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DH is working soooo long can you last?

317 Views 20 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  Alana
Dh and I have been married 3 yrs, together 5. We have never been able to make ends meet because we didnt really establish ourselves before starting a family. Now he finally has a job that is going to pay a way lot of $$ (Like more than we could ever dream of six figures) and we have already seen it start to trickle in.

Sounds fantastic right? No.

The problem is that we never see dh. He leaves at 9AM and actually that makes him late for work by about 20 min, and doesnt get off till 7. (A one hour commute, home at 8-about 3 times a week.) There are several occasions where he works until 11:00 PM writing a contract and on his days off.

We have a 4 yr old, 18m old and a baby on the way and I am suffering (long time sufferer) of depression.

I am chugging along, but I do miss dh...I wonder how long a family can stand this without breaking though?

How do you keep a healthy family when one member is noticably absent?

There really isnt any job he can do to make ends meet and I dont want to put the kids in daycare to go to work (not that i would make much)

Anyone have suggestions or ideas?

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It's hard to do. My DH works similar hours - and although I WAH full-time and my son is in full-time preschool, it is still exhausting and difficult. I finally decided to stop waiting around for him to come home and just start doing things on my own. For example, I take DS to the climbing gym with me and let him watch a video while I climb rather than sitting around, getting mad that DH isn't home in time to take him off my hands.

It's difficult (and much harder with three, I'm sure!), but you have to figure out how to make your own friends and your own separate life if you can. That way you don't expect too much from him when he IS home.
the first key to this is to value the time that you do have together.

second, as the PP mentioned, it's important for you to create your own life and rhythm for your homelife and your own life. make connections in the community for events that are family-friendly as well as opportunities for your own time with other women. many women find that a child-care coop is a great opportunity to have away-from-kids growth time with other moms (on days when you're not babysitting), or just time away.

third, discuss with your hsuband if there are ways that he can create better life-work balance. find out if there's anything that you can do to help. For example, would it be beneficial for you to move closer to his work? would it be better for him to get up early and leave early so that he can have more time in the evenings with his family? there are many opportunities.

also, definately count your blessings. these things can last a long time. my grandmother managed a home and 6 kids, worked full time, while my grandfather worked overseens for over a year. He was only home for one month (two weeks summer, two weeks winter) the whole year. After that year, he spent 3 months out of town followed by 3 months in town (still working) for many years following that year abroad.

in my own home life, my father worked long hours (80-90 hr work weeks plus commute) for 6 years. our home life was great.

it can work. but, you definitely need support--so create a community for yourself!
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This is my life - my husband's career demands long hours, and he's a workaholic anyway. Typically I also WOH, but I am on mat leave for another 6 months right now. For us, we find time wherever we can:

* DS1 can't handle going more than a day or so without seeing his dad at all (ie, if DH leaves before DS's awake and home after bed), so we try to make sure that if DH isn't going to be home in the evening, he has some time with DS in the morning - even just having breakfast together can make a big difference.

* We try to keep our Saturdays open for family time (DH usually goes into the office for at least half of the day on Sunday). For example, we pay to have our house cleaned every other week so that I don't feel the need to spend all day cleaning. We often go out to eat as a family on the weekend. For me, this is money well spent. DH and DS1 have a Saturday morning pancake ritual which I am forbidden to be part of - it means they get some exclusive time together, and I get to take a shower by myself - that's a win-win!

*DH and I try to connect after the kids are in bed. This often means I have to keep myself awake, as the days are exhausting, but it's worth the effort.

For me, it has been this way since we got married, so I've had 6 years of adjusting. My DH relocated after our first was born so that he is no longer commuting. Now his time away (usually 11 - 15 hrs/day) is acutally work time.

The biggest thing has been that I have accepted how it is, and what my role is - I need to keep the household and the kids chugging along (in addition to my "day job" when I'm working). I agree with the PP who said she stopped waiting for DH to come home. For me, I stopped making mental tally charts about who had it harder. DH works really hard and agonizes about the time he is away. I also work really hard in my career, and keeping things going at home. Once I learned to stop giving into my "martyr complex", it made our time together much more pleasant.

