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to think it is unfair of my DH to spend this amount of time on his hobby

(120 Posts)
isthisactuallyfair Fri 07-Feb-14 16:37:43

In the past couple of years my DH has become obsessed with marathons. He ran a marathon last year which meant he spent most weekends in the build up running and not with me and our dc's. He would often go running in the evenings as well so all the putting the children to bed, getting dinner etc fell to me. I supported him in this especially as he said that once he'd completed a marathon that was it he wouldn't need to do another one.

However, he has now signed up to do another marathon this year which means that he is spending two evenings a week after work running, running every Saturday and Sunday (up to two/three hours at at a time) and has just told me that this Saturday he is spending the day at the marathon venue training so he will be out of the house from 7am til 7pm (it a long drive there and back) oh and for good measure he is going to Portugal for a week for marathon training with a group of friends from his running club next month.

I can't stand it. I am SAHM so this means that I spend 24/7 with the dcs (7, 3 and 1) during the week as he works long hours and is never home before 8pm so I expect him to want to help look after his own dc at weekends rather than spend it pursuing his passion. In fairness I am going to the cinema with friends on Sunday so will have time to myself but just feel he is spending so much time doing what he wants and leaving me to do the majority of bringing up our children.

The 3 year old is particularly challening at the moment and I am finding things a real struggle. The thought of spending an entire day on my own with them all tomorrow makes me feel quite down. I am seriously wondering whether DH actually cares about us at all - he just seems obsessed with his running.


NewtRipley Fri 07-Feb-14 16:40:17


It's a hard one to argue against because on the face of it it's noble and positive in so many ways. But it's putting a burden on you which isn't fair, IMO

hwjm1945 Fri 07-Feb-14 16:40:58

no, you are not being unreasonable - this is not the best of hobbies for a person with three small kids
it will have to go on hold for a few years

Thetallesttower Fri 07-Feb-14 16:41:28

I am sympathetic, I don't know what the answer is other than a frank chat. I have a friend whose husband is similarly obsessed by his hobby of cycling and he's off for at least a day most weekends as well as lots in the week.

Those saying 'do you have similar time on your hobbies' are missing the point. If you started a hobby two nights a week and half of the weekend, you would have no time together as a family and as a couple.

Decide what you can cope with and then tell him- for me, I don't mind my husband going to his hobby every Fri evening and the odd trip away, he also goes to the gym a lot too, I don't really mind as long as he steps up and doesn't go or gives me a rest when I need it.

NoFavours Fri 07-Feb-14 16:42:48

It's only unfair if you don't get the same amount of time to do what you want to do. If you do, then it's fine.

NewtRipley Fri 07-Feb-14 16:43:25

This can be the problem with being a SAHM with a thoughtless spouse. You become the default - the one always there so he never has to think about making arrangement for caring for his children in his absence.

I was a SAHM for 10 years

muser31 Fri 07-Feb-14 16:43:59


PenguinsDontEatKale Fri 07-Feb-14 16:44:11


Being a parent to young children means supporting one another and giving one another a break. Otherwise you'll end up run into the ground.

He is being very selfish. He is prioritising his hobby over family time, and over your chance to have time to yourself.

rookiemater Fri 07-Feb-14 16:45:34

YANBU. I run - it's actually a great way to fit in exercise around having a family.

However your DH sounds obsessed. He doesn't need to do two long runs at the weekends - it's actually very counterproductive to do two long runs in a row. Plus I have no idea why he needs to go to the marathon venue to do his run - unless he is a elite athlete and is hoping to win the race, he can perfectly well do his runs nearer to home, the internet will allow him to view the contours of the race and do something similar.

Definitely grab what time you can for yourself - but where is your equality, do you get to go off doing what you want for a week in a sunny location? Yes the answer is you probably don't want to.

I'd set out some boundaries for him. To be honest, going out running 2 evenings a week is, I think, ok. It's the huge chunks of time at the weekend that are the real problem. Tell him you're worried about him overstraining his poor ickle body, or just tell him you'd like your DCs to be able to put a face to the name sometimes. Book yourself a weekend somewhere with friends, he needs to be left to get on with the job that is parenting sometimes.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Fri 07-Feb-14 16:46:34


isthisactuallyfair Fri 07-Feb-14 16:46:46

Well there isn't really time for me to have a hobby - DH doesn't get home from work til at least 8pm so all the things that I would like to do eg night classes and yoga classes at the gym start earlier and I don't have a babysitter. And frankly I'm so exhausted with being up all night (up with both the 3 and 1 year old) that I have barely any energy to pursue a hobby in the evening.

And as the dc literally don't see their father during the week I try to do family things at the weekend like go to the park and would feel guilty going off on my own. I do try to go to the cinema, or out for dinner with a friend once a fortnight but this obviously doesn't compare to the amount of time my DH spends away from us!

I genuinely don't know if I AIBU as most people I have spoken to about this go on about how great it is for DH to have this hobby especially as he is raising money for charity by doing the marathon.

