I'm Broken


I have brought many things to my husband that have blessed him and our family of six. He acknowledges this and is grateful.

I was broken in so many ways as a child that getting to anywhere healthy as an adult took God’s constant care and many many interventions with the Holy Spirit. Lately these breaks in my upbringing have become challenges I’m not sure how to overcome because I am doing my very best. You see the problem is that I have never really known how to create a “home.” I am constantly guessing. My schedules are always changing to accomodate life, making good meals, caring for our children one of whom has special needs and balancing a part time job during the school year. Creating our home is not easy for me nor is it natural. I don’t anticipate what the family is needing what he is needing all the time. I do the best that I can and watch my friends and the things that they do but it’s like I need a coach to come in here and direct me or train me on what to do and when. I have come a long way in our 13 year marriage but it is still a constant argument.

I feel like my husband, who had a solid upbringing, is disappointed in my skills and shortcomings in creating a home. Are other moms lost like me? Can what is broken be fixed?

Is this my husband’s cross, rather am I his cross? My husband deserves better really and could have married better than me. He disagrees with this by the way.

We are solid in our faith and have a good foundation. We have prayed our way to 13 years and will continue to pray. I just need real practical advice and well encouragement. I don’t want to disappoint him all the time and I’m tired of arguing and apologizing for something that seems simple to him.



here’s what I’m reading in your post: you have little background formation on family management and household skills.

You try. You fail. You tray again.

Your husband is dissatisfied with your attempts.

There is a lot of disagreement between you both over this.

There seems to be tension between whether the problem is really your failure or his dissatisfaction.

What do you think the bigger is the problem, ShouldB? Is it your failure as a household manager or his failure to be satisfied?


It sounds to me like you’re being too hard on yourself. However, since you cited being “broken in so many ways as a child,” perhaps you can seek some counseling for those issues and that would help you? (Try to find a Catholic counselor if possible.)

Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. If some of your DH’s strengths are more related to homemaking and yours aren’t, that’s OK. Talk to him, tell him what you’ve posted here, perhaps the two of you can seek counseling together. You said you feel like he is disappointed, but is he actually? Has he said this? If so, some honest and open conversation (with and/or without a third party) would most definitely help.

You said: “Is this my husband’s cross, rather am I his cross? My husband deserves better really and could have married better than me. He disagrees with this by the way.” I’m glad to hear he disagrees with this! My guess (I’m not a mental health professional) is that you feel this way because of whatever issues caused your “brokenness” in childhood. Please, speak with a priest, or someone qualified to help. Marriage is a sacrament and a partnership – feeling like your DH “could have married better” isn’t a good attitude for you to bring – it will only make you feel bad!

Sometimes as mothers we put too much pressure on ourselves to have the “perfect home.” (I’m sure some fathers feel this too.) My house is a wreck lately, but with constant morning sickness, working full-time, a 2-year-old, and everything else that happens in life (a recent death in the family, unforseen things, etc.) I just don’t worry if the house is tidy anymore. I do the best I can, I be the best wife and mom I can, shower as much love on DH and DD as I can. If that means the dishes aren’t all clean and there’s laundry piling up, so be it.

You asked, “Can what is broken be fixed?” The answer is YES!!! We have the ultimate healer in Jesus – He can fix our brokenness, fill our emptiness, celebrate with us in our joy. Turn to Him, for He IS THERE.

Praying for you and your family now. God bless you! :hug1:


I could have written this post. I don’t really have any advice, just wanted to offer a :hug1:


Yeah… he better. and so do I.
It sounds like you might be depressed or really stressed dear sister in Jesus. Maybe you need to have some councelling or maybe you could hire some help to lift some of the burden a few days a week if you are tired… ? There is no shame in that. Many people live for a long time with stress until they have a mental break down… they think they are supposed to be able to do this and that and everything perfect… this happens especially to women. So beware of warning signs such as anxiety and feeling ill and overwhelmed and weeping. You might not have stress… but its worth to think about it…
You sound like a wonderful girl and your husband is lucky to have you.
You are doing the best you can…
Try to be like the Little Terese… the little way… to do everything with Jesus. Then He will be your companion and He will help you and it will also give you a sound distance to your flaws as a housewife which, by the way, is a very difficult and noble “job”… I am not very good at cleaning and cooking… dont have much experience with children but if I ever get married I’ll live and learn and my husband will see that I am doing my best… thats what matters.
You gotta be receptive to the LOVE that God and man wants to give to you… You are not a burden. You are a queen … okay… say that to your self: I am loved and I am a queen :slight_smile:



You have a gift of summary!

