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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone,
I don't know if I am over-reacting by I am really exhausted by raising my autistic daughter alone. My wife is a doctor and has crazy busy days. I acknowledge that its very demanding job and she is physically and mentally exhausted after work. But even in the weekends, she almost takes the whole 2 days to unwind. I mainly do the house chores. She does the cooking which last for week. We don't cook daily or midweek. I could cope with that. But what I really can't tolerate is her coldness to her own daughter who is mildly autistic and speech delayed. I am taking her to speech therapist and only I do the exercise that the therapist gives.

I took this matter to her elder brother who lives nearby. But it all became my fault to raise these issues. I was not supposed to raise these issues as her job is very demanding. His solution is to hire people to all these duties and not complain.

My social life is almost non-existent. And there is not much excitement/sex in the relationship as well.

Am I being very demanding of her? Are my expectations unrealistic?
 

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Yes, I am the primary caregiver. She is 4.5 yrs old and goes to child care center 5 days a week. Generally she drops her at child care. I pick her up from childcare, feed her, shower her and take her to bed. I have full time job also which at times quite stressful. I have arranged my office time schedule as 7:30 am - 4:00 pm to be able to pick my daughter daily.
 

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in my volunteer work, I have had and do currently have children on the autism spectrum. I've seen the demands of care tear a marriage apart. My suggestion would be the same as her brother, get as much help as possible. that may seem cold and heartless but in fact it is survival. I'm on my 6th autistic scout. Plus 2 OCD. My grown Daughter is mildly autistic. Every case is different, there is no way I could give you specific advice. It cam be difficult to emotionally connect to a person who simply doesn't get emotions. Not to excuse your wife, but some people aren't going to be able to bridge that gap.

From the volunteer point of view, we handle it this way. We accept that some people will have limitations and adjust our expectations and requirements. We do our best to keep all the children involved. We accept the parents recommendations, and we add enough adult supervision to keep everyone safe. with one kid that meant having an adult dedicated to him at every meeting, with another it meant having someone watch him when we were camping. (he tended to wander off) as I said they have different needs. Our current one just needs more encouragement, and a little more hands on instruction. I figure it's little enough that we do and it gives mom an extra free hour each week.
 

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Your brother-in-law is right, hire help.

Start with hiring someone to do housework. Then if your income allows, hire someone to help some with your daughter to give you some time for yourself and time to spend with your wife.

You will be a better father to your daughter if you take better care of yourself

I'm not surprised that your marriage is not doing well. When you ignore a marriage, it dies.

There are two books that I think will help you find a better way to talk to your wife about a lot of this... "Love Busters" and "His Needs, Her Needs". I suggest that you read the books first yourself and do the work that they say to do. Then, after you have hired some help and have more time to spend both by yourself and with your wife, ask her to read the books with you and to do the work they say to do...together.
 

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Thanks everyone for the suggestions. Yes, I will hire some help so that I keep my sanity and my wife gets help as well. My daughter is doing very well and her speech is just coming out. Although its heartbreaking to see a mother so emotionally disconnected and I have grave concern what will happen when my daughter reach puberty, but its still long way to go. Hopefully things will change for better. For now, I will focus on getting helping hands, look after myself so that I can look after her.

Thanks again.
 

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I feel for you OP and admire you greatly. I too struggle to understand how a mother can be so dismissive of her child. My husbands daughter, my stepdaughter is Autistic and we have her full time as her mother can't cope with her. I don't know why - she's a beautiful girl with the most beautiful heart, and has wonderful insight into the world around her...if only her mother would give her a chance to show her. I will never understand her attitude.

You must make your marriage a priority, I can get worn down driving around to appointments - there's physio, ot, psychology and the list goes on. I also home school her.

My husband and I are going away next weekend, only for 3 days, and my mum will have our girl. We need some time together desperately. Our sex life has taken a hit the last few weeks and we intend to make up for lost time while we're away. I told him already I don't care if we never leave the hotel room...hehehehe.

Could it be that your wife is ashamed of having a disabled child? If she's a doctor?
 

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Thanks everyone for the suggestions. Yes, I will hire some help so that I keep my sanity and my wife gets help as well. My daughter is doing very well and her speech is just coming out. Although its heartbreaking to see a mother so emotionally disconnected and I have grave concern what will happen when my daughter reach puberty, but its still long way to go. Hopefully things will change for better. For now, I will focus on getting helping hands, look after myself so that I can look after her.

Thanks again.
Just connect her with wholesome female role models, in her extra-curricular activities and educational life as she grows. Many good women are naturally empathetic toward girls who clearly need some extra advocacy. Either your wife will start to see your daughter connecting with other women and step up, or she won't give a rats and carry on as she is currently. Whatever happens, just keep looking out for educators and friends who have a genuine interest in supporting your daughter. And you continue to be a great, supportive dad.
 
