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Pregnant Princess Seeks Knight In Shining Armor

Mar08

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Knight Rider photo by .Robert.
Dearest Amalah,

I’m a huge fan of your writing, and do not even want to contemplate how many hours of company time I’ve spent reading your blogs. If anyone will know the answer to this question, it’s you!

I’m 26 and pregnant with my first baby (a boy due the first week of June, 2010). I’m still working full-time, my husband works two jobs, and we only have one car. Since he has two jobs — one of which is temporarily located an hour away, neither of which are on a bus route — he always gets the car, and I am stuck hauling my preggers butt on the bus. Needless to say, it sucks!
While I appreciate that my husband works very hard, I am annoyed that he gets to drive to/from work in comfort while I’m dying of back pain as I waddle to bus stops in all of my preggiosity. I get short of breath easily, and sometimes climbing the hills makes me feel faint.

I have begged him to talk to his supervisor about being a little flexible with his arrival/departure time until the baby comes, so he can drive me sometimes, but he refuses to even ask. He says I either need to take the bus or beg friends/family for rides. This the cause of many fights lately.

Oh wise and wonderful Amalah — is my husband lacking understand of how physically difficult pregnancy can be, or am I just being a preggo princess?

Thank you in advance!
Lacey

So the first knee-jerk thing I typed after reading your question was something like this: HE WON’T EVEN ASK? WHAAAAAT?

That was about an hour and two cups of coffee ago, as I decided to take a little more time to let the situation noodle around my brain for a bit. And honestly, my first question is still the same, though maybe without the caps lock: He won’t even ask? Why the hell not?

I feel like maybe we need his side of the story here: Is this job not exactly on super-solid ground, either company-wise or personal-performance-wise? Is he perhaps not sharing details like poor reviews or an extremely difficult-to-please boss because he doesn’t want to worry you? Are flex hours simply NOT DONE or generally frowned upon? Or is he just being a selfish jerk or doesn’t want the added hassle of chauffeuring you around in the morning?

I can’t really make that call since I don’t know him, don’t know your commutes or any of the reasons WHY he is refusing to ASK if there’s a possibility for him to help you out, even occasionally.

Look, plenty of pregnant women rely on the bus or subway for all nine months. I’m sure you know that. Provided your doctor has no problems with you keeping up this level of activity (and I’m hoping you talked to him/her about your feelings of faintness and being out of breath?), sometimes we all just have to do what we have to do, pregnant or not.

BUT! BUT BUT BUT.

What worries me, though, is an apparent lack of sensitivity on your husband’s part, the refusal to take even one little step in the direction of making your life a little easier. This is something that a good spouse SHOULD JUST DO, even when you’re not pregnant. Don’t you think? If you say, “hey, such-and-such is getting to be too much for me, and I think if you could just do this-and-this, it would really help me out,” your significant other should have a little more to say than just, “no, I won’t.” What would it take, I wonder, for your husband to give in and ask? Early labor? Blood pressure concerns? Doctor’s orders? Why isn’t the fact that you’ve simply asked for help enough? “Ride the bus or beg for rides?” Really?

(Now go back to third paragraph re: his side of the story, rinse, repeat as needed.)

And beyond back pain and swollen ankles and bladder issues and squished-up lungs and organs and the other VERY VERY REAL AND NON-PRINCESSY COMPLAINTS OF PREGNANCY, what’s going to happen when the baby is born and becomes even less portable? Will you be returning to work and expected to lug a carseat and supplies across town to the daycare center? If your child gets sick at school will he be willing to ask his boss for an early dismissal or will that all be “your job”? Who calls in sick for an ear infection, or spends their entire lunch break at the pediatrician or pharmacy? If his job is REALLY that inflexible and he’s that unwilling to approach anyone about that inflexibility, I’m worried the bus fight might simply be the first of many.
Or not! Maybe he’s just being a typical guy who doesn’t get how physically hard pregnancy can be on a woman. Maybe his mother was of the “give birth in a field and then get back to plowing” stock and he expects everyone to be like that. (My husband never, EVER fully understood the Food Thing for me, the aversions and cravings and how they WEREN’T AN OPTIONAL SUGGESTION.) If so, copy and paste this column into an email and erase all those worries about him not helping out with the baby, but leave this part: Pregnancy sucks. Your back hurts, your feet hurt. You have to pee every time you’re someplace (bus) that doesn’t have a bathroom (bus) and are unable to get to a bathroom at 20 seconds’ notice (bus). Pregnant women are easily overexerted and can pass out just from standing up from a chair. Your lungs are crowded and your ab muscles overextended. It is one of the most physically demanding experiences a human being can go through. So sack up and give your wife a ride to work once in awhile already. God.

