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amother




OP
 

Post Thu, Apr 15 2021, 10:48 am
I don’t know who to talk to. Sorry this is so long.

My husband is never home. I got used to never knowing where he is or when he’ll be home and just living my own life. In the beginning of our marriage I used to have big fights with him about the courtesy of telling me when he’d be home but over time I realized he would never change. So I let go. He works very hard and we live very well, BH. He’s a kind and sweet husband and father. He just doesn’t feel the need to be home, or to let me know where he is.

My son is in Bais Medrash and is now the same way. He has a phone and never bothers using it to tell me where he is or who he’s with. I cannot handle it. I yell at him when he waltzes in the door at 11 or 12, and he seems apologetic but it never changes.

My husband doesn’t support me in this. He doesn’t himself know or care where his children are. When we discipline the kids I’m the one mad or setting punishments (grounding that son, taking away privileges for another who’s chutzpahdik). He acts like my kids’ buddy and I can’t stand it. When I get upset at their behavior he says in front of them that I should calm down.

Since he’s never home, I feel like a single parent. A single parent whose children doesn’t respect at all, because every time I try to discipline he overrides it with buddy comments to his kids. He chastises me in front of them when I get mad or yell, and the only reason I’m yelling is because my husband will act confused why I’m even upset in the first place. I feel like he’s against me in the way I parent.

I feel like my children hate me because I’m the mean one and he’s the guy who will hand you money and let you do what you want. I also feel like this crazy shrew when my husband is so jovial and calm about everything. I feel bad about myself because he makes me feel like I’m crazy for wanting things a certain way, like being told plans or where my children are.

Despite all my efforts my kids don’t seem to want to learn, ever, they buy themselves clothes I don’t approve of, (with our money, without asking) and I feel like my children have control. I’ve talked to my husband about this but it’s another thing I feel like I can’t change.

I feel totally hopeless. Help.
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Zehava




 
 
 
 

Post Thu, Apr 15 2021, 10:52 am
Op why the need to always be in control? What will happen if you don’t know where your husband or grown son are at a given moment? What are you afraid of?
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amother




OP
 

Post Thu, Apr 15 2021, 10:53 am
I know this post makes it seem like my husband is awful, but when he’s not home he’s at parlor meetings or shul or at a siyum. He’s not hanging out with friends, he’s doing Judaic type things just forgets to tell me when or where. Or he stays late at work. Or work pages him and he has to go in to see a patient. Things like that.
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amother




OP
 

Post Thu, Apr 15 2021, 10:54 am
Zehava wrote:
Op why the need to always be in control? What will happen if you don’t know where your husband or grown son are at a given moment? What are you afraid of?


Do you know where your children are right now? Then lucky you. To me it’s at best common courtesy that someone in your household know where you are. At worst it’s basic safety. If he gets into an accident CV or goes missing no one would know for over a day.
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Zehava




 
 
 
 

Post Thu, Apr 15 2021, 10:55 am
amother [ OP ] wrote:
Do you know where your children are right now? Then lucky you.

Yeah because they’re in school. I don’t always know where they are after school. And they are way younger than your son. I certainly don’t always know where my dh is.
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avrahamama




 
 
 
 

Post Thu, Apr 15 2021, 11:04 am
OP it seems you've come to terms with your husband not only being out often but also not updating you on when to be expected back etc.

You're looking for your kids to develop a different kind of consideration. When a teen developes ndependence it doesn't need to exclude consideration. He doesn't have the habit of updating you and it's being supported by your husband not supporting your requests either. You can call your son at a certain time each day and make sure that you know where he is and what his plans are. This might help him get in the habit of communicating with you.

It sounds like you have a bit of a punitive relationship with the kids. There are ways to either set house rules or even be ok with what the kids want without excessively using discipline or punishment. Especially as it seems your kids are older.

It's very hard to do when one parent undermines the other. At the end of the day if you're the one who is present more it's on you to make sure you're building something that isn't based on excessive state of agita,but rather relationship building.
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amother




Ecru
 

Post Thu, Apr 15 2021, 11:09 am
Hugs OP. I have a similar dynamic as well. Not with not knowing where they are but with being the strict parent and dh allowing everything. If anyone asks him a question he wants to say no to he’ll say-ask mom
I’m sire there’s therapy for this type of thing. I’m sire the kids are rebelling (both of ours) bec they see an unhealthy dynamic where there is not enough respect among the spouses ans that we aren’t on the same team. My dh ans I discuss this a lot and really try to work on being a United front. Needs a lot of effort. Hatzlacha and major hugs. It’s very painful
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amother




Firebrick
 

Post Thu, Apr 15 2021, 11:18 am
I'm sorry OP I understand and relate. I have learned that when one spouse is a certain way, the children will follow that model. My dh is similar to some degree, in terms of not being very accountable in the house or showing up in a timely manner (although it sounds like your dh has many other very strong qualities in terms of responsibility and being a provider, and being loving to the children).