You're pregnant with two little ones at home and you struggle with depression. It's important that you think seriously about what you need to do to take care of yourself. Maybe considering enrolling your 4 yo in preschool a few mornings each week. Now that summer is almost here, is there a neighborhood teen you could hire to play with your kids a few hours each week so you can rest - or go to the grocery store by yourself for once? Schedule the time to have an open conversation with your DH about how you each are feeling and brainstorm solutions. If you are going to keep your marriage and family healthy, then you both need to be on the same page re: expectations of each other.
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Honestly, it doesn't sound like the hours he is working are that unreasonable for a 6 figure job. Sounds like about a 8-9 hour day, right? With late evenings thrown in?

The commute time is eating up a lot of time, it sounds like. Any chance of moving closer to his work? I remember when DH had a 1.5 hour commute each way, and how much more time he was out of the house. It was awful. He is now about 20 minutes away from home, and it is much, much better.

Also, another part of the problem sounds like the time he is away is during the bulk of the day.

Again, my DH needs to put in around 10-11 hours a day. It is made a lot more manageable by DH starting his day very early in the morning. He gets up at 5:15 and is out the door before 6. This puts him back home around 5 in the evening, and we can all have dinner, help with bedtime and have some evening adult time.

Is it possible for your dh to adjust when he is working the hours he needs to work?
that sounds hard but not unreasonable. I agree a shorter commute would make everything seem a lot better. my dh works 16 hour days 7 days a week. My neighbors husband works 10 hour days 6 days a week. and many of my friends have husbands with full time jobs and part time jobs. and none of us are making any where near six figures (not even half). it really could be a lot worse.

its a lot easier when you stop thinking "how much longer is this going to last" and start thinking "this is my life how can I make the best f the the time we have together."

also something that might help since you have the money is make sure your free time is free. If you need help hire someone to clean, have repairs done etc. that way when your dh is home it is about relaxing and bonding and having fun. not getting to the to do lists. It is weird having other people change our oil and fix stuff for us but at the time it has taken a lot of stress off in all those little chores that just don't cost that much to have someone do.
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Originally Posted by bec View Post
The commute time is eating up a lot of time, it sounds like. Any chance of moving closer to his work? I remember when DH had a 1.5 hour commute each way, and how much more time he was out of the house. It was awful. He is now about 20 minutes away from home, and it is much, much better.

Again, my DH needs to put in around 10-11 hours a day. It is made a lot more manageable by DH starting his day very early in the morning. He gets up at 5:15 and is out the door before 6. This puts him back home around 5 in the evening, and we can all have dinner, help with bedtime and have some evening adult time.

Is it possible for your dh to adjust when he is working the hours he needs to work?
These are both really good suggestions. When my DH relocated it made a huge difference for us. He can come home for dinner, put the boys to bed, and then go back to work if necessary. Or we can bring him dinner and have a "picnic" in his office - my 3 yo LOVES this - he feels super cool visiting dad's office.

My DH often starts his day very early, too. This allows him to get home for dinner and bedtime. A bonus for him is that he finds he's much more productive in the morning since he gets a few hours before the phones start ringing, etc so he actually gets much more done from 5-9 am then he would from 6-11 pm.
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Its not alot of hours, actually you are right. He is gone about 12 hours a day....lots on the road. Plus some OT.

Funny thing, we would love to move closer but we bought our house a few years ago (FL is a crazy market now) and it has actually depreciated. We're stuck for a bit. LOL. That sounds so weird.

I think I do need to create a life seperate from his. I want nothing more than to hang out with dh all the time, but its not gonna happen! I have no idea how to do that because I have a realy hard time connecting to people.
I hadnt thought that I could actually hire someone to help out. We have made no more than 25,000 since we met (per year) and I am pretty used to living near poverty.

On another note, I confided in him that I am scared for where it could take our marriage and that I have been struggling. It turns out it a million times harder for him. He is totally bummed that he is away all the time. He said that at least I get to be with the family.

