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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.

Viking1 Thu 29-Aug-13 14:51:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

motherinferior Thu 29-Aug-13 14:55:55

I'd be v tempted to go out to a bar and snog someone who'd be nicer to me, in all honesty.

ArthurCucumber Thu 29-Aug-13 14:56:20

All I can tell you is that whatever the problems are in your relationship at this stage, those will be the massive issues in your future.You're absolutely right that those working hours would present a big problem if you were to have children. I wish I could be more positive.

Expecting the company of your partner on a landmark birthday is NOT being a "spoilt princess". The fact that you used that phrase makes me worry that you're already on a highway to becoming a handmaiden to his working hours. I hope he's joking as well, and has a lovely surprise planned for the two of you.

Ninetydegreeseastoflondon Thu 29-Aug-13 14:57:08

I don't know what to say other than I know the feeling - my DP also had to work on my 30th and missed my party. I just make the most of the time we do get together and be thankful that his good job means we have a nice home, nice holidays etc

Xenadog Thu 29-Aug-13 14:57:44

Your 30th is quite a biggie I think. If he chooses work over your birthday (and it is choosing - he is hardly a fireman who has to be on call/duty or a doctor working in A and E) then you are low on his list of priorities and I would be thinking seriously about making the relationship more permanent. You are wise to consider bringing children into the world with a man who lives to work - I don't envision he would put family life before work.

TreeMonkey Thu 29-Aug-13 15:06:39

Oh that smilie is supposed to be a downwards face - he didn't grin.

He has since texted to say that he isn't overjoyed by the prospect of working either to which I said to don't fucking do it, the world isn't going to end.

I appreciate that he makes good money and we're looking at nice places to buy but I don't believe he has to be a slave to the office (or let everyone take advantage of him which is what I think they do.) He's not going to get paid to work this weekend anyway...

nextphase Thu 29-Aug-13 15:07:36

I read through most of that thinking, it will be OK, he can see the kids in the morning before going, and at the weekends.
But your last paragraph changes what i was going to type. Thats NOT ON, and unless he is prepared to make some massive changes to his life style and work, kids will be really hard.

e.g. I'm in the office for my contracted 38hrs / week (well, usually 40 but not masses of overtime). If i need to do some more hours, the laptop comes home, I spend a few hours with the kids, and then get back to work. yes my evening has gone, and husband time reduced, but I get those precious few hours, and we always sit and have tea as a family (unless one of us is travelling).

I think you have every right to want to spend your 30th with your partner, as its a non working day - if he was on a fixed shift pattern, it would be different.

Hope you have a lovely birthday weekend

My guess is he is not joking; you could well end up being tied to a workaholic man. You are not number 1 on his priority list; work is his number 1.

We learn about relationships first and foremost from our parents; looks like you've chosen someone just like your Dad. I would also think very carefully about where this whole relationship is going.

SarahBumBarer Thu 29-Aug-13 15:17:31

Oh gosh OP - you do have my sympathies and you're not being a princess...

I work on a lot of transactions with PE houses and I know how it goes. People in PE houses (and their advisors) do get to take holidays etc/celebrate birthdays with their spouses uninterrupted etc but it is hard. SOME do get cancelled/postponed because sometimes deals do get fraught, run over, each advisor pushes the limits of when they can deliver their reports etc etc. But if this is happening a lot then I can guarantee it is because he is needing to be needed or worried about his absence being noticed.

But working in a PE House is NEVER going to be 9-5.30 or 38 or even 40 hours a week. Never ever ever! Not even if they were only ever investing into the UK and not dealing with different time zones etc. It is too simplistic to say he is not a doctor etc - a lot of the people involved in these transactions probably think their deals are more important than people's lives! Even if you retain the perspective to see that is not the case not many people can be the one to just say "well I'm not working this weekend and if that causes a problem so be it" especially if they are not overly senior (and if you're not the guy spending the £25m+ you are not senior) and actually want the job!

You need to work out how much is needing to be needed, what if anything he can do about that and to what extent you can cope with a guy who is simply not in a 9-5 job and probably does not want to be (me neither).

Sleepyhoglet Thu 29-Aug-13 15:18:29

I agree with xenadog. My DH works really long and hard hours, but he doesn't get the choice because the rota is decided for him. When he has time off though, he spends it with me. The only time he doesn't is if he is revising for an important exam coming up. I encourage this study because him passing the exam is necessary for his career progression and our future. I am really upset for you OP that he has chosen to work this weekend. That isn't just thinking work is important, it is down right rude and hurtful. Is he guilt tripping you because you are not being spoilt at all.

SarahBumBarer Thu 29-Aug-13 15:19:26

We generally don't have contracted 38 hours in those types of jobs. For example my overtime is "bought out". Basically I am required to do whatever is required to get the job done and meet my KPI's. I assume your DH is very similar (probably with a much better bonus scheme than mine).

Dobbiesmum Thu 29-Aug-13 15:21:04

Be very careful. DH works long hours and part of his job involves socialising as well. You must put your foot down now about important occasions otherwise it won't work and you are the one who will end up feeling resentful and unimportant, Especially when children are thrown into the mix.
We've managed our lives rather well but it's taken a long time to get here. I had to stand very firm on some occasions and probably, quite frankly sounded like I was being a bitch about certain things.
It's quite lucky that I enjoy my own company and am organised wrt family things (no joke, I instigated a weekly diary meeting years ago!). I tend to get quite businesslike with him, he responds better.
You need to talk to him and put your feelings on the table, the sooner the better.

Sleepyhoglet Thu 29-Aug-13 15:22:03

Also, I don't know what your OH earns, but I would take a guess at the 100k mark? If so, then earning this type of money will require sacrifice. I suppose you have to ask yourself what compromises you are prepared to make. If you love him, then you will make it work. An alternative viewpoint is that he is working hard to provide for you and future little ones and that is how he shows his love.

elastamum Thu 29-Aug-13 15:24:49

I think you have to decide what you want out of life.

Do you want your DC in private schools and living in a nice house, with a father who earns loads but they dont see that much, whilst you do the day to day parenting, or do you want a different future.

Then sit down and really talk about whether you want the same things.

Sorry sad

TreeMonkey Thu 29-Aug-13 15:26:35

I totally appreciate that a 9-5:30 job is unlikely. Mine is very yo-yo with periods of craziness and long hours and times when it is dead. We talk together about people in my projects who only want to work their contracted hours that leave others working more (culture / time zone differences etc)

But still.... just feeling rather low on the priority list right now and hate that its making me question the relationship.

TreeMonkey Thu 29-Aug-13 15:27:55

Not that much Sleepy. Half of your estimate. Not enough for total sacrifice but some compromise yes.

homebythesea Thu 29-Aug-13 15:29:24

Some jobs are like this- deadlines have to be met, working with different time zones, sheer complexity of deals. I would like to bet that the rewards are as a result very high. It is for you to decide where the balance should lie between the hours your partner works and the financial and other rewards it brings.

My DH works these sorts of hours, has the laptop out in the evening, is always "available" on holidays etc. basically never "off" work. He never saw the children awake on a weekday for their first few years.

However we have a fantastic lifestyle, are mortgage free and have no financial issues. I don't work and we have a very traditional husband and wife role IYSWIM. This works for us but I can see it wouldn't suit everyone. But you must go in with your eyes open to what that sort of career means for you and any children.

SarahBumBarer Thu 29-Aug-13 15:35:38

Yeah TM - that is the quid pro quo in my job too. It tends to mean that family time has to be a bit more ad hoc. If a project aborts and I suddenly find myself with an unexpected quiet week, we make the most of it and accept that even quite important plans might have to give when a really big project gets in the way. But I'm lucky in that DH's job is pretty flexible. Sadly, I do find that weekend/Friday plans are the most susceptible to change.

If your DH is half as much as Sleepy suggests then the reward for total sacrifice presumably is the lure of promotion and earning more? In some ways more of a drug than actually earning the higher amount.

motherinferior Thu 29-Aug-13 15:36:57

It also means that you won't have the same options about working when you have kids, I'd have thought.

Stepinstone Thu 29-Aug-13 15:45:38

Mother inferior has an important point.

What will you do if YOU want to work part time or full time? Lots of women love their children but find being with them all day for months on end utterly frustrating and boring. I work to keep my mind happy - not just for money.

For 50k I would NOT put my job above my partner's birthday!!!

ILoveDolly Thu 29-Aug-13 15:53:26

Some people are just really committed to their jobs. When my dd was 6m old my partner had to work far away for some months. He regularly gets home after the children went to bed. Luckily for us he was able to shift across slightly to get work which does not involve weekends or too many public holidays now but when our daughter was little he once worked Christmas Day. I would not expect him to take time off for his own birthday let alone mine, if he did not feel able to do so. I value the work he does, he works hard and cares about what he does, but it has impacted on my ability to work/what childcare we have. You need to have a long hard think before you have children wuth this man, because the shape of your whole life depends on your ability to accept playing 2nd fiddle to his employer.