Thetallesttower Fri 07-Feb-14 16:47:04

Nofavours that's what I mean- if the OP did this, they would have no time together as a family on weekends or evenings. Why should you have to manufacture a hobby that takes you away from your family just to even things up? It's inconsiderate to be out of action for long time periods when there's little kids to be looked after.

rookiemater Fri 07-Feb-14 16:48:03

Newtripley - I don't think this is a problem exclusively for SAHMs.

I work and DH can be almost as obsessive when he has a new project on the go - difference is a) his fads don't last very long and b) because I'm at work p/t I'm not as bothered that it's just me and DS for some of the time.

NewtRipley Fri 07-Feb-14 16:48:19


That's what I mean. But lots of people in real life don't really think hard about equality

NewtRipley Fri 07-Feb-14 16:49:38


No agree. Not exclusively, no. But I think that the WOH parent's life changes much less and they can, if they are so inclined get a little to comfortable with that.

PanicMode Fri 07-Feb-14 16:49:58

Massive sympathies - I am a Tri/ironman/cycling widow but DH is very good about working his training around the family ( I am a SAHM to 4 DCs under 10) and he would get short shrift if training was taking priority over family time, which we only get at weekends.

I think you need to talk to him about how he can fit training around the family - DH runs into work from his London terminus (about 45 mins) or trains on a turbo in the evening, swims at lunchtime etc and generally it's not too disruptive.

You need him to understand that you aren't being unsupportive of his running, but that he needs to be more supportive of the family too.

whatever5 Fri 07-Feb-14 16:50:00

Apart from the trip to Portugal, I don't think that running is an unreasonable hobby. Two evenings a week plus a couple of hours each day on Sat and Sunday sounds okay. I don't think that it's fair of him to go to Portugal for a week at the moment though.

I think that you should also have time off to do something though as not only will it be fairer but it will also make your DH realise that looking after three small children is hard work. Perhaps he would think twice about a week in Portugal if he knows that in return he will have to look after the children for a week while you go on holiday somewhere.

NewtRipley Fri 07-Feb-14 16:50:00

too comfortable

NoFavours Fri 07-Feb-14 16:50:01

Thetallesttower My answer was (slightly) flippant and I accept that there needs to be balance/compromise in all things.

However,I also think that it is very important for people to be able to do something for themselves - you're not just a spouse/parent you're a person too.

rookiemater Fri 07-Feb-14 16:50:08

Ah yes - hard to argue with someone who is indulging their own hobby in their family time when it's for charidee hmm.

Have you tried talking to him about it?

NewtRipley Fri 07-Feb-14 16:51:07


Great idea about running to work, or exercising during lunch break?

Doyouthinktheysaurus Fri 07-Feb-14 16:55:09

Ya but he isn't being fair, life is all about compromise and never more so than when you have a family.

I'm a runner. I've done one marathon, I can't give the time at the moment for another so I won't do one. I run 4 times a week, 3 of those in the week and one at the weekend. I work nights so run in the day during the week.

I do my long run at the weekend, DH has our boys all morning Sunday while I run. I don't do anything on Saturdays though, that is our family day for going out places.

I couldn't run as much as I do if I had small children, mine are 9 and 11 and pretty self sufficient so looking after them isn't intense anymore, they just do their own thing and like the fact that one day of the weekend, they get to chill out.

My DH is very supportive for which I'm truly grateful. We do work as a team though and he has time to do what he wants too.

It sounds like your DH regards looking after the dc's as your role and he is free to do pretty much as he pleases. I think you need to tell him how you feel and ask him to compromise a bit. Running is a great hobby and it can fit in with family life but there does need to be give and take.

CHJR Fri 07-Feb-14 16:55:42

YANBU. But I have to say that I know lots of mothers with jobs who also have this problem: women realise it's not reasonable to want to have a full-time job, small children and a full-on hobby, but lots of fathers just don't get it. You're going to have to be clear (clear, not angry) with him.

kitnkaboodle Fri 07-Feb-14 16:58:17

You are totally NBU. You have to talk about him about this and tell him how unhappy you feel and how U he's being.

I have a couple of friends who run and it can be a very obsessive hobby. One is always going off to different countries to do runs (lucky her! rich her! - but child-free) God knows why it's addictive - it's the last thing I'd want to do, and I love walking! - but it is, apparently.

I'm now going to sound like a horrible cynical jealous old harpy, and five years ago I wouldn't - but experience has taught me differently:

This amount of time spent on a hobby can be damaging to your marriage. He's probably having a great time socially with these people with no strings attached. Friendships, laughs, other women around. This amount of time away from the family can lead to all kinds of complications ... Like I say, I know I sound overpessimistic, but I have seen this happen with myself and with three other couples in the last few years. Everyone needs to socialise outside of their marriage, but when it is totally disproportionate to the time you spend with your spouse, it's heading for trouble

morethanpotatoprints Fri 07-Feb-14 16:58:22

Tell him you are going out this weekend and book yourself and a friend a holiday to Portugal or similar.
If you let him get away with this it will become worse.

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