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Help Keeping Priorities in Order

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TimeToManUp posted 9/24/2013 12:28 PM

Hello everyone. I was wondering if I could get some advice on keeping my priorities in order. That statement may seem a bit misleading, so please let me explain.

We have a very busy life right now. I work a lot, I play hockey one night a week, our daughter has hockey practice three nights a week plus game(s) on the weekend, TCD works one night a week and has meetings for church with varying frequencies plus she goes to the gym every night... plus whatever else may come up (back to school night, etc).

Here is my issue. There are a lot of things that I am trying to do to make things easier for TCD. She has issues with my mom (some related to the A, some not), so I try to make sure I am home before she needs to leave, because my mom is really our only babysitter and TCD doesn't like going over to their house without me. This can be very exhausting at times, just because of the nature of my work and the amount of maneuvering that sometimes is required to make that happen. But it is worth it in the end to make TCD feel safe.

I also do my best to send TCD video updates of my location on a regular basis (try for every hour). I do my best to respond to her texts and phone calls quickly and compassionately.

Unfortunately, I still struggle at times with doing other things for her that won't really take much time, but for some reason just fall through the cracks. For example, as some of you may know we have been speaking to a financial advisor to work out a plan to erase our revolving debt. In our last meeting, the option of a 401k loan was brought up. We are doing our best to avoid bankruptcy, because we wish to move into a new home ASAP. We never explored the 401k loan option before, because it would tie me to my job for the length of repayment (or face stiff tax penalties). Since we have decided that is in our best interests for me to stay her for now, that option is on the table. The advisor asked me to research some information and e-mail it to him.

Now, it took me all of 5 minutes to find the information he needed the next morning... why didn't I immediately e-mail it to him? Instead, it is now nearly a week later and I just sent it, and only after TCD asked if I had. I truly did have it on my to do list for today, but it didn't matter; why did it take this long anyway?

I know that things like this make TCD feel like she is not in my thoughts as much as she should be. The thing is, she is ALWAYS in my thoughts. Always. I feel like I keep dropping the ball on things like this. Even though I know how much it means to her to get through this process, I allow it to get lost in the shuffle of our daily life. I think about it, and I should address it in that moment. Instead, I end up putting it off and then forgetting.

I understand how this makes her feel, and I understand I need to fix this. It is truly not because I don't care. I care immensely! I want things to get better as much as she does, and that will never happen until she feels safe with me. Forgetting this small yet imprortant items does not convey to her that I care.

I am not being passive aggressive. I want us to work, I want our life to be NORMAL again just like does. I love her and want to get this all into our past. Has anyone else struggled with things like this? Does anyone have any advice? I feel like I left out some details, but I have to get back to work so that I can be home before TCD leaves for her meeting tonight. I feel so bad for letting her down again, I really do. I love her and care about her, but that messasge is not getting from my brain to her through my actions consistently enough...

cantaccept posted 9/24/2013 12:57 PM

Only advice a a BS, just do it!

Make notes, make it your priority, figure out what you need to do so you will not forget.

She needs to feel like your priority now, she needs to be your priority now.

By putting off these "things" it says to her that you just don't care that much, that she is just not that important, other things are more important.

At least that is how it makes me feel.

Ask yourself, why am I putting this off? Does it make me uncomfortable? Do I not see the importance of this?

Just putting it out there I really don't have the answer, just know what I would like to see, what would give me the reassurance that I need now.

Rebreather posted 9/24/2013 12:58 PM

My husband used to be like this too. And he would swear he didn't mean it. He would swear I was important to him. But let me tell you, it was a twist of the knife every time.

He worked on it in IC. Developing strategies to keep his mind focused and to follow through.

If you really knew that it didn't just hurt her, but would force her to divorce you, would that help?

Sticky notes, lists, whatever you have to do, find a way. I have to imagine you don't forget this kind of stuff at work?

tired girl posted 9/24/2013 13:07 PM

Can you set a reminder in your phone with an alarm that goes off?

IRN2006 posted 9/24/2013 13:17 PM

I'm spread very thin. We have three kids, I work 60 hours a week. Stuff like what you are describing happens to both DH and I. For us, it has nothing to do with the state of our marriage, my DH's issues. There are simply only so many hours in a day.

Here's what I've learned. I can't have as many priorities anymore. Seriously, my limit is 2. Right now, the rearing of our family is our main priority. Every decision we make needs to support that priority. And, we make these decisions jointly. Our marriage comes in second. As dire as that sounds, we still get 1-2 hours every night of alone time. We also go out for lunches together, I'm taking a day off of work so we can be together to nurture our marriage. So, it's not like we are neglecting each other.

So, if your priority is to heal your marriage, then you MUST look at all your other actives and ask it supports the healing of your marriage.

Does your playing hockey support making your marriage stronger? Does your wife's involvement in church make your marriage stronger? Does your daughter's activities allow you enough time to work on your marriage?

Why is your mom the only baby sitter? Again, does this choice support the building of your marriage?

What about the choice for TCD to work out at night. Why not during the day? Does this decision support the marriage and/or the family as a whole?

From our perspective, I don't have hobbies anymore, really. Of course it makes me sad. It's just that hobby time takes away from family/marriage time. Soon enough, our kids will be able to not need us so much. (In 6 years, our oldest will be driving and our youngest will be in school full time.)

We divided the job/homecaring tasks in such a way that best support our family. IMVHO, Nothing should be "off the table." We even limit our kids activities, because there just isn't enough time/energy.

Remember, you can have everything, just not at once.

ETA: We also communicate way more than we used to. Pretty much now, every night, we go through what's coming up for the next day. If DH notices I have forgot something, he'll gently ask about it. Same thing for me. Or I may say something like "Oh, I remember you talking about abc a week ago. Is that still on your radar?" Then I usually get one of two responses-yes, it's taken care of or thanks, that slipped my mind."

