Living with Hubby
Honey….I’m home for good – 24/7
About 2 and a half years ago after I left my corporate job and was in a routine of my own and helping my daughter with her baby, hubby retired at 60 years of age.
At first, everything was fine….it was summer – and lovely and hot, so we spent much of our time, swimming, relaxing at home and caring for grand-daughters.
At that stage my micro business as a celebrant was growing , I was working as a business coach …..and I was just very busy with work. Hubby was happy, pottering around the house and the garden completing projects. In between he played golf, helped look after the grand children and going out to lunch with me, reading, watching the share market and footy panels on TV, watching the footy replays, and also some travel.
There were times however when I woke and thought…..OMG….he has retired.
This living together is 24/7 forever!
Especially on days when he would ask me in the morning at breakfast…
“would I be home for lunch”….
“what time would I be home”….from where ever I was going
if I was going down to the shops…… “oh….I might come too”
and what’s for tea? EKKKK!!!
Oh….and there is nothing on the calendar, so you mustn’t be doing anything today!
Now for the past 2 years in particular, I provide a very high level care and support for members of my family, which has had a huge impact on my time and therefore on business activities. Hubby has been fabulous…when he is not at golf….he is a fabulous dad and Poppy. A Poppy who has not problems playing dolls, with 2 and 4 year old granddaughters, and no issues changing dirty nappies for putting the girls to bed. In fact he just loves his time with the girls and is a highlight of his retirement.
However, so many women I have spoken to struggle with the 24/7 living with the hubby who says “Honey…I’m home for good”!
Comments I have heard include:
Hubby puts me down. I don’t feel relaxed anymore…there is tension in the home
Hubby is critical of the things I do and say now that he is home 24/7
Hubby won’t do anything.
Hubby is so controlling.
Hubby won’t belong to anything.
Hubby only wants to go out with me all of the time.
Interestingly these are statements that I have heard by a number of semi or fully retired women. They are struggling with the hubby being at home all day every day. The relationship is under strain, particularly where the retired hubby is not involved in anything.
Living with a retired hubby can be a huge new stress and re-adjustment in life.
Now I am not saying all husband and wives have issues. I know and see many many happy retired couples. And no doubt there are some retired hubby’s who might write a blog on their retired wife….but this is my point of view, experiences and observations.
So I reflected on what my now 88 year old mum did with her retirement time – as she lived with an often grumpy old hubby who had not many interests and didn’t like to go out – except for lunch – dad liked a good feed – once he turned about …oh…probably around his late 60’s.
Tips on Living and Coping with a retired hubby
My Mum – Role Model
Take up a sport
My 88 year old mum always kept busy in her retirement. She is a great role model to me in regard to what she did to cope with my dad who was a non joiner and as he aged was more and more reluctant to go out anywhere. Mum joined many organisations over the years after she retired. Initially she joined a bowling club….and dad soon followed her….and they had a year of two playing bowls together before he didn’t want to play any more….but mum continued and made lots of friends. Other than that……dad really just pottered around the house and went travelling wherever mum organised oh and started to go to church a few times a week and prayed a lot.
Later when she had given up bowls, mum took up table tennis and played until she was around 80 year old.
Now whilst my hubby plays golf 3 times a week…..as much as I have tried…..I am absolutely hopeless at golf.
I would love to share a sport interest with hubby…..and I know he would love for me to…..but honestly…..
I have really really tried…….
but I’m just no good with little balls, they just won’t go where I want them to…..soaring up in the air or in that bloody little hole.
Joining a local gym and attending fitness classes and crochet in a creative crafting diva’s group, is more my current interest oh of course and coffee and chats with my girlfriends. I observe with interest that many of the girls when they have completed the stretching or Pilates class (majority of participants are over 60) , go to the gym café for coffee and chats….and stay there until nearly lunchtime. Not sure why they are not hurrying home!
Belong and Attend Club/Organisation Meetings
My mum joined Probus and ended up the activity officer. She would organise the day trips and longer trips for the women. It kept her busy in a coordination role, committee meetings, general meetings as well as going away for the day or for longer. She did this for many years.