I do realize that some people live this way for a long time but I tend to have a little bit more of an "enjoy life" mentality. I dont think life is worth much if you are working all the time and not enjoying it. I guess I still dont belive that you have to work like a dog to be happy. Seems to me that couuld contribute to alot of mental issues as well as family problems.

I am committed to making our family work. I am not going to end up a statistic. I told dh that I wouldnt miss him so much if i didnt love him to death!!!

We started out kinda funny....when we were young we would work for 3 months and then take our 2k and travel someplace new and work for a bit. we were like gypseys! It was a blast but it spoiled me to think we could do it forever.

Thx for all the advice!!!

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I am not sure I understand. These are not long hours. The hours you described seem very reasonable. I think of long hours as leaving at 5AM and coming home sometime way past you and the kids are asleep. If he doesn't leave until 9AM, make some time in the morning. My DH leaves at around 8:30AM and I consider myself lucky to have about 2 hours in the morning with him. The kids love it also. As far as the evening, my DH comes home around 7 and then we have many hours together, as we put the kids to sleep around 7:30. And then if he has to return to work in his home office, I sit with him on the laptop or watch TV. That way we are still together. Most everyone I know, do not see their DHs the entire week. So a morning where you have time together is lucky. And as for help, I have someone who works here, so when we do have time together, we are not making beds or laundry or cleaning. Try it.
It sounds like you really miss your husband and the ways things used to be. I totally understand- my husband works two jobs; one all day and then one at night. But that's the way it needs to be for us to just get by and me stay home with the kids. It's really a beautiful commitment our dp's have made to our families and the same goes for those of us who do the same whether we stay at home or work away from home. It's tough to balance things and hope you find the way that works best for you.
I agree with bec and McTel - can he adjust his hours so he starts earlier and ends earlier? My dp is driving away from the house by 6:00 a.m. then gets home around 6:00 p.m. (20-30 minute commute each way). We are all asleep when he leaves, but we get more time together as a family in the evenings. Like someone else mentioned, he gets a TON of work done before 8:00 a.m. when everyone else trickles in, calls start coming in, etc.

We were told that dh would be gone for six weeks this summer - out of the country. His first half is over this Friday, then he gets a week at home before going back. His usual work schedule is three weeks in the home office (home every night), then a week at the site (out of state/country), and we are used to that (he's been doing it ever since we had kids - they are now almost 11, almost 7 and 4). This six week thing is a whole different ball of wax, but we are almost halfway done now.

I don't know that I have any suggestions - we are just used to him being gone when he is gone, and home when he is home. It gets easier as you get used to it.
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those seem like pretty normal work hours to me. are you just sitting at home waiting for him all day? do you have friends or socialize? i find when i feel like SO is working too much it is because i'm sitting at home too much.
with 2 little ones and being pregnant i bet a mother's helper would be good for you. i also agree that the commute is a little too long. is there anyway you can live closer to his work?
I can understand missing your DH. Yes, some DHs do spend more time away from their families than your DH does, but that doesn't mean you're not entitled to miss him and miss the way you used to live.

You've gotten some great suggestions. My DH also goes into work early- he's gone before 6am, before the rest of us get up. But I remember when he used to work different hours, and how nice it was to lay in bed together with the kids and eat breakfast together. I think the way you've described your life now- having the chance to have a family breakfast in the morning- sounds very nice.

My only other suggestion would be to ask if it would be possible for you to have lunch with your DH occasionally. We drive out and take DH out to lunch at a restraunt or meet him at a park for a picnic about once a week. It's a nice way to reconnect.
I was going to also suggest the picnics with dad at the office.

Is there a playgroup you can join to help socialize? The kids love it, but, I belong to mine because of the adult company and conversation. It is so important for my day that I not be just sitting around the house all day waiting for dh to get home.