TreeMonkey Thu 29-Aug-13 15:56:05

True. I have a career too and really enjoy working. I wouldn't want to give that up either.

TreeMonkey Thu 29-Aug-13 15:58:06

If it was a normal work day of course I wouldn't expect him to take time off. I'd be working too. Its just that it falls on a Sunday so I thought we could have lunch together...

motherinferior Thu 29-Aug-13 16:01:57

A Sunday lunch with someone on your goddam 30th birthday is really not much to ask.

He sounds, frankly, pretty boring. He's willing to go into work unpaid for a whole weekend? When it's his partner's birthday? Boy, work must love him...but I'd also not be surprised if he doesn't really ascend that madly fast if he's prepared to be made a mug out of like that.

MrsCampbellBlack Thu 29-Aug-13 16:03:26

My DH works long hours. I am used to it now but I know not everyone would like it.

As DH has his own business, things like paternity leave didn't happen, he never does a school drop-off or pick up etc. So, I've been a SAHM but am now about to go back to work which is going to be interesting.

If he earns good money then of course you can out-source a lot of stuff but you're right in that he's not going to be around much in the week to see any potential children.

However as he gets more senior then its easier to manage workload in my experience. Late 20's/early 30's are the really hard years in terms of doing a lot of hours.

Dededum Thu 29-Aug-13 16:05:21

If you both have a career with unpredictable hours then it s do-able but you need good childcare to pick up the slack. It's not cheap, and you end up working for what seems quite a little reward. It seems like a million years ago when I worked in the City, husband worked abroad a lot and our 25k (after tax salary) nanny took up the slack.

LemonDrizzled Thu 29-Aug-13 16:07:24

This is a bit of a crunch moment for you OP. You say you don't want someone like your dad for your future children's father. So will he change or will you? It is time to have a very painful conversation about your expectations. If he can't imagine leaving work for a family/domestic commitment then he is not the man for you.

FWIW I married a workaholic and it made me bitter and resentful and poisoned our relationship.

OverTheFieldsAndFarAway Thu 29-Aug-13 16:08:27

I am married to a workaholic man and its not fun. I am not a priority, our DCs are not a priority. Everything comes after his work. I have been Mum and Dad to 3 boys and I resent every hour he put in over what was actually required. Please believe me, I would give up every nice thing we have( houses, cars, holidays etc) for him to put his family first. The sad thing is he just can't see it. If I had known this about him all those years ago I would have walked away.

ITCouldBeWorse Thu 29-Aug-13 16:08:50

For perspective, on my 30th, I was pg and sent my dh to a football match some distance away (wembly unlikely to happen again) and stayed at home with me feet up.

Not to mean that I was all noble, but that the other 364 days of the year he put me first.

So, does he ever put you first?

chickydoo Thu 29-Aug-13 16:09:07

You do get used to it
My DH leaves for the city at 6.45am, on a good day he is home at 9.30-10.00pm.
He plays golf at the weekends as a stress reliever. Kids and I never see him. We have been together 24 years.
In the early days it was tough, and with small babies even tougher! ( we have 4 kids) I decided to re-train and now work during school hours and evenings and some weekends. The kids muddle along fine. We eat together on Saturday and Sunday evenings, and to be honest we don't really know any different. I wonder though if DH's long hours is what keeps our marriage fresh, as we always have tons to talk about when we do see each other.
I guess as I do 100% of all household and garden stuff I can get a bit hacked off. He has never missed a birthday though!

CailinDana Thu 29-Aug-13 16:09:58

Is he expecting you to become a sahm in the future? Do you want that?

dingledongle Thu 29-Aug-13 16:11:53

Yanbu to ask your partner/husband to be there with you to celebrate your Birthday after all he knows the date.

My only observation about having children is that it magnifies the differences between you. I never felt that I had been discriminated against as a women up until I had children. Then when they were born the majority of people assume the childcare to be done (or organised) by the women.

I have given up a well paid and stressful career to be with my kids (DH earns much more than I ever could a his career is viewed as more important by society!) circumstances have changed since we first had kids. Initially he was Able to do the 9-5 however redundancies etc have meant he works away from home now most of the week and it all falls to me.

You cannot predict the future but can talk about what you would want if you ever had kids. If he will not commit to a meal out for a birthday he may also prioritise his own needs (and those of his company) above everything else.

Good luck.....

Squitten Thu 29-Aug-13 16:13:40

I think you have to be realistic about how children, etc, is going to work based on what you are seeing NOW, not expectations that it's all going to magically change once you have a family. If he has to work long weekdays and weekends then the vast share of the work at home will fall to you. He may not need to work all the hours in the world but he chooses to do it - and you need to understand that that is who he is. It's not going to change when the babies arrive.

What you need to decide is whether the nice lifestyle is worth the cost to you in terms of time, freedom, etc. Some people can do it, some can't. Which one are you?

whatsthatcomingoverthehill Thu 29-Aug-13 16:18:03
motherinferior Thu 29-Aug-13 16:18:24

Well, it won't be a nice lifestyle if you want to work and feel you can't. Agree about f/t nanny, which is probably the only way to do it...I have friends who have done this, very well. But (a) they earned quite a lot (b) they focused, very much, on their kids when not at work. Which your partner doesn't sound like he's likely to do.

TreeMonkey Thu 29-Aug-13 16:19:10

IT he has put me first, lots of times and this is why I was feeling a bit princessy. I would never expect to come first during work hours. Perhaps because I planned some nice treats for him for his 30th a couple of months ago I was hoping that we could celebrate my birthday together too.

I don't see myself being a SAHM mum. I realise that that could be well into the future but I had seen myself as always working too. My parents had quite a dysfunctional relationship due to my dad never being around and I don't want to turn into them.

Reading how other people manage in this situation is helpful.

HandMini Thu 29-Aug-13 16:19:52

Some jobs require a great deal of time commitment and availability. I do one of those jobs (also in PE sector 50% of time).

It's a big decision for you as partner because you will be expected to be lead parent on everything if he continues this job.

That can work for some families - you just need to be prepared to see it as a "down" that goes along with the "up" of good salary and all that that can provide for your children.

HandMini Thu 29-Aug-13 16:22:47

And all those saying he "chooses" to work these hours, it's not that simple - he chooses to do the job, that job entails working lots of hours. You simply do not get a choice about when the hours might be. If you are asking him to cut his hours, just realise that that may in fact be asking him to change jobs.

CailinDana Thu 29-Aug-13 16:26:40

If you intend to work ft are you ok with your future children spending long hours in childcare and with you needing to be the one who does drop offs/pick ups/sick days etc and perhaps losing out careerwise as a result?

Damnautocorrect Thu 29-Aug-13 16:29:13

My oh does 7-8 (upwards) 6 days a week and work creeps in every sunday too, and I did similar hrs before baby.
As soon as I had ds I knew it wasn't feasible for me to go back to work as there's no way we could have afforded the childcare. I spent alot of the early months lonely and miserable, as it was not how I expected it to be.
But now ive got my head round it, I am so happy being a sahm - I never thought I would be, but I am. Moneys tight, but my ds is my best buddy so I couldn't wish to spend every day with better company.

If you chose he's the one for babies, then keep your options open and expectations on time low from him.

ExcuseTypos Thu 29-Aug-13 16:32:52

My DH works very long hours, runs his own business and earns a lot of money.

I've always been a SAHm because that has meant the dc had someone at home, it also made our marriage less stressful. We are both happy with that.

However he would never have missed a birthday meal. I think this man is telling you something. Your birthday isn't important to him, he really doesn't care about it or your feelings. Listen to what he's saying.

I'd bin him and find someone else tbh.

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Uruguay Thu 29-Aug-13 16:49:13

I can see this is a tough one for you. My dh has always worked long hours - he spent a lot of time 'on call' in his early career - which drove me crazy, and now he works on average 12-13 hour days, mon-fri. Sometimes needs to jump on the pc at weekends, and weekday evenings too. He gets a 6 figure salary for his commitment.

But he has never ever missed my birthday, or one of the dc's birthdays. If I need him to work at home, he will, and if I want him back early for something, he will do his utmost to put me first (and 9 times out of 10 succeeds). He will regularly attend things at the dc's school.

I do think that no matter what job you do there is scope for putting your significant other first isn't there? 30th birthday is pretty important - I bet even David Cameron has time off to celebrate Sam's birthday.

I think you need to evaluate whether he just works hard and is v committed - or whether he actually could put you first more than he is currently doing. Did he ask for time off for your birthday lunch - or did his boss just say 'I need you to work this w/e" and he said 'ok' as always?There aren't many managers that genuinely don't expect you to have a personal life at all.

Finally, will he always be working like this? Or is he just putting the hours in now to get to a position where he can take it a bit easier?