About the author

Amalah

http://www.amalah.com
Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy's daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it's pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.


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17 Responses to “Pregnant Princess Seeks Knight In Shining Armor”

  1. Heidi T Mar 08 at 12:44 pm Reply Reply

    Another consideration here. I remember my husband (who is seriously the nicest sweetest guy in the world) became a bit unmoving about work when I was pregnant with my now almost 7 year old daughter. He would not want to come home early or beg off for doc appts.
    We had a couple huge fights and then he confided to me that while I was taking care of our baby in the belly (and doing a damn fine job of it), his job was to support his now expanding family and he was a bit anxious about it.
    I think this is really common with guys. Their traditional role is to support their family financially and even though you want him to be there for you emotionally, he might need to work out the balance still.

  2. eva Mar 08 at 1:01 pm Reply Reply

    Uh, I’m with Amy. And I know, two sides to every story, maybe you are a demanding whiny princess Lacey…but STILL…you are PREGNANT and definitely deserve more than having to beg for a ride! Also, being on a crammed bus at the end of the day, the smells of people and wet wool and BO and daylong food smells and breath to a pregnant woman who is just more sensitive to those things …. you deserve some sympathy!
    Is there any way you could sell the car and get two cheaper cars? Or does your city have a cooperative auto network program that you’d be able to join for the last few months of pregnancy so that at least a couple days a week you’d have a car?
    My mom has been at my controlling dad’s mercy as far as their shared car goes forever. It has never gotten better. He likes to have it at his disposal at all times, so she gets stuck on transit. Just please Lacey, try to nip this in the bud and work towards some greater equality now while you are both young and can still make changes to the power balance.

  3. Beth Mar 08 at 1:04 pm Reply Reply

    I’m due in the middle of May, so I definitely feel for you!
    Honesty, when it comes to pregnancy, I have a theory. It is very, very, very advanced. It is: Men just don’t get it. They will never get it. I’m beginning to believe they’re not capabale of fully ‘getting it.’
    On one hand, my husband is very protective of me and the baby. Sometimes, this involves him doing stuff for me (such as cleaning the toilets or taking out the kitchen trash). However, this protectiveness often manifests when there is little to no inconvenience to my husband, and restricts only my behavior. No caffiene (no matter what the doctor says). Are you sure you can ride a bike? You can’t go down that waterslide! (referring to a very, very, very, tame waterslide at our local pool). That’s right dear, how easy it is for you to protect the baby!
    At other times, however, it can be puzzling. I’m apparently allowed to walk past my husband carrying a heavy basket of overflowing laundry. I’m allowed to get home from work and immediately cook and clean up dinner, and head straight into the homework/bath/bed routine for my stepkids without a break to sit down.
    Honestly, I fume during these times. But, really? I’m not even sure my husband realizes what I’m doing. If I say I need a hand, he’ll give it. But, on a moment to moment basis, I don’t even think it crosses his mind that I’m tired, pregnant, and probably overdoing it. He just needs to be reminded. Most of the time. Except when I’m in a particularly nasty hormone fueled rage. Then he’s just a jerk :)

  4. Alison Mar 08 at 1:35 pm Reply Reply

    I think the husband is being a jerk, but how far are the bus stops? If we’re talking 2 to 3 miles, then I can understand, but if it’s down the street, I don’t mean to be completely unsympathetic, but a little exercise is not the worst thing in the world. My commute is 1.5 miles each way, and I walked it up until a week before I went into labor. Also, if you think it’s hard to walk now, wait until May.

  5. Natalie Mar 08 at 1:39 pm Reply Reply

    My husband works construction and his job really is that ridged. He couldn’t ask for special treatment because he would be laid off. But like Amalah said, not knowing his side of the story and all, when we were in a very similar situation last year I made the (in my mind) ultimate sacrafice of getting up way too early (5 am) and going to work way too early (at my desk before 6 am everyday while very pregnant and tired)so that I could have a nice comfy ride to work…maybe you could meet him in the middle and everyone gets up earlier and then he could take you and drop you off?