The part I feel has the most impact on the kids is the putting down of your perspective and requests. I think that children learn how a parent is to be listened to to a large degree by the actions of each parent toward the other. Once they see a parents concerns being poo pooed by the other parent, its a matter of time and age until they do the same.

I suppose the answer depends upon the age of your children and their desire and willingness to maintain a strong relationship and avoid conflict. But not all kids are particularly motivated that way.

I would consider addressing it directly with your son, if you have not yet. By directly I mean sitting down with some tea and saying "look, you are older now, but I will always be a mom, and here is what I am asking you to do, out of love and respect." And then have an open discussion about it. I also don't think there is anything wrong with acknowledging that dh acts differently. But dad is your dh, and he is your child.
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amother




OP
 

Post Thu, Apr 15 2021, 11:52 am
Everyone is being so helpful!

avrahamama wrote:
OP it seems you've come to terms with your husband not only being out often but also not updating you on when to be expected back etc.

You're looking for your kids to develop a different kind of consideration. When a teen developes ndependence it doesn't need to exclude consideration. He doesn't have the habit of updating you and it's being supported by your husband not supporting your requests either. You can call your son at a certain time each day and make sure that you know where he is and what his plans are. This might help him get in the habit of communicating with you.

It sounds like you have a bit of a punitive relationship with the kids. There are ways to either set house rules or even be ok with what the kids want without excessively using discipline or punishment. Especially as it seems your kids are older.

It's very hard to do when one parent undermines the other. At the end of the day if you're the one who is present more it's on you to make sure you're building something that isn't based on excessive state of agita,but rather relationship building.


This is exactly what I needed. Yes, you understand what I’m saying. I’m willing to be told that I’m irrational in my house rules. I am often wrong and I’m willing to fix myself to do better.

What scares me is that what if I’m setting up behaviors in my kids that make them bad husbands? I can live with not knowing where anyone is, but it’s this lack of courtesy and a lack of a relationship with this older son that really worries me. If my son says “I’m going out to a restaurant with friends,” I don’t say no. Ever. I encourage my kids to be out and about. I even got him a car on my own initiative.

It’s him using the car and the phone and my credit cards - all items I work hard for - and then not imagine he’s part of a larger household and needs to ask to use money or to go somewhere and not come home until midnight that bothers me.

I told him to imagine what if all the kids came home and I wasn’t there. No one knew where I was. He said “I would assume you were somewhere.” Lol he missed the point.

But you’re right. So you think calling him every day at a certain time will get him used to checking in with someone? He’s so bad at relationships. He’s the definition of the strong silent type.
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amother




Scarlet
 

Post Thu, Apr 15 2021, 11:57 am
First, I want to validate your frustration OP. I would also have a hard time dealing with what you're dealing with.

I get the impression that your marriage was set up from early on with you and your husband responsible for two different spheres, him outside the home (earning, providing, davening with a minyan, serving on committees) and you inside the home. So I can see how even a very nice husband might naturally grow to take for granted your presence in the home and see his presence at home as unnecessary. Especially if many husbands in his social circle operate similarly. And then that taking for granted trickles down to the kids. I don't think it's right, but I can see how it would happen. For dual career couples with kids, constant communication is a must even if it doesn't come naturally to them. But maybe your husband was not forced by circumstance to develop those habits.

With older kids, I don't think it's realistic usually to impose new rules as a matter of principle if they haven't been raised that way. But I think you could brainstorm a few concrete ways to improve communication and then have a conversation with your husband and with kids individually about trying to establish a few new routines (rather than rules per se).

For example, if it bothers you not to know when your husband will be available to spend time with you, maybe you can agree with him on some scheduled hangout time a few times a week. Or if it bothers you not knowing how many people will be home for dinner or when, you could reconfigure your dinner routine.

Hatzlacha.
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Zehava




 
 
 
 

Post Thu, Apr 15 2021, 12:00 pm
amother [ OP ] wrote:
Everyone is being so helpful!

This is exactly what I needed. Yes, you understand what I’m saying. I’m willing to be told that I’m irrational in my house rules. I am often wrong and I’m willing to fix myself to do better.

What scares me is that what if I’m setting up behaviors in my kids that make them bad husbands? I can live with not knowing where anyone is, but it’s this lack of courtesy and a lack of a relationship with this older son that really worries me. If my son says “I’m going out to a restaurant with friends,” I don’t say no. Ever. I encourage my kids to be out and about. I even got him a car on my own initiative.