Don't do it. My OH is self employed so works stupid hours but doesn't even make a lot of money, that doesn't stop me always being below his business in terms of priority. We've got an 8 week old baby and being alone with a small baby all day every day with nobody to even watch her while you have a shower is shit. I seem my OH for approx 3 hours a day and spend this time cooking his dinner and washing up. I spend half a day every other Sunday with him, we haven't had a holiday (and I mean even a weekend away) in over two years. We lead completely separate lives and bicker constantly when we do see each other. It's no way to live sad

Stepinstone Thu 29-Aug-13 16:55:29

I think you are wise to be thinking about this now.

If you are earning 40k or under then effectively your salary is likely to be taken up 100 per cent by paying for a nanny.

You might therefore be no better off for working and it is a struggle to leave your tiny children for someone else to bring up during the week. Especially when you will likely come home to lots of additional work - laundry etc.

Ideally I think it's great if you can both work part time...

All my personal thoughts though. Good for you for thinking ahead.

oscarwilde Thu 29-Aug-13 16:56:33

See what he says when he gets home tonight. How is he planning on making it up to you? He may have been put in a position where it is impossible to say no without it impacting his job.
I would be sitting down to ascertain whether or not his working hours or salary are likely to materially change over the next 10 yrs though.
Being at a firms beck and call 24x7 for £50k pa is no fun. If he's qualified financial professional, there are other options so what's his career plan before you commit to kids

motherinferior Thu 29-Aug-13 16:57:32

Purplemonster, can I suggest he cooks his own damn dinner?

MoominsYonisAreScary Thu 29-Aug-13 17:09:13

Our situation is a little different, some times he has to work long hours our travel so can leave at and get back at 8, sometimes he's home for 6. Sometimes its 7 days a week, when ds4 was born I had the elcs on Fri, came out on sun and he was back at work Mon.

It can be hard, sometimes he doesn't see ds3 as he is in bed, I know its not what he wants to do its just the way the job is. It doesn't even pay as much as your dps. Even if it was my birthday or one of the dcs birthdays this weekend he has to go into work, there's no chance of him getting out of it

Motherinferior - bit hard to argue that one when he's at work all day and I'm on maternity leave, although on reflection I used to do everything when I worked full time as well because my hours were still less than his (and my job less important of course as well hmm)

MoominsYonisAreScary Thu 29-Aug-13 17:10:45

Or travel and leaves at 5 blinking phone!

OhDearNigel Thu 29-Aug-13 17:18:02

DH and I have not had a full day off together since the beginning of July when we had holiday in order to moved house. I now won't see him until about 4pm on Sunday due to our shift pattern.

Fortunately I am an only child and therefore happy in my own company, it works OK for DD because when I'm not home DH is quite often off duty so is at home with her. It's a very rare, red letter day for us all to have a day off together

Leavenheath Thu 29-Aug-13 17:20:04

Would he be willing to be the SAHP if you had children?

It doesn't sound like your salaries are that different and yet his working hours are more. Pro-rata, I bet you get paid more than him in real terms.

If you can;t both work part-time and don't want both of you contracting out the childcare most days, so intend following a FT/PT share or FT/SAHP arrangement, it's much better for kids if the main working parent is on a reasonable salary and has good working hours. Looks like that's you.

But tbh, I don't think he's as invested in this relationship as you are. Better to find that out now than after you've had kids.

Hatpin Thu 29-Aug-13 17:20:23

I'd re-think the man rather than the situation.

OhDearNigel Thu 29-Aug-13 17:22:01

And I gave up expecting DH to be at home for any important occassions years ago. We consider ourselves fortunate if he's home for a few hours on Christmas Day.

You either have to suck it up and roll with it or get out. Because I can tell you something, if you don't like your own company, can't entertain yourself and expect to have some wonderful, romantic relationship with a man that is wedded to his work, you will be miserable and unhappy. It won't improve with marriage, it will get worse with children because he will feel pressured to earn more money and work longer. Even I get weeks where I am just fed up with it all and I am pretty happy not seeing him for long periods.

perfectstorm Thu 29-Aug-13 17:31:20

bit hard to argue that one when he's at work all day and I'm on maternity leave, although on reflection I used to do everything when I worked full time as well

You have an eight week old baby. In what universe is that not a fulltime job?! Does yours sleep 8 hrs a night? Do you share the nights, if not? Does your baby not need feeding and changing every 3 hrs or so, and if not, what do you do so I can try it as well?

I will never understand families where the person in sole charge of a newborn is expected to wait on the person who actually gets a lunch hour, and reasonable sleep.

LillyNotOfTheValley Thu 29-Aug-13 17:31:54

If he is working with a PE firm, my guess is that it is not likely to change in the future so you have to make a choice here: getting over it and being satisfied with "family quality time" or getting him to think about changing jobs/firms.

DH and I both have crazy schedules: I tend to work very long hours (average should be c 70h/week) with frequent travels across the US. DH is half working from home + frequent short travels / half working away for long periods of time. Rush work periods are roughly the same for DH and I so we do not really get to see each other or the DC at all - this year for 2 weeks sad - in April/June.
The only way we manage to have quality time is by having an on-site nanny who also does all the housekeeping (even if DH or I still do the family cooking most nights).

It is exhausting but worth it, none of us could reasonably stay at home and we both love our jobs.

Silverfoxballs Thu 29-Aug-13 17:32:46

My DH missed our DS first birthday as he was in bloody Brazil. Basically he works longish hours though he is usually home for 7 pm.. However he then works at home in the evening.. He just worked 14 days straight and has only taken eight days leave this year as he is getting close to his goal.

In the next month he is working away in another UK city for a week then off to Paris and then Amsterdam. He is also working one Saturday, it is especially rubbish at the moment. I suppose the upside is he earns well and I have been able to work part time for long stretches of time.

When I agreed to marry him I knew two things

He is very driven to get to the top of his profession and he will achieve it.

I knew he would never change, I signed up to it and knew I could end up living overseas.

At least we haven't had to relocate abroad which was a genuine possibility for years. He had an interview in Australia at one point didn't get the job thank fuck

CailinDana Thu 29-Aug-13 17:32:55

I wonder will the men who work long hours and hardly see their children regret it some day?
The Dh of a friend of mine had a breakdown when he retired because he felt he'd wasted his children's childhood. They had a great "lifestyle" but it meant nothing to him. He recovered after a few years but still bitterly regrets the long hours he spent working. His dw (my friend) was not sympathetic.

Jammee Thu 29-Aug-13 17:38:04

It might get better. DH first worked in Canary Wharf, a 9-6pm job but in reality it was frowned upon if he finished before 9pm. He often had to work later! He then had a 2 hour commute home. He could be out from 6:30am until midnight. When he was at home he got woken up at all hours by offices in different time zones and was often on call at weekends meaning that even if he didn't actually have to work he often couldn't leave the house.

I wasn't keen on moving in with him with this set up; he was always exhausted and often had to cancel plans due to last minute problems at work. Then he got another job in finance and it was much more relaxed. He stopped being on call, rarely got woken in the night and started working 8:30am-7pm. We bought a house together which had a shorter commute and I saw more of him.

As he advanced at work he was able to pass work onto juniors and started to come home even earlier.

Since DD was born he gets home earlier still and often works from home so he can help me out.

Can he change company? American firms tend to do much longer hours; UK ones are a lot better.

I would say though that these jobs appeal to people who like work; often they find it "relaxing.". My DH works in his free time for fun, and when I came back from the hospital after miscarrying he logged on and started working as a way to relax. If you can get your head around it and he is prepared to make changes slowly for when you have children, you will be fine. If that's not for you then he probably isn't for you. Hope you have a lovely 30th.

Wibblypiglikesbananas Thu 29-Aug-13 17:40:51

Ok, the bit of this that stands out for me is that your DH is on around £50K/year. That is not enough to put you in the stockbroker/Surrey commuter belt, private schools league - more importantly, it is definitely not enough to be working every hour God sends for! I thought he'd be on way over £100K based on what you wrote initially.

My DH works longish hours, earns more than this but makes it home for bath time/bed time most days. Yes, he might be responding to emails at the crack of dawn and taking calls across various time zones at 10pm, but he is at least physically present in our home. The evenings when he isn't I find hard (one toddler DD, heavily pregnant with DC2) so I wouldn't be considering having children with someone who was so work focused if I were you.

DH's job has allowed me to be a SAHM - BUT that was what we both wanted and I've been able to take a 3 year career break from my role whilst the DC are young. It doesn't sound like you would want this. So, my questions to you would be:

- you're both back at work and child to be is sick at nursery. Would he drop everything and collect him/her?

- you have a work trip overseas and DP needs to do all the nursery drop offs and pick ups for a week. Would he do this willingly?

- would you become the one responsible for DC AND your WOHM role? Whilst he carried on regardless?

I think it sounds like the two of you have very different priorities and as a PP said, you really need to think about the kind of life you want. Being a parent can be hard with a supportive partner, without one it can be a nightmare!

TreeMonkey Thu 29-Aug-13 17:41:51

This is all really helpful and insightful.