I think the bigger failure is my management. He works very hard for us and asks that I handle the homefront. I am grateful for the work he does and know how stressful it is. I feel like I fail him. I know I can do this better but as you observed try, fail, try again, fail try again. Before children when I worked in corportate world, I was very good. I managed fifty million dollars in receivables and hundreds of customers! Why I can’t seem to get my arms around this place is a puzzle. Some times I think I have too much on my plate and no game plan for when the schedule gets ditched because of some disruption or change in plans. I think where I fail the most is situational. There were no children at the corporate job that needed my nurturing! My son who is going through a difficult time with his disabilities needs me and in prayer it is written on my heart that he needs extra time, extra talking or just hanging out with him. I stop what I am doing and tend to him. Take him to the park or read or get in extra time at adoration. There are many interruptions to the schedule similar to this one where it is hard to recapture the time meant to be cleaning out a closet or cleaning out the refrig. and going to the store to make sure my husband has his favorite tea good and cold by the time he gets home and wants/needs to relax.

I don’t think I have ever been good at managing. The problem now is that I’m starting not to care. I’m very tired. My husband thinks now that its summer I have no excuse. Thus the argument this morning. He got a call from the office he was to work at this week and their a/c is out so he can come there in shorts and t-shirt. Well, I had his regular work clothes ready but did not have a decent looking t-shirt for him to wear… failed him.


I think it may be because you are taking on some things that are just not humanly possible. You are not required to live people’s lives for them - nor should you try.

The problem now is that I’m starting not to care. I’m very tired. My husband thinks now that its summer I have no excuse. Thus the argument this morning. He got a call from the office he was to work at this week and their a/c is out so he can come there in shorts and t-shirt. Well, I had his regular work clothes ready but did not have a decent looking t-shirt for him to wear… failed him.

Uh - no. If he didn’t have a decent t-shirt, it’s because either he doesn’t have one (I assume he buys his own clothes), or he didn’t put it in the laundry last weekend. I don’t see how this can be your fault. There was no way for you to know that he was going to need a t-shirt, today.

Nor is it your job to dress him. He is (I assume) over the age of seven, and capable of dressing himself.

Also, other than the disabled child, everyone in the family who is over the age of ten is responsible for his or her own schedule. It’s not up to you to schedule them.

As a courtesy to you, of course they should let you know if they are going to be absent for meals or late getting home at night, but other than that, their schedules are up to them. You will remind them of things like when it’s time to get ready for school or church (one reminder; no nagging), but apart from that, they are responsible for getting themselves to the places that they need to be.


His casual t-shirts are down in the laundry waiting for my care… I make sure he his work clothes on Monday for the week. Clean, ironed etc. I see where you are going with this and I wished it was that simple. The deal here is that I manage our home and he manages our needs through working and providing for us. He wants nothing to do with cooking, dishes, cleaning etc. We went through all of this several years back when the duo income both careers only left us frustrated and without any kind of home life. We would sacrifice the second income for a mom in the home and someone managing the family. Each of my children maintains his cleaning “zone” and their bedroom. They do not do laundry yet. I have asked my husband for help at home and sometimes he does but never consistently. He has this picture of coming home eating dinner and spending the evening as a family and relaxing hoping that he will not get any calls that require him to solve problems for customers. In marriage we give and take and try to figure out how to stay married when its tough. He works more than full time and I’m supposed to manage home and children…



You might also look for a book calld “A Mother’s Rule of Life”.


I don’t want to derail the thread…just a side note to say I Love Flylady:thumbsup:


Did he get a phone call as he waked out saying “quick, change into a t-shirt and shorts”? If not, he knew about this the day before, why did he not either say “honey, are there any t-shirts clean?” or put in a load of laundry himself?

In his picture, are you part of the relaxing evening, or are you cooking, doing dishes, getting homework done, packing lunches… Unless you have a staff, it sounds like he is living in a fantasy world. Real life is not the movies. In real life, the dog throws up and somebody has to clean it up.

Marriage is about a partnership, not a “that is my job, this is yours and you’d better pull your weight”.

My mom had 4 kids, when we were young, dad made sure that she had help for cleaning and child care, a mother’s helper.

