Blinded by the white

img via the gloss

A girlfriend & I were doing our normal quick cup of coffee after dropping the kid’s off at school & were doing the usual gripe about our husbands. Her husband & mine both have the workaholic gene in common & we were complaining about how it’s always a battle for their time. Shouldn’t they want to spend time with their families? Couldn’t they just stop checking that stupid blackberry for 10 minutes & seriously, why do they NEED to take on that extra project at work that we know is going to take up some valuable weekend time?! Enough is enough.

A few days later I was listening to a different girlfriend complain about how her husband still loves to go out & party with his boys even though they now have two small children. It drives her crazy that he repeatedly asks for boys’ nights out & leaves her home with the kids not to mention his compulsive need to drag her to any & every party for which they’re invited. Then she said something that got my attention. “Well, how can I really complain. What I loved about him when we were dating was that he was the life of the party.” He was Mr. Charming who always wanted to show her a good time, how could she now expect him to completely change & want to be a homebody. This is right about when the ‘oh crap’ lightbulb went off for me. Could I be equally at fault for complaining about how much my husband works? When we were dating it was his drive for his career & success that I found completely sexy. What made me assume that now that the ring is on my finger & the kids are here that he’d slow down & be happy with settling with where he’s at on the corporate ladder? It’s actually a bit unfair of me if I really think about it.

I have to wonder, how many of us willingly looked the other way when it came to our significant other’s traits so we could continue our sprint down the aisle? When there’s engagement in the air how many of us really sit down & think through what life would be like with our mates 10 years down the line? I know I didn’t really think twice about it. For some reason I just assumed that he’d be different after we had a family. But really, why should he? If his career always made him happy than how presumptuous of me to think that he should be more than willing to put that aside after we were married. Same with my friend, if you marry the party boy then why on earth are you surprised when he’s darting out the door every Friday night?

Of course there is something to be said for the fact that like it or not all of us must make some sacrifices after we have children. So where is the line between expecting someone to adapt to a new life & forcing them to change who they really are & what makes them that wonderful person you fell in love with? Is it even our position to ask?

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  1. Rhianna

    Wow, great post. You reallly speak the truth with this one like always! I sometimes have to put myself in check per say when it comes to my hub and work. I used to complain about him working for days on end and not spending “enough” time with me and our daughter. After awhile it started to dawn on me that he is the reason that I get to stay at home and raise our daughter. If it wasn’t for his job, I would not be able to do that. The work and life balance really taught me to cherish every moment. We are really family focused because of it. Thanks for this!

    By the way, with that pic… I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into reading this post! LOL

  2. Mandy

    Great Post, and very enlightening to me. I am currently in a serious relationship with Engagement and Marriage on the horizon and it’s interesting for to see the other side. Helps me to gain perceptive on how I may feel about certain circumstances. Thanks for the insight! :)

  3. Kristin

    Ooooh good post! What fantastic questions. I think we all take our “significant others” for granted to some degree. This is an excellent reminder (in my mind anyway) to think of all we loved about them in the first place. My aunt told me once that marriage didn’t change anybody. “The stuff that bugs you now only gets worse.” I was 16. I took her words to heart though and eventually broke off two separate engagements. Third time was the charm.

    • Natasha

      That’s really good advice, I need to remember that one for my single friends…wait a minute, I don’t think I have any single friends

    • Kimberly L.

      So true! My mom told me to not start doing something unless you want to do it for the length of your marriage (or start a fight about it). The example she used was picking up my stepdad’s socks. She started doing it as soon as they were married, now she gets annoyed that he leaves them everywhere and she has to pick them up. She said she realized that if she didn’t want to do that forever, then she shouldn’t have started it in the first place. Because 10 years after the fact, it’s what he’s used to. :)

  4. Brooke

    You know I can relate on the workaholic husband front. Most of the time it’s awesome, and I’m really appreciative…but sometimes (when I’m doing bath time by myself and then finishing up chores by myself and then reading in bed by myself), it’s difficult.