  6. Elizabeth Mar 08 at 1:40 pm Reply Reply

    I’m going to play devils advocate a little here and say that yes, the pregnancy of course is making your commute difficult and maybe your husband could be more supportive. BUT he is also working two jobs to support your impending family. That should get some respect and appreciation as well. I don’t know his situation, but I know my job would NOT be in favor of me coming in late/leaving early, etc. It’s a tough job market out there, maybe he does not want to rock the boat. Just saying.

  7. Julie Mar 08 at 1:51 pm Reply Reply

    My thought was the same as Heidi’s. A lot of guys get very worried about the whole “how will I provide for the kids” thing during pregnancy, especially since the kid isn’t “real” to them at least until she’s born, and more accurately not until she can start smiling back or playing. So working as much overtime as possible and getting as much financial security as possible for the upcoming little one is a pretty common way of dealing with the anxiety, and that may be influencing his decision.
    My thought – is there a flip side to this question? Could you be a little more flexible about your arrival/departure times and go in a little earlier or later if it meant being able to skip the bus? Maybe there’s a cafe near work where you can sit down with a good book and a decaf tea and relax for an hour before or after work if it means he can drop you off and still get to work at his normal starting time?

  8. Bethany Mar 08 at 1:58 pm Reply Reply

    My assumption is that he’s nervous about his job and doesn’t want to ask for what he sees as favors at work, even if work isn’t really that inflexible. I know that when I’ve been nervous at work I get afraid to use our actual flex time and other side “benefits” (work remotely, etc0 because I feel I need to have a good showing.
    Would it be possible for him to leave extra early for work and drop you off at work early, too? And then for you to hang out with a book at the office after closing so he can come get you? Not ideal, but at least sort of maybe a compromise?

  9. dcfullest Mar 08 at 2:34 pm Reply Reply

    I am definitely in the “there is more to this story” camp. My husband became neurotic about work when I was pregnant. He worked tons of overtime (even though he is salaried) and went above and beyond everytime he was asked to do anything. He wouldn’t admit it at first (I wonder if he even realized he was doing it), but he was doing it to make sure his job was incredibly safe. He was terrified of being able to provide for our babies. Maybe that is why your husband isn’t willing to ask?
    If it isn’t that and he doesn’t have a good reason, he needs a come to Jesus discussion. What are you planning on doing for transportation once your baby is born? How will you get him/her to doctor’s appointments (both scheduled and sick visits)?

  10. LD Mar 08 at 2:41 pm Reply Reply

    Amalah hits it on the head again. Get in there, get it figured out NOW because guess what… it will not stop, it will just mutate.
    I am no longer pregnant. I have two children, 25 mo (in other words just barely 2 years) and 6 mo. Yet that comment above from Beth? THAT IS MY LIFE TOO.
    We can have these serious talks about how, what with him working 2 hours away from home, being gone 6am to 7:30pm, and us having only one car, there is no good solution. If I want him to come home and take over the kids while I relax, that’s not fair to him. On the other hand, if he expects to come home and relax watching tv the whole three hours until his bedtime(after I’ve cleaned and childcared and worked from home all day), and never let me have a break from my children, NO.
    And we agree on that in theory. However, in reality? Most of the time it works out that second way. And I should have seen it coming.
    Ultimately, you can’t expect your partner to ever change, EVER. If there is an attitude or action that bothers you now, expect to deal with it for life.
    With that said, the better you understand his motivations and attitudes, the better you can (a) know what to expect and plan for it, and (b) possibly come up with a justification that appeals to HIS sense of priorities.
    Finally — a great book I read [The Other Side of Love] (it’s about anger) has a little card in the back of it. The card says: “I’m feeling angry right now, but don’t worry. I’m not going to attack you. But I do need your help. Is this a good time to talk?” If you can keep your word and not attack, this is a good way to start a discussion.

  11. Karen Mar 08 at 3:13 pm Reply Reply

    Just a general suggestion, but can I go exclaim from a mountaintop how helpful it is to see a marriage counselor for things like this? Check and see if your insurance covers it which make the whole thing much more afforadable.
    My husband and I have continued to visit with the counselor we met during our pre-marriage sessions and it has been time well spent. Preggo woman has a chance to talk about her needs, stressed hubby has a chance to talk about his expectations and worries… and a good counselor creates some neutral ground and helps preggo and hubby work through the conversation together.
    It has helped tremendously and really, who wants to be spending time writing blog posts about whether your spouse is being passive-aggressive when you have night-wakings, sore boobs, and a screaming newborn?