Praying for you!


but what if my real life is his “your job my job scenerio?” I have pushed for change before and it never does change. He is not interested in house work he resents doing any of it. I know I know, I have asked but he refuses. I have argued, he refuses. What can I do? I pray for him. He is the head of our home and is the reason we are all so solid in our faith. His home growing up was always clean and orderly, but his mother had a maid and only two children. She is an incredible mom who seems to manage everything at once with ease but is the first to tell me how hard being a mom is. With our sons incredible medical bills we are already stretched so extra help is out. My husband understands the weight of our family and what his job means in meeting our daily needs. I respect him for what he does for us and I sincerely want to get this right, I don’t want to fail him. I’m reading your thoughts and wondering if I’m off on my role in taking care of my family? I have felt that it is unique to every couple in detail but may have similar traits. There are couples who both work and do fine. Couples that mom stays home and do fine as well. Are there any other moms who do all the housework and do fine? What piece of this puzzle am I missing?


I used the word "failed’ perceptionally. You perceived you failed him. He seems to have supported that perception, but I don’t think you failed. I think things weren’t perfect-- no clean T-shirts. That’s not a failure. That’s life.

How did your husband react? And you-- how did you react? I think here is the place the difficulty bubbles up. Not in the problem, but in the reactions.

Can you please tell about your boy’s disabilities? If they are very consuming, you may be interested in what a friend of mine has done: SIMPLICITY.

because her child’s needs can be very complicated, everything else is simple. She maintains a wardrobe for herself of only two choices of special outfits. Everything else is simple and few. same for her kids clothes, toys and books. Her husband needs more and varied stuff so she maintains that as best she can.

her kitchen has become a model of simplicity. Only one tool per usage, a few pots. A dish, bowl, cup, spoon, fork, knife per person. Another box of company dishes is stored, but with the special needs currently so intense, she hasn’t entertained in more than a year.

All household objects and nik-naks stored. Nothing to dust but the crucifix. Fluff the couch and vacuum. Her home is painted bright and cheery. curtains simple. nothing stacked up because there’s nothing to stack. Bathroom likewise. One shampoo, one soap, only extras are her child’s special needs items.

Her meals are simplest-- like monastery food. she chops and stores much on Saturday mornings or when next she gets a chance. she always has a pot of cooked rice in the fridge.

she’s dressed every morning down to the shoes. she doesn’t talk on the phone or email except nap time. she has two kids and works better than I ever did with ten.

her husband is grateful for her efforts and insistent she goes with gal pals (which is usually mass or rosary then coffee and cards) at least once a month.

If this seems entirely outside the realm of what could happen in your home, I suggest one of three possibilities:

  1. if this seems impossible for YOU, then maybe you are being weighed down by depression. depression can be debilitating.
  2. if this seems entirely outside of the realm of possibility for you HUSBAND, then maybe he’s entertaining some unrealistic expectations. Unrealistic expectations are the KILLERS of household peace.
  3. maybe both of these are in play which would keep a family in a seemingly endless cycle of disturbance and discord.

You spend time in Adoration of the Lord. ask HIM which is happening. then listen for HIS answer. It may be hard to accept, but HIS truth will set you free from this burden of failure and guilt.



how many children do you have?


Since she said “family of six” - I’m guessing they have four :slight_smile:


I appreciate your advice and the example of your friend. It made me think that maybe what I need is to grow more in self-discipline. I have certainly not given my time as your friend has in caring for our family. Our son had been on a good path until last summer. He has apraxia and was suspected to have seizures. After several tests we found he does not have this but the last year has brought us three medicine changes and a new diagnosis of OCD. He is walking chaos and noise. His current obsession is with doors, kicking them making the hinges shake, slamming them etc. The last four months of school were literally painful daily grinds with long talks with the teacher and many long looks at the IEP and what we can do to limit the 3 hours of homework he and I were doing each night. It has been very difficult and I have no idea about managing him just yet. We, as a family, are in the baby stages of reacting and its been very very tense. I also care for my sister who is in a nursing home and my husbands 93 year old grandma counts on me to help her with a weekly bath and company. She gives me such a wonderful perspective on life that I see it as she is serving me instead of the other way around…

We have three other sons, one of whom has mild apraxia and is the twin of the boy I talked about above. He has been on a great road though.

My husband just sent me an email from a building without air conditioning doing a job that is stressful and its 95 today… he said
"Just wanted to let you know that I love you, I love you more than I ever thought possible to love someone. It makes me sad when we argue and I know it is my fault. YOU are the person I love!"

