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To expect a bit of recognition for my superhuman efforts at keeping this show on the road?

(16 Posts)
motherofallhens Sat 26-Dec-15 10:28:51

OK, so it’s that time of year when “things” come to a head I suppose! Bit of background – OH and I both work f/t. OH works away about 50% of the time. I’m a teacher, which I love but (like a lot of people) my career has taken a hit as OH’s has taken off as one of us has to be available for emergencies, parents evenings etc. I’ve therefore been doing pretty much the same thing at the same level for the last 8 years rather than trying to take on more responsibility etc. My OH earns a lot more than me so this arrangement makes sense for now.

As he is away so much, I do everything at home, although the children are getting better at helping e.g. we clean on Saturdays and they all have one designated job (putting washing away, mopping the floor etc.) However, a lot of the cleaning and all the things around the edges – DIY, getting someone in to fix the boiler etc., buying Christmas presents for everyone – fall to me. Again, as he is not usually here (and when he is he works very long hours), this makes sense.

The problem is this. I feel completely taken for granted in this scenario. I am hugely appreciative of everything he does for us. He doesn’t like to be away from me and the children but he does it to make more money so we can have a better life. There is no way we could afford the house we have without him doing this – I know this and let him know how much I appreciate it and try to make his life easier when he is here. However, it doesn’t work the other way around.

While my OH says he appreciates how much I do etc., his actions suggest otherwise (and here the festive complaints begin!) For example, he went out to get my Christmas present on Christmas Eve. I’ve told him before that leaving it to the last minute, then clearing off for the whole day when there is so much to do at home shows a lack of respect for me. He says it doesn’t. I say that he may well be right, but we have this conversation every year, he knows it upsets me that he does this and yet he does it anyway. So that shows a lack of respect for me, even if the actually act of buying my present the day before Christmas says more about him than it does about me. I could go on - not taking the rubbish out, not picking up the shopping I asked for on the way home etc. - but you get the picture!

AIBU to find his behaviour completely unacceptable? I can’t believe I’m the only one in this situation so what should I do to make him realize that this is a big deal for me? Asking him nicely coupled with the occasional explosion at inappropriate times doesn’t seem to be working!

superram Sat 26-Dec-15 10:36:17

Next year make fun plans for everyone on Christmas Eve so he can't do this. Predumably he has access to wifi/internet when away so could have shopped online.

maddening Sat 26-Dec-15 10:42:18

Does he work away in cities or is he is the Arctic/ on a ship/ on an oil rig - as surely he could participate in buying presents wherever he is.

Iggi999 Sat 26-Dec-15 10:47:22

I couldn't maintain a situation where I was swapping time with a loved one for a bigger house, with the further down side of doing everything yourself. Do you think yourself that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages?

motherofallhens Sat 26-Dec-15 11:01:07

Thanks for your thoughts everyone. Yes, he works in a very civilised place so not doing the shopping when he's away is a bit feeble. But, as with the domestic jobs etc., I don't mind buying presents for everyone else as I have more spare time than him, it's the lack of appreciation I'm complaining about rather than doing stuff IYSWIM.

And this work set-up is not just about having the bigger house, although that's the only thing I mention in the post. Having more space is lovely, but this arrangement is more about being able to send the kids to private school. However, I realise that's a contentious issue so please don't judge me too harshly if it's not your thing!

motherofallhens Sat 26-Dec-15 11:03:05

And yes Iggi, overall I'm happy with this set-up - just wish my OH would recognise once in a while just how much I do for everyone smile

ImperialBlether Sat 26-Dec-15 11:07:31

I hope you're married to this OH, OP, as if it goes tits up then you're screwed, having forfeited your career.

He sounds as though he's used to doing whatever he wants whenever he wants. Maybe ask him how he would feel if you'd buggered off all Christmas Eve and left him to it? Do you think his promotions and regular time to himself have given him an arrogance that's very unattractive?

meditrina Sat 26-Dec-15 11:15:05

Communication is something that you need to work on year round.

