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My wife and her projects

After losing her job, my wife has kept herself busy with “projects”, but I’m worried she’s neglecting our kids.

She’s doing what is best for her mental health right now, says our elder. Have a talk with her but don’t accuse her of neglect.

Dear EWC

My wife lost her job during this COVID-19, whatever. She has always been a good mom but recently she has really declined. Aside from many things, her father passed away last year. I love my wife and we’ve all got our cross to bear. She has recently taken to projects of all kinds. She spends the majority of her day outside with the kids borderline neglecting them as she works on stuff. She is currently making my Father’s Day gift. I want to take it and smash it! I’m so tired of her neglecting the kids for her own entertainment. I am home all day as I work from home.

Folk replies

I understand your frustration. You are concerned because your wife has been under a lot of stress lately and has not been behaving like her “normal” self. She not only lost her dad last year, but she also lost her job recently. There’s a good chance though that she has been taking on projects at home as a way of coping with these losses. By keeping busy with these projects, your wife may be distracting herself from her troubles and preventing herself from feeling depressed. In other words, your wife may be doing what is best for her own mental health right now. And if she is doing this, she is ultimately doing what it is best for you and the children too — even though it may not seem this way to you.

I am not exactly sure what you mean when you say that your wife has been “neglecting” the children. Are the children going hungry? Is the laundry piling up? Is there food in the fridge? Is your wife neglecting to prepare meals or do the laundry or grocery shopping? Are the children left alone and unsupervised? In your letter, you say that your wife spends the majority of her day “outside with the kids.” If the kids are outside with her working on a project, isn’t she keeping an eye on them?

Something is really bothering you. Something about what your wife is doing is making you mad enough to want to smash the Father’s Day gift that she and the children have been working so hard on for you. But, to be honest, I am not exactly sure of what it is about what she is doing that has you so worked up. It doesn’t sound to me that your wife is doing anything bad enough to make you as mad as you are. Since she is out of work, she may be seizing the opportunity to get some projects done around the house that she’s been wanting to get to for a while. Or, she may be trying to stay busy to avoid thinking about missing her dad or missing work.

Have you tried thinking about what specifically has you so on edge? Are the children being noisy when you try to work at home? Are you financially stressed because of the loss of your wife’s income? Have you tried talking to your wife calmly about your feelings? If you haven’t discussed your feelings with her, your wife may not even be aware that her projects are bothering you. Maybe it’s time you let her know.

After the kids go to bed tonight, I suggest you have a talk with your wife. But rather than accuse her of neglecting the children, I suggest opening up to her about how you have been feeling frustrated lately instead. After all, if you accuse her of neglect, she is likely to get defensive and shut down. But if you explain that you are feeling frustrated, she is likely to help you by coming up with strategies to reduce your frustration and restore your peace of mind.

I hope this helps. I am always here if you’d like to talk more about this after you talk to your wife. Good luck.

Letter #: 460932
Category: Marriage

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