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Does you DP work really long hours? How do you do it?

(173 Posts)
TreeMonkey Thu 29-Aug-13 14:45:30

I fear this will make me sound like a spoilt princess but here goes:

My DP works for a private equity firm in their finance department. I joke that he's always having to save the financial world whenever he has to work late (which is a lot).

We're about to move into together, buy a new place in the spring and have spoken about children in the past. But part of me is really questioning whether this would work or whether our potential children will actually get to see him.

I don't have a great relationship with my dad partly because he was always at work. I wouldn't want this for my children but the way things are now he doesn't finish work until 8:30pm (should be 9-5:30) isn't home till 9:30 and by that point, any potential children would be in bed and most of our evening is gone too.

The spoilt princess bit is that its my 30th this Sunday. I've planned to go to a bar on Saturday night and was hoping that DP and I could have a nice lunch on Sunday together. Romantic and low-key just the two of us. He's now text me to say "Sorry, I have to work both days this weekend grin( " I'm pissed off. The world isn't going to end if he doesn't work over the weekend. I'm really hoping its a fucking joke.

noviceoftheday Sat 31-Aug-13 15:03:51

Hi Mrs CB, you're right but the Transactions/PE world is a little world of its own!

To explain. Dh and I are both in v senior positions. I am in the more senior position. We have just been on holiday for the last week. This was a quiet one as a lot of people are also on hols. He was on emails and did a conf call each day. Last holiday it was 2/3 a day. When we got home, he raced out f the car and dialled someone with his first words being "sorry I was stuck on the motorway". He felt the need to apologise for holding upbthe deal because he hadn't been contactable for 3 hours. I, on the other hand, read all my emails and I think responded to about 5 (out of about 800). My PA and my team dealt with it all so I felt there was no need to intervene. My super fab PA and I have a system where she reads always all my emails and when i am on holiday if its a code red, she calls me. She has fantastic judgment and only 3 times in 10 years have I had a code red call from her. I was invited to 4 urgent conf calls, all of which I ignored because my kids deserve all my attention during our brief holidays. No way dh could do that without being fired. As I said .....a very different world!

aftermay Sat 31-Aug-13 15:57:00

That sounds like slavery...

noviceoftheday Sat 31-Aug-13 16:17:31

Slavery is where you don't have a choice. Here you do. You sacrifice yourself for the big bucks and it really is well paid. Downside is you are constantly "on", can never fully switch off and you don't get to properly enjoy the fruits of your labours. The wife is supposed to do that, except not much fun alone. It is also a young man's game. Not sure anyway could keep up that level of intensity for 30/40 years. Its not unusual for them to drop dead of a heart attack the week after they retire if they work that long. Anyway, my point about it being a young mans game is that a lot of these guys have young families and the wife quickly ascends into the position of rich single mother of young children (I mean that facetiously). It's hard work and they understandably get resentful. Man thinks "but I am providing for my family, be grateful" (note PE chap said the first bit). and tension in the marriage ensues. He then finds emotional or physical comfort in the arms of a nubile young graduate who thinks he's ace.hmm PE woman was spot on.

MrsCampbellBlack Sat 31-Aug-13 18:17:46

Ah yes, the balance thing is definitely tricksy. I'm not in London but I've certainly noticed a lot more divorces in the past couple of years in my social group. And the non-working wifes do pretty well financially out of it. But the men move on romantically very quickly indeed.

My DH never really stops working, he's worked on every holiday we've ever been on. In fact Christmas time is his only quiet time as most of his clients are on holiday too.

But its easier now there's a bit more cash, the hardest times were when I had a small baby and cash-flow was very tight indeed.

Vakant Sat 31-Aug-13 21:55:16

What's with all the sneering at SAHMs?

I don't spend my days hanging out at the dry cleaners and hairdressers actually. Yes there is a certain amount of domestic drudgery but that would still need to be done if I worked, other than that I spend my days doing activities with my daughter and when she's napping I might even summon a couple of my brain cells to read the news. And my husband and I are very well matched personality wise, amazingly his entire personality isn't defined by his job alone and I am more than just a mother/housewife.

This condescending attitude towards women who choose not to work really pisses me off.

racmun Sun 01-Sep-13 21:40:07

Well said Vakant.

Loopytiles Mon 02-Sep-13 15:57:35

Of course no-one should sneer at SAHMs.

the OP may decide she'd be OK as a SAHM or work and cover almost all caring/domestic work herself, with a H working very long hours. But she may not want that, which would be fine too.

I got the impression posters weren't sneering at SAHMs, but rather at the (perceived or actual) opinion of SAHMs as held by certain very high earning and busy husbands.

Vakant Mon 02-Sep-13 18:51:21

The post about whether the op would prefer to build her life around having nice hair and picking up the dry cleaning, because that is all SAHMs are capable of? No that wasn't sneery in the slightest. Neither was the one where the poster mused about what on earth these alpha males with their high powered jobs and huge brain capacities could possibly find to talk about with their little women stuck at home all day. grin

I must have skimmed those grin wink

Some women do aspire to the hair/nails/tennis lifestyle though don't they. And one way to get it is to marry a banker.

