Support thread for SAHPs whose partner works more than 70 hours/week?
My dh tolds me he wants to work until the day he dies. His hero is his grandpa who worked until he was disabled, and then worked in their small banana plantation, sitting down by each tree and weeding around it thoroughly, and then laboriously moving on to the next one. All day, every day, until he died.
It is hard on all of us. And dh is currently out of the country, which is even harder, we don't even get to see him in the evening or on Sundays now.
But...I understand that this is dh. I knew he was someone who loved to work before I married him. His work allows me to stay at home and allows our children the benefits of that. And quite frankly, when he's been out of work he was so depressed and defeated that it wasn't worth the extra time spent together because he made us all miserable. It is better when he is draining all his work energy and feeling satisfied that he's "doing something", and then the shorter time we have with him is much better quality-wise. Now, he desperately wants to work for himself, and so with his renovating projects we've at least had the ability to drop by to bring him lunch or a popsicle, and to see what he's working on, and the kids get to interact with him more that way.
Our oldest is almost 8, and life has been like this her entire life. His work is different in that he doesn't want to work this much but it is the nature of his line of work. There is always another huge project, something going on. Yes, we do feel lucky that he has work but it also bites. I used to wait around for DH, save things to do for when he might be around, I don't anymore. I plan the kids and I's lives, he is either around or not, but either way life goes on. We rarely eat together as a family because I can never be sure when he is getting home.
Our 4y adores her daddy and wakes up every single day asking if this is a day where he is going to stay with her. That is always hard to see.
I remember when we started living together in 94, I was so lonely! I worked 2 jobs and was still always alone when home. He worked 60 hours at work, and another 20-30 at our business. At one point I tried to force dh to pick one day a month that we would spend together. It was a disaster. He was miserable and bitter and I gave up on that quick.
Like you all, I feel grateful and blessed. Because of him I have been a SAHM for over 10 years. We have a good life and a retirement plan. But he and I have missed much together.
I will say that dh will be 40 soon and he is beginning to say he is sick of all the work. He is trying to cut back and I am so happy to see him more. I too have to answer a lot of questions from the kids about when are we going to see daddy.
Dh seems tired, more so than usual. My mom says it about that time. She believes when they hit 40 they (men) usually slow down. Of course if your husband is only 27 that may sound really depressing to you! Sorry! But just know that is will get easier. Maybe not right away, but life always changes.
I can relate- husband travelsMy husband is a workaholic too, his job(s) requires a great deal of time. It's amazing corporate America has gotten worse, my DH is at meetings 7/7:30 am and works until 7PM+ then works a bit at home. When traveling -worse- works late, has dinner with colleagues and then works until 11:00-12:00 at night. I remind him and myself, he is fortunate to be employed with reasonable compensation to support our family but also so he can reach his personal goals too. Alas, it's all has gotten too much. The personal goal goes out the window because he is so drained and stressed out. The projects seem ideal at first but all have these contingences and glitches.
I don't mind when he travels one night a week, gives me one night off from making a full course dinner and having to report to him so to speak about house stuff. Because he has so much going on at work, I pick up the house stuff and dealing with contracter/ managing stuff (I hate it). When he is home I tend to want to run out to take a break for myself from the kids but careful not to do it too often. We agreed to hire a sitter to come in every now and then so I can have a break but it gets expensive which effects my total enjoyment.
Thank goodness we had children late because if it weren't for them, he wouldn't smile anymore and to some point myself too (we're older parents of young children). It has effect our marriage too but we do stop ourselves from the complain/stress madness and go on a date to "connect," which does help but separately, I am getting affected by all his stress. I told him it's like second-hand smoke, it's worse then the actual smoking- feeling helpless, having more time to worry about things plus drowned in housework and child care (2 toddlers)- it get overwhelming. I feel like I can't even complain because his day, at least how he projects it, is worse than mine. Complaining doesn't help but we all need to vent somehow. Can't and don't want to vent to friends, they all have their lives of motion and some live off other's despair and drama so don't want to share there. Thank goodness for forums. Thanks ladies feel better already!
Does anybody have any advice for staying connected to your DH when life is like this? My dh used to have so many interests and ideas and now it is like he is ONLY this worker. It is really ALL he does. I miss HIM, you know.
I miss being with him in life. I feel like we're so separate now. A date night would be great if we could squeeze it in but the last two weekends he worked all of friday night.
Keeping connectedI do understand, the lonliness was far worse when we didn't have kids. I was in job transition myself at that time and started getting depressed because I didn't know what I wanted to do with myself. I would really rally on a date night with him even if it's twice a month. It's worth the sitter fee. Going to a movie can do wonders when you are in a dilemma and don't feel like you have anything else to talk about (other than kids, house usual stuff). Do you go to church or temple? We don't go every Sunday but sometimes I push it because it reminds us to be connected. Other things I do and have done. Text him a love note, thinking of you. I read a book out loud to him every night for a while. I am not a news buff like he is but I do like shows about business so we watch that together. My husband does talk on the phone, I am not a phone person but I stay on and talk to him because at home he doesn't talk- just plays with kids, sleep and work. Good luck, it is hard, I still struggle with it at times.
I stopped counting (and looking at the paystubs) for the hours worked. We also live an hour from "the office".
6 years ago dh worked for a small contracting company, and his hours would range from 20 hours a week to 100 hours a week. And I can honestly say, I like the "normal hours" he has now. When he was home too much it was stressful, and when he was gone all the time, it was stressful.
