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Old 05-31-2009, 03:19 PM
 
Location: St. Louis Metro East
515 posts, read 1,365,565 times
Reputation: 323

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I am also a railroad wife, and I have a couple questions, as well as a few observations of my own.

Just to clarify, the phone thing was a really big deal in our house, too. Let me explain why, though the situation could be completely different for the OP. Most positions on the RR are on-call, though it sounds as if the OP's husband may be working in the yards, with regular hours. When my DH was an engineer, however, that phone was his paycheck. They have an automated call system that calls to let you know when you have to be there (they give you 90 minutes notice), what train you're going to be on, and who you'll be working with. The shifts are no more than 12 hours, per FRA rules. When my DH was working like this, when he got close to being called to work (they go in a certain order, determined by a lot of different things), no one got on the computer, made or took any calls, and he didn't leave the house. If you miss that phone call, it's kind of like a no-call, no-show at a regular job, and could result in a 30-day suspension with no pay. It's a pretty serious thing. In the OP's case, if the downstairs phone was dead, and they didn't get to the upstairs phone in time, it could easily spell disaster for the family's income. Especially if this is an ongoing problem, it can be a much bigger infratction in this home than it would be in most. Railroad life is similar to military life, in that it comes with its own set of rules from what most of society deals with, and a whole new set of challenges. Terms like "first out" become part of a railroad family's vernacular, and that one job greatly impacts the entire family. It takes a special person to be a railroader.

My DH and I have been married just over 9 years, and he has that same type of "my way or the highway" philosophy towards our family. He's hard to live wtih sometimes. I'm a more easygoing, fairly permissive parent, who's very involved with the kids, but I'm not a helicopter parent. I also have that same philosophy of "every family member counts equally" as the OP does. He has two kids from a previous marriage that I readily accept as my own. I also have two children from a previous marriage, one of whom has multiple special needs. We then had one child together. I stay at home to keep track of everyone. The oldest two are now adults. We have one in college full-time, one in trouble full-time, an honors student and hopefully government intern who will be a senior next year, my sophomore with special needs in a residential school, and our soon-to-be second grader, who has serious anxiety issues, and possibly Asperger's. For years, I was trying to run interference between the kids and DH, especially because he works on call, and at all hours of the day and night. When he got called to work, he's be gone for 1-3 days at a time. We never knew when he'd be going, where he'd be going, who with, or how long he'd be gone. Sounds like fun, right?

I totally understand her feeling like she needs to protect and coddle the kids. I did it, too. It nearly cost me the love of my life. There was such a wedge driven between us, mostly because of my handling of the kids, and that I began to lie to him myself rather than make him angry (he was never violent in any way, let me make that clear). We got to the point that we grew almost irretrievably far apart. I was looking for another house, and he was seeing someone else at one point. It was pretty much over. I went into counseling for depression, and the counselor made things much worse. She told me to walk away from everything. After all I had been through, I decided that I was far too stubborn to just walk away, and I told him exactly that.

Fast forward 3-4 years. We are still together. I've made some big adjustments in the way I handle things, because my DH voiced exactly what is being said here. I make sure that when he is home, his needs are met first. When he needs to rest, the house is to be silent. When he's home, we have what he wants for dinner. We watch Mythbusters together, or the baseball game, and the kids have learned to deal with this. It was rough for a while, and my daughter, the senior, still cannot handle extended time with him. She thinks he's mistreated me or something, I think because of my attitude changes at home. I actually take her on a separate vacation in the summer, because she doesn't want to go wtih him (but that's another post). No, he's not abusing her, no, he's never hurt her, now or in the past. She just plain doesn't like him. Never has. She's very moody, and somewhat of a loner, but I digress. He has also made some adjustments in the way he interacts with the kids. Now, if he starts to get angry, he will pull me aside, tell me waht is aggraviting him, and ask if I could handle it.

He has since taken a supervisor's job with the railroad. It involved a transfer, and while hard on the kids, it's been possibly the best thing that has happened for our relationship.

I guess my point is that I did exactly what you are doing, OP, EXACTLY. He's not trying to be an ass. He really wants what's best, and he desperately wants vindication. (My mom underwent similar familiy rifts, and is still trying to prove herself. She's 56.) It's really hard, but put yourself where he is. In his situation, you'd be surprised how much the same way you'd react. Good luck.