    Things clicked into place for me last Thanksgiving; we all wrote what we were thankful for that year and Josh said that he was grateful he could provide so wonderfully for his family. So even though he’s still that goal-oriented, super-driven and successful guy I married, priority number one HAS changed. I try to remember that.

  5. Melanie

    OMG!!! This post really resonated with me. My husband is always getting time to himself due to our schedules (since we both work and my mom watches our little guy). So there are many nights where he’s able to go out and hang out with the guys and I’m at my mom’s helping out around the house after she’s had a crazy day with our son.

    I’m only just now getting to the end of my rope with it and have started to complain. Not much comes out of it except he tells me that I can go out too. The problem is that on the weekends, when we’re all together, all I want to do is spend time as a family. I don’t really have any hobbies and most of the time, when I’m alone, it’s so that I can get grocery shopping done or so that I can go to the dentist.

    And that’s just not fair.

    end rant.

    • I completely understand this! My husband used to tell me to go to the grocery store and he’d keep the kids with them, like that was some “gift” he was giving me to go grocery shopping! Then I actually made a friend through playmates that invited me out with her sisters one night and it made a WORLD of difference! So even though you want family time too, make time for yourself when it’s available. Even if it’s reading a book at the park by yourself, getting a shake and reading blogs at McDonalds or going to lunch with a friend sans kid (amazing what hot food tastes like with no toddler to feed/watch) you may feel like you have no hobbies, but if you start taking a few minutes to yourself you may discover something new about yourself that you love and it will really REALLY help!

  6. Emma's Mom

    Interesting post and I’ve done my fair share of complaining (to no avail), but I have to wonder why this is one sided. It’s ok for him not to change because a characteristic that you admired when you were dating is still there (I’m not talking about YOU…just generic “him” and “you”), but what about you? Because of this charactistic, you have to do all the sacrificing. Now, I know that women are going to automatically fall into the roll of mom and homemaker, and that’s fine. But to make everyone happy shouldn’t everyone give up a little something? You’re not the same person you were pre-marriage, you’ve grown with your new responsibilities. Shouldn’t he do the same?

    End of rant! :)

    • Natasha

      You know I was wondering that same thing after I re-read my posts…I don’t know why it just seems fair that we do change so much for the sake of our family. And we’re supposed to do it (somewhat) gracefully to boot. Maybe we just all automatically buy into the assumption that we’ll change for the sake of the family & that’s ok? Or maybe it has to do with the fact that most women want the kids so we’re happy to make the sacrifices for it…I think (assume) that probably the majority of men aren’t the pushers for having kids…

  7. I really love how honest this post is… it is something no one really talks about. My husband is the same as yours, very work-a–holic type, and it’s also what I love about him. We don’t have kids yet, and it scares me that when I inevitably become the stay at home mom that he will be forever sucked into his work. But you made a great point, and you know, that is what will support our family: his passion and drive for his career.

  8. Erin

    I guess I figured since I’ve changed since our daughter was born, why wouldn’t he change too? Although if I got to be a stay at home mom and spend time with our daughter, I think I’d be much more accepting of him working more, since he would be supporting me.

    • Natasha

      Yeah, until you’ve spent 8+ hours alone with your kids…it’s hard to remember he’s out there working to support you staying home when all you can think of is has that darn garage door opened yet with someone to help me!! Ha!

  9. Wendy

    Oh, I love this! I also have a Type A workaholic husband. He is an awesome father – when he is home. And my guess is that it is the same for your hubby. I have to thank you for your post, though, because it definitely helped me gain perspective and insight. I had a boyfriend all through high school and college that was my best friend, my first love, and was just the perfect match for me; except he had absolutely no ambition. It drove me insane, and ultimately ended our relationship, as I moved on to grad school, and had aspirations that took me away from our small town, where he wanted to stay. I dated for nearly 10 years after that, and never had the same connection with anyone. When I met my husband, he reminded me so much of that first love; but with ambition. I loved that about him; he was working a full time job and putting himself through graduate school full time. I admired his determination and his drive. Now that we have a daughter, my girlfriend and I also sit at Starbucks complaining about our absentee husbands. But, would I want someone who settled for mediocrity? Clearly I didn’t. Sorry to hijack your comment section, but obviously I really related to this post.