His hours now are 9 am-6:30pm. He leaves here no later than 8:15, and gets home between 7:30 and 8:00. Unless he stays late to mentor newbies, or catch up, or something "catches fire" (breaks). He works IT, so thing break....a lot. And he works for a big company, so when things break, it's bad.
When we first were married he was in the service, and I HATED IT when he would be in the field, or on duty because he wasn't home. I didn't mind the solid work hours, no matter if it was day or night crew. I came to prefer night crew because then he could help with the baby in the afternoon when he got up, and I could get things done and prepared for the evening.
With his hours now, he's lucky to see either child before he leaves for work, and he usually only gets to see them for a few minutes when he gets home. We're always working on our bedtime routines starting around 7pm. Since homeschool, I've let the kids stay up later, just to maximize the chance to have some time with daddy.
I have also really gotten used to the hours, and my whole day has a routine to it. I get to have a 'slow start' to the morning, and do our homeschooling before lunch (though we usually school through lunch and for a little while after) and then I spend my late afternoon and early evening doing the things I do around the house. This is ideal for me because it's when I feel I function best. I am NOT a morning person, and the kids don't appreciate me doing my work while they're sleeping.
Stressful days - we've had to learn how to complain about our bad days, I usually let him go first, because I'd rather the kids not be able to listen to me rant about them (if they were what made my day stressful). We also communicate via IM through out the day, so we usually give each other a "heads up" so to speak about bad days.
Reconnection - we cuddle. We'll sit together at night and watch our favorite tv shows. It's a lovely way to unwind, with out having to fill the time with talking.
Showers - we 'join' each other when we shower. One of us controls the music on Slacker, and we chat, then we switch places.
Dates - sometimes they involve the kids, once a month we'd like to go out as a family, sit down and eat dinner with out having to clean up. (and on regular nights I don't worry too much about completely cleaning up from dinner, I know the mess will be there tomorrow, and dh will be at work, so I leave it.) And then dates with out the kids, always a meal, sometimes a movie, sometimes window shopping. It doesn't matter, but I LOVE to just hold hands and not have to worry about who has which kid, are there cars, etc.
I'm sure there was more I was going to say, but dh came home mid-post, so it's time for some tv-cuddling before I pass out
Can I join your group?
DH averages 90 hours a week of work. Some of those hours are at home, but that's sometimes harder because if the DCs are up, I have to keep them quiet and out of his hair. DH also travels a little for work - by a little I mean a 3 day conference here and there and then a big old month long thing every once in a while.
It is lonely! And defnitely takes a toll on our family dynamic. And I get bitter because after all that he gets paid a low salary so we are just scraping by to keep me home with the kids. For financial reasons I need to go back to work but I just can't imagine how I'll handle it because DH won't be able to cut back on hours. I am taking a class right now and it has been AWFUL for me trying to fit everything in.
I think that I need to join, too!
My DH travels for work, A LOT! He is probably away for 3 out of 4 weeks per month. When he is home, he works from home, which is another little piece of hell. I have to keep the kids quiet, especiallly if he has a conference call, and that is hard on everybody. He doesn't have a predictable schedule or an office at home, either, so he is on his laptop in the basement, right beside the playroom. I do my best, but it is hard to expect the kids to stay quiet, or not be able to have playdates, etc.
I also find it difficult that I can't do anything for myself, like an exercise class, or coffee with a friend or anything that requires me leaving the house without the kids. Also, when he is home, it is usually only for a day or two and I don't really want to take off as soon as he gets home because I want to see him, too. Sometimes it is the only option, though, and that leaves him feeling upset - I feel like there is no winning.
Don't get me wrong, I appreciate that he has a great job that he loves it and that it enables me to stay home with our kids. Sometimes, though, it is just really tough.
I also feel like I can't complain because he just says that I can get a job and he'll stay home with the kids, or that his job is super stressful/difficult too and that I don't support him... (other issues, I suppose...)
Luckily, we live in the same city as both of our families so there is some support for us. My MIL, for example, takes my kids every second Thursday afternoon until after supper. Heaven!!
You all have my support! Mines been working over 60 hours and he's incredibly exhausted. I'd like him working no more than 50 since he's salaried and his boss said he wouldn't work more than 45 when started 6 months ago, but it's never going to happen. It sucks but it is what it is. But what makes it worse is he's misclassified as exempt and should be technically be getting OT, but bring it up and he'll most likely be out of a job and he won't take that risk. I hate seeing him so tired, and it makes him sad that he rarely gets to see us. He's a great guy and is always there for me when I have a bad day at home, just wish it didn't always have to be this hard.
"DH works obscene, irregular hours that people have a hard time understanding but I get to stay home so I'm thankful for that. "
DH and I have made HUGE strides with this issue since our oldest (now 6.5) was born. DH now owns his own business and works from home. He has done every possible thing he can do within the context of his basic personality in order to maximize the time he spends with the family. I'm actually pretty happy with where we are at.
BUT, I am the pathetic husbandless woman chasing three kids around on the High Holy Days, and I know that lots of my casual social contacts must think he is a total jerk, and it makes me tired. NO, I cannot promise you right now that I will do XYZ on Sunday or on a weekday evening. My husband works Sundays and weekday evenings. No, really, he does. <bangs head on desk>