Mum also was a member of the local Garden Club, took up playing cards (which now in her late 80’s she plays 5 to 6 days a week), joined a patchwork craft group, was a member of the Red Cross and at one stage a volunteer for a local historical house….which dad occasionally helped out with.
Currently I attend at number of women only business and networking meetings. I love getting out to listen to a speaker (particularly if the talk is relevant) and catching up with friends and meeting new people. I am considering starting my own Retiree Women’s group, as I do find it difficult – to find meetings where I connect with the speaker or the topic….rather than ”been there done that”….so I am seeking women 55 plus who have stepped away from the corporate world and re-defined themselves.
Book clubs –mum attended the VIEW Club, and used to go to meetings, outings and the book club. I have joined one that meets on a Tuesday night for dinner. Not too much chat about the actual books we have ‘read’.
I have a great system….hubby takes Miss four and a half grocery shopping on a Thursday morning. Occasionally I go with them, but generally I stay behind with the 2 year old. Hubby doesn’t like me going….he says that he spends more on the groceries. He always takes a list. Problem is that I haven’t always remembered what I really need. What I am cooking. So each week, I top up anyway.
But yes, I am very lucky I have a hubby that likes grocery shopping.
These are growing in popularity. I would love hubby to go. However he and some of his mates, found out that we women, behind their back, were trying to leverage each other off the other, pretending that they WERE interested in a Men’s Shed. Damm…we got found out! A very powerful statement though was made: “Why do we HAVE TO DO ANYTHING?” ‘I’ve worked hard all my life, for decades….now it is finally my time to just relax and do whatever I want to do, if and when I want to do anything.” GULP!!!!
How foreign an idea is that to me and many semi or fully retired high profile, corporate leadership type of women.
Things to fix
I always seem to have a list of things to fix inside and outside of the home. Bunnings is a favourite place for hubby…and thankfully he happily fixes things.
One woman I know plans multiple holidays each year, both international and domestic holidays. Staying with friends, travelling with friends, making new friends who can come and visit, travelling to see family………. So the mostly stay at home hubby….at least he is out and about…..as a travelling partner and hopefully absorbing and enjoying all the he is experiencing and always has something to talk about.
My mum also initiated all of their travel – mostly around Australia.
Hubby and I have taken two overseas holidays…a European River Cruise and also a Mediterranean cruise.
Loved these and we are likely to take more overseas travel and look forward to more domestic travel.
Hubby and I spend a huge amount of time with our little grand daughters. Sometimes it is very tiring – exhausting – but it is also wonderful to mind and care for them as we are contributing towards their development. Yes, I know some grand parents live a long way from their grand children – we are lucky and blessed to have ours live so close to us.
See a Counsellor
On a really serious note. Honestly…..don’t hesitate to seek some counselling – either alone or with your hubby. At the very least….if they won’t join anything, then take my elderly mum’s advice….get out yourself every day….live and enjoy your life.
Initially and from time to time, I have had counselling. Yes adjustments and compromises are required…..and I am not saying it is easy. We have our days – and sometimes days of days……or days of weeks – when we irritate each other….but when you have a balance then this stage of life can be fantastic…..some of the best years of your life.
Must go….hubby is going through the fridge and cupboards and letting me know of items out of date, and that the left over pumpkin I didn’t use up has gone off. Sherry time!
Note: All images used are personal photos or purchased.
Mum’s bloomers have been for years a source of some jokes from time to time.
Especially when she goes away, and they are hanging from the balcony or when she comes to visit and hubby finds them washed and then hanging in the shower.
When I go shopping with mum, I have tried to convince her to buy some nice floral bloomers instead of the white ones. But no she sticks with the size 18 – 20 white soft cotton bloomers. You should wear them to she has said on many occasion.
No, I have stuck with the Hi Cut bikini underwear in vibrant floral patterns. I moved to the hi cut bikini when the bikini ones cut into me and a bit of a muffin top meant that there was a bit of an overflow.