Cailin based on your post above about the breakdown I'd be interested to know what my dad thinks of our relationship. Granted there are other factors but we see each other about four times a year - don't speak on the phone either. I feel like I don't have anything in common with him. It would be interesting to know if he feels the same - but that's another thread to think about...

Silverfoxballs Thu 29-Aug-13 17:43:22

I think the poster that said you have to go in with your eyes open is totally right.

If I had suggested to my DH that he be a SAHP he would just not be able to compute that in his head. In fact I may suggest it to him for a laugh just to see his reaction.

Your not being a Princess at all, I'm sure you do love him but if the thought of that kind of life horrifies you I could see a marriage that would not have a good chance as resentment would run very deep.

Silverfoxballs Thu 29-Aug-13 17:47:55

Jammee when I lost a pg DH sat by my bedside all night while I was zoned out on morphine. I awoke in the middle of the night and he was reading a pile of reports.

Mine also does stuff that I would consider work for fun, I actually worry that he may drop dead at retirement as all his purpose will be lost.

JakeBullet Thu 29-Aug-13 17:48:16

My now exH worked very long hours for a retail company....long days when he wouldn't be home until past 10pm and out of the door by 6.30am the next day.

I think it can work as long as some protected time is planned for....birthdays for s were non-negotiable but we both accepted that the time for those things might not necessarily happen "on the day" but time was made for them on other days.

Is he seriously working both these days? If so then will he make time at another point very close to your birthday to celebrate it with you?

Twinklestein France Thu 29-Aug-13 17:53:36

I'm actually on hols so I shouldn't be on here, but I saw this thread + wanted to say that this is absolutely bogstandard for someone who works in finance. My husband does + working late + weekends is a normal.

These jobs pay what they do because you have to give your life to them. If you don't, there are queues of people who would be happy to do the job instead.

Unless of course the OP thinks that her partner is actively using work as an excuse to avoid seeing her, which is a different matter entirely.

If the OP is thinking long term, and these hours make her actively unhappy, + she wants a husband who will be always available for the children, then she needs to rethink. If she chooses to stay with him, she needs to accept the demands of the job.

Jammee Thu 29-Aug-13 17:53:45

Silver mine sat with he all night, too. But when we got home and I sat down on the sofa to cry, he took himself up to his study, shut the door, and logged into work and carried on. It was his way of coping. I relied on a miscarriage forum and he relied on his work. People prepared to work long hours for top roles and pay tend to be so invested in their work that it often isn't just work for them; it's a part of who they are; how they relax, de-stress or in the case of the MC, bury his head in the sand so he didn't have to face the loss.

Hatpin Thu 29-Aug-13 17:58:34

Despite saying you don't want a partner who behaves like your father did, you have chosen someone who by virtue of his chosen career, and by his attitude work, is far more likely than most to repeat the pattern. Why is that, do you think?

Perfectstorm - you're right, I'm a mug and he's an arse. On the plus side he dotes on the baby, which I suppose is easy to do when you've had a full nights sleep and you only see her from 8/9pm when she's mostly asleep. He keeps remarking on what a good baby she is hmm

OP I really would think long and hard because becoming a second class citizen who minds the baby and cooks and cleans while he goes off to do the important job of earning money and leaves you to run errands for him because 'you've got plenty of time' is not conducive to a happy relationship...or, in fact, happiness at all <10 weeks into maternity leave and already bitter>

Jammee Thu 29-Aug-13 18:01:49

purple you just made me laugh. I don't clean that much and I never cook! I don't care how late DH works, I'm not cooking!

Once I cleaned up a bit while DH was at work and he was so grateful he bought me flowers.

Want to swap? Pleeeaaasseee? grin

wordfactory Thu 29-Aug-13 18:16:25

OP my DH works long hours (senior partner in a MC law firm) and travels a lot.

This is to be expected given how much he earns. And I never bitch about it.

But, for my 30th birthday he took a week off and took me to New York! He generallytakes every Saturday and Sunday off and we always go away as a family on holiday at least four weeks a year.

He has never ever cancelled.

We also regularly go out to dinner/theatre etc...

Are you certain he needs to be working as often as he says?

wordfactory Thu 29-Aug-13 18:21:10

Cailin I don't think all parents (men and women) do regret working long hours.

I think it very much depends if they like it, how much they get paid, how much autonomy they have, what they make of their free time.

My DC have a much better relationship with their Dad than many children who see more of theirs because he makes a huge effort around them and always has. He' so interested in them.

Plus the upside of a job like his is that we can outsource a hell of a lot of stuff that saps parents' time and have enough cash to do lots of cool stuff.

motherinferior Thu 29-Aug-13 18:21:11

That's nothing, WF. My partner gave me a positive pregnancy test for my 37th...and I hadn't even asked for it grin

wordfactory Thu 29-Aug-13 18:22:09

MI that has made me laugh so much!

motherinferior Thu 29-Aug-13 18:22:37

Yep, but WF it's that thing of interest. Wot I flagged up above. TBH it is partly because I cannot be that single-mindedly focused on my lovely kids that I have to do an Improper Job, because then I can be vaguely and insufficiently around quite a lot.

motherinferior Thu 29-Aug-13 18:23:05

(It was the gift that just kept giving...)

biryani Thu 29-Aug-13 18:24:14

My DP has 3 jobs at the moment. He's very driven and works around 60 plus hours a week, depending on what needs doing. He always prioritises his work, and I kind of understand it, because I was exactly the same before kids.

He's a great dad, though, when he's around.

onefewernow Thu 29-Aug-13 18:29:56

Don't marry a workaholic, really.

Been there, done that, and it is a very sad and lonely existence, and a nightmare if you have a job too and kids, which I did.

I think you need a straight talk with him now about what he thinks he can offer in future. Even if he compromises, judge him on his actions, not words.

wordfactory Thu 29-Aug-13 18:30:06

MI you're right.

If you work long hours you really need to focus on your family when you are there. DH is very good at this. He's quite single minded in many ways (probably why he's good at his job).

Me, I like ti be around more, but not necessarily doing much grin. I'd be very bored playing the hours of footie and cricket that he does. And now he's bought a bloody bike so they can all cycle together every weekend! Bloody good luck to 'em, I say.

Wibblypiglikesbananas Thu 29-Aug-13 18:32:28

Ok. I'm still not getting this! The OP said her partner earns half of the £100K estimate. So that's £50K/year. That is not top dollar. Yes, you'd expect to work long and hard for your pay in certain professions - but £50K is not a high salary for someone in finance. At all.

Vakant Thu 29-Aug-13 18:37:46

50k sounds about right if he's fairly junior, presumably he's putting in the time and effort now in order to climb the ladder to the bigger salary.

My husband is generally out of the house 8-7 so not too bad, but if they has a big project on then he will work late or do some work from home. He isn't in the mega bucks league as yet, but that's the aim, and we will hopefully have a fairly nice lifestyle as a result. That's the pay off for working long hours.

See as a self employed business owner my OH works 8/9am - 8/9pm usually five and a half or 6 days a week then has to do banking, invoicing, vat return, marketing, training etc at home outside of those hours with no sick leave, no holiday, no paternity leave, no pension...and all for about 25k or less a year. I wonder if I would mind his absence less if he was earning more? I'm not sure it would make a difference but it's an interesting thought.

Wibblypiglikesbananas Thu 29-Aug-13 18:57:34

That is an interesting thought Purple - though working for yourself is a huge plus at times - not having to dance to everyone else's tune and all that.

Sorry Vacant - I know graduate schemes that pay £45K+ - so unless he's super young and super keen, I don't understand why the salary is so low (relatively speaking obviously, pretty high by UK standards in general). Huge bonus package? Commission structure maybe?

skyeskyeskye Thu 29-Aug-13 19:01:32

My XH always put work first. Since he left last year, he sees DD every other weekend. That is all he sees of her. He refuses to have her in the holidays as work is more important. He is a courier......... So nothing earth shatteringly important, but more important than DD obviously.

It's something that you need to discuss. Some people never change and family is bottom of their list and having kids doesn't change that

Jammee Thu 29-Aug-13 19:10:49

Perhaps the salary referred to by OP is excluding bonus. The bonus can often be far more than the salary in finance.

Twinklestein France Thu 29-Aug-13 19:16:51

Just seen the 50k (sorry it's very difficult to read this on my BB) that's peanuts, doesn't justify those kinds of hours at all. Indeed, I think it unlikely that they're required at that level.

That's only just over basic graduate starting salary.

theboutiquemummy Thu 29-Aug-13 19:20:08

It's tough for sure my DH works the worst hours think 140 + however when DS1 arrived he changed and started taking his days off took 3 weeks paternity leave and started taking all the lieu days he's owed
( the company he works for have been brilliant because he's paid it forward so to speak)

So there is hope but you have to be independent and organised give him dates that are non negotiable then you are well within your rights to give him merry hell if he wants to cancel one of them smile

Want2bSupermum Thu 29-Aug-13 19:31:57

At that salary it sounds like he is just starting out. If not he isn't being honest with you. I worked in that circle and the juniors or PA's were making that not including bonus.

