I promised my mom I’d help her install a carpet, but it clashes with my son’s football game. Now my wife isn’t talking to me! Am I wrong?
Not at all, says our elder. Your wife is the one being unreasonable.
My wife and I had a dispute/disagreement. Our 11-year-old son is playing football and has a game every Saturday but with a month’s advance notice I told my wife and son that I will be unavailable to take our son to his game because I will be installing carpet in my mother’s home and he will have to go with me. Bear I mind I take him to all his games but this job is important to me and cannot be postponed due to tool rental and the timeframe. I feel that my wife is showing no compassion for anyone’s needs but her own. She asked how I could miss his game for laying someone’s (my mom’s) carpet. That really hurt me hearing her say that.
She doesn’t want me to do anything that interferes with what she wants and I think she is being very unfair. I never miss his games. There’s no compromise — she says she can’t take him because of work and I can’t because of this job, so I said I can drop him off if she can pick him up, she said she can’t, so I said he will have to miss and go with me to grandma’s house while I’m there laying carpet. Now she is angry and will not talk to me for a week. I love all my family and try being there as much as I can. My mom is 77 years old and I put my word out a whole month in advance to my wife and family that I will be doing this job. I need to know and understand if I am being unreasonable? And any advice is appreciated!
You haven’t done anything wrong. All you did was agree to help your 77-year-old mother out by laying some carpet for her. Caught between your promise to your mother and your obligation to your son, you are doing the best you can do under the circumstances. I do not think you are being unreasonable at all. Rather, I think it is your wife who is overreacting.
Let’s face it: Life happens. We often have obligations to more than one person, and sometimes these obligations compete. In your case, you have obligations to both your mother and your son. It is unfortunate that you could not have arranged to install your mother’s carpeting on a day other than a Saturday, but that’s the way it happened. Since you can drop your son off at his game before going to your mother’s, perhaps you could ask one of the other football parents if they could give your son a ride home afterward. If your son has any friends on the team, perhaps he could go home with his friend and either you or your wife could pick him up there later. If this isn’t possible though, it’s far from the end of the world. You regularly take your son to his Saturday games, so missing a single game in a season isn’t a big deal. Just remember to let Coach know ahead of time that your son will not be there.
I don’t know why your wife is making such a big fuss about this. Especially since you love your family and are there for them as much as you can be. Is there perhaps something else going on here? Does your wife, for example, have issues with your mother? Does she seem to resent it when you do things for your mom? Does she feel you are too attentive to your mother at the expense of your own family?
My advice to you is to go ahead and lay the carpeting without a guilty conscience. Even though you are the parent who usually takes your son to his games, getting him there is as much his mother’s responsibility as it is yours. You have every right to help your mom out, and if your son has to miss one of his games because you need to do something nice for your mom then that’s just the way it is. If your wife refuses to speak to you because of this, then that’s just the way it is too.
I hope this helps. Please feel free to write back anytime if you’d like to talk more about this or if you have any follow-up questions or concerns.
Letter #: 446366