I will check out the Mother’s rule and flylady. Any ideas in growing in self-discipline? I will also look into the depression, its in my family, but I am the strong one, the survivor so never really gave it too much thought.


I am convinced that there are some things that each of us simply isn’t good at - many people struggle with math, many can’t handle money. Your struggle seems to be with organizing the home. It’s an unfortunate thing for you to struggle with because it seems to mean a lot to your husband.

Is there any way you can bring in help for it? Could you have a cleaner come in once a week to work on the things you struggle with most? I used to have a cleaner come in to wash the floors, clean the stove, and do the laundry for me - it really made my life much easier, and it was so much simpler to sweep the floors and tidy up when I didn’t have to feel guilty that I wasn’t doing a good enough job. Another suggestion is to have someone show you how to do it effectively. That’s an issue for me - I feel that when I clean the house, it never feels as clean as when someone else does it. If you feel that way, perhaps you could ask a friend or hire someone to show you the best methods of cleaning. A cleaning tutor, if you will.

There’s no harm or shame in asking for help. If you need help to manage all the responsibilities of running a home while caring for your whole family, including a disabled child, don’t be afraid to ask for it! And if you need reassurance that your husband loves and values you despite your shortcomings (and we all have shortcomings), talk to your husband about it and let him know how much easier it would be to cope if he reminded you often that he loves you.

In an office environment, you would be able to outsource or reassign work that you don’t do well to people who do it better. Don’t feel that because you’re the wife and you’re the mother, you have to handle this burden alone.


Dear OP,
First of all, HUGS and prayers. I know what you are going through. I too had no role models for keeping house in any organized fashion. There is a great book out called “Confessions of an Organized Homemaker” that has REALLY helped me.
My husband too didn’t help very much when our children were small. It wasn’t that he refused, though; he is military and truly didn’t have time. Many times he would be gone for several months and I would have to handle everything on my own. I had many days of crying as I failed time and time again.
It does get better, though, dear. Try reading that book and keeping track of things you need to accomplish in a planner. Don’t try to be perfect but don’t give up, either.
My prayers are with you!:thumbsup:


You sound like me, except I have no kids… :hug1:

Maybe he isn’t as disappointed in you as you think.



first, I haven’t been able to bring myself to write your entire sign-in name and now I know why. I doubt you really should be cleaning!

your cup runneth over, ShouldB-- it runneth over with loving others who have great need. You’re following the “people before things” rule beautifully. Please continue along that path.

self-discipline is good. simplicity is good. but the greatest of these is love. you give that to others constantly.

I’m happy your husband has made amends today. while you are in peace, can you pray together and decide what is priority and which is unnecessary? (A clean fridge usually isn’t necessary-- just so it’s not a science fair blue ribbon winner, it’s OK.)

somebody mentioned A Mothers Rule. What I liked best about it was the mission statement. My husband and I wrote one for our family, prayerfully together. then each our own. it was VERY helpful to realize how much time we spent on non-priorities and how they were complicating everything.

a few final thoughts. my husband works in a steel mill. in the summer, in the area he works, it averages 114 degrees. he has to work with long johns under his uniform to keep errant slag from burning his skin. it’s incredibly loud. and smelly. he works a weekly swing shift-- 1 week days, 1 week afternoon shift, 1 week midnights, then 4 days off to repeat the cycle. he’s been there for 20 years.

when he comes home, he needs me to appear at peace. even if I have an issue- unless it’s URGENT, I should not wait at the door to blast him between the eyes with it. when he comes home on day shift, he needs food. even if it’s a good snack of salsa, cheese and chips, he’s happy. I can do that. Four course meals on time? I can’t do that.

when I was in LaLecheLeague, a woman told how if she had picked up all the toys in the front lawn and wiped the fingerprints off the front door glass, her husband was happy coming home from work. another woman told that if her husband came home and smelled food cooking, he was happy-- so sometimes she put an onion to bake in the oven till she could figure out dinner.

another guy hated coming home to shabby kids. wiped faces and clean Tshirts fixed that.

if you can find out what your husband needs most, that’s MOST, and promise to always try, he might be really grateful for the consideration. conversely, it’s important for him to know what you need him to ignore most-- is it the dirty bathroom? the cluttered counters?

it sounds like you both really want to be kind to each other. be kind to yourself, shouldB. (and consider changing you screen name! )

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.