Dear Ms. Savvy,
My husband isn't a bad guy, but he does have one issue that really leaves me at a loss: he is still a weekend pot smoker. Before we had kids, this wasn't a big deal -- he would often smoke on a Sunday afternoon while listening to music or writing lyrics (he is an aspiring musician). Now, though, we have an 18 month old and I feel extremely conflicted about this. Although I personally don't feel that getting drunk is any better or worse than smoking marijuana, I don't want my son to see drug use as a normal part of our household. And, although my son is too young to pick up on it now, I don't want him regularly experiencing his dad as "out of it" and altered by a substance. And finally, Sunday afternoons are now prime family time. Going off to listen to music and smoke out takes away from time we could be spending together. What are your thoughts on this?
Sometimes parts of our life that worked really well before we had children get lost in translation once we become parents. Your husband's weekend pot smoking habit is a prime example of this. You are right in that it's not healthy for your son to see dad being "out of it" once a week. Kids are very smart and observant and it won't take him that much longer to make the connection that when daddy goes off and then comes back, smelling really different, he acts different too. This can be scary for kids-they like constancy, schedule and routine and seeing a parent behave in a different way than normal can be very unsettling for them. I'd suggest talking to your partner about this and explaining your concerns. Perhaps there is a compromise here. Maybe your son stays at grandma's one night a week? That could be your husband's night to be his full creative self and put the role of daddy to the side for a moment. Or, maybe, Saturday early evening is mommy and son time? The two of you could get some pizza, while daddy has some time alone (with the window open). But, putting all of this aside is the larger issue of your husband is doing something illegal. This could have a very negative impact on him and on your family. That's a heavy issue that needs to be discussed between the two of you. If it comes to an impasse, a few sessions with a good couples therapist might not be a bad idea.
Mr. Unsavory's Take:
First off, allow me to say that I admire your understanding of marijuana in that it is no worse than getting buzzed using alcohol. At least marijuana can be used medicinally and has never been proven to kill anyone. The "gateway drug" and "it's illegal" arguments not only display a lack of research into the topic (it should and will become legal in our lifetime), but frankly, they bore me.
Now, that does NOT mean that your green-friendly, rock star hubby should be escaping from parental and family duties/obligations by continuing to escape on Sunday afternoons. No matter how he chooses to spend his relaxation time, those times and the surrounding parameters change the second that child is born. He probably knows this deep down, just needs to have his seemingly cool and supportive wife call him out on it. Sunday-Funday can easily be moved to post-bedtime on a week/end evening. I'm not suggesting he or anyone completely give up that part of themselves; one must not completely lose themselves in this new life that is being a parent. But that baby, and you, should definitely come first. Strongly suggest that he get rid of the six-foot bong in favor of some easily hide-able rolling papers, while also pointing out that a child should have the right to discover these types of substances (including alcohol) at a much older age, on their own terms. Does he think it's responsible to get whacked on a six-pack of beer and hang out with his baby? I seriously doubt it.
Dear Ms. Savvy
So, my question is about going out without your spouse. My wife and I used to go out a lot when we were dating, and even after we first got married. This is my wife's second marriage and when I met her, she seemed to be reliving her 20s after a bad divorce. Now, though, we both work long hours and commute across the bridge. When I come home on a Friday night, all I want to do to is unwind on the couch. She has other plans and has usually scheduled a girl's night at a local bar or has tickets to see a live show. She encourages me to come out, but I have the sense she will go with or without me, which makes it less appealing. I don't think she's interested in other guys or anything, I just wonder how good it is for our relationship that she is always out on the town and I am home with the TV. I try to make an effort--I recently went to a comedy show with her and stayed out late afterwards--but I am just in a different stage, where bars and loud music aren't my thing. Is this normal? Should a happily married woman want to go out all the time? At Home Hubby
Dear At Home Hubby,
The question here is not "Should a happily married woman want to go out all the time?" but rather, "What are the two of you doing as a couple to keep your relationship vital, engaged and intimate?" Also, if your wife is an extrovert and wants to spend time with her friends, then sitting home on the couch with you on a Friday night might not appeal to her. Extroverts get their energy from being with other people, while introverts recharge by being alone. Some of the issue here may simply be your innate personality differences. But, there is room for both of you to get your needs met. I don't see anything wrong with your wife having a girl's night out every week. If it makes her happy and she comes back to your relationship recharged, than isn't that better for you anyway? Remember, happy wife = happy marriage. Unhappy wife = unhappy marriage. Is it possible that Friday night could be a night for you to do something relaxing for yourself, like going for a swim, listening to music or catching up on a good book? Turn Saturday night into your date night and do fun things together. Try not to get caught up in the idea of what a "wife" should or shouldn't do. You are both unique individuals who deserve to enjoy life and have some fun!
Mr. Unsavory's Take:
This sucks. I know because I've experienced it. And it doesn't always necessarily mean that you are more mature and/or she is immature. It's also about how we each enjoy spending down time. Yes, it's true that when a couple marries there's most likely an expected reality of many more "Netflix Nights" than when they were dating, heading out for dinner, drinks, and concerts almost every weekend. But as you're experiencing first-hand, some folks do not make this adjustment, and it's more often than not the male party that chooses the outside comraderie vs. the couch.
Have you voiced your displeasure about this routine, though? Hopefully you already know that saying nothing and holding in those frustrations only leads to more problems. It's possible that she has no idea and thinks that you are actually enjoying this solo time in your sweatpants. I do think it's important to push yourself a bit here and there by joining her out on the town, but so should she, and there ultimately has to be give and take on both sides. Some people assume that when they marry, things will change...be that in whatever way they envision as ideal. Do yourself a favor bud, and never assume squat! That old saying (ass-u-me) is pretty accurate. Unfortunately.
Final answer: Talk through it and express your desire to spend more QT at home, together. Find some of your own activities to partake in, and when she actually does want you to watch The Notebook with her for the fifth time, maybe you'll already have better plans. See how she feels, sitting in her jammy pants, wondering what you're doing, how much fun you're having, with whom, and for how long. Oh snap!