It’s him using the car and the phone and my credit cards - all items I work hard for - and then not imagine he’s part of a larger household and needs to ask to use money or to go somewhere and not come home until midnight that bothers me.

I told him to imagine what if all the kids came home and I wasn’t there. No one knew where I was. He said “I would assume you were somewhere.” Lol he missed the point.

But you’re right. So you think calling him every day at a certain time will get him used to checking in with someone? He’s so bad at relationships. He’s the definition of the strong silent type.

Op relationships aren’t built through control and coercion. Relationships thrive on trust.
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ShishKabob




 
 
 
 

Post Thu, Apr 15 2021, 12:07 pm
Hugs op! This is tough!
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amother




Pewter
 

Post Thu, Apr 15 2021, 12:28 pm
Op I so relate to the older teen doing their own thing as if there's no-one in world they need to answer to!!! I'm following the topic. Hope we all get massive Siyatta Dishmaya in this and ALL areas!!!!
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amother




Scarlet
 

Post Thu, Apr 15 2021, 12:40 pm
When I was a non-frum teenager, my parents were very chilled about my comings and goings, but we had a routine. Maybe something like it could work for you and your son, with adjustments as appropriate for your situation.

From age 15 on, on weekends I'd tell them generally who I was going out with that evening and approximately where. The "where" might be as general as "Friend 1's friend's house in Town A" or "the beach and then maybe drive around" and the "who" might be "Friend 2, and her friends from her school." If I didn't say anything else, they'd expect me to be home by 1-2am. If I planned to come home later than 2am or I was going to stay out overnight, I would always call to let them know. Also, anytime they called me, which rarely happened, I would always pick up. This wasn't burdensome for me, but they had a general idea of what I was up to. And if, chas veshalom, something would have happened to me, they would have had an idea of when to worry and also would have known who to call to find out, since they had my closer friends' phone numbers.
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avrahamama




 
 
 
 

Post Thu, Apr 15 2021, 1:02 pm
amother [ OP ] wrote:
Everyone is being so helpful!

This is exactly what I needed. Yes, you understand what I’m saying. I’m willing to be told that I’m irrational in my house rules. I am often wrong and I’m willing to fix myself to do better.

What scares me is that what if I’m setting up behaviors in my kids that make them bad husbands? I can live with not knowing where anyone is, but it’s this lack of courtesy and a lack of a relationship with this older son that really worries me. If my son says “I’m going out to a restaurant with friends,” I don’t say no. Ever. I encourage my kids to be out and about. I even got him a car on my own initiative.

It’s him using the car and the phone and my credit cards - all items I work hard for - and then not imagine he’s part of a larger household and needs to ask to use money or to go somewhere and not come home until midnight that bothers me.

I told him to imagine what if all the kids came home and I wasn’t there. No one knew where I was. He said “I would assume you were somewhere.” Lol he missed the point.

But you’re right. So you think calling him every day at a certain time will get him used to checking in with someone? He’s so bad at relationships. He’s the definition of the strong silent type.


I worry about that all the time lol. What kind of spouse am I raising my sons to be. It's pretty normal. Your husband sounds like an overall decent person who still hasn't learned how to be accountable to other people. He sounds responsible and involved in the community and thinks that's all that's expected of him in life. It's not a bad way to live but it's not a great way to love.

I think calling your son incessantly would be annoying and hysterical. But saying I'll call you for a daily schmooze and check in at x time is reasonable. Once that becomes a habit then start communicating that we can drop the daily call if you can do it on your own when it's important to and then let him know "if you're coming home after 9 I'd like you to tell me. Even if it's 915 and that's when you remember to call. I won't be upset, I'll be happy just to be informed"

You mentioned in your OP that clothing was another issue. It's so tricky to start having an opinion in clothes. Especially with teens. Do they have a budget or just free reign of the cc? Letting them use the cc indiscriminately is setting them up for trouble later on when it's time to be financially independent.

What's hard is when you feel like everyone shoul just behave a certain way and then not be able to calmly communicate it. But then also be surprised/angry when things dont go the way they "should"

Really it just sounds like each issue requires a bit of proactive problem solving as opposed to being more reactionary.
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amother




OP
 

Post Thu, Apr 15 2021, 3:18 pm
Zehava wrote:
Op relationships aren’t built through control and coercion. Relationships thrive on trust.


I think giving my child his own car and his own smartphone and saying yes anytime he wants to go out with friends is plenty of trust. Now he needs to give back. My problem is that the situation is one-sided and my husband refuses to set limits.
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amother




OP
 

Post Thu, Apr 15 2021, 3:22 pm
avrahamama wrote:
It's not a bad way to live but it's not a great way to love.


