Help my wife not go insane.
June 14, 2012 10:56 AM Subscribe
How can I best support my wife, a stay-at-home-mom, during the summer when she's home alone with a sometimes difficult ten year old boy?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (27 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
My wife is a stay-at-home mom. Our son is ten and an only child. Most of his friends will be away at camp or otherwise unavailable for most of the summer. There will be play dates occasionally but they can be difficult to set up. For a good chunk of the summer it will be just the two of them. I work full time, with an hour commute each way. I am a very supportive and active husband and father when I’m available.
School ended yesterday and she’s been dreading the summer since about April.
My son, a great kid, is ten and sort of halfway between being a kid and being a surly pre-teen. Responses to questions are often one word or grunts. He would be happy playing Minecraft all day long. We limit his screen time (it will be extended a bit over the summer, of course) and want him to be a well-rounded kid with outside time, reading time, etc. For the most part he is. We plan to give him additional “productive” screen time with things like Khan Academy and/or programming tutorials. He enjoys these things but seems to have a limited attention span for them.
My wife is adventurous. She has plans for the summer. Camping trips, day trips to the beach, etc. There will also be some periods of day camp for my son. They won’t just be home all day, every day. However even with day trips she says she feels like she’s in the car alone, as our son will just stick his head in a book for the entire trip. It will mostly be just the two of them.
The bottom line is they’re both going to be lonely and occasionally sick of each other. There will be some time with friends but not much. “Go out and play” doesn’t work all day, every day, especially when most of the kids his age are unavailable. Most of my wife’s friends work so she’ll have very little interaction with adults. I’ll have vacation time later in the summer, but other than that I won’t have too many other options. I might occasionally be able to take a day or an afternoon off but that won’t be too often.
How can I help her/them? How can I support her so she doesn’t go insane? How can she support herself? I realize this is a pretty open question. I'm looking for practical advice ("surprise her by hiring a sitter for a day") as well as ways of helping her cope emotionally ("Go on dates every Friday.")
We are in the Boston area, if that matters.
Please note this is not a parenting question. I don’t want to hear about the pros and cons of limited screen time. The fact that you were able to entertain yourself for the whole summer back in 1973 is irrelevant. Additionally, hiring a nanny while my wife goes out and works isn’t an option, certainly not in the short term. For now she chooses to be a stay-at-home-mom. Therapy and depression are questions for another day, and have been addressed when/if needed. This is a question about supporting my wife during a long couple months when she has few options. Thanks.