Tell wife stay­ing home with baby isn’t pipe dream

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ARTS & LIFE - MAU­REEN SCURFIELD

DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: My wife re­cently went back to work af­ter tak­ing a one year of ma­ter­nity leave. She thor­oughly en­joyed stay­ing home. The lit­tle one and I re­ally liked it as well. She seemed to be less stressed; she truly found some­thing that she en­joyed day and day out.

How­ever, as sum­mer ended, so did her leave from work. We have our lit­tle one in day­care and he’s do­ing great there. My wife, how­ever, is a com­plete emo­tional mess. For the past month she’s been cry­ing ev­ery day, hasn’t been eat­ing well, is stone-faced with me, al­though de­light­ful with other peo­ple who come over. I love my wife and son more than any­thing else in this world, and I’d do any­thing to make them happy. I’ve sug­gested she stay home but warned that we would have to give up a lot of our daily lux­u­ries in or­der to make ends meet. She just laughs at the sug­ges­tion. I’m wor­ried for my wife and her well-be­ing and also for how this is af­fect­ing our mar­riage. What should I do? Is she de­pressed? I have asked her to talk with her doc­tor but she just says, “I’ll get over it some­day.” — Des­per­ate Hus­band, Ru­ral Manitoba

Dear Hus­band: She seems to be de­pressed be­cause of leav­ing or “aban­don­ing” her baby. And, at some level she is blam­ing you. You of­fered that she could stay home but then gave her the “have to give up lux­u­ries” warn­ing line, which sounds like you were in­sin­cere. That’s why she laughed it off. To re­open this topic, say this: “Let’s dream for a minute. If we had enough money, would you be happy to quit your job and stay home with our baby? If she says, “Yes, but that’s a pipe dream” you say, “No, it ac­tu­ally isn’t. If you wanted to stay home, per­haps you could start a part-time home-based busi­ness such as Avon or Pas­sion Par­ties or a jew­elry line. If you don’t want that, could you just work part-time?” Tell her to take time to think about it se­ri­ously. Write back and tell me how this goes. No mat­ter what you do, coun­selling would help at this point to stop the blam­ing and start com­mu­ni­ca­tion flow­ing freely again.

Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: This is a so­lu­tion that worked for me and might work for the grand­mother who wants her grown kids to come over and do her house and yard work. With my mother, I hired a care­giver to come to the home and paid the boy next door to do the yard work. The prob­lem was looked af­ter. The “chil­dren” of the lady who wrote are prob­a­bly very busy in their own lives. If they only get a call ask­ing for help, to them it’s not a visit, it’s another job to go to. —Tip From My Ex­pe­ri­ence, Winnipeg

Dear Tip: A lot of peo­ple don’t un­der­stand how small an older per­son’s bud­get is, and need to gift them with care and help if they can. They could also ar­rive for a sur­prise din­ner with take­out and en­joy spon­ta­neous par­ties with grand­par­ents. If you have an ir­ri­tat­ing re­la­tion­ship with an older par­ent, tak­ing them out to con­certs and fun events is bet­ter than sit­ting and look­ing at each other and throw­ing barbs. A lot of older folk don’t have much news to tell, but play­ing cards and board games can be fun and it’s a way to be happy to­gether.

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