Vakant Mon 02-Sep-13 20:17:26

Well yes some women do aspire to that (and so what if they do really, their choice and presumably they are happy with it), but it was just the inference that women who don't work are brain dead domestic drones that riled me. It's perfectly possible to stretch yourself intellectually in other ways, not just through paid work.

This thread was starting to get a bit WOHMs versus SAHMs, with women bitching about other women for making different choices. It's all so predictable.

aurynne Mon 02-Sep-13 22:14:15

I really feel sad for the women on this thread that honestly believe that a good salary, holidays and a nice house makes up for a dad who is never there for his wife and children. I wonder whether they truly believe that bullshit, or it is the way they have managed to rationalise something truly unforgivable.

Vakant Mon 02-Sep-13 23:12:47

You can be there for your family fully whilst also working long hours. It's about using what time you do have spare in a meaningful way and being fully engaged with your kids in non work time. Quality over quantity.

blueshoes Mon 02-Sep-13 23:17:53

Aurynne, it is not "truly unforgivable" and the husbands are not "never there". Many of the high earning husbands do spend holidays and weekends with their families or have the flexibility to take time off in between deals.

It is less time than most dads but with money, all the dull things can be outsourced.

TreeMonkey Mon 02-Sep-13 23:44:47

I really didn't want this thread to become a SAHM vs WAHM vs full time working. I was curious as to how people coped with partners working long hours. How they cope, how they spend quality time as a family with their partners etc...

It has been interesting to read how people do manage it and I can see that it doesn't suit all and I'm grateful for all the responses that have described their situations and whether it has worked or not.

Ps, had a lovely birthday yesterday and a great night out on Saturday grin

noviceoftheday Tue 03-Sep-13 08:57:05

TreeMonkey, that's great to hear. Happy birthday to you!

No idea where the wohm v sahm is emerging from. I was describing what I have observed from almost 20 years in the industry, but, also and maybe more pertinently, my dh happens to work those hours with the unpredictability etc. our dd starts school tomorrow and I have had to make him promise to be home by 7pm tonight as she's excited but scared and will want me to sit with her when she goes to sleep. I can't do that with the toddler to put to sleep. That has nothing to do with whether or not I work.hmm

allhappyfamiliesarealike Tue 03-Sep-13 14:12:43

"It is less time than most dads but with money, all the dull things can be outsourced"

but it's the "dull" things which are the foundation of family life and children need quantity of their parents' lives, not just quality. We have lovely family holidays but DD needs more than a few intense weeks a year where daddy has pencilled in time with her on the beach or tennis court. People working 70+ hours a week, working weekends as well, always on their Blackberry or checking emails and missing out on so much family life seems, well, sad to me. But what do I know, until this thread I always thought PE was something that I tried to get out of at school ..

Dededum Tue 03-Sep-13 14:20:30

Yup, my dad was quite absent through my childhood, worked hard and progressed up the greasy pole. My mum was quite absent as well, think that was more her than necessary time poor.

Don't actually think that was necessarily about the hours but the sort of people that they are.

I think you can do the hours and be present in your kids lives.

MrsCampbellBlack Tue 03-Sep-13 15:22:11

I agree that you can work long hours and still be a good father. To be honest, the people I feel really sorry for are those working 2 or 3 jobs to provide for their families. So they work incredibly long hours without the financial pay-off that big earners get.

The other thing about people who work long hours is that if its their own business or they earn super £££ - they probably won't be working up to state retirement age so may well have a more relaxed time in their 50's etc.

Glad you had a good birthday!

allhappyfamiliesarealike Tue 03-Sep-13 16:20:45

it doesn't have to be one or the other - highly paid, high powered job with long hours or low paid, menial job with long hours - many parents have interesting jobs with good remuneration that mean they have job satisfaction and plenty of time with their children.

Loopytiles Tue 03-Sep-13 17:15:30

treemonkey glad you had a good weekend. You are thinking ahead which is more than I ever did!

I naively thought that after DC we'd share work and home responsibilities and work would continue as before, really hasn't been that simple. womens lives that change most after DC. I wouldn't personally be happy with DH caring for DC only at weekends and holidays and nor would he.

The economic circumstances aren't helping matters.

Agree with mrscampbellblack, must be even worse for people working long hours for crap pay.

MrsCampbellBlack Tue 03-Sep-13 17:25:42

Allhappy - I wasn't suggesting it had to be either of those confused - I know plenty of people who work reasonable hours for reasonable money.

All I was saying was that I actually feel more sympathy for those people who work long hours for not much money. I hope that makes sense.

And if you're one of the lucky people who work very few hours and get paid loads and you're not a footballer wink - I am very envious smile

blueshoes Tue 03-Sep-13 18:06:37

MrsCB, I agree - I reserve my sympathy for those working long hours for little pay.

I don't really cry a tear for the partners at the City firm I work who can support a ft SAHP with domestic help, big houses, cars and fuckoff holidays.

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