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to be a bit fed up with aid worker DH?

(124 Posts)
ocelot41 Tue 12-Nov-13 11:12:35

My DH is a lovely, kind, caring man who has always been very passionate about helping other peoplewhuch is what I fell in love with. But now we have DC I find this means that about two thirds of the house work and child care lands on me because of the pressures of his job - and that's when we aren't in the middle of a massive disaster. I've a long commute, a stressful f/t job at a company that's imploding, and am studying to get another qualification so I can move to a job which is closer, more secure and lower stress. I work from home 2-3 days a week so can get DC at 4pm and then work when they have gone to bed, but I feel like I am cracking up with over work. Aid work is such a big part of who DH is he won't hear of moving somewhere cheaper, nearer my family for help, considering a career change etc so less is riding on mec. I have a history of depression and am worried that I am sliding there again. Aibu for being angry that DH is off saving the world and not making more compromises for my sake? Currently sick at home with sick kid while he sorts the Philippines out which is bringing this all to a head. Sorry for long post!

specialsubject Tue 12-Nov-13 11:14:49

never good when one member of what is supposed to be a partnership 'won't hear' of something.

TheWickedWitchOfTheWest Tue 12-Nov-13 11:15:27


thegreylady Tue 12-Nov-13 11:17:31

Oh dear I do sympathise but you love who he is.In the Phillipines whole families have died homes swept away and aid workers are their tenuous hope of surviva. I am sorry for you but YABU the world needs people like your dh-at least you have a loving husband and your dc can be proud of their father.
I think the answer has to be compromise.Could he still do his job if you moved nearer your family? If so then that is what is needed and 'he won't hear of it' isn't good enough.

ocelot41 Tue 12-Nov-13 11:17:59

Any good suggestions for tackling it folks?

ocelot41 Tue 12-Nov-13 11:19:18

Sorry greylady, we just cross-posted. No, my folks are Oop North, his job is based in London.

NorthernShores Tue 12-Nov-13 11:19:30

I think it is incredibly tricky for both parents to do a full on, more than full time job, and do it well. It seems there's always compromises to be had somewhere or to one partners career.

Good luck.

Nanny0gg Tue 12-Nov-13 11:20:09

DH is he won't hear of moving somewhere cheaper, nearer my family for help, considering a career change etc so less is riding on me

Now is obviously a bad time because of the horrific situation in the Philippines, so you may just have to carry on coping for a bit.

However, when that has died down I suggest you repeat to your DH what you have said here, and ask him what he proposes to do to help as this current situation is untenable. If he 'won't hear' (won't hear my arse) he might like to think of what would happen if he suddenly found himself on his own - how would he like that senario?

cashmiriana Tue 12-Nov-13 11:23:02

Get him to read the chapters in Bleak House on the Jellyby family - telescopic philanthropy Dickens called it 150 years ago. In other words, saving the world is wonderful, but you also have a responsibility to the people you made a commitment to by marrying/ bringing into the world.

At the moment, you are doing as much for those people as he is, because he doesn't have to worry about you and the home situation. And that's simply not fair. Lots of people have important jobs with others relying in them, and in life or death situations too. But does he really think that doctors, firefighters and police all wash their hands of their home responsibilities?

Tell it to him straight: the current situation is making you ill. What is he going to do to help you to sort it?

WilsonFrickett Tue 12-Nov-13 11:24:20

I agree with nanny that this isn't a good time to raise it as his head will be absolutely elsewhere. But yes, you do need to raise it and some compromises do need to be made, maybe not when he is in full on disaster management mode, but when things are quieter maybe he could do more.

I remember when I took redundancy I said I would be making some changes and a nasty colleague quipped 'oh are you off to save the children then?' and I said 'yep, starting with the one who lives in my house.'

What your DH does is of course admirable but he does need to practically support his own partner and children, whom presumably he was happy enough to bring in to the world... You need to have a hard conversation OP, but probably not right now. cake meantime.

ginnybag Tue 12-Nov-13 11:25:52

I assume he gets paid for this?

I ask because if he doesn't, he's spectacularly out of order.

If he does, then the conversation is simply one that many couples have to have - his job, your job, the housework, the childcare and how to juggle it.

Unfortunately, I suspect that he's using the sector he works in to skew that conversation, every time. He shouldn't. What he does is irrelevant. It's how he's doing it that matters.

And how he's doing it, is making your life stressful and unhappy, and will make you finding alternative employment nigh-on impossible. You'll struggle like mad to match those terms and conditions from a new employer.

It's lovely for him to say 'he won't hear' of changing things, but that's not what an adult family man gets to say.

