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A lot of moms of moms would happily take advantage of time alone (a precious commodity for sure). If they are not tending to their children, they are working. It can get exhausting and mentally draining. When do they ever get a break?
All moms need time to nurture the other parts of themselves — besides nurturing their children. A mom can only be as good a nurturer to her kids as she takes alone time to nurture herself. Self-care is SO important.
But this is not the case with a man’s wife, who wants every single second to be spent together with her kids and husband. How is this sustainable for everyone’s mental health?
Shouldn’t Nurturing Go Both Ways?
OP (the original poster) posted on the “Parenting” subreddit narrating how his wife is excessively concerned (anxious) about her children’s experiences and activities. For instance, she will keep calling and calling when OP is away with the kids. No, OP is not talking about them taking a camping trip or spending the night elsewhere. OP’s wife blows up his phone when he goes to a park to play with the kids for less than an hour.
She calls every ten minutes demanding OP and the kids return home, and the reasons are always illogical.
She Feels Abandoned
When left home alone, she gets mad at the kids and OP for “abandoning” her. Do you know how mothers almost always chase some alone time from their kids? OP’s wife hates when she is left alone, and she gets back at them with the silent treatment, calling out OP and sometimes crying.
OP says his wife has always been like this. She cannot handle being alone. She is so emotionally attached to OP that he has no job or cannot volunteer anywhere. She wants everyone to be around her when the kids are off school. She wants everything to be done together.
There is no chore sharing or anything. If it is grocery shopping, the whole family has to go. She has to be present for all the kids’ activities, like music and academics, and she demands that OP be present too.
OP says that this dynamic is really exhausting and highly inefficient. What should he do?
The Community Weighs In
I love how straight to the point the top comment was. The commenter said, “Wife needs therapy. Badly.”
Another commenter replied to the above comment, giving her own experience, “I agree. It sounds like she’s carrying a lot of anxiety. I had a stint in 2020 where I couldn’t be left alone; I would panic. I thought something bad would happen to me or the kids. It took quite some time in therapy and trying antidepressants and ultimately deciding those did not work for me, but continuing the leg work and forcing myself to be alone and alone with the kids to overcome these fears. She may not be presenting it as a fear and using weird excuses because she doesn’t know how to discuss it. Becoming a mom instills you with so many new fears and intrusive thoughts. She is not alone and needs to know and learn to work through it. “
Another jumped in having some words for how OP could break things even, “Try not to be annoyed with her and maybe just one night after the kids go to sleep plan a little time with her and lovingly voice your concerns and see if she’d be open to talking to a therapist and opening up about what is causing the need to be together consistently. It’s going to be a very fine line of a conversation but try not to point fingers or make her feel ashamed; just try to get her to open up about it and see if she’d be open to help.”
Shortly after the therapy recommendations, OP commented and said he had already suggested that, but he hasn’t succeeded: “She refuses therapy; that’s the problem. No amount of convincing will work to get her to try it.”
With the new turn of events that OP’s wife won’t get into therapy, many comments labeled him as an enabler. What should he do moving forward for the best interest of his children?
One commenter said, “You are allowing this to harm your children. Stop allowing this. Ultimatum. Therapy – couples or single – or your divorce and fight for custody based on her mental illness.”
What should OP do?