General Question

Supacase's avatar

Am I overreacting or being overly sensitive?

Asked by Supacase (14538points) May 12th, 2009

I apologize for this being so long.

I feel like I worked really hard for Mothers’ Day and was not appreciated by my husband. I took care of all gifts for both mine and my husband’s mom and grandmothers, including helping my 3 y/o paint 5 flower pots.

I asked him if he thought we should host since our previous house was too small to do so and we haven’t hosted anything in a few years. He said he thought it was a great idea. So, I proceeded to invite everyone. It turned out to be about 20 people coming, which was way more than I expected, but some extended family came into town.

I proceeded to bake, dice and shredd 23 chicken breast for chicken salad, make a boatload of pasta salad with tons of veggies cut up into it, a veggie tray, pimiento cheese, banana pudding and chocolate peanut butter squares. He took a 3 hour nap.

I cleaned the kitchen, den and bathroom and swept all of the tile and hardwood floors. He mowed the grass, cleaned the living room and vacuumed.

Now we get to the issue. He did not thank me or help much with clean up after the luncheon; However, he feels he did as much as I did and that I am diminishing his contributions. He said I got myself into it and it was my choice to make the food when I could have purchased everything. I did not mind making the food. I enjoy cooking and considered it part of my gift to our mothers and grandmothers.

I was very hurt by this because I feel I did not get much respect or appreciation for being the mother of his child. I told him last night that I was hurt and it spiraled into an argument, so I dropped it. I will probably not bring it up again, but I would like unbiased opinions from uninterested parties.

What really surprises me about all of this is he is genuinely a good guy and usually reasonably thoughtful toward me.

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29 Answers

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

It could be he looks on your more as a wife than a “mother”. That doesn’t excuse his selfish response of the gathering being your idea, therefore justifying his lack of help with clean up. That kind of cold reasoning makes for a lot of cold angry marriage beds ;)
Personally, I don’t think you’re overreacting or blowing things out of proportion.

Dog's avatar

I would like to start off by stating that I find Mothers day, Valentines day and other commercially motivated days where people are supposed to jump through hoops to pay homage once a year a mine field for disappointment. We should show appreciation year round and not expect a holiday or gifts because a calendar deems we should. This year despite telling everyone I just wanted a hug it became a bit of a disaster all the way around.

That being said I think it is important to remember the last line of your post. He is a good guy and reasonably thoughtful.

Chances are that he too was tired from the company and may have been on edge thinking he had been appeasing you by having the party. I am sure you were both tired after hosting for 20 people.

I suggest you wait a week then get a sitter and have a romantic date night. I would not bring up subject of Mothers day and instead create a new family tradition.

Stanley's avatar

Did you tell him that you expected to be thanked or ask him to help clean up or did you just expect him to read your mind and just do it? If you asked him to help and he refused, then you are reasonable to be upset. If you just expected him to help without asking, then yes, you’re being unreasonable.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

That’s weak to do that to a mother ON mother’s day.

I can’t give advice but I think that was particularly mean of him and you deserve to be treated better than that.

syz's avatar

Sounds pretty crappy to me, but if you’ll pardon the gross generalization, typical.

But you let it happen… time he wants to do anything like that, lay out who is responsible for what before the event happens. Let him know your expectations. If he thinks it’s too much work, then tell him he can take everyone out to a nice restaurant and and that he should plan to pick up the bill.

squirbel's avatar

Have you ever read the Five Love Languages?

Your method to express love appears to be through your actions, and your method to receive love is through verbal appreciation/commentary.

I personally believe he could have helped you out more in the kitchen and around the house [not to diminish what he did, but the nap was too long]. And even if he didn’t help, it would have been nice for him to acknowledge all the hard work you did, and do, in raising his child.

It’s possible he thought you were honored by the party, included with the rest of the mothers.

I suggest you read the Five Love Languages to see what I mean. Each person expresses love, and receives love in different ways – and if you aren’t speaking the other person’s love language, they feel unappreciated and unloved at times. This feeling can be draining and lead a person to ask “Why?”

The Five Love Languages

elijah's avatar

I think what he did was selfish an disrespectful. It is not unreasonable to expect a show of appreciation when you work so hard. I would suggest when fathers day rolls around you let him do all the work while you take a nap.

Supacase's avatar

@Stanley I told him the day before Mother’s day, when I did all of the cooking and cleaning, that a thank you would have been nice. He rolled his eyes. I think he took it as me being a snippy, but that was not my intent. I can see why he might go there because I do tend to be sarcastic.

@hungryhungryhortence He usually helps with cleaning quite a bit and doesn’t exhibit chauvinistic thinking. I guess this is why I am so upset – because it makes me feel he is being particularly insensitive compared to his usual self.