Then OMG, well a year of doing lots of caring of grand daughters and mum, has resulted in a huge dive in my exercise routine. I mean huge dive. I mean NO exercise, except for of course running around after people, and I did get some strength exercise bending over and lifting and carrying the grand daughters. But I am home more. Morning tea, coffee and cake. And oh afternoon tea coffee and cake. Stressful tiring days, a Mocha Fusion from Zaraffar’s Coffee cafe at the end of the street. And a Bailey’s on the rocks at 5pm!
Dieting has just not entered my head and anyway, dieting is so passé. You now eat healthy and just avoid cakes, cakes, cakes, cakes…..oh dear I have inherited mum’s sweet tooth – well teeth the whole lot actually. So I am on my way to inheriting mum’s white bloomers.
I have just admitted that the Hi Cut bikini 12 – 14 was just not cutting it. Well actually, it was cutting it. Right into my flesh. OK. I have faced the truth and bought size 14 – 16. I do remember when mum bought this size. But no they are not white. I am still trendy and it helps to disguise the fact that they are no long hi cut and that they are a size larger – nice colourful, sexy – OK not sexy, comfortable cotton undies – no no no…..not bloomers. Comfortable larger undies.
Hmmmm not happy with hubby. He was hanging out washing and said to me” Oh, I noticed you have gone up a side in your underpants!”. Really? Like really? He made that comment! Really? I gave him an icy stare and walked away. ARGH!!
Just don’t tell mum. Anyway, the weight will fall off me next year. I am going to try that 5 day eating anything…..oooooohhhhh! CAKE! And 2 days fasting diet…..not diet, no one diets any more…..that just sets you up to failure. I am doing to do that healthy lifestyle eating practice of 5 days eating and 2 day fasting. Shouldn’t be too difficult. I wonder, the fasting – will bubbly count as the liquid?
Wish me luck
ARGH!! Huge big bite…MUNCH,MUNCH,MUNCH……..hmmmmm thanks Mum says my daughterKathryn…… ARGH….a smaller bit, taken a little longer to MUNCH in….bit slower…..that’s my elderly mum. Nibble Nibble trying to find a spot not yet chewed….that’s the retired hubby. Nannie, Nannie, poo poo….calls out nearly 2 year old grand daughter! Wah, wah…that’s the baby Chloe.
My semi retirement is such a mix of ingredients – diverse like a gourmet sandwich. Family needs and demands, a retired hubby, a couple of hours a week (2 if I am lucky) for myself, and in my role as a celebrant, working on wedding, ceremonies– each ceremony takes up to 15 hours from the first contact of a bridal couple – – yes I know, many think an hour or two to write a ceremony and rock up on the day…WRONG!!!!
I feel like a gourmet sandwich….you know the type….delicious soft bread with a hard crust with yummy grain seeds – that’s me – soft in the middle and hard around the edges. My softness is family – giving of my time for family – an elderly mother who needs increasing support whilst still living an independently in her unit, and support for a married daughter, who has just had another baby – this one by C Section….which means she couldn’t drive for a few weeks or pick up her very active toddler.
And a recently retired husband who wants to have lunch with me, or ask me if I am going out, when I will be back? Or at breakfast time…what’s for tea? Thankfully he is often occupied playing golf….and is happy pottering around the garden and shed with regular visits to the big man shed called Bunnings. And I am blessed that he will clean and prepare dinner ! Occasionally – but only occasionally – but on those occasions it is usually critical emotional help….my 30 something single son, will send out an SOS for help. Oh and I fit work in between.
So I am soft, gooey like delicious bread – every time I am asked for help I say yes. The hard crust – I rely on that …that is my backbone, my hardened area of my body that says, suck it up, you can do this, don’t worry about that sore aching back and painful hip and knees.
The inside of the gourmet sandwich – where we are provided with so many options to choose from. My gourmet sandwich is made up of many options – but most are currently out of my control. There are all the issues that relate to supporting an elderly parent in my semi-retirement.
Between flinging all this together, stuffing as much as I can into life, I am also a nanapreneur – move over mumpreneurs – you have such an easier life! So I semi-retired from my corporate government business development career two years ago. I have a little business consultancy and a very busy celebrant business (weddings, vow renewals, baby namings and the growth industry – funerals)! Of course, I couldn’t stop there, nooooo, something to do with my personality type! Now I have started facilitation training with 2 Young 2 Retire for my Retiree Matters business concept.
