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To feel upset about my husband's business.

(63 Posts)
JennieLee Mon 28-Nov-16 10:32:14

My husband retired a few years back and made quite a sudden decision that he would like to set up a business, based from our home.

It's been a challenge for me in a number of ways. The front room of our house where clients are received now has to be kept permanently tidy, as does our front garden. The bedrooms where the older children used to live have been turned into a store room and a work room respectively.

So the bits of our house that don't look nice for clients, look pretty much of a tip.

Recently there have been some unexpected orders as well as a couple of events. There largest piece of work has to be completed in ten days time. However, my husband had decided he wanted to get the bulk of the order finished on Saturday, while also preparing for a trade fair the following day.

So over this weekend:-
a) My husband proposed that we store a whole heap of broken glass - temporarily - in our living room - although we were having a guest round in the evening. I put my foot down about this, but it was only when I came up with an alternative storage method, that he was dissuaded.
b) He left it too late to do some cooking that he had agreed to do on Saturday evening, so I ending up doing it - in order that we'd be able to feed our guest.
c) He was very reluctant to come for a one hour walk with me on Saturday saying he was too busy,
d) We'd also fixed up to Skype our daughter on Saturday afternoon. (Her mobile is dying so ordinary calls don't work.) However when we tried to begin the call it emerged that new some anti-virus software he'd opted to download was blocking Skype. He refused to try and deal with the problem, saying he was too busy. So I spent twenty minutes finding the work-round so that I could unblock Skype and talk to her.
e) I had spent Saturday morning helping him prepare for the trade fair and then spent all Sunday helping him out at the fair itself.

Am I unreasonable to be feel that it was a ghastly weekend and to be feeling wretched this morning?

Pillowaddict Mon 28-Nov-16 10:39:55

Those things alone don't seem to be bug issues but it is obviously indicative of how frustrated you are with him running the business from your home. If it isn't working for you, and you don't want to be a part of it by helping with trade fairs etc, then you need to tell him and stop being part of it. What would the Financial impact be of him renting space? Would he be open to discussing fully retiring the business? Communication seems to be the issue here because, to be fair, if he had a trade fair to prep for I can see why he didn't want to muck about with going for walks or fiddling with the computer when you were able to, so you need to start talking about the real issues.

AnneLovesGilbert Mon 28-Nov-16 10:40:04

YANBU. And it's his business. Is he the one keeping the rooms he uses for work spotless? Or are you skivvying for him? You also don't need to be giving up your weekends helping him out.

Allthebestnamesareused Mon 28-Nov-16 10:41:57

Its not unreasonable for you to feel you have had a ghastly weekend and feel crap today.

You do, however, need to have a heart to heart with your husband to set boundaries for the operation of the business and what his objective is.

If it is to make proper money then you will have to realise sometimes work will come before family life. If it is a "hobby" to relieve boredom in his retirement then again there should be set boundaries as to when and where the work takes place. Would it be cost effective to get a garden cabin style office built or a garage conversion etc?

JennieLee Mon 28-Nov-16 10:52:50

I think one tricky issue for me is the extent to which it is (or isn't) a 'proper' business.

On the one hand he's put quite a bit of money into it. On the other hand I also feel it's a hobby business which is more about permitting him to spend time messing about with stuff that he enjoys messing about with, when he feels like it.

Since retiring he has developed many other interests, which he also devotes time to. For example

- learning a foreign language
- taking part in U3A activities
- researching into a historical figure which involves trips to London archives etc
- taking up dancing, going to two classes a week and also weekend workshops.

He also has a father in law living nearby, who is in his mid-nineties, with dementia. He's responsible for looking after him when anything goes wrong - and things do go wrong.

His various other interests mean that he doesn't really plan ahead properly for the business and will sometimes neglect boring routine tasks. Then, from having been very laidback, he'll suddenly go into something bordering on panic mode, where suddenly it is all-important to get stuff to do with the business done.

Obviously it would be great for me if it didn't take place in our home. But then the costs would go up exponentially, and I really don't think in terms of the very small amount of money coming in - this will be the first year in which it won't make a loss - this is viable.

Trifleorbust Mon 28-Nov-16 10:58:01

If he wants to use a family room as a workspace then it is his job to keep it clean, not yours. I know this is a very small part of the issue but I would be firm about this.

2kids2dogsnosense Mon 28-Nov-16 11:05:30


Megainstant Mon 28-Nov-16 11:07:55

God what a nightmare. I would definitely insist he rents space or has a posh shed built.

EssentialHummus Mon 28-Nov-16 11:22:24

Is it making money, or is this a way for him to keep his hand in in a particular industry/feel like he's using that part of his brain?

It is really hard having a business running from home, especially when it's not yours! My DH is a CM and also runs another couple of businesses and it really takes over the house - one room is a dedicated playroom, there's buggies in the hall, car seats breeding on the staircase, paperwork EVERY-BLOODY-WHERE, a massive changing table in the bathroom - oh and I have to put up with random inspections from Environmental Health and the Care Inspectorate.