  12. Elizabeth Mar 08 at 4:36 pm Reply Reply

    I think Amalah’s suggestions about how this might apply to life with baby are right on target. I also have to say, my DH was a bit like this (very much not understanding) and, yep, he still is with the kids. He can’t pick up sick kids and will rarely take time off to do the dr./dentist visits. Luckily he can work from home, so if one of our little darlings is home ill and I have a meeting I must attend, he will “cover” – but he’s working the whole time, not taking time off to really care for the sick child. Very much the vibe that his job is more important than mine and he is more critical to the running of the world than I am, but on the other hand he’s like this about everything. He hardly takes vacation days to go on a freakin’ vacation, and if he goes to the doctor or dentist he works late or on the weekend to make up the hours. I know his co-workers and it’s not the company, it’s him. I like him pretty well anyway. Sometimes you just have to take the whole package.

  13. kakaty Mar 08 at 5:00 pm Reply Reply

    I’m also in the “there is more to this story” camp. I’ve always had incredibly flexible jobs/bosses and wouldn’t think twice about asking and I always thought it was insane what my husband wouldn’t even have a talk with his boss about things. Then I worked at a very, very rigid company for a time and all of a sudden I understood. Asking for favors was a huge “no no” even opening up the conversation put you in a bad light so you didn’t dare.
    Also, Lacey says this 1-hr commute is because the job is in a temporary location which makes me feel like there may me some instabiltiy there and the husband doesn’t want to rock the boat (I could be reading WAY into it here). I doubt he’s trying to be controling by taking the only car – but he needs to get better at communicating these things with Lacey. I think the suggestion that Lacey try to flex her work may be an option, or maybe set up some sort of car-pooling with a friend/coworker.

  14. Amy Mar 08 at 8:20 pm Reply Reply

    I’m all with Amalah about a) other side of the story (my fiance is in a job where even though they claim to be family oriented, there really is no room for late starts or leaving early etc), but as Julie suggests perhaps you could get a ride early/stay late or shift your own schedule a bit to get a ride? Also, how about a car pool? Maybe someone you work with (but might not be friends with) lives nearby and would trade some gas money or some other favor for a ride once in a while? Or maybe someone would pick you up from the bus stop near work or drive you to the bus stop after work, or at least part of the way. I’ve never been pregnant but I have blown out my knee a few times and I remember as embarrassed as I was to ask for rides or help from people I barely knew, lots of people were much more helpful and nice about it than I thought they would be, especially if I threw in some cookies or coffee or other favors into the deal.

  15. Rachel Mar 08 at 9:55 pm Reply Reply

    I can see this question having two “right” sides, so to speak. How far is the bus stop? How far apart are your work hours w/ his? Does he work two jobs EVERY DAY or one during the week and one on weekends? How far is your commute (bus and car)? If y’all leave at about the same time every morning, I don’t see why he couldn’t drop you off at the bus stop or maybe at another bus stop closer to your work if it’s on his way. Without knowing his side, I’m hesitant to say that it’s all his fault, because yeah it’s a shaky job market and I know my husband’s work would frown on him coming in too late. And an hour is a pretty far drive to work too, and in the city I live in an hour can make a HUGE difference traffic wise.
    Compromise, compromise, compromise. Without knowing the full story…I think you both might need to do some of it.

  16. Isabel Mar 09 at 10:54 am Reply Reply

    Hi…welcome to my life as well. We’re a one car family and I never get the car. I’m the one that lugged my fat pregnant butt on the bus and now lug my kid around on the bus (but not as often anymore). I know it sucks. But when it really sucks I just think about how much it would cost to get a second car or for my husband to get a different job…blah, blah. For me, thinking about the monetary aspect of it helps me cope.
    (And honestly, guys don’t “get” how horrible we feel when we’re pregnant. And they never will.)
    (We should also discuss how NOBODY gives up their seat to me on the bus. Dude, do I have to be in labor to get someone to let me sit down?!)

  17. Stacy Mar 11 at 7:55 am Reply Reply

    It would suck a bit for both of you — But can’t you just leave really early so that he can drop you off and still be at work on time? And stay late so he can pick you up? My husband and I had to do that while my car was on an extended repair and yeah, it wasn’t awesome, but it beat walking 10 miles to work (no bus).
    Alternatively — do you have any coworkers who live near enough to carpool with (even only 1 direction)? Most people do not have a problem with taking you home. Again, I have had to do this! It’s just something you can kind of mention to a few people until word gets around, or just ask your office manager if anyone lives close enough to you. Offer them gas money.
    Hope it works out!!

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