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Coffee With Clare

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Dear Clare:

My name is Sue, and I am a 59-year old accountant.  I still work and plan on working until I am at least 65 years old.  I do enjoy my career, and contributing to our future financial stability.  My husband is 62 years old and just retired about a year ago.  My dilemma is my husband is driving me insane since he retired.

My husband, James, is plopped in front of the TV when I get home from work.  Do you think he has washed any dishes, done laundry, or cooked dinner?  No.  Most nights it is not done.  When I get home, I would like a little rest and relaxation, but he follows me around like a puppy dog!  Can you say H-E-L-P?!  I need extra R&R during tax season because in this industry I work lots of overtime for several months and when I get home I am exhausted.  James is bored but content.

I guess he likes his life, which from what I can tell consists of him taking our dog, Bennie, for a short walk once or twice a day, making breakfast and lunch for himself, and plopping in front of the TV for the rest of the day.  I don’t begrudge that he worked hard as a helicopter mechanic all those years…. But, I am still working and shouldn’t need to “babysit” him and entertain him when I get home.  With all his “spare time”, it would be nice if he could cook, clean, and do a little laundry.  I have tried to talk with him about this, but to no avail.   James says, “I worked hard all those years, and I have earned a little time of sitting around.”

Help me, PLEASE!

Signed – What’s a woman to do it Wilmington?


Dear Woman in Wilmington:

First of all, I would set aside about one hour of alone time when you come through the door after work.  Make sure James knows about it, and make this your routine.  Reconnect with James after you’ve had a chance to “chill” and can sit down for a glass of wine together, or make dinner, or spend the rest of your evening together.

It sounds like James could use some “hobbies”.  I am sure he probably may dismiss this as “nonsense”, but if he loves to “putter in the garage”, take pictures, or always wanted to learn Italian, anything of the like – maybe you two could take a class together on photography, a foreign language, or building cabinetry; something he always wanted to do.  When you have completed the class, hopefully James will continue this hobby in his spare time.

Maybe James would like to volunteer his time.  I know before my Dad died, he had often discussed volunteering at the local hospital near our home because a lot of seniors were used in this volunteer auxiliary program.  By the time Dad was interested in it though, it wasn’t possible due to his health.

As far as any of the household chores or necessities, you haven’t mentioned if James had done any of these around the house prior to retiring.  If he had, maybe you could just suggest him helping with one thing a week, such as laundry, and making sure you are not “harping on it”.  After he does some laundry, applaud him for that and make sure he knows how much you appreciate it.  This will hopefully ignite him to take on more chores around the house in the future. If he is “handy”, maybe you could ask him to fix some simple things around the house. But, if he has never done anything to help out around the house before, he may really resent doing anything now.

Consider doing more things together, especially on the weekends.  For instance, can you walk with James and the dog prior to you leaving for working in the morning?  This would be something you could do together to get the day started.  And then on weekends, maybe a lunch out, go for a nice daytrip, or take in a movie.

Make sure you are getting enough “alone” time; not just right after work, because frankly it sounds like James is making you nuts.  Maybe read a good book during the evening, go to the gym, take a walk, or do whatever else that you may enjoy.  Maybe once or twice a month, on a weekend, I would suggest getting some time in with your girlfriends doing something fun.  And then when James wants to go out on the weekends, you can do that, too; and not feel like you are getting cheated out of any “alone” time or time with your friends.  It’s a balancing act – which can be difficult to monitor especially in your months of overtime during the tax season.

older couple (2)

Readers – Do you any suggestions for “What’s a Woman to do in Wilmington?  

Thank you for stopping in today!  I invite you to email your questions, problems and “life challenges” directly to me at:   I would love to hear from you and all inquiries do remain anonymous! 

Until next time~



Clare is a 57-year-old fun loving Italian-American self-proclaimed “Jersey Girl” who believes, “Life ain’t easy street. Life is one of those crazy little city streets, complete with potholes that could swallow your car.” With one foot planted in fun and the other planted firmly in her Christian faith, Clare enjoys making people laugh while helping them navigate life’s “crazy little city streets”. Clare has raised two girls (now grown young adults) with her husband, Michial, Clare is ready to take on the challenges of making new friends through her blog, Life Ain’t Easy Street. With an aim to entertain while addressing topics important to women, Clare’s focus on the positive power of good stories, good friends, inspiring women, and strong faith will have you looking forward to reading the next post. Clare is a freelance writer who lives a real life in Jacksonville Beach, Florida.

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  • Alyssa says:

    I agree! Communication is key in situations like this…especially if you’re repeatedly unhappy with a situation.

    • Clare says:

      Communication is key, for sure – two-way communication! Which is sometimes challenging! Good points and thanks for sharing!

  • Candy says:

    Verbal instruction don’t work write them down. He can clean up after himself hire a maid let him pay her

    • Clare says:

      Good thoughts! I know my husband does better with a “to do list” in front of him…. not every husband is open to that though. A paid maid would be great, too – great suggestions! Thanks!

  • Tomasa says:

    This is great my dad is retired, and my mom was still working part time she had the same issue with my dad. I am going to share this post with her; I think she will enjoy it you also provided some great tips.

    • Clare says:

      Thanks Tomasa – I sure hope it helps this woman in Wilmington! And also your own family…. I think it is probably a step-by-step process! I hope your parents can work out their challenges, too!

  • Andrea says:

    Any kind of BIG hobby or volunteer work may help 🙂

    • Clare says:

      Yes – hobbies and volunteering are great thoughts for sure! The husband has to “want” to engage in these activities, too. So hopefully he will be more useful in the future with his free time! Thanks!

  • Allison says:

    Such good advice! My hubby and I are working on more purposeful communication…and it works!!

    • Clare says:

      Communication is a two-way street! And it can be tough, as we all know. Both parties have to want to learn to communicate effectively! Thanks for sharing from the heart!

  • Oh dear. I had a friend’s mum in a similar situation who didn’t know how to deal with a husband who had never been around to now always being around and not doing anything! She tried to get him involved in hobbies and then hoped that if she set a small roster of a couple of tasks around the house he didn’t mind doing he may slowly get sick of just being in front of the tv and enjoy pottering a bit more around the house!

    • Clare says:

      Wow – sounds quite similar to this couple – you will have to let us know how it turns out for your friends! Hopefully, they are adjusting – and all this lifestyle change is an “adjustment” and everyone certainly has to readjust to it all! Thanks for sharing!

  • I can only imagine. I like how you stressed the importance of her getting her alone time to sort of like recharge her batteries! That is so important!

    • Clare says:

      Yes, yes! I think we women – no matter what our age – need alone time to recharge and get refreshed! I know I need it!

  • sounds like he doesn’t know what to do with himself yet. i am sorry for what you are going through. it must be frustrating. i think he will become a kind and loving stay at home husband (if he had a tendency to be that way). clare’s suggestions are right on. please let us know if you see changes.

    • Clare says:

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts – yes, it does sound like he doesn’t know what to do with himself for sure! It must be frustrating – I hope they see improvements soon and ones that they can both live with and enjoy their lives!

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