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Posted By: williamw How can I help my wife? - 05/19/09 03:19 PM
My wife is a stay at home mom, taking care of our 2 kids, a 2 and a half year old and a 6 month old. It's very hard and most days are a struggle for her. The big issue with my wife is she has very poor self esteem. I don't know anymore what to do to help her. I know what I've done in the past to contribute to it, and I've made efforts to be more encouraging and positive around her, but I'm not seeing that it is helping any. She feels that she is a horrible mother, wife, daughter, everything. Meanwhile, the majority of the other parents we know have their kids in daycare but even though my wife is staying home with the kids she thinks she is a worse parent than them. She has no reason at all to think she's a bad mother as our kids are great and when they are difficult it's typical toddler/infant stuff. I feel like this is getting out of control and I don't know what to do anymore. I worry so much about her and the kids. They are completely dependent on her during the day and I just worry that she's going to have a breakdown. I've encouraged her to talk to her doctor about her anti-depressants and maybe changing the dosage, I've encouraged her to consider therapy, I've recommended books, etc. In addition, I've tried my best to stop being critical of her, which I've done in the past and has led to problems. I just want her to feel good about herself. I'm so proud of everything she has done and I'm so happy with the job she does taking care of the kids. If anyone has a suggestion for something that can help boost her self esteem I'd really appreciate hearing it--a book, another forum or web site, anything. Thanks.
Posted By: Rosycheeks Re: How can I help my wife? - 05/19/09 04:54 PM
If you've been critical of her in the past and this has affected her self esteem it will take a lot of time for her to feel safe and believe that you are not going to be that way again. I don't know if she has further problems that will stop her from improving as your relationship improves but trying to be there for her and make it clear to her what you admire and love about her and being gentle when expressing negative feelings about things should help some in time.

Being at home with young children is hard though, its hard to keep your self esteem when nobody gives you recognition for how hard you work and you get no respect generally from our society that values paid work above all else.
Posted By: catperson Re: How can I help my wife? - 05/19/09 06:28 PM
What is the background on her anti-depressants? What was she diagnosed with? Did she go on her own or did someone make her go?

Without knowing her, this book has a good chance of helping: Healing the Shame That Binds You.

The two of you should sit down with a posterboard and write down everything that goes on in the house (has to be done, needs to be done, wants to be done), and divide up the labor. She probably needs a break, needs to be out of the rut, needs time with friends to get away from the babies, needs to accomplish something about HERSELF - not her family (college degree, club, etc.), and needs to become a person on her own.

Talk about what she envisioned for herself, whether she's getting it, what she would have changed. Help her achieve it.
Posted By: bitbucket Re: How can I help my wife? - 05/19/09 10:13 PM
Mate I'm with you there to some extent; my wife is a SAHM with a 5-year-old, an 18-month-old, and one on the way.

CP had some good suggestions. What is the background behind the antidepressants? Was she diagnosed with post partum depression (PPD)? This can play havoc on a woman's mind, especially if she was susceptible to depression before. My wife had PPD with both's a hard thing to go through.

Join a gym that has a nursery. This will kill several birds with one stone: it will let her work off the baby weight, making her feel better about herself. Working out will improve her mental attitude and give her more energy. It'll give her a break from the kids for an hour or two at a time of her own choosing. The kids will be socialized. It'll give her something to schedule her day around. We do this and it's a godsend.

I know what I've done in the past to contribute to it

In addition, I've tried my best to stop being critical of her, which I've done in the past and has led to problems.

Stop doing it altogether. Get the book 'Love Busters'. Read it and learn it. Look, the SAHM is in charge of the house and has her hands full already. If you think you have a better way to do it, either do it yourself or keep it to yourself. Suggesting/micromanaging the SAHM is not kosher.

Consider a church-run mothers day out program, or a Montessori school, or a gym class/academic program. Even a couple days a week will help.
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