~D
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Old 06-01-2009, 08:51 AM
 
Location: Minnesota
25 posts, read 58,534 times
Reputation: 22
It is sad to see this from the outside. I do work. I work fulltime and I take care of our livestock...do 50% of the feeding and matainance for them. He does the morning feedings before work. I do all the evening chores.
The children are all under the age of 13. Oldest is a girl. I have suggested that the children be given chores. He doesn't want to raise them as he was raised....he lived and breathed farm work all through his youth...picking rocks, detassling, barn chores, baling hay. He was his father's work horse. He just rejects the idea. Maybe I need to push the issue? He just seems to think he has to be the bread winner...even though there are two os us. He still thanks me for doing chores everyday, when I live here to...they are my chores to. It is like he wants to see himself as an island in this. Or needs to.
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Old 06-01-2009, 09:44 AM
 
467 posts, read 846,589 times
Reputation: 227
That would suck if my wife's husband was a bad parent, then the kid's wouldn't get taken care of or get off to school since she's the one working and traveling everywhere. Good thing we're in a day and age where fathers can stay home as well as the mothers can.

Hopefully in a few years it won't be such a culture shock to have dads at home and successful females in the workplace.
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Old 06-01-2009, 10:02 AM
 
1,986 posts, read 3,474,428 times
Reputation: 1289
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrMom2 View Post
That would suck if my wife's husband was a bad parent, then the kid's wouldn't get taken care of or get off to school since she's the one working and traveling everywhere. Good thing we're in a day and age where fathers can stay home as well as the mothers can.

Hopefully in a few years it won't be such a culture shock to have dads at home and successful females in the workplace.
Keep up the good work.
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Old 06-01-2009, 10:16 AM
 
1,986 posts, read 3,474,428 times
Reputation: 1289
Quote:
Originally Posted by 20yrsinBranson View Post
You won't like my answer but I think that the single most harmful thing a woman can do in a relationship is not support the husband. Any disagreement with the way that the husband handles things should be taken up in private later. Any military leader knows that you must always present an undivided front to the enemy. Otherwise you appear weak and disorganized.

It sounds to me as though you husband is thoroughly overwhelmed with his responsibilities to the family. On top of this he feels that he needs to discipline the children because he does not like the way you do it. I would strongly suggest that you put forth some kind of effort to run the house in accordance with his wishes so that he has the confidence in you to allow you to take care of disciplinary matters so he does not have to. It is bad enough to have to work 16 hours a day to support a family without having to worry about the insignificant day to day stuff that a wife should be taking care of. The problem is that he cannot trust you to take care things the way that he wants them done, so he is having to do that TOO., in addition to EVERYTHING ELSE. And you wonder why he is ticked off?

20yrsinBranson
Quote:
Originally Posted by Norskejenta View Post
I agree he is overwhelmed. And I am sensitive to that. But his working after "work " hours on the farm, is his choice. I have told him time and time again that we don't need him to do this. His dreams of what this extra income will mean to us, do noyt mean as much to me. I'd rather have him rested, around and relaxed than a new addition to the house. We make ends meet well between the two of us and still have money for the extras. He is determined to do it though. I believe it is more of a proof for his father more than something he is doing for the family. He was cut out of the farming when his brother was alive. Father and brother got on well. Brother, father and my husband were mostly at odds growing up...to put it mildly. My husband's brother passed away 3 years ago and finally his father allowed him to join in in the absense this year. His widow had kept the brother's profits without working the farm the last three years and her and his parents have grown up together....so that was mucky water to wade through. My husband has been overlooked and unheard for years in his family. I think that is where the reaction and over reaction to his wishes not being fulfilled play in. He is tired of going unseen and unheard.....but....he has to see that he is recreating that for his children.
I agree with Branson. Here's why:
There is nothing more difficult for a parent to stand alone without the support of the other parent, for one.

Secondly, read the bolded. He has a whole lot more going on than ranting and raging because he's unreasonable. When a man marries, he expects his wife to stand together with him in his dreams for his family and support his efforts.

Has it occurred to you that maybe his outrageous behavior is due to feeling like it's you and the kids against him? Maybe he wouldn't spend all that time out in the evening if he thought he was more apart of the family dynamics in the house with the kids. Maybe he doesn't know how to approach that.

The worse he behaves toward the kids, the more fear they have of him. The more fear they have of him, the worse he behaves toward them, feeling inadequate to answer their needs. It's a vicious cycle.

