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All By Myself: Why My Husband Doesn’t Read Good Enough Mother

Buff and Rene pic

At the moment I’m sitting in Good Enough Mother World Headquarters where I have just finished the first of what I hope will be several life shows on our new Ustream.tv channel. But instead of feeling elated, I’m a little sad. Yeah we had technical errors, but that’s neither here nor there; I’ve worked in enough small TV markets to know if it can go wrong, chances are it will! No, I’m sad because, frankly, I feel like my husband has no idea what goes on in my life, nor is he all that interested.

Now I know I’m probably tempting fate writing this; heck some of you are probably covering your eyes and mentally screaming, “Stop, GEM! He might read this.”  I can assure you he will not. I wrote an entire book about my life, our life together. He had a chance to read the manuscript when it was typewritten and in a binder. Did he? Nope. He had a chance to read it in galleys before the final printing. Did he? Nope. Then the book came out. I have 246 copies here at the house. You think he’s ever read one? Do I need really to answer that?

A couple of nights ago, I excitedly told Buff about what Team GEM (Richard and Roger of Savannah Media) was about to embark on with Ustream. Buff, an old school media guy said, “I don’t have time to keep up with all that”, swiftly popping my little bubble of excitement. But we went ahead with it and pulled it off, just the team and me. Before I knew it, there were dozens of people in the chat room – friends, fans, gawkers, all wanting to share and talk with me, to hear what I had to say. It was fun, exciting and ultimately rewarding. Yep, all of those things until Buff couldn’t find the remote for the TV and peeked his head into my “office” (the walk in closet), interrupting me while I was on live. Why finding the remote AT THAT MOMENT was so critical was beyond me, but the action, as they all do, speaks volumes.

Buff is a great guy. He’s also a very, feet-on-the-ground sort of thinker, which I so desperately need; I cannot imagine being married for 17 years to anyone else. Unfortunately that pragmatism can sometimes get in the way of big dreams. It’s that common sense that on the one hand, keeps us out of debtor’s prison but on the other, also keeps us chained with golden handcuffs, in a job that pays but sucks the enthusiasm from our soul. It isn’t until the end of our days here on earth we realize how much nicer it would be to be a little hungry but a lot happy.

I can’t fault Buff too much; the guy gets up at the crack of dawn, he takes an hour long train into the city, sitting next to a guy who eats raw garlic for 37 miles (I am not making this up). Then he trudges along 3rd avenue to his office where he sits at his desk, managing people and crunching numbers in an effort to stretch budgets in a troubled economy. Then he takes the same train home, 10 hours later (the garlic eater is gone) and walks in the door of the house for which he alone is carrying the financial burden, (unlike in years past) and what does he see? His wife, excitedly yammering on about some new technology that he’s too tired to try to wrap his head around, especially when it’s easier to dismiss her with a “That sounds great honey.”

Now in a moment of full and complete disclosure, I could do more; NEED to do more. Buff is a neat freak whereas I am allergic to anything domestic, still nursing a chronic case of dishpan hands from my teen years. I can generally tell what type of evening we’ll have soon after he walks in the door and spies the pots and pans. But there’s a reason for it, and it’s not just because I hate housework (nor am I alone in that). It’s just that housework ranks so far down the list of priorities. Who can worry about a dirty dish when the sanity of the parents is at stake? Of course in a moment of stunning clarity, I have come to realize Buff’s sanity is also at stake.

Sometimes I wonder though, what happened to us. We used to have deep, DEEP conversations about everything. Life. Dreams. Goals. Each other. But the picture we painted didn’t resemble reality, not in the least. The road in real life was dotted with the potholes and speed bumps of job loss and illness; stuff that can splinter a relationship like an F-5 tornado ripping through a 130-year-old barn. Sometimes there’s enough of the structure left standing, the bones are still good enough that all it needs is a shiny new shell. Other times, it collapses on itself, a result of the pressure from all sides.

Buff and I are strong people individually and together we are invincible but without question it’s time for a new shell. It’s time to reconnect and renew. I don’t want him to come home with monosyllabic answers to the “How was your day?” question. I’d love to hear the minutia of his day and I yearn for him to take an interest in the minor victories in my life. I am building an empire one brick at a time. It’s slow and tedious work and not one bit sexy. I’ll get there eventually but I need his support and it’s got to be way more than lip service. I need his heart. I need him to have faith in me. I need him to believe in my mission and to see my vision, even when he’s too tired to focus. When I get to the mountaintop, and oh, I will, I’ll be carrying a bottle of Dom Perignon and two Champagne flutes. I will drink from one; I’m desperate for my partner, friend husband to taste the sweet success from the other.

So start commenting everyone. Do you ever feel the same way? Like your partner doesn’t understand, or worse, doesn’t make the effort? What did you do to help him or her “get it?” I’d love to hear your thoughts

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