Take out what he does. Focus on the 'how'. Because unless he can support you all without you penny-pinching all the time, and you're prepared to give up working, you have to find a solution that works for you both. That, realistically, means compromise on both sides.

ocelot41 Tue 12-Nov-13 11:27:31

Thanks women - I really do appreciate all your helpful and sympathetic replies. I feel so mean being cross about this when so many people have lost so much. But if I get ill again, the whole shebang will fall apart! Keen not to use that as emotional blackmail though...

dreamingbohemian Tue 12-Nov-13 11:28:05

Is most of his aid work overseas? If so, why won't he move somewhere cheaper in the UK?

I think that's the compromise I would focus on, supporting his overseas work in exchange for having a setup in the UK that is optimal for you.

Is he willing to make any kind of compromises at all?

diplodocus Tue 12-Nov-13 11:30:05

I used to work in aid and know how all-consuming it is. I also know how it's easy to let it define who you are. I really don't think a full on job involving emergency response is compatible with family life - agree with cashmiriana. It'll be hard for him to think through other options, but I really think you should ask him to - many people move to academia i that's an idea / option. And don't let him play the "but they're relying on me" card - there will be loads of well qualified, able people champing at the bit to take his job if he does choose to move to something less demanding.

zatyaballerina Tue 12-Nov-13 11:30:31

yabu, his first responsibility is to protect his family, then he can save the world. If he doesn't care enough about you to give you the help and attention you need, than rather than imploding yourself, you need to find that support elsewhere.

Life is about priorities, he can't expect his family to be there when he never is.

zatyaballerina Tue 12-Nov-13 11:30:46

sorry, meant yanbu!

DowntonTrout Tue 12-Nov-13 11:32:13

This is very difficult. My father was like that. His dogooding often came before us, his family.

I remember once, back in the 70s he and mum had saved some money to take us on holiday. This was a very big deal. He took two weeks off work then came home and announced that he was going to use that two weeks to go and help the Vietnamese boat people. My mum flipped and I remember her tearing up the money and throwing it at him. He wasn't an aid worker, but very involved in the church and everything had to revolve around his commitments to others.

I'm not suggesting you are like my mum. But she was sick of coming last in a long line and because dad was doing good he regarded her as selfish for wanting to put family first. I have no advice, I'm afraid. I'm sure you are very proud of your DH, but sometimes people are so intent on helping others they do not understand the impact on those closest to them.

dreamingbohemian Tue 12-Nov-13 11:35:35

How much longer til you finish your qualification and can move to less stressful job? Do you think that will solve a lot of your problems, or do you need him to change something regardless?

ocelot41 Tue 12-Nov-13 11:35:57

I think you have hit it in the head diplodocus family life feels tedious and black and white compared to the all absorbing drama of aid work! Ginnybag yes he is paid for what he does - and pretty well for the sector. But London is nose-bleedingly expensive and even a good aid worker salary doesn't really touch the sides on its own - so we need my salary. Dreaming most of his work is UK based now, although there are a few 2-3 week trips, its much less than before

ocelot41 Tue 12-Nov-13 11:42:40

Dreaming I have about a year to 18 months to go, IF I can keep up the pace by not continually cutting into my study days to do house/kid related stuff. But that's half the problem - that's always the first thing to get eaten into because it isn't 'urgent' in the same way, say, a sick kid is. It won't solve everything by a ling chalk, but it will open up jobs to me with companies between ten to 40 mins away which are far less hard hit by current recession and so aren't cost cutting to quite the same degree as my current place, which isn't far from going under altogether.

dreamingbohemian Tue 12-Nov-13 11:45:50

Ah okay.

So what is the single biggest change he could make, that you would ask him to do if you could?

Is it something practical like moving? Or is it emotional, being more invested in family life?

He's not really abroad that much, for an aid worker. What is the crux of the problem on a daily basis?

JessicaBeatriceFletcher Tue 12-Nov-13 11:46:33

Diplodocus said "I really don't think a full on job involving emergency response is compatible with family life"

Would that include a blanket ban on all those who work in the Army, Navy, RAF, ambulance service and the like from having children/a family?

dreamingbohemian Tue 12-Nov-13 11:48:22

Sorry x-posted there

Does he ever take off work when your DC are sick, is it always you who has to pick up the pieces when things go wrong?

QuintessentialShadows Tue 12-Nov-13 11:51:36

I dont have any helpful suggestions.

But one of my best friends works in international aid. She travels a lot. She is in Zambia one moment, Haiti the next, Namibia and the Sudan. She is always busy, whether she is home and office based or out in the field. She is super busy when there is a disaster.

She has however chosen to be single, and child free. She loves her job, and made a choice.

friday16 Tue 12-Nov-13 11:52:17

Would that include a blanket ban on all those who work in the Army, Navy, RAF, ambulance service and the like from having children/a family?

The services are acknowledged as being very tough on families, which is why service children are now eligible for a range of assistance. It's not enough, in my view, but it's at least acknowledging the problem exists.

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