DEAR HARRIETTE: I have two young children and a husband who works all the time. He wants to be supportive, but it’s a hollow idea. When he gets home from work, he is so tired he may spend a few minutes with the kids, but that’s about it. I work part-time while the kids are in day care, then I’m at home with them for the rest of the day. We can’t afford full-time day care. I don’t know what to do. I feel totally stressed out and unsupported. -- Mama Needs Help
DEAR MAMA NEEDS HELP: Pick a day and time when your husband has energy to focus. Tell him you need to talk. Lay out your life for him so that he can see what you are dealing with, and be specific about the support that you need from him. For example, if you want him to be with the children for an hour after he gets home from work so that you can decompress, request that. If you want him to handle bedtime, meaning baths, reading a story and tucking them in -- every night, several nights a week whatever it is -- make the request.
Make it clear to your husband that you are feeling overwhelmed and need his support in order to manage. Acknowledge that his day is long and can be stressful, but don’t back off. The best way to get his help is to give him specific tasks.