering your eyes and mentally screaming, “Stop, GEM! He might read this.”   I can assure you he will not. I wrote an entire book about my life, our life together. He had a chance to read the manuscript when it was typewritten and in a binder. Did he? Nope. He had a chance to read it in galleys before the final printing. Did he? Nope. Then the book came out. I have 246 copies here at the house. You think he’s ever read one? Do I need really to answer that?

A couple of nights ago, I excitedly told Buff about what Team GEM (Richard and Roger of Savannah Media) was about to embark on with Ustream. Buff, an old school media guy said, “I don’t have time to keep up with all that”, swiftly popping my little bubble of excitement. But we went ahead with it and pulled it off, just the team and me. Before I knew it, there were dozens of people in the chat room ““ friends, fans, gawkers, all wanting to share and talk with me, to hear what I had to say. It was fun, exciting and ultimately rewarding. Yep, all of those things until Buff couldn’t find the remote for the TV and peeked his head into my “office” (the walk in closet), interrupting me while I was on live. Why finding the remote AT THAT MOMENT was so critical was beyond me, but the action, as they all do, speaks volumes.

 

Buff is a great guy. He’s also a very, feet-on-the-ground sort of thinker, which I so desperately need; I cannot imagine being married for 17 years to anyone else. Unfortunately that pragmatism can sometimes get in the way of big dreams. It’s that common sense that on the one hand, keeps us out of debtor’s prison but on the other, also keeps us chained with golden handcuffs, in a job that pays but sucks the enthusiasm from our soul. It isn’t until the end of our days here on earth we realize how much nicer it would be to be a little hungry but a lot happy.

I can’t fault Buff too much; the guy gets up at the crack of dawn, he takes an hour long train into the city, sitting next to a guy who eats raw garlic for 37 miles (I am not making this up). Then he trudges along 3rd avenue to his office where he sits at his desk, managing people and crunching numbers in an effort to stretch budgets in a troubled economy. Then he takes the same train home, 10 hours later (the garlic eater is gone) and walks in the door of the house for which he alone is carrying the financial burden, (unlike in years past) and what does he see? His wife, excitedly yammering on about some new technology that he’s too tired to try to wrap his head around, especially when it’s easier to dismiss her with a “That sounds great honey.”

Now in a moment of full and complete disclosure, I could do more; NEED to do more. Buff is a neat freak whereas I am allergic to anything domestic, still nursing a chronic case of dishpan hands from my teen years. I can generally tell what type of evening we’ll have soon after he walks in the door and spies the pots and pans. But there’s a reason for it, and it’s not just because I hate housework (nor am I alone in that). It’s just that housework ranks so far down the list of priorities. Who can worry about a dirty dish when the sanity of the parents is at stake? Of course in a moment of stunning clarity, I have come to realize Buff’s sanity is also at stake.

Sometimes I wonder though, what happened to us. We used to have deep, DEEP conversations about everything. Life. Dreams. Goals. Each other. But the picture we painted didn’t resemble reality, not in the least. The road in real life was dotted with the potholes and speed bumps of job loss and illness; stuff that can splinter a relationship like an F-5 tornado ripping through a 130-year-old barn. Sometimes there’s enough of the structure left standing, the bones are still good enough that all it needs is a shiny new shell. Other times, it collapses on itself, a result of the pressure from all sides.

Buff and I are strong people individually and together we are invincible but without question it’s time for a new shell. It’s time to reconnect and renew. I don’t want him to come home with monosyllabic answers to the “How was your day?” question. I’d love to hear the minutia of his day and I yearn for him to take an interest in the minor victories in my life. I am building an empire one brick at a time. It’s slow and tedious work and not one bit sexy. I’ll get there eventually but I need his support and it’s got to be way more than lip service. I need his heart. I need him to have faith in me. I need him to believe in my mission and to see my vision, even when he’s too tired to focus. When I get to the mountaintop, and oh, I will, I’ll be carrying a bottle of Dom Perignon and two Champagne flutes. I will drink from one; I’m desperate for my partner, friend husband to taste the sweet success from the other.