Because we have these sorts of communications, I absolutely feel like DH has got my back and is in my corner.

[This message edited by IRN2006 at 1:27 PM, September 24th (Tuesday)]

TimeToManUp posted 9/24/2013 13:28 PM


I do realize that this type of behavior is what can kill an attempt at R. The other thing is, yes, I do forget things at work. The difference is that at work, I have never royally screwed over anybody. The fact that I am a hardworker who is available more often than not and goes above and beyond regularly gives me some latitude for mistakes. At home, I have screwed over TCD in the worst way possible, so I don't have that same luxury. This is why I know it is not directly related to TCD, but I fully understand why she would take my forgetfulness or procrastination personally.


I realize that by not doing these things it makes TCD feel like she is not my priority. I understand that my actions need to convey to her what my brain is thinking. I told her just yesterday that I understand that her video update request isn't about punishment or not trusting me, it's about letting her know that I'm thinking about her. I get that totally.

tired girl-

I was thinking along that line. I'm going to give that a try. I've never been good at keeping a calendar or an agenda or whatever... I need to get good at it.

Overall, I am doing my best, but like I've told many WSes in the wayward forum, your best is all that can be expected, but over time, your best needs to get better. And that most certainly applies to me as well. I need to make a concerted conscious effort to make my best better. Starting right now!

StillGoing posted 9/24/2013 13:51 PM

Is your to do list an actual handwritten list you check habitually or a mental list of things to get done?

I keep handwritten lists and habitually check them. Granted I have ADD, but the tool can serve multiple roles.

TimeToManUp posted 9/24/2013 13:52 PM


You raise a lot of interesting points. I'll be honest with you: I think I would need to sit with my wife and discuss exactly what our priority is, because as you said, we can have everything, just not all at once.

My wife should be able to start going to the gym during the day, at least a few times a week. Our youngest daughter is now old enough to go to the same day school as our middle daughter, so my wife will have some time during the week. I think that self-consciousness has played a role in her going at night as well. She goes around 10:00 PM, when there are fewer people around.

My hockey doesn't directly help any of our causes, but it does give me an outlet for some kind physical release. It takes about 3 hours out of our week, but I have skipped a lot more games lately when necessary. Prior to the A, I never missed a game.

My mom is our only babysitter because we don't have any friends or family readily available to handle 3 kids, especially on short notice. My BW's family moved to CA, and her brother and SIL work together and get home from work too late (and put their kids to bed really early) to be helpful. We could use a service like, but TCD feels like that is counterproductive to our efforts to pay down our debt... especially when it would cost almost as much for the childcare as she makes in her one night at work.

Does her activity in the church help any of our causes? No. But it is important to her, and any more losses on her part just add to her resentment of me... which is also highly counterproductive to keeping things together. Her giving up anything whatsoever seems to be out of the question.

I do especially like your idea of getting together to discuss what's going on this week, even if it's just on Sunday nights. Make it a point to sit down, take a few minutes to plug some dates and times into my iPhone calendar.

Thank you for your thoughts. I will reread them when I get home from work later.

PricklePatch posted 9/24/2013 18:37 PM

My whole uses an app on his smart phone with a daily alarm for his priorities list.

ItsaClimb posted 9/25/2013 02:40 AM

Since D-Day I have been feeling very "scattered" and started forgetting things at work, at home... a mess! What I have done is register with "Remember the Milk", it's a free online planning thingy. I update this thing religiously, even with the teeny-tiny little things. It is my life-saver. I honestly couldn't get through a day without it.

sisoon posted 9/25/2013 22:17 PM

Have you ever been evaluated for ADD or ADHD as an adult? I think it's worth looking into. If it is AD(H)D, there are treatments that really help.

Dare2Trust posted 9/26/2013 02:13 AM

Time to Man Up,

It sounds like BOTH your and your wife need to sit down and get your PRIORITIES in order:

I've worked out with a Professional Trainer for 7 years...and my Work-Out-Program doesn't require me to be at the GYM EVERY SINGLE DAY...that would be EXCESSIVE.
Since your wife goes so late at night, 10PM...her time at the GYM should not require any babysitting services from your mother: young children the ages of your kids should be in bed, asleep at 10PM.

Personally - I'd think your wife needs to work things out with your mother/her MIL; if she's going to use her as a Child Care Giver/Babysitter. You can't always be there as "the go-between for them" Right?

Can I ask:
Between your Hockey...your daughter's Hockey Practice and Games...your wife's nightly Gym Workouts...her nightly JOB...her Church Activities...and an required School Activities for the children....PLUS taking care of a new Baby; plus your full-time JOB:
DO you and your wife have any quality time alone together?

TimeToManUp posted 9/26/2013 07:31 AM


I started using the calendar on my iPhone the other day, even for little things like taking out the cardboard.


I have considered this in passing, but perhaps I should be looking into it more in depth, if even just to read up on it. I am not in any way saying that TCD has said this, but I feel like any "diagnosis" or "condition" will be seen as me trying to excuse my behavior. But that is my issue to work out.


Yep, I have definitely been a struggle since DDay for me, too. I missed a credit card payment for the first time ever, and that really bothered me. I have always been diligent in tracking our finances and on top of bills. It hurt to let that slip.


Quality time between us is very important to me, and I believe it is for BW as well. Unfortunately I didn't give her a lot of reason to want to spend time with me up until July. Now that things are starting yo turn the corner, I feel like our quality time is starting to increase. There are other issues that need to be addressed, for sure. Her relationship with my mom, of course, is a big one. I am at work, so I need to go. But thank you all for your added insight.

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