"Being an At-Home Mom Is Ruining Our Marriage"

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Her Turn, continued

"For the first year of Andrew's life, Jeff spent most of his free time working on the house. Wanting everything perfect immediately, he'd get up early to move rocks, haul dirt, and chop wood before work. At night and on weekends, he'd pick up where he left off. I once accused Jeff of putting the house before his family, but he insisted he was just increasing the real-estate value.

"Despite our problems, we wanted another child, and we were thrilled when Hayley came. Though I still missed working at the ad agency, I decided to continue staying at home, at least until the kids were well established in grade school.

"Even so, we didn't anticipate the added stress that a second baby would put on our marriage -- not to mention the extra work. We're always fighting over the kids; Jeff thinks I'm too strict with them and I think he's too lenient. If I leave Andrew and Hayley with him when I run errands, he plops them in front of the TV instead of playing with them.

"Money is another hot-button issue. To make ends meet on one salary, I stick to a tight budget. My only 'splurge' is for weekly therapy to help me work through some issues related to being a child of an alcoholic. Jeff insists we can't afford my counseling, yet he thinks nothing of buying expensive lawn equipment.

"Our fights are like brush fires, starting quickly and growing fast. Once, Jeff called me a 'bad mother' for not canceling my therapy session when Andrew had a cold. It was the most hurtful thing that anyone has ever said to me. I'm not much better; just the other week, I threw the TV remote control at Jeff in the heat of the moment. Sometimes we don't speak for days afterward, and I can't remember the last time we made love.

"Though I loathe the thought of divorce, I don't want my children growing up in an unhappy home. Sometimes I wonder if quitting my job was the right thing to do."

Continued on page 3:  His Turn


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