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To ask if your DH has a highly stressful but we'll paid job how's your work/life balance because mine's not great

(126 Posts)
rEallifeisbest Mon 21-Jan-19 08:33:19

DH has gradually worked his way up his career ladder to the point he is at now. He was offered a job just over a year ago with a big salary. At the time I said don't do it if the stress is going to take over, but he thought the money would counteract all that and we'd have nice evenings/weekends etc. If course the job is extremely involved, his workload is huge and he invariably brings his work home - if not physically then mentally. This then impinges on our supposed great evenings/weekends to the extent I feel I am losing him😢He knows how I feel but says he can't leave or he'll burn his bridges, what a great opportunity this is, he'll relax more but he is extremely conscientious and can't. How do other families manage their lives when one works in a really high pressured job?

Holidayshopping Mon 21-Jan-19 08:34:35

Are you working?

Epiphany52 Mon 21-Jan-19 08:42:31

DH is like this. We also live abroad away from family and with a transitory community as people move on.
We manage it/or not in the following ways:
I don’t work and I don’t feel guilty for it ( which took a while)
I do things that I enjoy - classes, spend time with friends. We take nice holidays and I and DH agreeded that as far as possible no work and no phones - if this happens I don’t see it.
Sometime I loose it and make a fuss and he try’s to get a better work/life balance for a while. I am appreciative and enjoy it while it lasts.
When he can’t come away for work or it gets too bad I take the kids away anyway. Not very often, maybe once or twice a year. He did a work qualification and it took three years and 6 months of the year he was working and studying. So me a the kids went away for a long weekend just the three of us. He stayed home. He wasn’t happy but actually it mean he could revise in peace and I didn’t feel so resentful that he was physically home but mentally absent.
I manage most of the home/kids and he pays the bills and gets involved when he can. That way he still feels involved. I invite him and tell him about the kids events. Now with 0 expectation he can come but pleased when he does.

rEallifeisbest Mon 21-Jan-19 08:43:23

Yes I work 4 days and do cleaning/shopping on 5th day. 2 school aged dc.

Holidayshopping Mon 21-Jan-19 08:49:17

I have friends in your situation but none of them work (school aged children) and they do all of the leg work at home to try to reduce stress all round.

WhoKnewBeefStew Mon 21-Jan-19 08:53:14

My dh did this and it nearly broke us. He was on a 6 figure salary but did nothing but work.

He now drives a lorry for a living and I’m the main bread winner. But, we’ve never been happier. The dc see him ever evening, we sit and watch them do their activities together on an evening, he never has to work weekends and he’s never on a laptop in a weekend or evening. Our weekends and evening are our own and tbh I don’t miss the money that much. We still manage a family holiday each year and the ocassional weekend away. There’s more to life than work.

rEallifeisbest Mon 21-Jan-19 08:59:18

I literally do all house/dc stuff so he doesn't have to worry about that. Maybe it is a case of lowering my expectations while he's going through particularly busy times and appreciating the good times more.

scaryteacher Mon 21-Jan-19 08:59:43

You learn to live with it eventually. Dh has a very well paid job that involves lots of travel and long days. Sometimes the work physically comes home. We knew however, that it was for a maximum of 6 years, which is up in December this year and he retires and we move back to the UK.

Evenings tend to be dinner and then he falls asleep on the sofa. Weekends he might go off and do something on his own, or potter around the house. I do most of the leg work around the house to take the stress off.

I have friends in the same boat, so we tend to meet for coffee etc to keep ourselves sane.

Biologifemini Mon 21-Jan-19 09:05:11

With the extra salary you need to outsource childcare, cleaning, ironing, eating out and ready meals and even homework clubs. Lots of parents work full time in fairly stressful jobs. The difference is writing off some of the money to help yourself out more.

Xenia Mon 21-Jan-19 09:07:09

I was looking at my earlier diaries recently and it was a bit like this - working quite often to 1am or 2am having been out for 12 hours at a meeting and the up at 5.45am on Saturdays to get 2 hours work done before children woke. Reading it now it seems exhausting. It was definitely worth it and when thework is going well and money piling in the adrenalin kicks in and it can be quite fun. My other half always worked very long hours too - in fact the diary is constantly going on about the fact he taught private pupils on Saturdays from 9am to 6pm in the room I work in at home to earn £150 when if I could just get in the office for an hour I could earn that and then I had the children all that day alone and then he would be off with 2 work commitments on Sunday too and several nights every week. They were certainly not easy years.

It got better. I did enjoy the work which helped and nby then I was based at home although I seemed to have 2 meetings a day and be off all over the place, abroad, UK, day after day.

penelopepig Mon 21-Jan-19 09:07:34

Totally sympathise with you.
My DH owns 8 companies and is actively involved in running all of them. His hours are long and work doesn't really stop when he gets home and he is tired and stressed most of the time.
However we are intensely lucky to lead the lifestyle we do and have savings in case of disaster, especially now we have a baby on the way. I wish he could just pack it all in and be happier sometimes but the reality just doesn't work that way.
We try and justify it to ourselves that if we keep going like this for another 5 years, he can retire at 40, I will be 30 and won't have to work full time.

Noshana Mon 21-Jan-19 09:08:32

Dh had a job like that. He ended up quitting as it wasn’t worth it and we could get by on my salary until he found something else.

Noshana Mon 21-Jan-19 09:15:46

He finally quit after he’d spent 3 weeks in Seattle with work, flown home to the UK, and then been told there was a problem back at the Seattle office and he needed to get on the first plane back (despite not having seen his young children for 3 weeks).

tiggerkid Mon 21-Jan-19 09:17:00

From my own experience, I find that most people, who bring work home, check and answer their emails at 2-3 am, look at their phones again at 5 am before going to work and even call people while on holidays, do that because they are addicted to work rather than because they are genuinely that busy.