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in my volunteer work, I have had and do currently have children on the autism spectrum. I've seen the demands of care tear a marriage apart. My suggestion would be the same as her brother, get as much help as possible. that may seem cold and heartless but in fact it is survival. I'm on my 6th autistic scout. Plus 2 OCD. My grown Daughter is mildly autistic. Every case is different, there is no way I could give you specific advice. It cam be difficult to emotionally connect to a person who simply doesn't get emotions. Not to excuse your wife, but some people aren't going to be able to bridge that gap.

From the volunteer point of view, we handle it this way. We accept that some people will have limitations and adjust our expectations and requirements. We do our best to keep all the children involved. We accept the parents recommendations, and we add enough adult supervision to keep everyone safe. with one kid that meant having an adult dedicated to him at every meeting, with another it meant having someone watch him when we were camping. (he tended to wander off) as I said they have different needs. Our current one just needs more encouragement, and a little more hands on instruction. I figure it's little enough that we do and it gives mom an extra free hour each week.

Helping scouts with special needs is my bailiwick as well. Thanks for your hard work! --BT
 

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Thanks everyone for the suggestions. Yes, I will hire some help so that I keep my sanity and my wife gets help as well. My daughter is doing very well and her speech is just coming out. Although its heartbreaking to see a mother so emotionally disconnected and I have grave concern what will happen when my daughter reach puberty, but its still long way to go. Hopefully things will change for better. For now, I will focus on getting helping hands, look after myself so that I can look after her.

Thanks again.

Keep up the great work. It is worth it. My wife was your daughter ~40 years ago. Now, she is happily living a good life. Her Dad was there every step of the way.

Proud of you! --BT
 

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I feel for you OP and admire you greatly. I too struggle to understand how a mother can be so dismissive of her child. My husbands daughter, my stepdaughter is Autistic and we have her full time as her mother can't cope with her. I don't know why - she's a beautiful girl with the most beautiful heart, and has wonderful insight into the world around her...if only her mother would give her a chance to show her. I will never understand her attitude.

You must make your marriage a priority, I can get worn down driving around to appointments - there's physio, ot, psychology and the list goes on. I also home school her.

My husband and I are going away next weekend, only for 3 days, and my mum will have our girl. We need some time together desperately. Our sex life has taken a hit the last few weeks and we intend to make up for lost time while we're away. I told him already I don't care if we never leave the hotel room...hehehehe.

Could it be that your wife is ashamed of having a disabled child? If she's a doctor?
This is quite possible.

Also, I think that maybe your wife has not come to terms with accepting that your daughter is on the autistic spectrum.

Perhaps throwing herself into her work to the extent that you outlined is her way of avoiding thinking about the situation.
 

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Hi there I just want to root you on! I have three kids, two of which are mildly autistic, and one I homeschool due to it. Plus I'm a single mom, am self-employed and study full time. So I understand feeling drained, and get being really angry with the kids other parent for leaving all the childrearing in your court. Do not feel for a moment that hiring help is being selfish. And please talk to your wife about it, not her brother. You can maybe help her see that her priorities are misplaced, maybe understand why she struggles with being a mom. I think you two really sound like you need some time away to reconnect.

Keep up the good work with your daughter! I love the young man my son is growing to be. His autism at first devastated me, now I cherish his differences. He is beautifully refreshing in his outlooks and black and white thinking!
 

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It sounds like you have a plan and are moving forward with it. I would definitely have a cleaning service or a maid come in regularly. As for your wife and her brother, expect nothing. Sometimes when you ask of people not willing to give anything it ends up costing you even more.

If you still have faith that your marriage can survive and that your wife has some inner well of empathy and patience yet to reveal itself, then consider looking for a respite agency to come watch your child while you both work or go on a date night. I certainly wouldn't ask your BIL for any help.

Meanwhile, it's up to you to make your job easier. That means that in order to help her speech grow you could do things like label items throughout the house to help improve her vocabulary as well as just talking to her. Even if her speech doesn't fully develop she will still understand others when they talk to her. Take it as an opportunity to organize your home in the chance that she has certain cognitive or behavioral obstacles of her own.

Also, when your daughter goes to school don't expect things to get easier. You will find that you will have to be a strong advocate for your daughter both in the community and with the school in addition to the therapeutic agency that you're already dealing with.

FWIW I understand your situation well. My wife has a career and my full time job has been caring for and advocating for our 13yo severely autistic son and his 10yo little brother with ADHD as well as all the domestic duties that go along with keeping the house from literally falling apart. I'm convinced that autism is genetic and that several people in our family are simply undiagnosed and in denial.
 

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Getting some help does make sense and it is unfortunate that your brother in law was not much help. On the weekend, I do think you need to talk with your wife. Start with a compliment, tell her how impressive her work is, and you understand the pressures. First read a book like critical conversations. Then you need to discuss your concerns about your daughter in a non-accusatory fashion- maybe your wife is kind of frozen, does not know what to do. After you two have talked, then think about some solutions.
 
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