Q: I've been married for 18 years, have two wonderful kids, and quit my job to raise them. My husband thinks I have it made by staying home and raising our kids. I know he works hard and makes a ton of money; that's why I OK'd his request to purchase a boat. He deserves it because he's worked really hard. He also thinks the house and kids are MY responsibility since he goes to work Monday to Friday. I disagree. I understand that he works very hard and that allows me to choose to stay home, but it doesn't mean that I'm a maid or babysitter -- so please don't treat me as that. I handle everything with kids -- food, bathing, clothing, medical appointments, schooling, socializing, etc. Itís hard. It's very hard to always put someone else first every day. When he comes home, there's a hot meal on the table waiting and he doesn't appreciate anything I do.
Today is Mother's Day. He had nothing planned. For breakfast, he made me coffee, which consisted of him pushing a button on a machine. No gifts. No plans. No flowers. I'm sorry if I sound selfish, but can I at least get some flowers? Is it that hard to make one day a little special for me? I told him I wanted to spend time as a family today, so why is he outside while I take care of the kids? My birthday was last month and I got nothing as well. Not even a homemade card from the kids. Why is my husband such an idiot? Or am I being too selfish?
– The Babysitter, Mass.
A: It's time for a talk about division of labor, TB. Your husband doesn't seem to understand what it's like to manage a household. Perhaps he should stay home one day and watch. Perhaps he should calculate the cost of daycare and imagine what it would be like if you decided to work.
As for Mother's Day, he should have done more, mainly because of the kids. He missed the chance to teach them about appreciation.
The question is: What can you do about all of this? You can certainly talk to him about how you feel and even suggest couples therapy. You can also tell him that you need extra help in the house. He makes a "ton of money," so can he pay for a cleaning service or a nanny for a few hours a week?
You can also ask him about his expectations. Maybe if he says them out loud he'll see why you're upset. And if he hears your expectations of him, he'll see how he's fallen short. It sounds like there are just too many assumptions in your marriage.
You can also ask for more alone time as a couple. If you get a real babysitter and find some time to enjoy each other's company, your marriage should improve. That, I know.
Readers? How can she change this marriage? Is he being an idiot? What should she do? Help.
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.