You've noticed his poor communication skills (either not listening to you, or not attaching weight to what you say) at Christmas Eve, and because it's a memorable date, have also noticed that it's repeat behaviour. Does it happen at other times too?

You can sidestep Christmas Eve issue by various tactics, if you want to be responsible for coming up with a solution for him. Or you could just go away for Christmas, so no-one has to run it at all.

But that might just be fixing a symptom, if the communication issue is year round. And yes, are you married? Because reducing your earning potential outside marriage can be a costly mistake.

OhBeloved Sat 26-Dec-15 11:22:19

Even if you are married, not pursuing your own career will cost you long term in a way that probably will not be compensated for if you divorced.

Divorce most of the time = straight 50/50 split of marital assets and long term sacrifices are not taken into account not bitter at all

PoundingTheStreets Sat 26-Dec-15 13:30:13

He's not taking any notice of you because there are no consequences for him. You express your displeasure and then life returns to normal with nothing more than five minutes unpleasantness for him. He either doesn't realise how much it affects you (benefit of the doubt) or he does and doesn't consider it important enough to change his behaviour for (far bigger problem).

In your situation I would have a long, hard think about what I want from him and how to articulate that clearly so he is left in no uncertain terms. Then make an occasion out of telling him so that it becomes clear it is a big deal - over dinner in a restaurant is good if he's not the sort that doesn't care about making a scene in public, because it forces you to communicate with each other but allows you time to think while you play with your food and prevents outbursts because you're in public. Make it clear that his behaviour upsets you. It is not unreasonable for you to be upset. Therefore if he chooses to ignore your upset, you will have no choice but to assume that he has no respect for you and doesn't love you enough to make small, perfectly reasonable adjustments to his behaviour. Point out that you show your appreciation for him but remind him that his career acceleration would not have been possible without you facilitating it. He is a parent too and the house and children are equally his responsibility - he'd have had to organise and pay for a live-in nanny and cleaner etc if you weren't around.

If he continues to behave as he has with no changes after that discussion, you will be faced with the choice of staying in a marriage with someone who doesn't respect you, who could easily leave you and crap on you in the process; or deciding you want to leave.

Hopefully it won't come to that. flowers

jelliebelly Sat 26-Dec-15 13:54:54

Sounds like he is an arse but knows he can do exactly what he wants and you'll put up with it for the sake of nice house and private school. You have no leverage. You won't ever change him.

LumpySpacedPrincess Sat 26-Dec-15 16:39:24

It's the fact that he knows it upsets but he then still does it, that's mean. sad

perrita Sat 26-Dec-15 16:56:29

I have a similar situation to you with my DH. It's so difficult sometimes - 98% of the time I'm completely happy with the arrangement but that 2%, when He doesn't accept that even though I don't work as much as him, it's still possible for him occasionally to have had the easier day, leaves buying my birthday/Christmas presents to the last minute as he's too busy (which I feel means he just doesn't prioritise it or see it/me as important enough) it is very difficult. Unfortunately I don't have any advice but just wanted to say that you're not alone!

seasidesally Sat 26-Dec-15 17:06:09

OFGS time and time again lots of women moaning about the same thing but mostly in the end do nothing about it

it seem its one of the most complained things on MN

why do so many continue to put up with it

they cant all of LTB after the moan,why does this keep being a hot topic ??

Duckdeamon Sat 26-Dec-15 17:06:23

It doesn't sound like a fair set up for you, or like he respects and appreciates that your covering so much at home enables his working hours/travel/high earnings AND you're bringing in a FT wage!

Re christmas eve, you could just make a list of what needs doing (although ideally planning should be shared too!) and he could choose when to do his tasks! Or swan off for a day and leave him to it.

Duckdeamon Sat 26-Dec-15 17:12:35

The private schools thing complicates matters, eg if the impact of marriage break up would include them changing schools, on top of other changes for them, when this might not have been necessary had they been in state schools.

everyone in the family is important. If the current set up or your H's behaviour or attitude is upsetting you, it's OK to seek to change it.

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