@Dog I don’t think he was trying to appease me. In fact, after all was said and done, he said we need to do this more often. And, yes, I should focus on his good points. I dn’t get my feelings hurt often, but maybe it was just an off day for him or both of us. It happens.

@squirbel I have heard of that and believe his love language is affection/touch. We definitely have different love languages.

qualitycontrol's avatar

He was just being lazy, I would be more pissed about him being lazy than anything else lol.

Facade's avatar

@Stanley She shouldn’t have to ask him for help. He should have gotten off his ass when he saw she was doing all the work on mother’s day

galileogirl's avatar

You have been with this guy for at least 4 years. This can’t be the 1st time he has pulled this. I bet you are the one who pulls together Christmas and birthdays etc. I am also sure that you do the cooking and cleaning so the nap was no surprise.

It’s time to take a big girl pill and meet your husband like an adult partner. If it is not important to him to entertain and have a nice home, then he is going to resist. You have to decide whether it is important to you.

You won’t change him by being negative or nagging. If he doesn’t care about his family, that’s on him. I am sure your mother and mother-in- law would have been thrilled with a nice ladies’ luncheon for 3 on Saturday. Also when you buy a gift or card, just sign your name.

Take stock of why you took on this challenge. Unless you want to play the martyr, climb down off that cross.

wundayatta's avatar

To piggyback on what @galileogirl said, what bothers me is that you are asking this question in public, as if you need us to justify your outrage. I’m sorry, but your outrage is your outrage, and if you feel it, you feel it. You need not justify it. I hope. Because if you do, then there’s a lot more problems in your relationship than Mother’s Day. Own your feelings and discuss this with your husband. He’s the one you have to get along with. Or not.

[edit] I just noticed that you apologized for your question before you asked it, as if you don’t have a right to ask it. Sure, your apology said it was about length, but you question wasn’t particularly long.

You don’t have to apologize. You don’t need to justify your outrage, or any other feeling. You are a person. I hope you know what that means.

cyndyh's avatar

I don’t think he was trying to appease me. In fact, after all was said and done, he said we need to do this more often.

“We”? Is that the second person “we”?

Yeah, I’d be a bit pissed off. I’d be more concerned about his reaction afterward. If it spirals into an argument instead of him apologizing, explaining, and asking how things can go better for you next time then there’s a problem. And if you’re dropping the argument without getting things resolved that’s a problem, too.

bezdomnaya's avatar

@cyndyh ‘we’ is first person plural but I get what you’re saying.

I agree with @galileogirl and @daloon if you make your expectations clear. If you don’t however, then it is on you and you alone.

The problem could also be the holiday itself. Not everyone feels the same about Mother’s Day. It’s clear from the get go that you value Mother’s Day much more highly than your mate. You offered to buy the presents, you offered to host the party. How did he act toward his mother? How did he act toward your mother? Would he do something this thoughtless on any other day? Perhaps he just does not value this holiday to the same extent that you do.

cyndyh's avatar

@bezdomnaya: I’m talking about people using “we” when they mean “you”. I am familiar with English. :^>

MissAusten's avatar

@daloon just made a great point. There’s nothing at all wrong with feeling the way you do. You have a choice in how you react to and deal with those feelings, however. You can choose to not host a large group of family on Mother’s Day again. You can choose to communicate clearly before the event about what you will need help with. You can choose to let it go this time, and do things differently next time.

In reading the question, it seems to me as if your husband feels like the luncheon was your idea and therefore your responsibility. Maybe he didn’t realize at first how big of a group you’d invite—who knows. Whenever we have a big party, my husband and I figure out who will do what in advance. It makes things a lot simpler. I remember some of the first big cookouts we had, when a couple of days before the event my husband would say to me, “Oh yeah, I ran into some people and invited them too…” And it would be about 15 more people. I also remember the days when he thought the point of the party was to just have fun and that maybe the clean-up fairies would visit later to take care of all the mess. He knows better now. ;)

Stanley's avatar

@Supacase I agree eye rolling isn’t a good move.
@Facade People should be responsible for their own happiness and not rely on others to make them happy. If she wanted him to clean up after the meal she should have asked. Yes, I agree, he should have done it without being asked, but he didn’t. I am not excusing his actions, I am answering Supacase’s reaction to that event. At that time Supacase had a choice—she could have asked for his help, or not ask for his help and then sulk and be upset about it later which is exactly what happened.

Supacase's avatar

Thank you for your opinions.

To clear up a few things, I didn’t offer to host the party on my own.