Hate to break it to you but I think he might want to split up with but doesn't have the balls to do it with your big birthday approaching. Deals are tough but if he has been there more than 2 years he is not telling the truth about his income. If he is he isn't the smart and needs to ask for a raise pronto.

If you do stay with this guy make sure you get married before having children. It is incredibly difficult being married to a workaholic and it is more common for the relationship to breakdown. Marriage will legally protect you.

TreeMonkey Thu 29-Aug-13 19:47:54

Thanks for the responses. Have skimmed through and will read them all properly later.

I'm with a friend drinking wine and discussing/moaning at the mo.

Just to add my story. My DP is a head chef (works at his ex-P's restaurant but that's a whooole other story...!), so he works quite long hours. He leaves around 8.30/9am and is home after 10pm.

I'm a SAHM to our 6mo. He makes the most of every minute he gets to spend with us and makes it clear that we are his priority. He gets up with her before work and gets her ready for the day while I shower and dress. I wait up for him to get home from work so we have an hour together, then we tend to head up to bed at the same time. He does 50% of night wakings.

On his two days off he does everything apart from breastfeed her. It's my birthday next week (not a big one) and he's taking 5 days off so we can have a little cottage break.

Looking after DD all day on my own can be challenging but I don't feel 'alone'. I feel hugely supported and respected. If my DP worked these same hours but had a different attitude it would be awful. But I feel like we're on the same team, both working hard for our future.

If you can't see your DP making you feel like this, you might want to think long and hard about having children with him. Shared outlook is so so important.

DH typically works a 70+ hour week, including 2+ hours per day during our recent holiday hmm

He generally comes home at 6ish and finishes working after the DC have gone up to bed. Sometimes he works until or past midnight, or gets up at 5am. But he wants to be at home to see us.

Honestly, some days I feel like "accidentally" pouring a kettle of boiling water over his laptop. But it is what it is, and the promotions have followed.

He has recently put his foot down about a project demo being scheduled for the day after my EDD but I will have to get firm about his actually not working when the existing DC are awake during his paternity leave.

OP, it isn't the hours but the attitude. He hasn't said "no, have to work on Sunday - how about Friday or Sunday night instead?" - he just said no.

Bowlersarm Thu 29-Aug-13 20:17:59

It's doesn't apply to me as my DH works from home (I have the opposite problem-we see way too much of each other grin), but my observations from reading this thread and which applies to some of my friends are that:

1) if he has a lot of energy it may work. He will have the energy to get up early, work the long hours, commute etc successfully. Plus he'll have the energy to do night feeds with babies, be up early with them to give you a break, plus spend time playing with them at the weekend.

2) not prioritising your 30th birthday is a BAD THING. You are not important enough to him to consider your feelings and how special he should be making you free on a significant birthday. He needs to be able to spend time with you and take holidays etc, otherwise is there a point to being together at all?

I've just realised you don't live together. That would be a good trial run to see if it might work?

Jammee Thu 29-Aug-13 20:37:18

Dorothy you are so right!

My DH puts in so much effort with DH and is very supportive of me, despite his job. He often manages to get home by 6:30pm, even though he commutes from London because he will stay up late after I've gone to bed if he needs to make up the time.

He does every bath, he does nearly every nappy in the evenings and at weekends. DD has slept through the night since 8 weeks but before that she had a 4am feed and even though I breast feed he would get up, change her nappy and lie awake with me until she had fed. If she ever needs to go to the doctors he always offers to take the day off and come with me and he puts DD to bed every night.

OP, a top finance job in London doesn't mean your partner won't make a good dad. What will make him a bad dad is a bad attitude. Talk to him about what he wants; family or career, about what will be his priority; his child or his job. Women change a lot when they have children and so do men. I wouldn't rule a guy out as a bad dad based upon him working a lot now, because he may see it as putting the work in now so that he doesn't have to once you start a family.

Just speak to him; you have nothing to lose.

Re: the birthday; I'd expect a bloody big present in lieu of his company.

TreeMonkey Thu 29-Aug-13 22:09:23

Yes Jamee based on his texts today I would be expecting a decent present too - and normally I'm not like that at all. I fear I may have turned bitter this afternoon!

So I know that DP makes between 50 and 60k a year. I think. I've never explicitly asked him but did steal a peek at a contract letter on his desk earlier this year which said as much. He's ACA qualified in 2009 if that helps.

I'm in a completely different industry with a maximum income of 40k (just under 35K at the moment). I hope that might put some of the responses into context.

I have a list of questions to ask him when he gets home, again based on these thread responses - although I fear I'll have to wait until Sunday evening until I can ask them as he's already said he's "sleeping over" tonight...

Tank you for your opinions and experiences. It is helping to see the situation in a clearer light and what may be expected of me/the relationship.

lucidlady Thu 29-Aug-13 22:34:06

That seems a low salary for someone in PE who is ACA. Was it a recent contract?

I am married to a v senior workaholic in the Big 4. I knew he was like this when I married him - it's who he is, and yes it drives me bonkers at times but it's not something that will ever change. If you love him, and he's the man for you, then you need to accept who he is.

Wibblypiglikesbananas Fri 30-Aug-13 01:15:51

Do you absolutely trust him? Are you sure he isn't having an affair?

Hooya Fri 30-Aug-13 03:35:31

I really think two things are important here: firstly understanding his motivations and his enjoyment of his role, and secondly in negotiating upfront so you both know what to expect.

I work long hours (or did before I started mat leave on Friday!): 8am - 9pm a few days a week. DP has always understood my love of and commitment to my job and has always had a clear picture of what it brings us financially and what the potential future looks like if we want it.

Crucially I think, we have some fairly clear boundaries - for example:
1. Holidays - I always take a full 2 weeks at least once per year, maybe twice, and keep work contact to a couple of 5-min BlackBerry check-ins per day, but not meetings or time-consuming work
2. Special occasions - planned upfront and wouldn't miss the really important ones (birthdays, Xmas etc)
3. Weekends / early finishes - generally finish early (for me i.e. 7pm) once or twice a week and don't work both days at the weekend
4. Talking - if I'm starting to get stressed and this is filtering into our home lives, or if any of points 1-3 aren't happening, or if DP is not happy, we sit down over a nice meal (even if it is at 11pm) and discuss it properly and decide how we want to manage it. In particular, DP knows that he has to understand whether I'm enjoying the work or going crazy doing it, which makes a big difference. I also know that he has every right to say "there's not enough in this for me, we need a change" if necessary, and then we'll discuss more and make tough decisions.

I can't stress enough how important the communication and understanding motivation is. DP and I enjoy certain things (crazy holidays, shopping, spending money on our families and their holidays etc) and so we know what we're willing to do to earn that and what we're not willing to do. It sounds like you haven't really discussed or figured that out yet as a couple.

As a ps, having worked with a couple of PE firms back when I was a consultant, and assuming he is a similar age to you and started out of uni, his comp does seem a bit low though if he's on deals he could be drawing bonus. I'm not suggesting you ask him why he isn't earning more, but I would want to know what it's all for and where this takes you financially and otherwise as a couple. I have seen too many people slog their guts out when they don't even know what they are aiming for or what they are actually willing to compromise to get there!

Good luck!

GrandstandingBlueTit Fri 30-Aug-13 06:36:37

Two things struck me reading your OP, neither of which I expect are particuarly helpful.

1. What a classic case of finding a replica of your father in your life-partner.

2. He's just not that onto you. sad

Maybe read this. I read it years ago, and it really stuck with me, even though I've never been involved with a workaholic, nor had a workaholic father. Regrets of the dying. No. 2 in particular...

PrivateEquityChap Fri 30-Aug-13 08:31:08

Hello

First, and probably last, post ever on Mumsnet - as a chap and all.

I'm on the board of a PE house and Finance is one of my responsibilities. Back in the day I qualified at a Big 4 firm.

For what it's worth (from the man's point of view) -

- the long hours probably won't go away. Most PE firms are quite small and there's a reluctance to hire when that it's into the existing people's share of the pie - hire-ing will almost always follow the increase in work. But not too much hire-ing.

- particularly in finance, there may only be one person in the firm who knows what and how you do it, so if you're not there things just don't happen, but the reporting timetables remain unmoved.

- i leave home before 6 and on a good day i'm home at 8 (with the crackberry on 24/7, albeit i'm better at categorising emails as needing to be dealt with versus not, these days), and i'm at the top of the tree.

- PE Firms do have a (slightly) macho culture and hours can be a reflection of this. In my experience, transaction services departments at Big 4 firms draw the more "macho" of the auditors, and then the PE firms draw the more "macho" of those. the hours culture pervades even outside of the deal teams when pressured deadlines loom.

- the potential long term carrot is significant, but is only given to those who the firm really rate (and effort / hours does come into that; given the small pool ) - given that every £1m of long term incentive the Partners give to you is a straight transfer of £1m from them.