So start commenting everyone. Do you ever feel the same way? Like your partner doesn’t understand, or worse, doesn’t make the effort? What did you do to help him or her “get it?” I’d love to hear your thoughts

After two decades as a television news anchor, including 4 years on CBS’s The Early Show, Syler decided it was time for a change. Tired of reading from a teleprompter, René was determined to find her own voice and inspire women like herself – juggling busy lives, raising children and trying to live up to impossible parenting ideals. The result René’s missive on modern motherhood, Good Enough Mother: The Perfectly Imperfect Book of Parenting and its subsequent website www.goodenoughmother.com

About the author

BMWK Staff wrote 888 articles on this blog.

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17 WordPress comments on “All By Myself: Why My Husband Doesn't Read Good Enough Mother

  1. nikki

    Wow i’m engaged ….Is this what I have to look forward to? Congrads to you and your book I’m so proud of you..Be blessed

    Reply
  2. ThatWritingChic

    Suffice it to say that once I finished reading this to one of my closest friends she asked if I wrote this for you.  In my marriage, it was one of the things I yearned for the most.  My now, ex-husband was not impressed at all with my creativity and even once remarked to a mutual friend “she’s not a writer, I never see her write anything.”  Meanwhile, after I pitched one of my then three completed screenplays, HBO expressed interest.  At the time, I was stuck in corporate America and was disheartened to have my talent confirmed by the industry yet, minimized at home.  In the end, my career did not blossom until after my divorce.  Your marriage is on solid rock in so many areas.  I just wonder if it’s something that you might have to “agree to disagree on”.  My heart goes out to you, because I remember those days clearly and no matter how many of my friends would read my work, it was his approval I wanted.  I’d like to hear from a man’s perspective.  It seems we as women are taught that we need to stroke our man’s ego – to make them feel wanted and needed.  What about them holding us up on a pedestal for the very things in our lives that define who we are?  Is this a case of I love you, but, I’m not interested in what you do?  And if so, do men innately separate the two?  

    Reply
  3. Nylse

    First, I applaud you for writing this.
    Second, I’m long time married, but I’m always pleasantly surprised when my husband discovers another side of me (i.e. my writing) and supports it.   We support each other and its not just lip service.   Sometimes he’s the dreamer for both of us.
    Third, maybe you’re husband is supportive but not in the way you like or need.   Perhaps you need him to be more vocal or expressive in his support.   Perhaps you just want a cheerleader.   Have a heart to heart with him – explaining how you feel and what you want.
    I know in relationships sometimes we assume that the other person knows what we need and how we need and sometimes they just dont know.
    After all, he’s there and he does dishes (mine doesn’t).
    Good luck with everything…….please keep me posted.

    Reply
    1. Ronnie_BMWK

      I totally agree with Nylse’s input.   Communication is best..He really needs to know and understand your needs..vice versa..and if yall can’t figure it out on your own..then a coach or counselor will help.  

      From time to time, I may feel like this with my husband…but what I do wrong is that I don’t say anything until I am upset.   I don’t know why I do this because usually when I tell him “hey this is bothering me…I dont’ think you are supportive in this area”   he is usually very receptive and we are able to work out our differences.

      From reading this, it sounds like you have a great husband….I will pray that you all can resolve this.

      Reply
  4. Kim_rains03

    Wow! I am impressed with your candid and heartfelt plea to be understood. It speaks to me because I think I am your husband in my marriage!

    Reply
  5. Tara Pringle

    Oh, I feel you! My husband has a very demanding job and I feel it takes everything out of him because he comes home and he’s wiped out. He reads my blog sporadically, some of my published articles, but he’s by no means my most vocal supporter. I *know* that he has my back and we’re a team but it would be nice to have a more  enthusiastic teammate.  

    Reply
    1. Leonard Sturdivant

      Question: If he becomes “more enthusiastic” does he simultaneously undermine his position? How can you make him a part of what you are doing so that he doesn’t feel left out of what you are doing?  