I can’t just invite our mothers as we are close to our grandmothers and have 3 living. We invited the dads and grandpas because we enjoy their company and they want to celebrate Mothers’ Day with their wives and mothers, too. Still, that is only 12 people and I can easily handle that. 21 means doubling recipes and cost. His mother, not I, invited the other people (step-brother and sister plus spouses and kids) because they were in from out of town. Most of the family in attendance was his, not mine.

I did ask him to clean up and he said he would, but did not. I do not expect him to read my mind. As I said before, this is not typical behavior for him which is why it is so upsetting and confusing to me. He usually comes through for holidays, including Mother’s Day.

He was very nice to everyone during the party.

I guess my reason for posting this was to vent and get either validation or a reality check. I suppose I shouldn’t have done so.

cyndyh's avatar

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with you posting this. I’d bring it up again so you can work things out so this doesn’t happen this way to you again. You need to find out what happened from his point of view and he needs to hear your concerns without rolling his eyes. I wish you the best of luck.

MissAusten's avatar

@Supacase, I’d be mad at my mother in law then! But since I am way too nonconfrontational, I’d bitch to my husband about it, he’d agree with me because he’s really smart, and then he’d call his mom and tell her she’s crazy and she better do at least half of the cooking as well as clean up. But then, he can say absolutely anything to her and she’s OK with it.

You’re not wrong to ask the question, it’s just that in a situation like this everyone is giving opinions without knowing all of the particular details or dynamics of your family. We’re kind of just throwing out ideas and thoughts, not saying you’re wrong. The first part of this comment, for example, assumes that your mother in law invited people without asking you first, but it’s just as likely that she did have your approval first. And, even if you did tell her yes, that doesn’t mean you didn’t secretly want to say no. We’re trying to be helpful, honest!

Stanley's avatar

@Supacase In that case, if you asked him to clean up and he didn’t, and then got upset when you pointed it out to him, then he’s being a putz. You have every right to be upset. I would tell you what I would do if I were in your situation, but this is a public forum. You could probably guess.

YARNLADY's avatar

I have a hard time relating, because in our family, all the mothers and daughters do the preparing, and all the fathers and sons do the rest. Maybe your discussion was too much on who did/didn’t do what, when it should have been, “I feel bad”.

I’ve always been a believer in being in charge of my own feelings, and not allowing others to “make me” feel something I don’t want to feel.

bezdomnaya's avatar

@cyndyh Sorry, it was jokes

Sloane2024's avatar

Wow. Your scenario is strikingly similar to every holiday at my house until my parents divorced. My mother did everything without any appreciation or offer of assistance from my dad, but she couldn’t even think about bringing up the fact that he refused to help or neglected to utter the slightest “Thank you” because he would crawl all over her for it.

I’m completely on your side, and you have every right to be upset. Chivalry is not dead; he’s a big boy and should know how to treat his wife, the mother of his child, on Mother’s Day. sheesh…

cyndyh's avatar

@bezdomnaya: It’s all good. :^>

MissAusten's avatar

@YARNLADY My husband’s family is very similar, in that the men and women have expected roles at family functions. The men are in charge of any cooking that involves the grill. The women do the rest of the cooking, except for one male cousin who is a chef. After we all eat (usually the main dish is cooked by the host, and the rest of us contribute sides, salads, bread, dessert, etc.), the women clear everything away and clean up while the men sit around and gab. All the guys in our family do help manage the kids at these events, and I have to say that my husband is awesome at helping to clean up anything that gets missed or left behind after everyone leaves. He’s a real keeper!

When I first married my husband, I didn’t get this routine. My family is very small, and my parents did everything. After the first couple of family dinners with my huge group of in-laws, I figured out how it all works. Believe me, when we have the whole gang over to our house, I’m very grateful for the way everyone pitches in to help wash dishes and put leftovers away.

rooeytoo's avatar

I don’t think you should have to communicate to him that you expect him to do his share, seems like any adult would be able to figure that out.

Next time don’t volunteer to be the host home and if he suggests it, let him be in charge!

And if you have a son, raise him so that he doesn’t grow up with that sort of mind set.

l2l2's avatar

that was not nices what he did,and guys are like that well some of them they do not appreciate what womans do .But in other hands just know that you did a great job out there and dont get upset cause he didnt thanks you or anything,by dad does this all the time to my moms which makes me really upset.just talk to him about it. and i guess he does feel like he did something b/c his family were there thats all.Hope you feel better

Supacase's avatar

Thanks for the input everyone. I appreciate all perspectives.

You know what? I have had a change of attitude, much in thanks to this thread. All of the moms and grandmas had a nice time and made sure to let me know. The whole thing was for them, so that is what should matter most to me.

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