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To feel used and taken for granted

(50 Posts)
SmilingHappyBeaver Sun 24-Feb-13 22:24:55

I have 3 DS's, aged between 2 and 6. DH works abroad a lot, and has been out of the country most of Feb.

He returned home late on Friday after a week away in Europe, and left early today to go out to the US on another business trip. He brought presents back for our sons, nothing for me (not that i expect it, as he never usually brings anything back). It doesn't usually bother me but this time it has really grated. It was only after he left again today that I realised how angry i am.

I have been struggling with some work issues, and I have mentioned that i have a project due to close this week which has been stressing me out. But he didn't even wish me luck with it. He isn't interested in my work issues because he thinks I am crazy for wanting to work when he is away so much and we have 3 young sons, so his answer is always "if it's too stressful and clearly making you miserable, then quit. Simple". We would have no financial issues if i didn't work.

He is training for the London Marathon so when he is at home he is usually out running most mornings and I get no help then either.

I just feel totally on edge all the time, right now I just want to walk away and get in the car and drive somewhere and not come back. But I love my kids too much to ever leave them. I just feel so trapped.

DH thinks that all my problems would be solved if I became a SAHM, but I think then i'd feel even more trapped.

I am going to tackle how I am feeling when he comes home, but I need to know whether I am being unreasonable or just a spoilt cow! I don't trust my judgement anymore.

Mimishimi Tue 26-Feb-13 20:08:04

HeadingHome: That's really awful.

OP, most of the arguments I've ever had with DH are about his work hours and how often he seems to prioritise that over everything else, incuding admitting to going in at six and coming back at nine purely for 'face time' reasons (ie to look dedicated). It's quite distressing because he wasn't like this when he was younger either - it's was though each promotion and pay rise increased the number of hours he thought he has to put in. Noone was telling him to do it. Lately it's been good though.

YANBU at all and please don't stop working because it doesn't suit him. I can almost guarantee he would use it against you in the future eg along the lines of "Well, if you were also working, you would understand what is sometimes required and there would be less pressure on me too". You not working will not change his behaviour, it could actually intensify it.

HeadingHome Tue 26-Feb-13 19:33:22

I was with my mum for weeks in hospital. I rang my husband to request he come home to support me. He said he would only fly back when I could "promise/guarantee" she would die shortly.

She did.

PanpiperAtTheGatesOfYawn Mon 25-Feb-13 16:20:28

smiling I would seriously consider getting extra help 1-2 days a week. Whereabouts are you? I ask because if you are in London you have more options there than outside.

However I can see what Bran is saying.

Who does the housework? You again? You know, you can't support this level of industry without something giving - you will burn out, and that will be bad for everyone.

How about doing what steppemum suggests and just determinedly book time off for yourself? Pref at a time when MIL is busy so he can experience the full glory of looking after 3 boys. I do think some people don't realise (or choose not to) just how physically and mentally demanding it is looking after small children. At the very least it will give him some idea of just what you are going through, rather than writing your life off as coffee mornings interspersed with dabbling with a low paid job. It will give you a much stronger bargaining position.

OUt of curiosity, would you characterise your DH as a 'good guy'?

bran Mon 25-Feb-13 14:49:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SmilingHappyBeaver Mon 25-Feb-13 14:18:16


Question: who is looking after the kids when you are working/studying?

A combination of nursery (for DS3) and childminder/afterschool club for DS1 and 2. MIL will step in in an emergency if I need to work, but if I ever go away for a girls weekend, she has all the DS's so DH doesn't have to (in her eyes he works so hard he needs a break). Last time I went on a girls weekend was 18 months ago, I probably need another one. My Mum died before DS's were born and I have no other family or siblings.

Thanks for all the replies, reading other people's take on it is quite reassuring.


Do your au-pairs live in? I've never gone down the au pair route because we don't have a spare bedroom (too many kids grin). Sorry to hear about your marriage, at least with the counselling you will know that you've done all you can to save it.

bran Mon 25-Feb-13 12:22:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bran Mon 25-Feb-13 12:19:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PanpiperAtTheGatesOfYawn Mon 25-Feb-13 12:14:21

When we have totally equality then it won't occasionally suck to be a woman.

Who said I thought this situation was ok?

AnnieLobeseder Mon 25-Feb-13 12:12:16

Bloody sucks being a woman sometimes, doesn't it?

Raaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh! NO! NO! NO! NO! How can you just shrug and accep that this is how things are for women? It does not need to be this way! I should not be this way.