- personally i feel driven to try to provide the best possible future for my family - and whilst i entirely agree that financial success is definitely not the only measure it's an important one, for me at least. i am always struck by the number of friends in their 60s who are very bitter about relative financial position and how they are often the same ones who mocked those who have achieved that success for working long hours at the time. if private schools and the rest is important to you both, then PE is one way to try to acheive it, but hours are likely to come into it one way or the other.

- in the words of a senior PE person "we pay them enough, they can break their holiday to come back"

- the only quid pro quo is that i keep Friday afternoons clear of meetings and try to be home for bedtime for one day a week. and i try to avoid checking emails too much on holiday when family are around.

- culturally i cope quite well with it as my father had a similar role so it's what i expect. the challenge comes in my experience where that's not the case for one or both in a relationship.

BoulevardOfBrokenSleep Fri 30-Aug-13 09:33:39

You both need to have a chat about what your long-term goals are, and you need to be prepared that you might not like what you hear...

DH did the long hours/high pay thing for a bit (lawyer) but he was always very clear (to me, not his employers grin) that he wasn't prepared to be doing that with DC in the mix. He now works 9-5 in-house, and no weekends which is obv great for the family.

Wait a sec - did you say you're thinking about buying a house in the spring, but you don't know how much he earns?!

Bowlersarm Fri 30-Aug-13 09:41:12

Interesting post PrivateEquityChap

One of the OP,s concerns in her original post was the disappointment of her DP not prioritising her 30th birthday which falls at the weekend. Would you say, from a male viewpoint, that he should prioritise important things like birthdays, wider family special events, and possibly holidays? Or is it feasible that a guy that works very long hours, would just simply not think about these things? Or does it purely depend of the individual himself?

motherinferior Fri 30-Aug-13 09:47:32

Can I just say - probably heretically and I'll be thrown off MN - that actually I don't work to 'provide for my family', I do the job I do because I like it and find it fulfilling. I think most people in that kind of high-pressured job do it because that's the kind of work they want to do. I think saying 'he's working like that to provide for you all' is a bit of a red herring.

My partner earns rather more than I do, but that happens to be because he has (finally) been well-paid for a rewarding, interesting job he rather loves.

(It may help that we are both the kind of bigoted lefties who don't want private school, obviously.)

PrivateEquityChap Fri 30-Aug-13 10:10:59

For me it's a horrible wrench when something like that happens - on any individual event I'd far rather be at home/with family etc.

However if you're working like that it's not so much that you wouldn't think about it, it's that you've bought into the job and career path you've got and what it means now and tomorrow for you and your family.

It's an artificial comparison but you could be saying - on balance being able to provide x, y, z is more important in the long term scheme of things than being there for a specific event.

(Personally - I'd always try to make it up somehow in respect of the specific event.)

As ever one's biases are based on one's experiences - my father was extremely hard working but he provided the "x,y,z" and I've got an incredibly strong relationship with him because when he was there he was fantastic as opposed to say my partner who's father was always there and who was a complete nightmare to her all the time. So when I am at home I try incredibly hard to be the best husband and father I can be (probably fail !).

You need to work out a modus vivendi. So for example I could spend an hour a day on holiday working, but I'd do it whilst she's at the gym, or you'd work v late on xyz days, but commit to keeping a particular time clear (easier as you climb the mountain - rolls downhill...)

PrivateEquityChap Fri 30-Aug-13 10:12:06

"whose"

damned typoes

Hooya Fri 30-Aug-13 10:15:40

Hi - agree with PrivateEquityChap - as I said, I think it's about agreeing why you're doing it and how you're going to manage and negotiate. If you have those things understood and agreed at the start, it's a whole load easier!

We've had a pretty good time of it with my work, though I have gone through some crazy hours, relocated us twice with my job, but I honestly don't think either me or my partner would have it any other way. However if we hadn't kept talking and agreeing to things throughout, the picture might be very different.

Bowlersarm Fri 30-Aug-13 10:27:32

Hooya just read your first post. And I think you have summed up the way this could work perfectly. You are driven by the job you do, but equally important to you is your DP and his feelings. If it wasn't working for him you would reappraise the situation.

I wonder whether this would be the case for a lot (most?) men though. Would they see their partners and families as important as maintaining their excellent job and financial income? Or would they just ignore their 'nagging' unhappy wife and shrug it off as something they can do nothing about.

Maybe the difference is whether the man (or woman) concerned is simply a workaholic and their job and career will just always come first. Or the person concerned is good at their job and interested in reaching the highest level they possibly can whilst at the same time being in love with their partner and a committed family man (woman).

wordfactory Fri 30-Aug-13 10:32:26

I know a lot of couples, where one parent works in a demanding job.

Where it works, it seems to work very well indeed. I don't hear constant bitching and moaning from the other parent. I thinking having enough money to outsource a lot of domestic drugery helps.

Wuldric Fri 30-Aug-13 10:35:34

He works in transactions - and I am afraid that this is the deal in transactions work. It is nightmarish and all-consuming. He genuinely will have had no choice about working the weekend.

I am assuming your DP is an accountant - he could move out of PE work into management accounting where it is less stressful and pressurised. But unless he is able to do so - it's a step down in terms of prestige and probably also money - you will have to put up with the deal.

It's a bit unfair IME to pile more stress on the poor bloke. PE work is highly pressurised, really highly pressurised. He will be feeling guilty and upset as well as dealing with all the work stuff. And believe me, he genuinely will not have a choice in this (part of the reason I don't do transaction work - it's an utter nightmare).

Wuldric Fri 30-Aug-13 10:40:09

I would also say - that you have to do the grind of 80 hour weeks in your twenties and early thirties. But once you get to be more senior (and I am guessing by your estimate of his salary that he is not that senior atm) the hours calm down a lot. My forties have been a breeze workwise

motherinferior Fri 30-Aug-13 10:47:11

WF, yes, where there is enough money.

When my partner's discussed applying for jobs that would be more round-the-clock it's always been in terms of the extra money going into outsourcing the domestic stuff, paying for more babysitting, and so on. What wouldn't work well, for me, is being landed with all that while he ascends some kind of glorious career ladder on his own.

<regards domestic hovel and fantasizes about Mr Inferior taking lovely, lucrative job and leaving me in peace and quiet>

Hooya Fri 30-Aug-13 10:52:55

Bowlersarm I think you may be right in the sense that often relationships are not expected as much to be partnerships. For me it's because this stuff isn't discussed upfront and the idea of the 'nagging' wife comes in; and because probably too many women assume a more passive role than perhaps they should from the start.

If my partner doesn't think I'm spending enough time with him, we need to talk about it, know why I'm so busy, whether I'm happy and whether it is for some meaningful gain. It does mean compromise but at least it's a negotiated compromise, not as you say just an assumption that that's just the way it goes.

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Uruguay Fri 30-Aug-13 11:06:19

Yes, agree with WF and - it works for us, and it works very well. I am fairly independent, have good friends and family around me. I recognise that when he has to work, he has to work. I try not to be the nagging wife - I just get on with things.

But I think it works because when dh is here, he is wonderful, very involved with me and the dc, very loving. He has a great relationship with the dc. The only thing he does away from us - apart from the odd beer after work - is the odd game of golf, and even that he now takes the children with him, and is giving them lessons.

He, on the other hand, leaves all family matters in my hands - he is happy because he knows I am dealing with the domestic front, as it were. We completely share the money, I have total access and control over it - and we are careful with money - planning for ours and the children's future. Financial security can make life very comfortable. We have nice holidays - but he does have to checks his e-mails daily, and may be called on to do something for work while on holiday. But that doesn't bother me.

He recognises that he wouldn't be able to have a family, and be where he is today without my input - which is nice.

becscertainstar Fri 30-Aug-13 11:09:32

Can I just say - probably heretically and I'll be thrown off MN - that actually I don't work to 'provide for my family', I do the job I do because I like it and find it fulfilling. (from motherinferior above) <- Hear, hear! DH works long hours because his job matters to him and because it's important to him, and that's why I work too. We don't make a lot of money but we love working.

I knew that work was important to him when we got together but he always respected the boundaries and therefore his commitment to work has never been a problem. The first 'boundary' was when we were first dating. He arrived VERY late to meet me for a date because 'something came up' at his work. The second time it happened I warned him that if he was ever even 5 minutes late to meet me again he'd arrive to find me gone and it would be the end of our relationship because I had better things to do than stand around waiting for him. He was never late again.

I think it's only an addictive 'workaholic' thing if it's negative. DH is passionate, excited, full of enthusiasm for his work. He feels glad that he has the opportunity to do it. I work less hours than him but I feel the same way about my work, I enjoy it. Quite often he brings his work home, we put some music on and work together in the evening after putting DS to bed, taking it in turns to make coffee and talking through any issues we're having. We work in different industries but we find each other to be useful sounding boards. It's part of what drew us to each other in the first place.

