Journal Relationships

I’m One of Those “Butthole” Wives, and it’s Not Likely to Change Soon

I'm One of Those "Butthole" Wives, and it's Not Likely to Change Soon www.herviewfromhome.com
Written by Jessica McCaslin

The other day, one of our awesome Her View From Home writers published an article called “Stop Being a Butthole Wife.” I read it and knew it described me. I am a butthole wife. If you haven’t read it, take a moment and read it, then come back…

Now that you’ve read it, you either agree or are defensive. I was both. After reading it I knew I was guilty of everything mentioned in the article but felt I needed to defend my actions. My husband is amazing but I find faults. I’m currently a stay-home mom because of our situation, so he works hard to support our family. After reading the article, I mulled over it for a week, and tried to put it into action. However, I always came back to this thought:

“I am a butthole wife and mother, and it’s not going to change any time soon because no one listens or respects me and what I do. Apparently, I NEED to act like a butthole to get results.”

Instead of appreciating my husband’s hard work, I am jealous. He goes out and interacts with people. My conversations are limited to 8-and-under year olds. He is on the road so he eats out; I’m stuck with leftovers or figuring out what to feed myself and kids. When I want to go to events/activities in the evenings or on weekends, he wants to stay home. I’m up at the crack of dawn to exercise ( even at 35 weeks pregnant) and then to get kids ready for school; he sleeps in (except certain times of year), and stays up late watching movies. He leaves clothes everywhere, tosses the laundry I have folded, ignores dishes, and makes a HUGE mess when cooking (admittedly, the meals are awesome).

Then there are my kids. I love, love, love my children but there are times when I really can’t stand their behaviors. My toddler still wakes in the middle of the night and I’m the one getting up.  My middle child is so sweet and sensitive, but to the point of crying over everything. The toddler beats him up. My oldest is JUST LIKE ME, and we butt heads at every turn. I ask them to help with things and they “don’t hear” me or outright ignore me, so then I’m screaming and they’re crying “You always yell at us.”

I’m left feeling ignored, angry, guilty, and acting like a butthole. All life’s positives seem to get overshadowed by my self-centeredness. My butthole-ness.

I love to help others. Honestly, I do. I give of myself but I also know how to say “No.” However, “no” is not an option when you’re a mom and dealing with a sick kid in the middle of the night. Or piles of laundry. Or mountains of dishes. Or arguing kids. Or figuring out what to feed everyone.

I should be thankful for all these blessings-in-disguise. I am, honestly. I just don’t act like it. I want my husband and children to help me. I want my husband to find a hamper, instead of the floor, couch, chair, etc. I want my children to learn how to take care of a home. I want them to HEAR me the first time I ask, not the tenth time I’m screaming at them. I want to communicate better with my husband, instead of having all the “misunderstandings” we’ve had lately.

I know acting this way doesn’t help my family but I can’t – won’t – act like a slave. I am not made that way. Being a stay-home mom wasn’t something I ever planned for myself but I’m also not a quitter so I don’t want to give up.

I know I can’t change them. I need to change myself. It’s my expectations and ideas of what “should” be that are causing the butthole-ness. It’s my need for order that stresses me out since I cannot maintain order in my household. It’s what I think others are thinking when they see my children acting out that causes me to shame and guilt them for being and acting like children. It’s my ideas of what a marriage “should” be that causes my anger when it is not what I expect.

Perhaps that is what hurts me the most – knowing I am negative and damaging to my family but refusing to let go of the butthole because I want things to be better for me. I feel disrespected, even when it’s not intentional. Some may call it entitlement. Perhaps it is.

I need to change. I need help in changing. I pray for that change, and I try to make small changes in my thinking and behaviors.

It takes time, and I’m not patient. How do I stop being a butthole wife and mother?

I don’t know the exact answer. It’s part of my journey and growth. I will have to sit back and do what I learned in my master’s program – trust the process. But, wow, that is difficult. For now, I will have to take a few deep breaths and realize the “butthole within” isn’t going to vanish overnight.