There's so much talk about women wanting to have it all. Which is simply not true. What's true is that women are expected to do it all, suck it up and cope while men get to pick and choose what suits them. NO! Don't accept it. You are just as worthy of respect and downtime as him. And he is just as capable of packing PE kits and getting the laundry done. I am shouting this at all of you, not just the OP.

PanpiperAtTheGatesOfYawn Mon 25-Feb-13 11:56:16

smiling I had pneumonia last April, and like you I couldn't stop, though I don't think I was quite as ill as you. DH was in Peru, DM was on holiday and DMiL did as much as she could. It's the most ill and miserable I've ever been and I swear to god it took my lungs 6 months to recover.

Bloody sucks being a woman sometimes, doesn't it?

Hullygully Mon 25-Feb-13 11:55:34

He is an ARSE

PanpiperAtTheGatesOfYawn Mon 25-Feb-13 11:53:32

I was about to post Squinkies post. Rent that video!

Question: who is looking after the kids when you are working/studying?

Also, you shouldn't be in a situation where you are shouting at your boys all the time. 2-6 year olds aren't grateful for anything, at that age they are totally self-centred, and I bet you know this. It definitely is a symptom of your stress and unhappiness (big squashy hug offered here).

If you have money, (and it sounds like you do) you need to use it to make your life easier. And you definitely need to talk to your husband, this situation is untenable. A lot of men respond to definite, concrete plans rather than emotional pleas, so I would recommend if not a flow chart grin, then a series of points that need addressing, followed by options. Not least pointing out that if he gets to go out of the house running, you need space too. He doesn't have to do the marathon - that's his choice, and an interesting one too, to my mind considering how much he is away. How much time does he spend with you and your boys?

Annie it is possible to get into a mindset with work whereby you can't see the wood for the trees, and it doesn't mean you're evil, just that you need to be shocked out of it. 3 years ago DD1 (12mo at the time) was so sick she lost a 1/5 of her body weight. She went to hospital twice (discharged rather than overnight, but still). I was working full-time, DH was doing 4 days a week. I had just gone back after maternity and was firefighting with a junior who massively resented me coming back and was sending emails to my line manager noting my timings, comings and goings, any phone calls I made which weren't work related etc etc (don't know how he found the time to work frankly). I was existing on 4 hours sleep a night. I left the whole thing to my mother and DH to deal with, I only took one day off.

Obviously its not the same situation, but I look back on me sitting in the office worrying about my baby but not being there, and I think... what the fuck was I doing? I am not evil, I was just looking down one path and not seeing all the other options. I needed to be slapped round the head, frankly.

Sorry, massive sidetrack, but the point is....

With DD2 I couldn't bear the thought of that happening again, resigned and was a SAHM. Just before Christmas realised I was going mad (the other way grin) so have organised to get help 2 days a week and look for freelance work. I presented the plan to DH, we have rearranged our finances and I am going to make it work. I am happier, DDs are happier, DH is happier as I'm not going insane, it is worth it.

steppemum Mon 25-Feb-13 11:53:18

I can see both sides to this. Someone up thread said he sees a problem and a solution and he doesn't get how you are feeling.

I think it is easy to think if it as 'my job your job' from man's POV, because they don't always get either the emotional exhaustion of being the parent on demand 24/7 or the stress of being dependent on the dh salary, and the trapped feeling.

When I read these threads, I think it is too easy to write off the relationship and the man, when maybe he just needs a wake up call.

How about when he comes home, (eg Friday night) tell him you will be out at 9am sat to the gym and then having lunch with xx. You will be home at 4. That will give him child care for a day and you a day off. Then rent the Devil's Advocate and watch it together and ask him if he remembers.

Then sit down and talk. Tell him how it makes you feel, how you both never made a plan for this, and now you need to now because it isn't working.

I agree the pneumonia thing is dreadful, but I know that it isn't that simple. For example I broke my ankle and had to have it pinned. I couldn't move at home and 4 days later dh had t go away for a week. (3 small children) He really couldn't change it or cancel it. Sometimes jobs are like that. The world rallied round and we coped. Difference was that he was really concerned, and we sat down and talked about how it was going to work.

Cherriesarelovely Mon 25-Feb-13 11:26:27

YANBU. I feel stressed just reading that post, and a bit lazy too, especially the bit about you having pneumonia!!!! Crumbs, that is dreadful.

Your DH is not behaving as though you are partners at all, he is just doing what he wants and, it seems, doing the fun bits of parenting. I really feel for you.

