Mom Says Husband Makes Her Feel Like a Bad Mom for Needing Occasional 'Me Time'

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Mom looks pensive while holding child
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No one ever claimed that motherhood was easy. (And if they did, they were definitely lying.) Those first few months home with your newborn aren't just stressful; they're also physically and emotionally draining, which is why finding time to step away and recharge is crucial. Having a support system around you makes all the difference, which is what one tired new mom recently learned after her husband wasn't quite so understanding about her need for some time off.

  • In an anonymous letter, the new mom explained that ever since her 18-month-old son was born, she's been "desperate for alone time."

    In her letter, which was sent into Slate's "Care and Feeding" advice column, she explained that the issue has led to many disagreements with her husband. And recently, things really came to a head.

    "We had a week of constant family time at Christmas, so the next week at work I took advantage of the lighter workload to work out and get my nails done," the mom explained. "He can’t forgive me for this, and told me I was 'avoiding' being at home with our family."

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  • The new mom apparently made another "mistake," too: She dared to go away with her friend on a quick vacation.

    To be fair, she said, her husband's parents were in town for three weeks, and she "took four nights away with a girlfriend at the start of their visit." 

    This left her husband majorly PO'd.

  • Still, she didn't see what the big deal was.

    "He says he can’t imagine a world in which he could bear to be away from our son for that long by choice and that there’s something wrong with me for wanting to get away," the mom explained. "I don’t know what to do. I feel like I need a break; he feels like I’m not a good mom for wanting one."

  • The new mom added that she actually feels like she puts in a lot of quality time with their son, and her husband's accusations are unwarranted.

    Both parents work full time, but her husband leaves earlier in the morning, so she gets plenty of alone time with their son in the mornings, she said.

    "I took six months of maternity leave and breastfed for 15 months, but I did hire someone so I could get out of the house for two hours at a time, three days a week," she continued. 

    Her husband, on the other hand, only had three weeks of paternity leave and works longer hours.

    "Our son is a beautiful, healthy, well-adjusted little boy," she continued. "What is wrong with me?"

  • In the comments section, people were furious with the woman's husband.


    "Husband has a fairy tale notion of extended time alone with a baby," one commenter wrote. "Cure him of that."

    Another person thought that the problem might actually be cultural, because she noted that her husband was brought up in a family with a different background and that her in-laws did not share a language with her.

    "I don't see this ending well," the person wrote. "Cultural differences can be very hard to mesh, and I'm betting hubby spent his whole life with his mom catering to him 24/7. Try counseling, sure, but there is nothing at all wrong with you needing (or even just wanting and enjoying) me-time."

    Yet another person didn't mince words, writing plainly: "Your husband is a psycho. Divorce him."

  • Slate columnist Michelle Herman agreed: Mom deserves to have a break -- without the guilt trip.

    Herman assured the mother that there is absolutely nothing wrong with her "except exhaustion, stress, and the bombardment of guilt your husband is laying on you."

    Furthermore, one parent should never be allowed to determine how much alone time the other parent believes they need.

    "Your husband seems to think that all mothers, by definition, can’t bear to be away from their young children," Herman continued. "This is simply not true."

  • Herman also added that the couple should probably balance the scales a little more in terms of parenting.

    If Mom spends too much time with their son and Dad spends too little, they can definitely switch who's on duty.

    "Let your husband stay with your son when his parents aren’t around so he can get that bonding time in," the columnist  advised. "I understand that this will be impossible during the week, but for God’s sake, start doing it on the weekends! Both days. Every week. And not just for an hour or two, either.

    "This will kill two birds with one stone (and also allow your husband to put his money where his mouth is)," she added.

  • Still, the columnist noted that there's something about this issue that seems to suggest something deeper is going on.

    In fact, Herman calls the problem a "red herring."

    "It’s unclear whether it stems from your husband’s insecurity or his need to exert control over you, but it is definitely something the two of you need to have an honest conversation about," she said.

    "I suspect this is going to be difficult, and if I were you I would bring that conversation to marriage counseling, pronto. If some kind of intervention doesn’t occur soon, I’m afraid that things between the two of you are only going to get worse," she concluded.

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