The Butterfly Button
My husband is a chauvinist!

Question from category:

Hi,

My husband and I have been married for 9 years, and we have 2 children.

My husband has never done anything at home.

Even when the children were born, he never changed a single diaper in his life and never bathed the children.

He also doesn’t help with the housework. Nothing. Everything’s on me.

He says that he works all day, and has no energy or time when he comes home, which is nonsense, because even during the times when he didn’t work, or worked part time, he never did anything at home, and it’s not as if I don’t work outside the house. I go out to work every day, come home, pick up the children from preschool, spend time with them all afternoon, feed them dinner and put them to bed, and then in the evening I tidy and clean the house. In truth, I never demanded that he tidy or clean the house. I’m not one of those women who champion equality and setting roles, but today we had a conversation about this again, and he started telling me that a woman’s job is to be in the house, to cook and clean, do the laundry and wash the floors, and that’s the woman’s essence. I feel that he really put me down. Is that it? That’s what he sees in me? Someone who cooks, cleans and does laundry? Is that his excuse for not doing anything in the house? He has chauvinist ideas that really disgust me. That’s mind-bogglingly repulsive. I don’t know where he received such a disgusting education, because his father treats his mother like a queen, so it didn’t come from personal example.

Oh, and he always has all sorts of comments, on things at home that I didn’t do properly. He is a champion criticizer. You don’t do anything at home and still complain?? How can you think that’s acceptable?? He doesn’t show me any appreciation whatsoever. Everything I do is taken for granted. There’s no, “Thank you for washing the dishes,” or “Wow, the house is so neat and tidy.” Nothing. Only, “Where are my blue pants, why didn’t you launder them?” and complaints like that.

Enough! I’m sick and tired of being taken for granted!!!

Answer:

Respondent:zipi|

Dear

I understand you completely, that your life is overwhelming and difficult for you. Running a home is really hard, intensive and demanding work.

Raising children is also round-the-clock work. What laundry, cleaning, cooking and children have in common is that theט never give us any leeway…Even if you’re tired or agitated, they make their demands. And if you try to rest a bit, the mess gets worse and the children’s boredom and frustration also ramp up.

I give you tremendous credit for how well you run your home. Doing all that is really impressive.

When I read your question the first time, I made the mistake of thinking that what bothered you most was the difficulty of all the housework.

But after I read it again and a third time, I realize that the main issue is your husband’s attitude.

The questions that trouble you are: Why does he not appreciate my work? Why does think it’s a given that I clean, take care of the children, cook and tidy up?

You want his help, not only to make things easier for you technically, but largely so that you can feel that he understands and appreciates you, throughout he doesn’t take you for granted.

You want to hear that he views you as a wonderful woman who does the incredible, taking care of the entire house, with tremendous effort, with a never-ending investment of time and energy. An awesome mother who takes care of her children with total devotion. You want him to appreciate every load of laundry you do, every children’s bath time, every diaper you change, every dish you wash.

The change that you want is in your husband’s attitude and behavior.

A practical change, that will relieve some of the heavy burden of the housework, and mainly for him to appreciate, admire, respect and love you.

If I could, I would grab hold of him and shake him until he appreciated you properly. I wish. But you’ve surely already tried that, and seen that it didn’t work. We have no way of changing others. Your husband is in charge of himself, and you have no control over him. We have become accustomed to being dependent on appreciation and respect from others, and especially those who are closest to us. Maybe this is a mistake. Do other people’s attitudes toward us determine how much we are worth? Does the respect that someone else feels toward us determine how happy and satisfied we will be? Consider for a moment the following statement: “I will not be happy until my husband changes.” Say that ten times. I figure that the first few times, you will think that it is correct, then you will start to wonder if it is correct, and toward the last few times, you will probably start feeling angry and outraged. Is it really he who determines whether or not you are happy?

The only person who can decide if you are happy, if you have value and if you are worthy of application is you. At the same time, the sphere that you control, and can influence, is you, yourself. This is likely the reason that you sent this question. You realize this truth, and are interested in changing something in your thinking and your behavior.

I would like to suggest a change for you that is deep and precise, and which can help you to take advantage of your situation and feel greater mental well-being. This change means working on strengthening your distinctiveness. Improving your ability to be a person who meets her own emotional needs for herself, who loves herself, respects herself, knows how to be in close contact with the other and not lose her own personality. In your case, even if your husband does not respect and appreciate you for all your work at home, you do appreciate it, do respect it, and view your own functioning as something wonderful that is not a given.

When a person knows and is capable of providing for her own emotional needs, she is calm, has an internal control center, and is not dependent on others for her emotional oxygen. Her relationships also become more pleasant and mature.

The first stage in your self-appreciation is to open your eyes and ask, “Why, in essence, do I do the housework?” Why is it important to you that the house function smoothly? What are your goals? (For your children to have clean clothes and to be well kempt? For everyone to have tasty food; for your own serenity, and your children’s and your husband’s). You do not manage your home in order for someone to appreciate that! Try for a moment to focus on your goals, and take pleasure in realizing them, be happy and appreciate yourself for doing things with your own two hands.

Do you respect what you do? Sit for a moment with yourself, and write a few words of appreciation to yourself. Do you think you are doing things right? The person who can truly give you a score for your work is you. Maybe this is an opportunity to be more precise with yourself: what you like to invest more effort in, and what less; the order in which you do the housework and how the house is run, so that you will feel good about it, so that at the end of the day you will feel that you can pat yourself on the back and take a deep breath of satisfaction.

I don’t think it’s so difficult to demand of myself to appreciate myself.

But everything that I feel the need to demand of my husband, I know that it’s first worth looking inward and asking, “Do you want him to compliment you – do you compliment yourself? Do you want him to love you – do you love yourself? Do you want him to marvel at your beauty – do you marvel at your own beauty?” And if the answer is “not really,” then I try to work on myself, to reach a point that even without any compliments, I feel fulfilled and at peace with myself. 

Usually, when I know how to fulfill my emotional needs, suddenly others volunteer these things more easily… but by then I do not view what I received – the compliments, appreciation, love, respect – as the air that I breathe, but rather as a pleasant fragrance; not as my bread and butter, but as the icing on the cake.

I have written to you mainly about how to feel better and less taken for granted, because I felt that that is what is bothering you most.

If you are interested in the best way to ask, such that your husband will feel motivated to help, this answer could be expanded upon, and this is an important subject that is possible and good to learn.

But first of all, the most important thing is to feel appreciated and respected for all the wonderful work that you do.

I wish you that you end every day with a feeling of satisfaction and inner joy, and along the way, also compliments and genuine appreciation from your husband.

You can contact me personally, or ask again here.

Tzipi

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