Plus, like yours, he's terrible at time management. It's not fun.

Crispbutty Mon 28-Nov-16 11:25:46

Father in law?? I assume this is from a previous marriage then but why does he have the responsibility?

JennieLee Mon 28-Nov-16 11:30:48

It's a kind of return to the career he never had first time round.

This is a field where adequately paid jobs were few and far between and a lot of people in the industry have independent means. My husband had a crack at it first time round, then got fed up of starving - and went off to do something better paid for several decades - with some success.

I'm down as a partner - which makes it harder for me in some ways. I think we have the normal tensions/differences of a couple. Plus the differences that arise when people are trying to work together. Over the last year or so I've limited my involvement because I felt it was sabotaging my own plans and work..

But when somebody's messing up in your living space, inevitably you feel it's hard to separate yourself off. (I try to, but it's hard.)

Thanks for the thoughts and suggestions...

JennieLee Mon 28-Nov-16 11:31:16

Oh sorry. It's my father in law. His Dad.

Crispbutty Mon 28-Nov-16 11:41:08

Is it possible for him to rent an office with a store room then it's not all under your feet. The chaos would drive me mad too.

SouthofMaui Mon 28-Nov-16 11:50:22

I don't know what to advise about the business itself, your DH sounds exhausting with all his new projects, but on the other hand, I really admire people with various projects and interests, so I can't help thinking it's really positive (but I don't live with him).

I would tackle the house. Can he use a shed in the garden?
Front room and front garden are kept nice, I can't see why it's a negative, as long as you are allowed to use your own front room. I can't see any reason why the rest of the house has to be a tip? If it is, then he really should organise and tidy the rest, so your entire house looks nice. Even a "store room" doesnt' have to be a tip.

It's perfectly reasonable to want spending time with him at the weekend. At least, I would make my plans very clear to him, and point blank refuse to help at the last minute.

You need to sit down with him, and decide about compromise. It would be unreasonable for him to give up everything, but it's unreasonable for your life to be upside down. Decide what is the most important thing for you, then have a quiet friendly talk with him.

JennieLee Mon 28-Nov-16 12:04:24

Yes, in theory being more tidy in some rooms is great - especially as I'm not naturally that tidy.

I think it's more that my husband has a kind of tunnel vision. So if a client visits he thinks about stuff like order forms and samples, that need to be brought down into the front room.

There was a ghastly event recently, when he had one of those client visits the day after a heavy storm. A neighbour's fence panel had blown down and was in our front lawn.

About half an hour before the client was due I realised that the panel was still there. It hadn't occurred to my husband that the impression it would make on anyone visiting the first time would be terrible.

Our business is all about visual stuff. So I can feel as if I have to keep looking at the larger picture. (While my husband focuses on the small stuff.)

I suppose I feel as if the business is a sort of child. A child I don't always like, and who my husband is mainly responsible for. But who I can't cut off from entirely...

(Perhaps because he'd be so sad if it failed. And then because our house would be full of all the business-related junk, and we'd/he'd still have the job of getting rid of it..)

gillybeanz Mon 28-Nov-16 12:06:52

It doesn't sound like he retired a few years ago, he just changed his job.
speak to him and tell him how much this affects the quality of your life.
tell him the cleaning of the garden and reception is his job and did he ask if he could take over your home like this.
Has he registered your home for business use, got insurance, paying business tax on the property?
he needs at least public liability and your home needs business insurance and to meet all H&S requirements if customers visit your home, just like any other business premises.
I think HIBU because you aren't happy with the situation and have been lied to. thanks

shovetheholly Mon 28-Nov-16 12:07:33

I think it's kind of wonderful that your husband is doing the thing he really wanted to do in life first time around. But I have 100% sympathy with your position about the house. I think it's incredibly difficult to mix business and home life in the way that is happening!

A solution to this needs to be found. I wonder if there is a combination of things that need to be done here, involving a little bit of give on both sides:

- finding cheap, unheated premises out of the home for storage. Broken glass in the house is just unsafe. A lockup needn't cost a fortune. Clients can still be entertained in the house, BUT your DH needs to budget time to clean and tidy himself, which brings me to:
- your DH being more organised and 'timetabling' a daily schedule for the business to ensure that work doesn't come in unsustainably panicky bursts. He also needs to realise that a business has to be balanced with chores and everyday life - it's not an opt-out that leaves you with more than your share.
- you and your DH together sorting through the upstairs rooms, and getting rid of things that are no longer being used. Having a glory hole that is full of mess all the time is often a bit of an indicative sign that you have lots of possessions that really need new homes. I think a lot of couples find that, when kids move out, storage requirements etc. change. It can be a bit of a headache to think your way outside of the old habitual patterns and into new ones, and it can feel like a big move to ask whether every single item is really THAT laden with meaning. But it is also very liberating when you are done.