Unless your DH is a CEO of a massive company like the apples, googles or the amazons of this world or a prime minister of a country, there is absolutely no excuse for him not to find any time for his family at all.

A lot of senior executives, where I work, never answer their emails after 6 pm or before 9 am and never on holidays. Trust me, they are not any less busy than your husband. Are they stressed? Not necessarily. You need to get your husband help for addiction to work. And it is an addiction like any other. Nobody is so busy as to work around the clock all the time. And if he is, he still can't quit that job because he is addicted to it and is making a choice to stay there.

This burning bridges business is nonsense. When someone wants him for his skills, they will always want him for his skills. If it's not this company, then another. He is making a choice to stay in that job and you need to get to the bottom of why.

Femaleassassin Mon 21-Jan-19 09:19:16

I just got on with my own life, my own friends and my own interests and just took the best bits from the situation. It's not exactly what I signed up for but it's hard to change other people.

BarbarianMum Mon 21-Jan-19 09:22:32

How did we manage? Dh had to change jobs - to an equally highly paid one but one where the buck didnt totally stop w him and where he gets weekends free. It made a huge difference- in the week he's largely gone (physically or mentally) but 2 days a week he's ours.

It did take me having to point out that our marriage wouldnt survive the first job though.

RoboticSealpup Mon 21-Jan-19 09:23:53

DH isn't super stressed and doesn't take work home with him, but he's always tired and comes home very late. I work 4 days and do most of the housework during the week (he does his share when he's here) but we finally decided to get a cleaner when I got pregnant with our second child (I never wanted to have one before) and that's made a massive difference.

rEallifeisbest Mon 21-Jan-19 09:24:58

I agree tigger. He doesn't always work but you can tell he is thinking about it so is not there emotionally if you see what I mean. I think he does enjoy large chunks of it and finds a lot of it rewarding. But I do worry about it killing our relationship.

CostanzaG Mon 21-Jan-19 09:27:13

All these women facilitating men’s careers and allowing them to opt out of their household responsibilities....... so incredibly depressing to read.

Where are all the women whose careers have been facilitated by men? Oh wait.....very few and far between.

OnlyFoolsnMothers Mon 21-Jan-19 09:27:20

Cant relate but work for 2 very well paid, extraordinarily busy men (think travelling 4 days a week internationally)-
one wife is also very high powered and seemingly always understands
the other from what i hear is always complaining he isn't around, yet she is happy with the 4 kids in private school, her not having to work, their mansion they are building from scratch in Switzerland.

Depends on the difference in money between this stressful role and the one he did before- how much of a difference does it make to your lifestyle and choices.

Lifeisnotsimple Mon 21-Jan-19 09:29:41

Im in this position now, my husband and myself both work, i feel totally trapped by a well paid job, we have zero family time. This yr we are moving house to reduce our outgoings and we are both looking for new jobs. For us a job is just a job. Its not as if we enjoy them but the pay is good. Family first!

blueskiesandforests Mon 21-Jan-19 09:32:27

I actually think it's bloody selfish to do a job like that if you have dependent children, unless the essential nature of the job counterbalances that (Mum or Dad has no time / emotional energy for us and has to be tip-toed around and made allowances for because she or he is saving lives/ saving the world/ ending child poverty/ discovering a cure for cancer - well, OK. Mum or Dad has no time or emotional energy for us because he or she is managing the wealth of high net worth individuals to allow them to avoid tax/ is making money for the share holders of big not particularly ethical corporations and earning money for prestige material possessions - selfish).

If it's pulling your family apart something has to give. Being a workaholic is often as selfish as other obsessions.

Schmoochypoos Mon 21-Jan-19 09:32:38

Very interesting post tigger I agree it’s about them choosing to be busy with work and not with their family. I have exactly the same situation with my DH and his business. He literally doesn’t have his mind off it for a second. I used to have my own business too but had DCx2 and felt like I had to sell it.

IamThereforeIdontIdentify Mon 21-Jan-19 09:33:00

Was talking about this with DH last night. Every single one of his top management team is divorced. Some more than once. It makes it even worse because they don't have anybody pushing them to get home early or take a proper day off. They devote themselves 110% to work.

His colleague told him last week that his wife wants a divorce now because he's always checking emails, never present etc and now their kids have left for uni, she has had enough. This guy is the same level as DH though and he has the choice not to be so full on. But the culture from above promotes the idea that to get ahead you need to show commitment, so he he's followed their example.

DH does check email etc and it drives me nuts sometimes (day we got married he was even called!!). But he writes all his emails in the evening around 9pm then schedules them to be sent at 7am. That way nobody can reply before the morning and it also shows he's working outside the office.

To be fair though, once you get to a certain level, they're paying for your life. The larger salaries are for that. You cannot get large salaries keep weekends and evenings (and often holidays) consistently work-free.

tiggerkid Mon 21-Jan-19 09:34:29

I think he does enjoy large chunks of it and finds a lot of it rewarding. But I do worry about it killing our relationship.

Yes, of course, it can be rewarding: your career is developing, you make more money and, yes, you feel fulfilled. Many men also use this as an excuse to avoid home responsibilities.

There are only 2 things you can do:

1) change your attitude to it and accept everything as it is . And I don't mean that you should force yourself to bite lip and stay unhappy. Acceptance means acceptance. When you accept something, it doesn't bother you anymore. It's a learning process. Not everyone can get there!


2) change the situation you are in by telling your husband how you want things to be and making it clear that if it doesn't happen, you are moving on. Be sure you aren't making any empty threats and saying things you don't mean or intend to do though!

There are no other options.

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