Originally Posted by ShabbyChic View Post
Most everyone I know, do not see their DHs the entire week. So a morning where you have time together is lucky.
Although I don't know if it's helpful to hear that lots of people are in the same boat or not, I agree with this. Here are my husband's working hours for last week, which has been about the same for the last three years (he's crazy, but that's why I was interested in this thread!). I have notes because as I said, he's crazy, and we're working on it.

Monday: Left for work at 7:45. Home at 6:30, on a conference call as he came in through the door. Half hour for family time; worked until 2 am.
Tuesday: conference call (from here) at 8, left at 9:30, worked until 5, dinner out until 6, worked from when we got in the door until 12:30.
Wednesday: left at 8, home at 6, took class 7-10, got in at 11. Slept until pager went off at 1 am, worked to three am.
Thursday: left for 6:45 train to other worksite. Picked him up at train station at 7:10 pm, he was on a call. Worked until about 11 pm.
Friday: left at 9 (that's an amazing morning for us), got in the door at 8, took a break, then worked 'til 1-something.
Saturday: took two calls in the morning; worked from 7pm - 3 am Sunday (that's a decent Sat for us)
Sunday: slept (thank god) until noon. Checked on work for an hour. Family time until 6 pm; worked until about 10.

He doesn't yet make in the six figures, btw.
Although I would NEVER suggest that people should work like my husband, which is totally over the top and unhealthy to boot, when I was working full time I regularly worked 6 - 7 plus a commute. I don't think that's good either. But it was expected. I do think you may be adjusting to the (sadly) real world demands of his new job. I say enjoy the weekends a lot & move closer if you can. Good luck!
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Absolutely enjoy the time you have! Make weekends a priority! Plan special outings (they don't need to be expensive. A picnic at a playground does wonders). One of the things DH and I have done in the past, when money was tight, was to do our errands together. So, we'd save food shopping till the weekend, and go to Costco together. Or other shopping, even going to the atm was a family outing.

Also, DH and I have a ritual of watching an episode or two of a tv show we have on DVD. It is quicker than a movie (which we sometimes do), and we can have some relaxing adult time together.

This summer is a particularly tough time for us, because dh is studying to take an industry certification exam (he's a network engineer), and is studying at least one weekend day a week. The last two weeks, he's put in 68 and 69 hours, and the previous two weeks were over 60 hours. So, I know it is tough and the kids are missing him like crazy. But, we are doing special things together to make the time that we do have together really matter. For us, things will ease up a bit after his exam in the beginning of August, but it will still be around 45-50 hour weeks plus commuting (he's a consultant, so he can spend a lot of time in the car).

It is a big adjustment from the life that it sounds like you used to lead. And, unfortunately, most of the "real" world does not value family time. Or, at least, they are not going to pay for it.
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Originally Posted by bec View Post
most of the "real" world does not value family time. Or, at least, they are not going to pay for it.

You are probably right. I watch too much MTV lol. (Well, not so much these days-but it already rotted my brain.)

I am an idealist and I just assume that the world is compassionate, and loving, and nurturing, and family oriented, and leisure oriented, and hippys. Then when I find out that the real world actually sucks, I am actually shocked.
: I really do belive that list of things. LOL. I am an enfp. it makes me crazy. OT.

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I would go to school and learn soemthing that you like and something woudl make you could help you with depressiona nd when you amke money you and Dh can share breadwinning resposibilties nad your kdis would see their father more.
Not all daycares are evil....private nannies are good and soem work can pay a lots $$ on part time basis or can be done from home
Realistically...what are your options? Living in poverty? that will not make your depression or lives of your children better
Working is never balck or white.
we both work...soemtiem DH leave for work at 7 amd and get home at 1 am. I work very normla part-time hours. and when my Dh was on disbailty he satyed home...and did not worth it. We had to decalre banctupsy, many acitivtie were off limits to my kids. We make sure that when Dh is is off at normal hours we always have dinner together, visit dad at work, plan trips
I think I'll try to focus on what I am greatful for.

I have alot to be greatful for.

I dont think daycares are evil but I didnt have kids to pay someone else to be a primary caregiver.
: Ok, I kinda think daycare is evil. LOL.
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