SarkyPants Mon 25-Feb-13 11:21:37

I think Annie is spot on when she says "he doesn't see his family as his responsibility beyond providing a salary".

this is the route of your problme IMO sad

Pilgit Mon 25-Feb-13 10:55:24

I am deeply shocked he wouldn't come home when you were going to be hospitalised! That shows utter contempt for you and your DC. There is no job that cannot be left where there is a family emergency. If he is a consultant there will be a whole team that could pick up in his absence. I say this from experience of working in a 'high powered' job and knowing a lot of consultants. A client appoints the firm of consultants and if something like this happens the consultancy would pick it up. Indeed most that I know of profess to be extremely family friendly. Perhaps you should watch the Devils Advocate with him again and tell him that this is what he has turned into....

I am gobsmacked that he cannot see that the women he married isn't going to magically change upon the production of children! Of course there are some women who are incredibly career motivated that gladly change to being a SAHM, but in my experience that is not normal - career before children - will definately need to work after and may choose to go part time and take a career hit as this is a normal compromise to make (why it is virtually always the women is an entire different thread!), but why they expect that desire to magically disappear at the onset of motherhood when it doesn't for them at the onset of fatherhood is astonishing. He's being a thoughtless twunt. Really don't know what the answer is though!

PessaryPam Mon 25-Feb-13 10:22:31

OP don't give up your career, and demand an au pair of some kind of mothers helper.

AnnieLobeseder Mon 25-Feb-13 09:57:04

Sorry, but my entire picture of your situation has changed. Any man who won't drop everything and rush home when his wife is hospitalised is a beyond contempt. You have far deeper problems than a husband who works a bit too hard - he has absolutely no respect for you as a human being and he doesn't see his family as his responsibility beyond providing a salary. I would suggest you need some serious therapy together.

mrsbunnylove Mon 25-Feb-13 04:24:00

keep your job. get some childcare and help in the house. sort your evidence pack now in case the marriage eventually falls apart.

goodness knows what is in his head. he might think he's working very hard 'for his family'. what he's actually doing is living a single man's life, but with the benefit of a wife to keep the family going.

take your children in hand. when they mention prefering daddy, say 'oh, is he here to look after you? who cares for you every day?'. remind them you're the adult and they need to behave. tell them the story you want them to have about your role in their lives.

you definitely need a break but you're not going to get one unless you sort it yourself. find a nanny.

SquinkiesRule Mon 25-Feb-13 04:09:30

Rent that movie again (Devils advocate) watch it with him them do Aldiwhores presentation YANBU he's acting like he's single with a girlfriend to go home and visit between trips.

Angelina7 Mon 25-Feb-13 00:38:47

It seems to me that not only is he missing out on you -enjoying life together, he is missing out on his children and his children are also missing out on their dad. Maybe try to encourage him to do activities with his children that he will enjoy too as well as activities as a whole family with any spare time you have together, if he has a good time with you all maybe he will see at last what he is and has been missing out on. Xx

SmilingHappyBeaver Mon 25-Feb-13 00:09:53

Annie, yes he did actually refuse, then said he would come home only after I threatened that the kids may need to be taken into temporary foster care if I was admitted to hospital. He was in the middle of a big consultancy project which he was leading and it would have caused problems if he wasn't there.

When we first got together, I remember going to the cinema to watch the Devils Advocate (where the wife of the hotshot career guy goes slowly mad). At the time he said that he would never put his job ahead of me/family. How times change!

AnnieLobeseder Sun 24-Feb-13 23:59:18

Well then you need a break! Talk it over with your DH, see when he can manage it, and take one!! Don't take no for an answer. A spa weekend with the girls is a good start.

Don't let him pull the old "my business trips are work, not a break". Of course they're a break. He gets to stay in hotels, and after meeting hours his time is his own - no kids to look after or house to clean up. I love going away on business, it's a mini-holiday for me.

You're exhausted, unappreciated and misunderstood.

Do you have any help at home? Could you get an au pair? He needs to help more too, of course, but if he's not there, realistically he can't do much. At least with an au pair you would have some help at home.

I can't believe he wouldn't even come home when you needed hospitalisation. There's no way he "couldn't".

Sadly, it sounds like he has very little regard for you as a human being.

LittleEdie Sun 24-Feb-13 23:47:08

You'd get depressed then he'd start moaning that you weren't the woman he married.

LittleEdie Sun 24-Feb-13 23:46:01

You would definitely feel more trapped if you give up work.

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