You know I am so busy helping family in my semi-retirement lifestyle….that sometimes I feel tempted to return to full time work. It is one of the issues we just don’t think about when we plan – ha ha ha – really how few of us, I now realise actually plan and visualise an accurate semi or full retirement life.
We think, kick back, time for us, shop, garden, follow our passions, run a small business, travel…… We are the first generation, who find that there parents are alive and often well and living for decades. Except that they need support from their children to keep living an independent life…..well there are carers…and other support, but I have found from chatting, that many of baby boomer parents….don’t like strangers, don’t like to ask, ‘can do it themselves’ in some respects whilst ringing and asking an adult child for help at the drop of a hat.
Hmmm makes me wish now, that my parents had more than two children….and wish that my older brother had married, as there would be a sister in law, perhaps to help out also.
But of course helping is rewarding…..except there is also some feelings at times of frustration, resentment and wishing one could say no…..but family ties, heart strings…and thinking that these will always be wonderful memories to cherish and look back on, keep me going.
Mum can ring at any second, needing help for that latest issue of a tradesperson, something that she desperately needs, emotional support as she is depressed and in pain, medical appointments, needing to be dropped off or picked up to go to and from cards (thank goodness mum still plays cards four days a week), to take her out – just out for lunch and her favourite berry pancakes, shopping for clothes – I now help dress me, squashed in together in the changing room along with her wheeler, as I tug and push her body and dangly bits, say into bathers…….oh my…..my mind does sometimes race forward to a time, when I will need my daughter to do the same! Gotta get out and do some more exercise to be as fit as possible. Oh and I fit work in between.
I mind my grand daughter one day a week – which is wonderful as playing tea parties, lying down pretending to be her baby, tickling her and teaching her to sing on the top of her voice (sorry daughter yes she is LOUD – but you had to know I would influence her with seeing and caring for her so much J ha ha – louder now….let’s out sing the music!!) , and I also pick her up from child care twice a week, and am the fall back carer, when she is too sick for child care. I also do overnight stays. I have started to show her catalogues….I am teaching her to understand what a bargain buy is! Oh and I fit work in between.
With another new adorable beautiful grand daughter, I am currently providing a high level of support each week day, all day, until my son in law, stops work for the holiday period. I get to goo over my tiny grand daughter, delight in her mustard coloured regular poo – she is obviously receiving enough nutrition and hold her to rock and cuddle her to sleep – yes yes, I know that is not in the modern day parenting books. Now I love absolutely love that my daughter and her family live close by and we see them so much. I absolutely cherish the time. I love the time when my elderly mum, me, my daughter and her two daughters are together – the generational females all together That is so special. It is just that I do get very tired. My osteoarthritic hips and knees ache and my back and sciatica remind me constantly that they are a part of my body.
I do manage at times to get out and network and chatting to many women, guess what they are now caring and supporting or have a sister, aunty in a similar position. Trying to transition to semi retirement, having stepped away for years of learning, developing and achieving in their career. They have considered the financial planning side of their life, but really the rest was oh, it will be nice to have all of this time, to follow my passions….without actually thinking through the emotional demands and needs of adult children and parents becoming more childlike and demanding at times like a petulant toddler.
I know that this very high intense time of assisting my daughter will pass in a matter of a couple of months – and likely I will actually miss seeing her and grand children just about everyday, but I also know that the hard crust of the bread with the grain seeds – that harbours many ideas and activities will germinate. And one of those ideas, is to begin to assist those women 55 plus who are beginning to think of their idyllic lifestyle in semi retirement . Thus the idea of Retiree Matters to coach, mentor and facilitate seminars in life planning for the next stage in life! Join me on my facebook page, as I begin to develop resources and blog posts. https://www.facebook.com/Retireematters
In the meantime, I’m off – to shop and provide some gourmet sandwiches for hubby, daughter and grand daughter for lunch today – before heading of to take 23 month old Maddy to the park to burn off some energy, prior to having her sleep over for the night.