Anyway to the OP I'd recommend that you set boundaries as I did - just ensure that his work is only important to him in a positive way and that he still values you as well. My DH has never missed my birthday - I wouldn't put up with that. I feel confident that if I ever needed him he'd be there, and that when he spends time with our DS he is 100% present and treasuring every moment.

OP I feel like in a way you are making this more complicated than it has to be.

Your father worked long hours and you never saw him.

You don't want your children to have this experience.

You are now with a man who works long hours.

So logically, unless you can be certain that he will cut back his hours when you have DC, there is no point continuing down this path with him. If you do stay with him, then it will be at the cost of one of your most important priorities, ie not giving your children the life that you yourself hated.

You read all sorts of tips about how to make it work, all the financial advantages, etc. But unless you are really emotionally prepared to take on the same role as your mother (e.g., explaining to your children for the umpteenth time why dad is not there for them) then none of that matters.

Your DP is not the only man in the sea. Maybe he's lovely but that's not enough. Why would you sacrifice such an important priority for this one guy? Someone else is out there who won't ask that sacrifice.

Already you have the line of thinking of 'he's missing my birthday but I guess I'm just a spoilt princess and anyway I'll get a nice present out of it.' Is this the future you want?

Loopytiles Fri 30-Aug-13 12:18:43

I know a number of couples with DC where he works mega hours and earns loads and she is sahm or works very part time, and does all child care (normally have cleaner). From the outside seems to work OK but not something I could manage as I wouldn't want to be financially dependent (in case of illness, divorce) want to work more and had a father who was at home a lot.

It's one thing pre-DC, when the times he's working you can do stuff you enjoy or pursue your own career, but after Dc this is pretty much impossible as you will be providing all the child care and running a household, unless you have a lot of family help or want and can afford the "xenia model" of both working hard and a nanny.

Loopytiles Fri 30-Aug-13 12:22:46

I wouldn't move in with him or consider DC if I were you, unless you're sure you want "the deal" he's offering.

BoulevardOfBrokenSleep Fri 30-Aug-13 13:42:10

'the "xenia model" of both working hard and a nanny.'

Actually I think xenia's XH was a teacher or something? I get the impression it wasn't two lots of City hours; I don't see how that would work even with a nanny, can you get nannies that do 100-hour weeks?

BoulevardOfBrokenSleep Fri 30-Aug-13 13:42:57

Errr....I didn't mean that post to imply that teachers don't work hard! blush

becscertainstar Fri 30-Aug-13 13:48:22

BoulevardOfBrokenSleep - I don't know about Xenia's husband (I find it quite strange that anyone would be able to remember the occupation of a stranger's husband! MN is a funny old place...) but yes, you can get nannies to do full time live in 'in loco parentis' roles. They'll even go to parents evening and arrange birthday parties etc. I see such nannies about...

Want2bSupermum Fri 30-Aug-13 16:04:58

BoulevardOfBrokenSleep If you need 100 hours of childcare you need two nannies. Our neighbour looks after the children now and I won't let her work more than 50hrs a week - I try to keep it 7.15am-5pm and a half day on Friday. She gets about 10 wks off on full pay. If we need additional hours I call in someone else from list of helpers.

Lavenderhoney Fri 30-Aug-13 16:28:00

My dh works very long hours, travels for work, works weekends, Christmas, NY- you name it, he's busy, plus the phone- the times I wanted to throw it out of the window! The day my dd came home from hospital, I had had a cs and couldn't really walk - his boss came round with flowers and also expected dh back full time the next day. Er, no!

However, he is great when not at work, cooks, cleans, takes care of the dc.He doesn't have hobbies anymore, or free time to himself. I stopped work because of the dc, and I didn't want them raised by strangers, and we could afford it. I would rather be married to him than a work shy layabout who is always at home and expects me to work round the dc.

You can only second guess what will happen and what you will be happy with. If he is at the start of his career, he needs to work to progress. You just have to ensure he is the type who recognises a sahm is just as important and everything is in your name too.

Move in with him, but ask if he plans to get married/ have dc with you in a specific time frame- as otherwise you are playing house with him and should be out there finding someone else. And if he doesn't make a fuss of you on your birthday or after to make up for it, I suggest you are setting yourself up for a lifetime of disappointments. Sorry.

xiaozhu Fri 30-Aug-13 18:45:05

Everyone saying that he has a 'choice' about this - yes he does: either he quits the job or he carries on working long hours. People in these jobs don't have the choice not to work. They are being paid to sacrifice this element of choice and will not be in the job long if they don't. If you want him to work shorter hours then you are going to have to ask him to get another (possibly lower paid) job.

Sorry. I know it's shit but this coming from someone who is in one of these types of jobs.

Theironfistofarkus Fri 30-Aug-13 19:18:05

I agree with xiaozhu. I left work once at 10 pm on a Saturday evening as a junior when i was already three hours late for an event that was v important to me. This was raised at my appraisal as showing lack of commitment. Didn't lose my job but it did affect how I was perceived. If success in PE is what is important to him missing birthdays etc occasionally goes with the territory. However I agree with others that he should be v apologetic and treat you to make up for it!

PEWoman Fri 30-Aug-13 19:27:36

He does have a choice. You both do.

I'm going to be very blunt here. I have worked in this environment for nearly 20 years and I can count on one hand the number of men who do those kind of hours for years on end who don't have an affair at some point. I'm not talking about physical affairs always but the perception of 'wifey' at home, doing the domestic chores and being dull as fuck, is all pervasive in this working environment so, even if it's not physical, a lot of them have emotional affairs. It totally ties in with what PEChap said - it's a very testosterone driven, macho environment. Any man who has to leave a meeting/corporate event because their wife has insisted is ridiculed - quite subtly a lot of the time but, especially if you're really junior (which your DP must be on that salary), it marks you out as not committed. And as the last 2 posters have said, it affects your career progression.

chickydoo's post is pretty much par for the course but I'd hate to live like that and I suspect you would too.

If you don't want your children to be raised in a house where their dad's a distant figure working every hour possible, I suspect you need to find someone else to make babies with.

dufflefluffle Fri 30-Aug-13 19:28:57

My dh works 70 hour weeks for about 6 months of the year. It took me a long time to get used to it (it didn't bother me pre kids) and as a result once we had DC1, I didn't want to even think about another one. 10 years on I am used to it - he is not here from beg. May til end Oct and that's the way it is - we all accept it and spend the summer more or less dad-less. In fairness he will spend from 8pm til ten doing outdoor things with the kids during the height of the summer - if he can - when it's still bright out.
That's the answer to your title, however I would be seriously miffed if DH was not able to make it for my significant birthday (with plenty of warning) He had two days off (1 for the actual birth & 1 to bring us home) for each of our DC and that's just the way it is. Occasionally something unexpected crops up (eg unreliable employee) and it can disrupt a holiday/special occasion but they are rare. It took me a long time to realise he was doing his best and more than that I cannot ask for.

Twattergy Fri 30-Aug-13 19:55:10

If the long hours are pissing you off now, you have no idea how much it will hurt you when you have children, unless you are a very self sufficient person and love spending your whole long days with babies. I would take a poorer life with a man working sociable hours over a richer one with a man absent during the week.

GrandstandingBlueTit Fri 30-Aug-13 20:36:10

That's interesting what you say, PEWoman.

I have to admit, I don't see how a high-flying, ambitious, obviously extremely energetic, adrenaline-driven type, and a domestic-type can be in any way significantly compatible.

I mean, obviously they're highly compatible when it comes to the 'business' of running a home; one funds it and the other manages it.

But compatible, personality-wise? I don't see how they genuinely can be, really...

None of this is to justify affairs, obviously. But I do wonder how driven types can have anything in common - have a real mental connection with -somebody quite so different from them. And I don't see how it can't create quite a divide where the two people lead quite separate lives as the years go on.

monkey42 Fri 30-Aug-13 23:48:26

this thread is very interesting, but I'm another vote for the 'it can work' scenario. I'm surprised so many posters are anti_...
My DH is a workaholic, though he would argue he is just doing what needs to be done in his high pressure (now very senior) job in the city, for an american firm. We now have 2 Dcs, and he very clearly thinks the world of them despite the hours. He leaves before we get up (at 620) but is often home for 7ish when not travelling. He usually still does emails and sometimes calls later.
I am not a SAHM, I work as a hospital doctor part time whcih is tough.

However what it boils down to is how much these events upset you. On my 31st b'day DH didn't even pick me up from the airport (i had been to holland) and i was transiently miffed. If these sorts of things will upset you in the long run then you need to decide whether you could stick it, but don't think he wilwl chnage other than with age.

My DH has been much better since we had DC as he loves the whole family thing.

TreeMonkey Sat 31-Aug-13 00:16:43

Thank you again for all these responses. It really has been interesting reading to hear from both sides.

I've spent the past three hours discussing this with DP, how unhappy I felt with his initial text, what his job entails and what is expected from him for the seemingly low money he earns.

We've also spoken about what we want in the future including children and careers and at the moment I feel very comfortable with his responses. I can't elaborate right now but generally feel better knowing what he wants and he now knows exactly what I want.