Such a great line! Love that. I love him enough for the both of us. It's times like these though, that all these fights I thought we were long done with come simmering up to the surface. To see patterns repeat in your children is hard.

avrahamama wrote:
Even if it's 915 and that's when you remember to call. I won't be upset, I'll be happy just to be informed"


I like this. Do you think it's obnoxious to insist it's a phone call and not a text?

avrahamama wrote:
You mentioned in your OP that clothing was another issue. It's so tricky to start having an opinion in clothes. Especially with teens. Do they have a budget or just free reign of the cc? Letting them use the cc indiscriminately is setting them up for trouble later on when it's time to be financially independent..


Clothing is hard. I tried so hard to be non-judgmental and let my kids express themselves and be who they wanted to be, even if that meant it wasn't the norm. I felt that my upbringing was so repressive that I never wanted them to feel like being frum meant you had to wear a certain outfit.

And yet.

I kinda see why people feel that way. Typical teenage clothing is just so gross. The style is super duper tight pants (they're like leggings to me) and brand names all over your shirts. And you know what? My son has been consistently rejected from middle-of-the-road yeshivas because of it. And you can't, as a parent, tell your kid, "You were rejected from a school! It's because of what you wear!" That's just a terrible message. But inside you KNOW that your child is setting himself up for rejection not just from schools, but from spheres and girls and workspaces and all sorts of situations because of the way he dresses.

So the fact that he THEN buys all those clothes with my credit card is just too much for me to handle. I told him clearly he has to ask permission first, but he doesn't see the problem with it because we're normally so generous. It's just a weird, crazy conundrum. And my husband doesn't see why I'm upset about it. And so when I bring it up, he tells my son, "just tell mom when you bought something,", so that I can balance the budget or something instead of it the reality, which is that he's using our money without letting us know.

If I tell my parents any of this they'd go into shock. I was raised old-school. You did what you were told, period.

avrahamama wrote:
Really it just sounds like each issue requires a bit of proactive problem solving as opposed to being more reactionary.


I'm just letting out all of my concerns. I feel like I have this big fear now that they're getting so much older. Did I do a good job? Is he a responsible, kind, frum, erlich adult? Will he learn? Will he have a relationship with Hashem?

I try to be not-strict, yet firm. Set boundaries and limits. Instill love for Torah. And yet it feels like I wasn't strict enough, and now it's too late, because they've swung way to the left. And my husband is upset about it too, but he's never home so who cares, and also stop getting mad at the kids instead just take them out for coffee. Argh!
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amother




Ivory
 

Post Thu, Apr 15 2021, 3:26 pm
I don’t see control here. I think that the kids are getting mixed messages. It’s common courtesy to give those living with you a basic outline of your schedule. I don’t think it’s right for a husband to just not show up knowing his wife prepared hot dinner and is waiting for him. In the age of cell phones a quick text I’ll be late tonight eat without me is menchlichkeit. I think there is a lack of respect from your husband and your kids are copying it. What I don’t get is if your husband saw this is a super important thing to you why can’t he just send basic texts? He doesn’t have to give his exact gps location or what exactly he’s doing but updates on his schedule are 100% normal in any relationship. Sorry that some people here don’t get it.
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Zehava




 
 
 
 

Post Thu, Apr 15 2021, 3:29 pm
amother [ OP ] wrote:
I think giving my child his own car and his own smartphone and saying yes anytime he wants to go out with friends is plenty of trust. Now he needs to give back. My problem is that the situation is one-sided and my husband refuses to set limits.

Yeah parenting isn’t a marriage where you give and he needs to give back
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amother




Natural
 

Post Thu, Apr 15 2021, 4:11 pm
I had to look at the date stamp to see if this was an old post of mine because my dh was pretty much the same way. I have no advice for you. All I did was hang on grimly for many years till dh started working from home. Then I no longer had to worry that it was 3 am and he still hadn't come back. Whatever he was doing at 3 am, he was doing it at home.

Wanting to know when your dh expects to be home is normal, not "controlling." Controlling is when dh says he'll be home at 11, he walks in at 11:03 and you berate him for being late. Anxious is when he says he'll be home at 11 and at 11:03 you're calling the police to report a missing person.

The world is not always a safe place, unpleasant things happen even to good people, and wives worry, you know? The time for a dh to be resentful is when his dw doesn't ask him when he's coming home. Informing your partner of your whereabouts and your ETA back home is basic courtesy, and failing to do so is grossly inconsiderate.
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