    I’m in Northern VA. If you’re ever on the VA side and need someone to commiserate about our workaholic husbands with over coffee, I’m your girl! :)

  10. Erin

    Nat Cat, I’ve followed you since the beginning of Samster Mommy, but this is the first time to comment. I love ALL your posts; how down to earth you are, creative and so witty. This post really made me think… My light bulb just went off too. Lately, I’ve really been struggling with this very same topic and now I realize that maybe I shouldn’t complain but instead be so grateful that our family has so much love and dedication to success!

    Thx for always keeping it real! <3

  11. Brittini

    I think just like anything else, it’s about compromise. I agree with your friend that she cant expect him to completely give up who he is now that they are married with kids. BUT I think his priorities most definitely should have changed some. My husband and I were both party animals. His energy and ambition are what I loved first about him. But then we got married and had kids, and now we don’t go out ever. Just rather spend Friday night at home with our kids, even if they are just in bed! Our priorities changed. He redirected that energy and ambition towards his work. So, I cant help you there! I am constantly begging him to come home early … But I am thankful that he works so hard because otherwise I wouldn’t be able to stay home with our girls.

  12. wendy

    They [statistics] say that what drives you to a person is what you most likely have issues with later down the road. And it totally makes sense – even and my life and friends that I know of as well. Example: I loved that my bf was a bit shy but very nice, however, lately I want him to be a little more aggressive in life. Make sense?

  13. Kimberly L.

    Love this post. I do not think it is fair to expect someone to change, ie. your husband’s work drive. However, I do think it is fair to ask them to. To express your point of view, because your spouse may not see it the same as you do. And I mean express it clearly and very matter of fact, not with whining and complaining. (Or snide remarks like I tend to.)
    My question is what to do with some one who does change, a lot. When we met my husband took great care of himself. He dressed nice, went mountain biking, running, etc. Now he’s a total couch potato and slob. He puts no effort into how he looks! I adore him and hate to sound superficial but he’s put on about 75-100lbs since we got married (15 years ago), wears old t-shirts/shorts and rarely gets his hair cut. I feel like if I had gained that much weight (I’ve had 3 kids and have put on about 10lbs) or put zero effort into my appearance, it would be expected for him to be unhappy about it since “guys are such visual creatures” but for me to feel that way means I am shallow! So what can be done? I try hinting at it but do not want to tell him flat out for fear of hurting his feelings.

    • Natasha

      Hm, that is definitley a toughie. Really though, if it truly bothers you (which does NOT make you shallow, 100 lbs is a big difference not mention a health issue) I think you need to talk to him about it. Maybe handle it with ‘kid gloves’ but have a conversation. You could start it off with it being a health thing & you want him to be healthy for the kids or you could just say I really miss when you used to take really good care of yourself. Is there a reason you stopped exercising? Is it something I could help you make time for?

      It’s not an easy conversation but if you go through life and never say anything about something that truly bothers you you’ll just end up harboring resentment…

      IMO at least so take that with a grain of salt!

  14. Funny, I married the life of the party and the workaholic. He gives everything he can to his friends via time, energy even money and it drives me BONKERS! But when we dated I loved his giving heart, his great work ethic and his care free fun attitude.
    My husband says it this way “men marry a women hoping she won’t ever change and she does, women marry a man hoping he’ll change and he doesn’t”
    I thought he would “settle down” and he thoughtni would always be carefree. Oh kids!
    Thanks for reminding me to remember what attracted me to him in the first place.

    I think there’s a vinyl in that thought for sure!

  15. Rich_

    I know this is coming a couple weeks late – but while I understand the post, and all the comments – I fail to understand how this is all eye opening?
    I also realize not every guy out there has actually read a number of Jane Austins work, but she was always dead on. She was more then just into telling a good story, she was giving a guide to strong women everywhere.
    Keep remembering where you came from, how you got there, and where your at now. It makes where your going easier to navigate.

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