      When he comes home from work how can you help him “decompress” so that he’ll have the energy to look at what’s important to you? If you invest some “interest in his day” (letting him talk about the stuff he had to put up with all day) will he reciprocate? You may have to put it out there first and see if it comes back to you…  

      Also, by self soothing and self validation, it may (paradoxically) cause him to become more interested in what you do…  

      Reply
  6. Ron Cross

    As a man trying to grow a successful business it’s such a revelation to see women express these kinds of feelings. It has and continues to be one of the biggest rmen; Black men especially; . The rejection that comes from feeling like our women don’t support us.  
    This is so  important  for most men that they rated it above love in a recent survey when asked which was most important. I too am now divorced after a 16 year marriage, largely because my then wife simply didn’t support anything I did or tried to do, ever. Not just business.A second relationship was better, in that she was certainly more “tolerant” of my efforts. But at the end of the day I’ve always felt alone in my efforts to build a successful business. And, like you ladies, it’s even worse when you’re doing something that is real. Based on a real gift, a real talent that produces real clients and real money. And everyone can see and support and encourage it except your significant other. We’re not talking potions and lotions or “biz-ops” here.  I’ve recently come to the conclusion that perhaps it’s better for me to simply remain single and out of relationships altogether until I reach my goals. I’ve even started to suspect maybe that’s how God wanted it all along. I just pray that once I am successful (and I will be) God grants me a heart of forgiveness that keeps me from being cynical and unwilling to trust those who will certainly show up after the work is done.I certainly don’t have any answers. Only a heart-felt thank you. That women experience this is not something I’m happy about, but definitely something I needed to hear.

    Reply
  7. Rene Syler

    Thank you all so much for those comments. Let me assure you that we’re “in it to win it” and heck, after 17 1/2 years, I don’t have the strength to start over, LOL. But I think that’s what marriage is; sometimes it’s joyous beyond measure and other times, to say it’s a struggle would be putting it lightly. But that mirrors life perfectly. I do hope you all clicked o the highlighted link because that was the love letter I wrote to him on our anniversary. Through all of our ups and downs, there is no greater Rene Syler supporter than Buff. My best to you all and THX!

    Reply
  8. Briana Myricks

    Sigh, Rene, are we married to the same man? Rhetorical question; I know we’re not because my husband and I were barely 4 when you guys got married. It’s only been 2 months but it’s the exact same thing I’m going through! I got laid off in January and have since taken my talents online to blogging / freelance writing / Internet marketing. But even when I was working, still doing Internet marketing, it was the same thing. He would go on and on about his job and explain everything in excruciatingly boring details, while he wasn’t interested in learning about what I was doing for 9 hours a day. It’s so frustrating. Similar to what happened to you while you were live, my husband would ALWAYS turn the TV up or talk or make a bunch of ridiculous noise when I would be on conference calls. It got to the point where I thought he was doing it intentionally. He also has not read my blog, which centers around our life. When you find a solution please let me know.

    Reply
  9. Martha A. Snowden

    I think soemtimes in our pursuit of the apil of gold at he end of the rainbow we forget that there are other people in our live who require our determination , drive, respect and love as well as our projects, ghoals, missions and visions. Sometimes its hard to recieve what people are sayig or behaving because we don’t like the message. Maybe he doesn’t support your dream, maybe he feels that you are not supporting your hopefully shared cream of a healthy family life by doing some of the small thigns that owuld show soem respect for the long tedious days you admit you are aware of. Im not pointing fingers here just thinking of how my husband and I interact and sharing that some men can become very passive aggressive when their emotional tanks are empty. Soemtimes its easier to see what hurts us rather than how we could be hurting someone else. Not everythignin marrriage is roses and sugar plums but if he loves you and you love him its time to hash it out in clear simple language and commit to prioritizing him as well even if tha tmeans he gets home to a clean kitchen everyday he works and you get an agreed upon time of his attention focused on you . Just some thought snd suggestions

    Reply
  10. Optimistic Mom

    Great conversation! Do you think that sometimes after being married for so long, we automatically assume the other person knows what we need? I mean even in marriage, people change and so do their needs. With that said it is important to share that with the spouse, and the spouse should be receptive. My husband and I have been married 9 years, and  some days  it is like the other just doesn’t get it!! So we have to paint the picture. However, this has to be done at a time when both people are fully engaged…so TV off, cell phone off, etc.
    Just a few thoughts.