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Mon 28-Nov-16 12:14:31

About half an hour before the client was due I realised that the panel was still there. It hadn't occurred to my husband that the impression it would make on anyone visiting the first time would be terrible...Our business is all about visual stuff. So I can feel as if I have to keep looking at the larger picture. (While my husband focuses on the small stuff.)

Is it his business or a joint business (and I don't mean what the paperwork says). If it's his then why are you looking at any kind of picture? Surely that's up to him to manage?

And if it is a joint business then it sounds like you have a good complement of skills.

TBH you sound very resentful and I'm not sure why. If it's his, pull back - ignore the 'business' rooms, ignore the big picture. If it's yours then surely it's in your joint best interests to get involved?

shovetheholly Mon 28-Nov-16 12:15:23

Oh, and I think perhaps you are stressing a bit too much about the state of your garden? Even if your business is landscaping, people will understand that you haven't been able to repair a fence panel two hours after a storm has hit! As long as you explain, they'll get it.

I'm currently employing architects who work out of terrible premises. They're a start-up firm, so I totally understand that they need to have cheap rents while they get going. It doesn't make me judge them as any less capable. smile

wotoodoo Mon 28-Nov-16 12:15:40

I have a business a bit like this. BTW I think it's wonderful he's learning so much, new language etc, fantastic!

Are you a bit jealous of him by any chance?

What do you do that keeps you interested, any hobbies, passions etc or have you been designated the doormat by stealth?

How it works for us is that I have a studio for supplies (it could easily be a shed/garage/spare room). Soif it got out of hand, then you'd have to find alternative storage solutions.

I do my share of cooking, cleaning, laundry etc but by far the largest amount has been shared out as all my dc are old enough to help out and my dh is really supportive as my work brings in much needed income to the family pot.

So for your situation you need to improve your dh has to be supportive and helpful and think in advance, you need to stop being the general skivvy (if you've become that) and do more things that you enjoy (even if that means doing things that help your dh succeed in bringing home more family income as you directly benefit).

If it's all one way and you aren't getting any benefit at all then you need to sit him down and tell him how it's going to be from now on and stick to it!

JennieLee Mon 28-Nov-16 12:23:17

Yes, I think there is some resentment.

I had imagined that his retirement would be a time when he'd be a bit more relaxed. He'd had a demanding job. Although I'd done part-time and freelance work I had supported him practically and emotionally, doing quite a lot of looking after his children from an earlier marriage plus our own daughter.

I thought there'd be more time when he could help me look after our oldish house and big garden.

My daughter's absence - she's off at university - has meant there's a kind of spotlight being shone on our relationship. I miss her.

My husband's interests and energy are admirable in some way. But I suppose I would like a bit more stability and consistency and consideration. Less chaos.

At the moment it's rather like that stage when you have very small children and there is constant unpredictability and upheaval. But I am in my late 50s and just don't have the resilience any more.

wotoodoo Mon 28-Nov-16 12:30:17

You are only late 50s!!!?????

You sound as if you are in your 70s!!!! Or post retirement so at least 65+!!

I am late 50s and have just started my new business and things are very exciting indeed!!!

You sound old and your dh sounds younger in mind and dynamic. You want him to potter in the garden and be a genuine OAP!!

Why don't you take on the garden as your project?

You seriously sound like a complete nag and drag and I wish your dh all success for his new ventures.

Why can't YOU sort out the skype or learn to do it? Why not stand on your own feet more? Go and visit your dd or talk to her via fb messenger?

My dd is also away and that is how we communicate as skype connections are dodgy,

Seriously op get a grip and get a life.

shovetheholly Mon 28-Nov-16 12:30:21

Jennie - How long has your daughter been moved out and how long has your husband been retired?

A few things strike me:

- Your husband doesn't sound like he understands the emotional importance to you of spending time together. It seems almost like you have two very different mental pictures of what this time of your life should look like. The answer may be more communication and a half-way house between you.
- Sometimes the need to be constantly active can be happy, other times it can be driven by anxiety and an unhappiness and fear that gathers when someone is still. Which do you think your husband is?
- Whatever the balance is, it's not OK for someone to throw everything into chaos. Nor is it OK for someone to impose such rigid control that there can be no spontaneity. Again, a middle ground is needed!

JennieLee Mon 28-Nov-16 12:41:20

My husband has acquired new technology for his business, but has imperfect understanding of how to use it.

So I was the one who had suddenly had to drop everything and sort out What'sApp settings when our daughter wanted to ring from China. I was the one who had to sort out how to unblock Skype on my husband's laptop after he'd opted to put new antivirus software, that temporarily made it unusable..

I currently work -or try to work- from home doing writing-related business. I finished some part-time work outside the house a few months ago - in order to concentrate on finishing a project for my agent.

I have some ideas about what I might do to earn money and get more space when this project is finished - though it's not the greatest climate in terms of employment..

I do feel as if the menopause and the departure of my daughter have both impacted on me, though I'd like to find new ways forward

I can see that some people find my husband's energy admirable - and feel that I am insufficiently admiring of him.

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