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I'm married to a workaholic

(32 Posts)
adag Thu 21-May-20 19:55:19

Wondered if anyone had any advice.
My dh is a workaholic. He's wfh at the moment, I'm on maternity leave with our second child (3 months) and also have our dd (4) at home. We've had a rough few months as the birth was a bit traumatic, baby doesn't really sleep and dh was very sick for 3 weeks with corona.
Since getting better he's been working non-stop. He gets up (we're in separate rooms as he need sleep to be able to work) showers, starts work and works until after the kids bedtimes. I drop lunch off outside the study. He's working the whole time, its a demanding job and I'm not doubting the stress and pressure.
But I am becoming resentful at the lack of support... I'm up practically all night (3 hours sleep is a great night) and trying to keep my 4 year old engaged all day. I have all the housework and cooking to fit in too. Basically, I'm exhausted. I've been feeling unwell for the last few days and would just love a few hours support. Or him to get up a few minutes earlier and have the kids so I could shower.... anything really.
We have talked about it, he is sympathetic, promises to help but he just can't fit it in. But I'm on mat leave and so he does see childcare and house stuff as my job for this period.
I'm worried for our marriage - I am resentful at the lack of help, he is under huge pressure at work and still recovering from corona and we just don't seem to be able to find any common ground or sympathy for the other person. Any advice? Anyone been through similar?

Dishwashersaurous Thu 21-May-20 19:57:10

Assume that he wasn’t like this first time round on mat leave or are you just noticing it more because he’s physically in the house

mbosnz Thu 21-May-20 19:57:31

Well no, parenting is also his job. Looking after his wife is also his job.

I can just about buy the house stuff being your job, if he steps up and does his part when it comes to parenting and partnering.

AdultierAdult Thu 21-May-20 19:58:53

I’m so sorry. That sounds tough.

I have a 12 week old and 12 year old - I clicked this because I describe my DH as a workaholic. He’s not on this level - he definitely recognises his faults and will take the baby so I can have a break if it’s before 8am or after 7pm - but I struggle to get him to eat during the working day, he listens to fintech podcasts or checks emails whenever he is “off the clock” and I can’t remember the last weekend he didn’t work.

I have no solutions I’m afraid, I just didn’t want to read and run.

fuuuuuuck Thu 21-May-20 19:58:59

What sort of work does he do?

Purpleartichoke Thu 21-May-20 20:00:24

He has to block out time on his work calendar to parent.

ConstantlySeekingHappiness Thu 21-May-20 20:01:27

He’s not a workaholic.

This is a technique to avoid all childcare and “wife work”.

I’m sure if there was something of interest to him - like a football match in the evening or the like - he would suddenly be available.

adag Thu 21-May-20 20:06:43

@Dishwashersaurous I think I noticed it less last time as he just wasn't in the house. We only had 1 baby and I was out and about a lot at classes etc so it was quite easy to keep her entertained! Plus she slept so I didn't feel so exhausted.

adag Thu 21-May-20 20:07:47

@fuuuuuuck - he works in media planning / advertising

adag Thu 21-May-20 20:09:36

@adultieradult glad it isn't just me smile

fuuuuuuck Thu 21-May-20 20:10:25

And is he working to tight deadlines etc......I'm trying to understand why he's putting in the hours he does.....

I know you feel utterly headfucked by this but you must tell him you need a night off at need some support or you'll crack x I've been there , totally

CuppaZa Thu 21-May-20 20:11:14

He was ill for 3 weeks with Covid19. Sounds like he might be trying to catch up with work. Is he the higher earner? I’d let him get back into the swing of things with work, then approach the fact that he also needs to parent.

CharlotteCollinsneeLucas Thu 21-May-20 20:11:57

My xh was like this. Had to work, couldn't "fit in" the smallest amount of parenting or partnering.

Took frequent cigarette breaks though, and was frequently playing a quick computer game instead of working when I looked.

I left him. He does a lot more parenting now he has to schedule it.

CharlotteCollinsneeLucas Thu 21-May-20 20:13:17

Oh and I was told by a medical professional that I was heading for a breakdown of the set up continued as it was.

Dishwashersaurous Thu 21-May-20 20:14:14


Long weekend coming up. Three days off.

Saturday you stay in bed all day and he does everything

Sunday he can a day to do whatever he wants

Monday family day. Long walk in the morning. Family film in the afternoon

Then once kids are in bed you sit down and properly talk about how you are going to both manage until September.

Sit down with the calendar and plan out his annual leave over the next three months.

Then talk about when you get a break in the day. Maybe he does breakfast time so get to stay in bed etc or he does lunch.

Explain very clearly that he is not commuting at the moment therefore as a bare minimum that time should be family time

OhTheRoses Thu 21-May-20 20:16:46

Yes. Have been for nearly 30 years. But it bought a cleaner and the cleaner should be back by now at least.

Was out of the house 7am - 9.30pm most days. DC's were for me to look after as was house and all things practical.

