UPDATE: I'm calling around to day cares and will get that set up ASAP. I've called a mobile mental health crisis line and will get them to the house tonight. I've contacted my wife's old therapist and am waiting on a call back to hopefully kickstart their relationship again. And, I've found a divorce lawyer a friend recommended and have left a message to schedule a 30 minute consult to get my bearings.
Thanks everyone for the comments, whatever they are. I have no one to speak to about these things day to day.
First off: I swear, I am not trying to make askmrp my personal diary. I did not plan to post here again for a long while, but things are starting to escalate and I desperately need for someone to tell me if I am being overblown/an idiot/a shity husband/crazy.
After MRP collectively told me to get over it, I've been working on acknowledging but not wallowing in my pain and anger. After a few days, things got back to normal, more or less - a bit more distance on my part, but back to working on my self and the marriage.
A day or two later, a text: "When you get home I need to leave the house." Stress text, common occurrence. I didn't engage.
I came home after work to find my wife in a fetal ball, face down on the ground while the kids played around her. She said she hadn't eaten all day, besides the omelet I made her for breakfast, and her blood sugar was low.
I gave her some snacks to eat, brought her some water, and she curled up under a blanket on the couch, using her phone.
Ordered dinner for us, got the kids fed, cleaned, changed, put down.
We ate, and I said we should talk. The specifics are boring, but we got into it.
Normally, I would have been wrapped up in her emotions, feeling anxious. I didn't. I felt strong, in control - she needed help, and I could be there.
She said: "I cannot take care of the kids myself. I'm a failure as a mother. I can't get them to eat, I can't get them to sleep. I just can't do it."
I was empathetic, but firm. "We need to put a plan in place to deal with this. The kids will be fine. I am mostly worried about you. You are the one being affected most."
Here is the plan I put together, essentially a mini-MAP:
--- First, she should wake up 30 minutes early, come down, and eat her breakfast. That way she'll start the day right, rather than staying in bed until the second I leave, then being "unable" to eat, which is what she always does. (To be clear, the kids wake up around 5:30; I get them up, and she typically comes down moments before I leave at 8. This way, she'd come down at 7:30).
--- If that doesn't help, we will put together a plan to get her some time to exercise. I would come right home from BJJ on Tu/Th to handle the kids and she would go straight to group class. Or, we could do weekend mornings, where I would take the kids.
--- If that doesn't help, she would go back to her therapist.
--- If that doesn't help, and the doctor agrees, she would go on anti-depressants.
--- If that doesn't help, we will get her a part time job and the kids will go to daycare part of the week.
That was the plan. She mostly didn't say anything once I put that on the table. Later I put my arm around her and she leaned into me, and I held her for a while. Things felt better.
Fast forward to this morning. This is the second morning of her getting up "early" to eat.
I had a ton of energy this morning. Got the kids up, made breakfast, did the leftover dishes from last night, did all the dishes I made during breakfast, put dry dishes away, got the snowblower and shovels out of the shed, made myself a protein shake for lunch, played with the kids, got dressed for work.
She came down grumpy and moping around. She took her breakfast upstairs to eat in her room. (I had encouraged her to spend the time downstairs with us, but at least she ate). When I went outside to get the snowblower, I told her so she could come down and keep an eye on the kids; she didn't.
After I went upstairs to brush my teeth, she came down. About 5 minutes later I heard her yelling and snapping at our oldest because she couldn't find some toy she wanted to put away. She said things like "Why do you always do this to me?" and had a very angry tone of voice. The kids were just playing in their play room. They had made a mess, like they always do, and she started angrily putting all their toys away. "You guys make such a MESS, it drives me CRAZY."
I stepped in and calmly told the kids to help mom find the toy. I kept it very light. She immediately started to sulk. Our oldest asked "Where are you going, daddy?" and she immediately jumped in with a sullen "Yeah, guess you guys are stuck with me today." The oldest immediately started repeating it, including her sour tone of voice.
She went back upstairs. I said goodbye to the kids and went upstairs to say goodbye to her. Found her slumped with her head down on her dresser. I said "hey," and softly pulled her in for a hug. She resisted, not wanting to turn towards me, so I just put my arms around her.
She said "THIS is why I hate coming down in the mornings. I DREAD it."
I will admit - I was frustrated. She had done NOTHING the entire morning. Now she dreads being around our kids? She was already fighting against a plan we put in place for her?
I just said, "Well, OK. We've talked about this before. I know it's hard for you, so tonight, after I get home, we can talk about changing that situation. You certainly don't have to be here if you don't want to." And I started to leave for work.
As I went down the stairs I heard her start to punch and hit things. I heard a loud tumbling sounds, like something was being thrown to the ground.
I will admit it - I snapped. I walked back up the stairs. I raised my voice to her - something I have done maybe 3 times since we've been together. I very, very rarely let her see me get angry.
"ARE MY KIDS SAFE IN THIS HOUSE RIGHT NOW?"
This is how I felt. She's throwing things around, talking down to them, moping around - who knows what happens when I'm gone?
She immediately tried to turn it around on me. "How DARE you fucking speak to me that way?!"
"You are acting like a child - and I NEED to know if my kids are safe with you." (I am not proud of this statement, but it's there.)
"FUCK YOU, HOW DARE YOU...." etc.
I turned. "I am taking the kids out of this house." She ran downstairs in front of me and put herself between me and the play room. "You are NOT taking these kids, HOW COULD YOU say that"
Me: "I will take these kids from here if I think they are unsafe. You are acting irrationally - swearing when the kids can hear you, hitting things. I will remove them if I need to." My tone at this point was still angry but low - I stopped shouting the moment we transitioned downstairs.
"You will NOT..." and she retreated to the room with the kids. If I wanted to remove them, I would have to do it with her interfering. I waited a moment, and decided against it. I checked the situation, told the kids I loved them, and left.
A few things:
she was not "out of control." The moment she realized I would take the kids she lowered her voice and put herself in a defensive position (i.e., between me and them.)
I am not wrapped up in how she feels. I feel no anxiety. I don't really care about saving our marriage or my sex life or whatever. Right now, I feel my kids are being raised by someone who doesn't want to be around them half the time. I am worried about what that is doing to them, and stressed I'm not there more often.
I cannot and will not continue to give up parts of my life, to bend over backwards, to help her in a million ways. Her life is hard, for sure. But she needs to adapt to it and change it. Period.
I got the number of a lawyer and will call today to arrange a consult.
I don't know where the woman I married went. This isn't her.
I really just need some feedback. Am I being nuts? Do I have unrealistic expectations? Is this ALL because I'm a shitty husband? Because I sure as fuck don't feel like a shitty husband, and I need to know if that's my ego fucking me up, or if I need to be worried about my family.