    Reply
  11. Denise W. Barreto

    Bravo – great read and I hear you. I started a business, write and even public speaking and he’s never heard me speak in public nor read any of my writings – that I’m aware of… and that is heartbreaking because it is such an important aspect of who I am and where I want to go in my life. Alas, I’m over it. I push forward – share when appropriate and move on. He’s certainly excited when the extra checks arrive so I take that as my support :)

    After 10 years of marriage we are actually embarking on building a business TOGETHER – taking advantage of both our gifts, values and joint desire to own our future. I am not naive enough to think it will be easy but even the start of this – stealing away for our “business” meetings and our late night chats about where we want to take it is sooooooo exciting and while we both know it will be tough – the fact that we are doing it together I think will make it an easier road to walk.  

    Best wishes Rene…and everyone  

    Reply
  12. T. Rogers

    It would be great if we could get his thoughts on this matter. There are two sides to every issue. I can’t jump on the “why doesn’t he get it” train without understanding his point of view. I really hope you two can meet somewhere in the middle. Good luck.

    Reply
  13. N. Smith

    So open yet so disheartening. My husband is truly my biggest supporter. He’s there for EVERYTHING I do. I try to be as involved with his ventures as he is with mine.

    Reply
  14. Leonard Sturdivant

    Well… I think that your project is fantastic and I wish you much success in your endeavor, however, perhaps your husband’s lack of enthusiasm may come from the threat of becoming a financial equal and the possibility of you surpassing him… Most men, who have been big ballin shot callin, may feel threatened at the prospect of you having an equal say so because there may be some security issues that underlie his lack of enthusiasm. So therefore, the question becomes how can you balance your dreams and make him feel secure simultaneously? How can he become a part of your success and share in the “coming glory” with you? Men are competitive by nature… your endeavor may be encroaching upon sacred ground that some men hold near and dear to the heart… it is the very nature of manhood… being the “provider”. Are you challenging him for the title? Of course not… however, how can you help him to see that this effort is for the enhancement of the union rather than an individual accolades?  
    I am a doctoral student in marriage and family therapy at Saint Louis University… my specialty is African American Marriages and Family Issues. I would love to help him process the potential change and get you two on the same side, combining your energies to become synergistic, which actually solidifies your marriage and provides the prototype for your children. How can you include him in your success so that it becomes his success as well? No one wants to be left behind… that can lead to a myriad of psychological sequela that can undermine the marriage.

    Reply
  15. Leonard Sturdivant

    Well… I think that your project is fantastic and I wish you much success in your endeavor, however, perhaps your husband’s lack of enthusiasm may come from the threat of becoming a financial equal and the possibility of you surpassing him… Most men, who have been big ballin shot callin, may feel threatened at the prospect of you having an equal say so because there may be some security issues that underlie his lack of enthusiasm. So therefore, the question becomes how can you balance your dreams and make him feel secure simultaneously? How can he become a part of your success and share in the “coming glory” with you? Men are competitive by nature… your endeavor may be encroaching upon sacred ground that some men hold near and dear to the heart… it is the very nature of manhood… being the “provider”. Are you challenging him for the title? Of course not… however, how can you help him to see that this effort is for the enhancement of the union rather than an individual accolades?  
    I am a doctoral student in marriage and family therapy at Saint Louis University… my specialty is African American Marriages and Family Issues. I would love to help him process the potential change and get you two on the same side, combining your energies to become synergistic, which actually solidifies your marriage and provides the prototype for your children. How can you include him in your success so that it becomes his success as well? No one wants to be left behind… that can lead to a myriad of psychological sequela  that can undermine the marriage.

    Reply
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