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to expect DH to be contactable at work?

(69 Posts)
BigBadBear Tue 24-May-11 16:24:35

DH and I both commute over an hour to work, and leave our DDs in pre-school and nursery. If something happens to either DD that means they need collecting early (usually illness), I am first contact. This afternoon I was called to say that DD2 (aged 1) had a poorly tummy and that she needed picking up. I tried calling DH on his mobile, work mobile and work landline - all went to voicemail. I tried again a few minutes later to no avail, so I excused myself from work and came home to pick up DD2 (thankfully OK, but the nursery have a policy of two bad nappies and you're out for 24 hours).

I eventually raised DH once I had picked DD2 up - he hadn't seen the missed calls on his phone, nor read the text message I had sent to both the mobiles. Apparently, they had been switched off while he was charging them. This is the fourth time this has happened since I returned to work three months ago (that I have had to leave work to collect one of the DDs), and his inability to have a phone that is switched on, charged and near him means that there is never any discussion over who comes home if either DD is unwell.

AIBU to be annoyed about this? And to expect him to be contactable?

worraliberty Tue 24-May-11 16:28:51

Sounds like he's doing it on purpose. If he was a single parent I'm sure he'd manage to leave them on because he'd bloody well have to.

HerHissyness Tue 24-May-11 16:30:35

you can't do missed calls on a mobile that is OFF. Orange do missed call alert, which is a text, but If the phones rang love, they were not switched off.

What if there was an emergency with YOU? what if the Police were trying to contact him on your behalf?

Next time, call him witholding your number and see if that makes a difference?

vmcd28 Tue 24-May-11 16:31:14

YANBU at all. Get this sorted now before it's just the norm/expected that you'll be the one to leave work. Why the burden of this tends to fall on mums, I don't know. But this is why mums of young kids or young women with no kids can set off warning bells to potential employers - too much risk of a lot of time off with no notice. DH must take his fair share

rookiemater Tue 24-May-11 16:31:25

Agree with worra, picking up the DDs is womans work not his responsibility so why would he be prepared for it. Happy to take the household income but slopy shoulders when any actual effort comes his way.

If you have had to leave work 4 times in 3 months then this will have an impact on how you are viewed at work, explain to Dh that it is his responsibility to pick up DD next time something happens

LilQueenie Tue 24-May-11 16:32:13

our mobiles still ring when switched off. Depends on which phone I guess. We still get how many missed calls when turned back on.

mrsbunnthebaker Tue 24-May-11 16:34:08

thats the joys of being a working mum sad

vmcd28 Tue 24-May-11 16:36:06

Hissy, she said the phones went to voicemail, and he didn't get texts

RevoltingPeasant Tue 24-May-11 16:38:18

What does your DH do, OP? Does he have a job where he legitimately cannot answer his phone?

I am a lecturer skiving off marking and obviously if I am stood up in front of 200 people lecturing I cannot have my phone going off, so there are whole days during term when I really am uncontactable. During those days, if when we have DCs, DP will need to make himself available.

So if your DH is a heart surgeon or a barrister who's in court, YABU. If he is a checkout assistant or a plumber, YANBU.

clam Tue 24-May-11 16:39:49

I can still use my phone whilst it's charging. Why would he switch it off to charge it?

BigBadBear Tue 24-May-11 16:42:39

I'm not shirking my responsibilities to my DDs, by the way - I always feel pretty terrible that it takes me so long to get back if I need to. It's more - as vmcd says - that I don't think it should always be me that does it, and certainly not without checking who is better placed to leave work at that time.

The phones were off hissy (though they were charging, so he could have had them on), so maybe I was wrong to say that he should have noticed missed calls (though I had sent a text so when he did switch them on he would see the message). And I called from my work phone so he didn't know it was me worraliberty.

My boss is very understanding, but I don't want him to think I'm taking liberties.

BigBadBear Tue 24-May-11 16:45:14

He's an IT manager RP. He does have a lot of meetings, but my job also involves that and I take my phone in (as do most people now - not to answer to anyone, but so you can in case of emergencies). I understand that there are times when he won't be contactable, but it is the norm that he doesn't answer his phone or it is out of charge (and he has two - how do they both run out of charge?!).