You, as the mother have to work hard at bringing your husband and the kids together in their own relationships with each other. That doesn't mean it's ok for him to go off and hurt them. That means they need to learn how to work together for the good of the family.

My guess is that with his past experience with family relationships in his family he grew up with, now feeling so alienated in the family that depends on him and belongs to him, he needs some help and support from his wife to even out his feelings.
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Old 06-01-2009, 11:32 AM
 
Location: Sacramento
2,568 posts, read 5,852,694 times
Reputation: 1905
Quote:
Originally Posted by Norskejenta View Post
The children are all under the age of 13. Oldest is a girl. I have suggested that the children be given chores. He doesn't want to raise them as he was raised....he lived and breathed farm work all through his youth...picking rocks, detassling, barn chores, baling hay. He was his father's work horse. He just rejects the idea.
There is a middle ground between doing nothing and being a work horse. The idea of giving the children a chore is that they do it with him. He can also offer to pay your daughter for the more difficult/disgusting chores.
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Old 06-01-2009, 02:16 PM
 
11,617 posts, read 19,777,687 times
Reputation: 12056
Quote:
Originally Posted by jtjmom View Post
Just to clarify, the phone thing was a really big deal in our house, too. Let me explain why, though the situation could be completely different for the OP. It takes a special person to be a railroader.

Thank you for clarifying why the phone thing was such a big deal. In a family outside that environment leaving the phone off the hook is a PITA and certainly irresponsible but it it just one of the small irritants in daily life.

I also have that same philosophy of "every family member counts equally" as the OP does.........

Fast forward 3-4 years. We are still together. I've made some big adjustments in the way I handle things, because my DH voiced exactly what is being said here. I make sure that when he is home, his needs are met first. When he needs to rest, the house is to be silent. When he's home, we have what he wants for dinner.
I agree with you that "every family member counts equally". I took quite a bit of heat on a thread in this forum when I stated that my kids don't get to come first ALL the time. Sometimes I get to come first, sometimes my husband, sometimes the kids.

However, what you describe is quite different. The situation you describe is that the entire family bows down to HIS needs ALL the time that he is home. He really has not become a better father, you have all learned to tiptoe around his problems.

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Old 06-01-2009, 03:26 PM
 
1,831 posts, read 3,743,182 times
Reputation: 1222
Quote:
Originally Posted by Momma_bear View Post
I agree with you that "every family member counts equally". I took quite a bit of heat on a thread in this forum when I stated that my kids don't get to come first ALL the time. Sometimes I get to come first, sometimes my husband, sometimes the kids.

However, what you describe is quite different. The situation you describe is that the entire family bows down to HIS needs ALL the time that he is home. He really has not become a better father, you have all learned to tiptoe around his problems.
Tell it!!! Are we not forgetting that he would need to make some changes too?

Separate point -- he needs to also take some personal responsibility for the stress that he is bringing on himself and his family because of his inability to deal with his baggage.
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Old 06-01-2009, 03:57 PM
 
11,617 posts, read 19,777,687 times
Reputation: 12056
Quote:
Originally Posted by bowian View Post
Tell it!!! Are we not forgetting that he would need to make some changes too?

Separate point -- he needs to also take some personal responsibility for the stress that he is bringing on himself and his family because of his inability to deal with his baggage.
I don't want to be to hard on the poster. She is trying to hold her marriage together. I just hope she can see that he really has problems and that although she has been successful in holding the family together he still has serious problems that are affecting the family.
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Old 06-01-2009, 04:04 PM
 
Location: Minnesota
25 posts, read 58,534 times
Reputation: 22
This is what i am afraid of doing. He and I have had this conversation about his temper again and again. I have been understanding until I have seen that it isn't a matter of enlightenment. It is a matter of effort now. He is aware he has issues. He is aware that the choices he is making to work such long hard hours adds to his issues, yet he will not relent or in the moment take responsibility for them and the effects they have on him and our family. I am all for understanding stresses and such, but at some point it isn't about that anymore. It ios about satisfying his own "needs" at the expense of the rest of his family. I do not want to be so "understanding" that I roll over and let him continue dysfunctionally and unhappily all over the rest of us.
I would love to "submit" as so many have suggested to my man. But I can not submit to an unhealthy man. And I can not sacrifice our children or my realtionship with them for him. I can only defend him so far before I am teaching my children to love unhealthily, by beginning to sacrifice their own well being in exchange for someone else to hold onto their problems. I do not believe that the marriage is more important than what it produces.
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