Consolations: beautiful home: 8 years with the DC, private schools, 2nd home in France, worth every minute and none of it woukd have happened if I hadn't supported him 110%.

What are you getting out of this?

PrimeroseHillAnnie Thu 21-May-20 20:20:10

He’s probably worried about keeping his job so he’s putting the hours to prove his worth. It’s tough out there and I should think media revenue is well down. Not to mention he’s recovering. That can take months , not just weeks.

Curiosity101 Thu 21-May-20 20:26:52

I feel for you. I have no real advice but my DH is similar (although not putting in quite as many hours as yours). He's meant to work 8 - 4. Normally it's 7.30 - 5 and I reckon he'd go even longer if it wasn't for the fact he knows how annoyed I get. He also works on and off over the weekend quite regularly.

He doesn't need to help me before work because I have loads of time when the baby naps to do things like showering etc. So it's perfectly reasonable for him to just get himself ready in the morning and then work from whatever time he fancies starting work. hmm

He also couldn't possibly finish earlier because people just put meetings in his calendar and it's impossible to refuse or reschedule them. hmm

I swear I almost imploded when he announced the other day that he would be using his lunchtimes to go out cycling from now on. Me: "So you never ever have time to help me at lunch but you can find the time to go out cycling every lunchtime?" hmm

We work in the exact same role at the exact same company, so I know it's complete Bull. Whether he believes what he's saying or not is another matter... but it's still Bull.

Unfortunately, I don't have the answer. I periodically get very very annoyed with him. I've tried to explain that I'm effectively being forced to work 6.30 am - 5 pm every day because of his choices, and yet he's the one who's complaining 'when do I get time off'.

Sorry... I started venting partway through there... blush

The only thing I have found that does help a little is that I've introduced a 'shifts' system at the weekend. I introduced it under the guise of 'it'll enable you to have some chunks of time to do what you want in', which to be fair I do believe is important. Both parents do need time to do their own thing. Effectively one parent does the night shift (8 pm - 8 am) and then you alternate in 3-hour shifts until 8 pm when the other parent ends up on the night shift. Whenever you're not 'on-call' your time is yours to do whatever you want with. Sometimes I use it for housework, sometimes we do stuff together as a family and sometimes I just do my own thing (bath, walks, watching tv, reading, napping, drinking wine, etc).

I imagine it'd be slightly harder with a 4-year-old but you could probably divert her to her dad with "Mummy would love to but could you go and ask Daddy for me please?" or equivalent. I don't know if it'd be of any use but it might help a little at the weekend so you can at least catch up on a bit of sleep.

EmeraldShamrock Thu 21-May-20 20:27:50

I don't blame you feeling resentful. The 2nd DC makes a massive difference lack of sleep while trying to entertain the older one. You have my sympathy you have his but sympathy is not going to help.
It doesn't sound like he's slacking so can you hire outside help? A CM for a few hours in the morning or a cleaner to take the pressure off even a decent dinner delivery service?
It will get easier it's a tough time. flowers

DrManhattan Thu 21-May-20 20:28:44

Is he working or just trying to get away from the fam?

Sunshineandmoonlight Thu 21-May-20 20:33:07

I second the outside help if possible. I think it would make the world of difference even temporarily but probably ongoing after this.

Neverender Thu 21-May-20 20:34:24

I'd ask him to book some holiday and expect a yes, but a job like that doesn't do itself.

adag Thu 21-May-20 20:43:37

@emeraldshamrock @sunshineandmoonlight - you're right - we do usually have a cleaner (her husband is vulnerable so we've decided not to ask her to come back just yet) and dd would normally be in nursery, so that would make a huge difference. And I've just ordered dinner for tomorrow from a nice pub nearby.
He's definitely not slacking... he is genuinely working to tight deadlines and under pressure.

@Curiosity101 - great idea, will def try the shift system at weekends.

@neverender - I think holiday would really help tbh. Will speak to him (when he emerges from his study !)

@ohtheroses @cuppaza - yes, he's the higher earner... there are usually nice holidays etc to compensate. Not quite the nice house as we bought a project last year that we can't do anything with due to lockdown... probably not helping my mood being stuck in it!

hopeishere Thu 21-May-20 20:44:01

Mine too. Ive got used to it. To the pp saying 'Monday bank holiday family day' he's already said he will be working all day!

He's downstairs now working. I'm going watch tv in bed.

Ironically I'm paid more than home but do less hours and less stress. I do point to him that even though he thinks he has no choice but to work hard (will get fired / let the team down / will get in trouble) he does have a choice. Deep down he regrets it but it's like Stockholm syndrome unfortunately.

adag Thu 21-May-20 20:45:47

@PrimeroseHillAnnie - yes, I think a lot of people are feeling pressure about their jobs....

It's a perfect storm really of him needing to work, me being knackered with all the childcare, being stuck at home and not being able to get the help you usually would...

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