BigBadBear Tue 24-May-11 16:47:35

mrsbunn I know the perils of being a working mum, and I do most of the childcare runs as well as being the one who comes home in emergencies. Coming back today, I started thinking if it was worth me working, but am infuriated that I am even considering quitting because of my DH's inability to manage his time and phone.

fgaaah Tue 24-May-11 16:50:21

"this is why mums of young kids or young women with no kids can set off warning bells to potential employers "


Your DH needs to take 50% of the childcare emergencies.

How does he think your employer and career prospects are going to go if you keep this up? 4 times in 3 months is absolutely stupid to have to take when he is more than fully capable of taking his fair share.

Put him as the primary contact for the nursery, perhaps?

Ormirian Tue 24-May-11 16:51:40

No YANBU. It isn't right that you always bear the burden.
Give him hell and make sure he doesn't do it again.

Pinkjenny Tue 24-May-11 16:52:12

Sympathies, OP. My dh is exactly the same.

fgaaah Tue 24-May-11 16:52:54

"am infuriated that I am even considering quitting because of my DH's inability to manage his time and phone."

Precisely - and the obvious impact it will have on your NI contributions, pension provision unless your DH would make sure that's covered too.

I am constantly amazed at the number of working fathers who think it's acceptable to have their pre-children working lives mirrored after kids arrive - and the number of women that let them get away with it!

That's why women who have to leave early are "unreliable working mums" whilst the dad that does the same thing is "a good, hands on dad" hmm - Because fathers like your DH mean that male employees are overall less of a burden on their employers - because their wives' employers bear the brunt of it.

Totally, and utterly, unacceptable that he puts you in this position.

Ormirian Tue 24-May-11 16:52:59

Dh is a teacher of special needs kids and even he managed to go and pick DS2 up from school when he had a stomach ache.

BarbarianMum Tue 24-May-11 16:53:45

Is there a general office no. you could ring (rather than your dh's own work no. iyswim)?

With my dh I ring the switchboard and the receptionist tracks him down to his desk where he is ignoring his phone/mobile.

BigBadBear Tue 24-May-11 16:55:54

fgaah if he was primary contact, they wouldn't be able to get hold of him so I'd be called anyway!

Orm please tell me how I can make him not do it again? I can do the "give him hell" bit, but this (him being uncontactable) has happened so many times in the past, I've lost count. He always starts by claiming he was busy at work and shouldn't be contactable at all times anyway, then moves on to contrition and acceptance that he needs to be (in case I am momentarily not, for example, or if something happens to me), he remembers for a couple of days, then forgets again.

Potplant Tue 24-May-11 16:56:51

If he doesn't have a job where he isn't allowed to use his mobile then YANBU - nip it in the bud ASAP. As others said it quickly becomes the norm and you will be viewed unfavourably at work.

fgaaah Tue 24-May-11 16:58:35

Does he respect your employment? Does he even acknowledge the impact this situation is having on your prospects? (And thus the financial risk spread of the house.)

Ormirian Tue 24-May-11 17:00:31

I don't know, sorry.

I just find it outrageous that he would do that to you. I have accepted that generally I will do emergency pickups as it's easier for me than for him, but he knows that there are times he will have to and accepts that.

Would threatening to give up your job frighten him into doing the right thing?

BigBadBear Tue 24-May-11 17:02:52

fgaah he says he does respect my job, and he should do as I took on extra work a few years ago when he was made redundant (I increased my hours from part-time to full-time, did extra freelance work on top, and was pg at the time)! I genuinely think he does, but he is very "in the moment", so when he's at work, he's there and just forgets that he has responsibilities elsewhere ie. at home.

Barb he works for an enormous company, so switchboard just puts me through to his extension! In his previous jobs, I have contacted work colleagues of his that I know and they have chased him for me (ridiculous but true).

BigBadBear Tue 24-May-11 17:06:14

Orm if I said I wanted to quit my job, he wouldn't mind. It would ease the pressure on us as a family (and I make very little once I take childcare and travel out of the equation, so the financial impact would be small). I'm reluctant to because I enjoy my work, the DDs enjoy their childcare settings (and are only there two days a week each as my ILs also help out), I would be worried about trying to get back into work in a few years, but also because I almost feel as though I'm facilitating his uselessness with this kind of thing. I sound unhinged, don't I?

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