About the author

Jessica McCaslin

Jessica is a Stay-At-Home-Master-Mom who is learning to cope with the daily challenges of being a full-time parent. She graduated with her Master’s degree in community counseling from the University of Nebraska at Kearney in 2005.

Jessica joined Family Resources of Greater Nebraska in January 2012. She worked with children, adolescents, adults and families in and around Broken Bow, NE. Her attention has now turned to raising her children while doing online work for Family Resources of Greater Nebraska. She loves horses and has attended several Level 1 Equine-Assisted Growth and Learning trainings, where horses are used as a co-therapist for mental health issues. It’s a dream to someday be able to incorporate horses into her therapy sessions. She resides near North Platte with her husband and children.

6 Comments

  • Oh wow…you hit the nail on the head for me. I did read that same article the other day and I completely feel the things you’re saying here. I could be writing this, it’s SO spot on with the way I feel. I’m glad I’m not alone….I’m in a journey of prayer on the very same thing.

    • I’m glad to show that you aren’t alone. I “knew” I couldn’t be the only one who loved Debbie’s article while struggling to implement it. Keep trying, keep praying, keep communicating, and find what works for the both of you!

  • I read the article and I was impressed. As a man in public service I can tell you I know exactly how she feels. Not only have I lost precious ones, I have been to more scenes and homes to provide notification of the death of a loved one. I can tell you – it sucks. Bad. I know what it is like to stand at a casket and wish, “If only…”….and I have sworn to never, ever find myself in that place ever again. I can also say this…..I too have been the man you described above. And I can tell you – I was wrong. Way wrong to treat my wife like this. What I take from this isn’t that women NEED to be buttholes, but men need to sharpen up their responsibilities and stop being lazy and self absorbed. I too stomped on the flowers my wife held dear while I focused on the glorious Teton mountains in the distance. I didn’t mean to hurt her, in fact, I poured my guts into everything I could to give her what I felt she deserved. However, aren’t we all a product of our own environments? We need to stop thinking of ourselves and pay attention to the other half of the circle. If (and when) couples focus on God first and their spouse second, they will find that they themselves are completely fulfilled.

    • Thank you for the comment. As you say, I don’t think we mean to hurt each other but each person in a relationship has different views on what is important. We also differ in HOW we show love and want to receive it. It is a matter of focusing on God, communicating with each other, and working together (“marriage takes 3”) to find “us.” Plus, accepting the fact that life is a process and we will have to change that “us” as we age.

  • I think one of the things that is missed here is that yes, your husband works – but so do you. All day. And then your husband comes home, and now he is not working – but you continue to work. He chucks stuff on the floor and walks away because in his view he has been working all day and now it’s his own time to do what he wants. But you continue to work, picking up after him, cooking, washing up etc. It is unlikely you have any time when you don’t have a list in your head of work you could be doing, should be doing, but he is able to draw a line under his when he leaves his job and comes home.

    It’s all about the attitude that ‘work’ happens outside the home and not within it. Bringing up kids is work. Doing the laundry is work. Sitting down watching TV is not restful if you are waiting for the washing machine to finish, wondering if you need to get to the supermarket tomorrow, calculating a budget to the end of the week, reminding yourself who needs new shoes, beating yourself up because you didn’t vacuum today and knowing there is a pile of dirty plates to deal with before you go to bed.

    Some marriages are proper partnerships, and both sides get this. but many are not. Throwing clothes on the floor for your partner to pick up is disrespectful and unchristian. It signals that you do not care about someone enough to give them a basic level of love and consideration. All the gifts and nice words in the world do not make up for not having the foundations right.

    • Thanks for your comment, Fiona. Any relationship is an on-going process. I will admit, ever since reading this article, he has tried much harder to help around the house. If nothing else, he does much better at getting his stuff where it needs to be. I also do better asking for help, instead of letting it boil and explode inside of me. One thing that could have been a big eye-opener was just as I was leaving the hospital with our newborn, my other kids were diagnosed with influenza B so the baby and I were quarantined. He took paternity leave to take charge of the 3 sick kids – plus, cleaning up after diarrhea and vomit, meals, dishes, laundry, and entertaining them or breaking up arguments. I think it gave him a new appreciation regarding how much work a stay-home parent does.