Planning for Retirement
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.