Reading some of the responses I know I couldn't be in some of those positions but after talking, I can see what kind of future we could have together.

With regards to Sunday, he's managed to arrange all the work to have the day off. He didn't realise how hurt I felt and how inconsiderate I thought he was being and has apologised for being a dick and the text he sent.

Lavenderhoney Sat 31-Aug-13 05:20:52

That's good tree monkeysmile

Keep talking and make sure you and he plan stuff, as work really does take over - good memories and things to look forward to make a difference.

Get him to add all relevant dates to his calendar as well. My dh, although he often can't be there when I want, at least knows about things and does his best to make up for it.

AuntyPippaAndUncleHarry Sat 31-Aug-13 06:03:28

Haven't had chance to read whole thread. In my experience most professional jobs require long hours, short notice change of plans, home life sacrifice. The rewards are interesting jobs and the financial freedom to have a nice home, great holidays, ability to give kids all kinds of wonderful experiences. The 3 people I know who work in PE all had mad hours during deals and lulls after. If he is in a deal then short notice change of plans seems entirely possible. The PE people I know all have kids and partners who work FT. They can afford FT nanny. If you want a partner with a 9-5 job I think those jobs are few and far between and the remuneration generally much less than in PE. I have sympathy for your partner but then I work very long hours 6 days per week. I have worked very hard to achieve in my chosen profession. My choice was work over family but now am aiming for less hours which is I hope achievable because of what I have done up to now to gain experience.

racmun Sat 31-Aug-13 06:57:29

Op you have my sympathies.

I used to have a highly pressurised career and in lots of firms there is a culture of presenteeism, ie who can stay the latest, who can work the hardest. I suspect your dh has got caught up in a firm like that and from his perspective it's a really hard cycle to break.

Posters saying he's not very nice he doesn't prioritise you it's not that simple. I suspect he earns a good wage and yes money isn't everything but in a Private Equity house it is!! That is his world. He's probably worried that if he pulls out of the deal this weekend he'll be looked over for the next promotion etc.

My dh works long hours and doesn't see ds in the week apart from about 5 minutes as he's rushing about the house in the morning so it's not exactly quality time!

It's not ideal by any stretch but the upshot is he earns enough do that I'm a SAHM and ds and I spend a lot of quality time together.
I know quite a few people in this situation and it isn't perfect but then I don't really know what is the perfect set up. Fwiw ds is very very close to dh and they have loads of fun at weekends. Dh is also away some weekends with work.

My dad worked all the time when I was little and I don't really remember spending much time with him, but I am very close to him.

I think a big part that make such a sutuation work is the attitude that goes with it, was he sorry about your birthday?

aftermay Sat 31-Aug-13 08:04:07

Some of the replies on here make for depressing reading. Money really matters so much for some people.

Hooya Sat 31-Aug-13 08:30:05

That's a great update TreeMonkey - really glad that you were able to talk things over with him and hopefully find a way that works for you! It is difficult and it's not the life everyone wants, but I do firmly believe it is possible to have a happy successful relationship where one partner works like a madwoman / man some of the time!

aftermay I think for many people, and as a few have stated on this thread, it's not just about money - my role brings me great personal satisfaction as well as material rewards. I can speak very convincingly for that as I've just started 4 months' maternity leave and I was really sad to leave for a while - even though I will get full pay during my leave. So it isn't all just about the cash, though it sure helps! smile

aftermay Sat 31-Aug-13 08:37:21

I like my job too, its rewarding (financially, emotionally, dies some good in the world). But too many posts ftom women saying it's worth being second place and practically living a parallel life to your DH because at least you get the private schools and lifestyle. It's utterly depressing to read this. Though it's not my life.

aftermay Sat 31-Aug-13 08:38:53

Gosh, does not dies, particularly as it healthcare smile

LongGoneBeforeDaylight Sat 31-Aug-13 09:11:46

I work long hours. I'm a lawyer so similar set up. It's really hard, OP, and I'm not sure it is about priorities. I will get told that a deal needs to be done by Monday morning or whatever and most in the team I'm in will have to stay to do it. I put big things that I can't miss in my boss's calendar but if everyone was working a weekend I'm not sure I'd be able to get it off for a significant other's birthday. And if my DP moans it makes it worse because I would very much rather be with him AND I have to work so I tend to feel very hard done by. I genuinely often have no choice re working long hours.

PEWoman Sat 31-Aug-13 09:17:12

I'm glad to hear that too TreeMonkey. I was remembering last night a man who I worked with years ago who always prioritised his home and family, he was very resolute about leaving the office as soon as he possibly could. And he was really successful because clients loved him so it really is possible to buck the trend.

I love my job too but I agree with you aftermay - I think the sacrifices some people are prepared make for material 'success' are too great

motherinferior Sat 31-Aug-13 09:21:34

Yes; in many ways I quite envy the people who do those jobs, earning lovely money and doing interesting demanding stuff and having lots of social validation and someone else doing the domestic backup.

The people doing the domestic backup, not so much.

Pilgit Sat 31-Aug-13 09:26:36

Well done OP - sounds like you've got progress there. These things can work but it takes a lot of work and committment to a common standard from both partners. In my relationship I am the one with the big city job, the hours (and the salary) that go with it. DH is self employed (and a workaholic) and works from home. We have our issues and we have mammoth arguments (both have fiery tempers and are very good at wilfully misunderstanding each other -but that's another thread!) but our life works because we have the same priorities - the DD's and giving them the best life we can. So some things don't get compromised - we have a family weekend once a month that is sacred. I gethome for bed time and log on again after that if I need to. I never work saturdays (as an aside I never had - even homework as a child). If things get sacrificed it is stuff for us as a couple - which is hard. I have got good at work at not compromising on my family life and not letting people take advantage - but I have got senior enough that I can do that (and I have found if you deliver results it's a lot easier to dictate your own terms for when it gets done). I have found that a lot of people work silly hours because they feel they have to justify why they are there (yes, it also becasue there is the work to do but not to the same extent all the time). Does he lack in self confidence about his work or position? There's a lot to be said for working smarter, not harder.

BoffinMum Sat 31-Aug-13 09:52:35

Either you are going to have to be one of those women who builds a life out of staying home and having nice hair/playing tennis/collecting dry cleaning, or you will have to choose a different man to have children with. Personally I chose the latter.

BoffinMum Sat 31-Aug-13 09:55:30

IME some blokes work long hours to avoid the low level hassle of day to day child rearing, but they rarely admit it.

MrsCampbellBlack Sat 31-Aug-13 10:58:50

IME though the working crazy hours isn't forever. The more senior you become the more you can dictate stuff.

And although I've been a SAHM for the past 9 years, now I'm going back to work albeit part-time.

I do think though that what works for one couple doesn't work for another. And I do find it patronising when someone feels pity for the one providing 'domestic back-up'.

aftermay Sat 31-Aug-13 11:10:06

Or you can work crazy hours and be sacked. It fall ill. Or someone close get ill, have SN etc etc. And all those crazy hours will not count for much anymore. You're out if the door like it's never happened.

motherinferior Sat 31-Aug-13 11:15:57

I didn't say I felt pity. I said I didn't envy the person doing all the domestic backup. Which in our household is more me than my partner in any case. Long hours and someone else to sort out dental appointments is looking rather alluring to me at the moment.

Loopytiles Sat 31-Aug-13 11:22:38

That sounds hopeful OP.

grandstanding the women I know who SAH after DC often start off having successful careers too, but have found it difficult to sustain them after DC due to their husbands' working hours.

LongGoneBeforeDaylight Sat 31-Aug-13 12:03:47

It's not like being at work isn't work though, while these "dentists appointments" are arranged. I am stressed and arranging things for 12 hours at work, just not domestic things.

noviceoftheday Sat 31-Aug-13 12:13:16

OP, I would definitely pay attention to what PE chap said. I agree with everything in his first post. It definitely doesn't get easier the more senior they get and in fact in the senior folks are pretty much on call every day except Xmas day. As the founder of one of the world's biggest PE houses recently said to me, the job is more like 5 to 9 rather than 9 to 5. If his career takes off and yours stays the same, it is inevitable that you will either need a full time nanny or you will have to sacrifice your career. Having said all of that, I have never known dh or any of his colleagues miss a major event in their dw's life because they know that dw is basically the engine room of family life.

motherinferior Sat 31-Aug-13 12:13:50

I know. I just know which option, if it has to be a choice, I personally would rather have. That's allgrin

MrsCampbellBlack Sat 31-Aug-13 14:48:40

I know nothing of PE so bow down to the other's knowledge of how things work when you're more senior. But other professions I know, where someone works a lot of hours things do seem to get easier in some ways as they get more senior.

For a start, there's more money to do stuff which does help. Its also often possible to re-arrange your hours as necessary to attend family stuff without it being looked as you shirking in some way.

And if you have your own business, you may be checking your emails every day etc but hopefully you don't need always to be physically present.

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 Spain 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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