Why You Stay Up Too Late

Author: Cheri Timko

Posted On July 15, 2022

Why You Stay Up Too Late

Of course you stay up too late binge watching TV.  You are an exhausted wife and mother. 

You don't mind sacrificing yourself for your kids. But your husband is another matter. He is supposed to be the one person who shares the responsibilities. One of his primary jobs is to notice how you are doing and share the challenges of your joint life.

But, he doesn't. No matter how nicely you ask, how much you cry, or how often you argue about it. Things might change for a little while, but then they slip back into old patterns. It takes a lot of fight for you to get a little bit of relief.

How can he be your partner and miss how you are falling apart from the load you carry?!?

It makes you feel like he doesn't value you as a person.

So, you steal time when everyone is asleep. Time to BE YOU without any demands. Of course, you know it is "borrowing" energy from tomorrow. You understand that you would be better off doing something that would give you energy.

But you can't help yourself. It's the only time that you can just BE.

The reasons why your husband can't see or hear you:

1️⃣ Much of your load is invisible. A lot has been written about the invisible mental and emotional load that women carry, so I won't repeat it here. Telling him about the load won't help him understand.

2️⃣ He believes that you do more of the work because you LIKE to do it. I've written extensively about this topic (and one way to fix it!) here: Why Your Husband Lets You Do All of the Work and How to Fix it.

3️⃣ He is operating under a different set of rules. And he assumes that you are working under his rules, too.

For example:

  • If your husband wants to do an activity, he tells you his plans and does it. He doesn't worry about how you will accommodate his activity. He believes you will adjust to fit the change in plans.
  • When you want to do an activity, you ask him weeks (or months) ahead of time. You arrange the schedule to limit disruptions for the family or the burden on him. You remind him multiple times that the activity is coming up. You wait for him to check in to make sure that he has everything covered. And you are quick to cancel your plans if things get tough. 
  • Why do you work so hard? You don't want to feel selfish. You don't want to ask for too much. You want to treat him the way you want to be treated.

You are operating under a completely different set of rules and assumptions. You can see that these rules are different. Your husband, on the other hand, believes that you operate under the same set of rules that he does. And, when you don't, it's because you don't want to. 

He believes that if you want to do an activity, you should just do it. If you don't, it's because in your heart, you don't care that much about it. He has tried to encourage you to do what you want, but you make excuses or blame him for making it hard. So he stops trying because he feels it's an unwinnable situation. 

You have spent years trying to convince him that there is a problem here. You tried to fix this problem by trying to convince him to follow your rules. It has done little to improve the situation. He just doesn't seem to get it.

So, you steal time when no one will judge you as being selfish.

But it doesn't solve the problem.

And you are sacrificing your well-being.

Going through life exhausted and worn out.

There is another way to change things: Follow his rules.

Steps to use this plan:

1️⃣ You will first need to notice his rules. This requires observation about how he makes decisions that impact your time.

2️⃣ You will need to slightly modify his rules so you don't violate one of your basic values in life. For instance, you won't make a decision that would leave your kids in an unsafe situation.

3️⃣ You will test his rules to make sure that you understand them by making plans and following through the way he would. Or accommodating his plans at the same level that he supports yours.

Why You Stay Up Too Late

In essence, before taking on an unfair burden, ask yourself WWHD (What would husband do)?

Although this is a simple process, it will be difficult for you to do. You will feel guilty leaving him with the kids without cooking dinner, finishing the homework, and bathing the kids. You will come back to the house to find a mess. He will call or text you multiple times with ridiculous questions. This will test your resolve. If you quit, you will reinforce his mistaken belief that you don't care that much about the activity.

He will make a mess of it. He doesn't have the skills that you have developed during the many years that you handled everything. He will want to do it his own way. It won't be as good. He will ask a hundred questions (What's for dinner? Where are the diapers and baby's pajamas? What time do the kids go to bed?), but he won't take your advice for how to manage the tasks better. He will have a steep learning curve which will be hard for you to witness.

When you operate according to his rules, reasonable men with moderate intelligence who value their wives start to see that they have unfair rules. It will take longer than you want it to, but eventually they catch on. Then, you can have a discussion about how to make things more fair for you.

Now, there are the other husbands. The ones who refuse to recognize your right to fairness. Who are willing to risk the safety of your kids or the stability of your future. If your husband does not respond to you mirroring his behavior, this is not proof that you are asking for too much. It means you need to take a good look at the relationship. If your husband doesn't act like you matter, then it is time to think about whether the relationship is worth it.

A good-hearted husband will catch on when he is confronted by this reality. This still won't make him adopt your rules. But, you will start a conversation that will end with joint rules that you can both live with. And that is the whole goal--that you will work together to solve problems in a way that values both of you.

This is one of the steps I use in the 1:1 coaching to help women let go of the resentment towards their spouse. This resentment is born from the hurt, disappointment, and frustrations in the relationship. Resentment kills feelings of being in love.

Together we will:

1️⃣ Identifying how this relationship has let you down. We will prioritize the changes that MUST happen. You will also identify the areas where you can change the relationship patterns.

2️⃣ Set boundaries that allow you to claim your rights as an equal partner in the relationship. The goal is to share the responsibilities so you both feel like things are fair. Then, you will feel valued and cared about. You will start to reclaim your energy. This is when you start to feel better about the relationship.

3️⃣ Troubleshoot and support the changes for 4 weeks. With focused changes, you will start to feel close and loving towards your spouse again. You will be surprised how much they will respond to that change.

The investment for this 4-week program is $1000.

If you are ready to make changes, you can see the details of this coaching package here: cheritimko.com/courses/invitation-to-work-1-on-1-with-cheri-timko. If you are ready to get to work, just send me an email at ctimko@cheritimko.com and we’ll chat to see if it’s a good fit for your marriage.