This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
To ask DH to give up his career?(244 Posts)
Please don’t flame me I know I am probably being VU and will accept that if you tell me.
I have a big house, nice car, cleaners and no money worries, I know I’m very very lucky. I also have a DH we rarely see who works long hours in a draining job.
We have two small DC the youngest is just a few weeks old and DH has been on SPL, it’s been so lovely having him around and I don’t mean to sound ungrateful but I’ve realised how lonely and unhappy I am when DH is working.
He goes back tomorrow and Im upset. I want to simplify our lives. We could sell up and purchase a small property cash, reduce our monthly outgoings to less than 1/4 of the current and DH (or I) could work PT to survive comfortably. There’s huge demand for DH’s skills and I have a decent PT job. He could actually spend time with our toddler who adores him and not be miserable and exhausted all the time. I could not feel like a single parent! We are so lucky to have the option to live like this as so many don’t.
I told him how I feel but he doesn’t feel the same. He likes his job and wants this expensive lifestyle. He just kept repeating ‘it’s gonna be ok’ but it’s just me watching him work himself raw and me doing everything with the house/kids alone. This isn’t how I want to live. What’s the point in a big house when he’s never here to enjoy it?
I wanna spend time together with our beautiful kids whilst they’re little.
I want DH to be around to see them grow up and not have had a heart attack before 40!
Well, that's not what he wants. And apparently you were OK enough with it in the past to marry and get two children in.
He doesn't want that simple life. He gets things from his job other than enough money to live and he doesn't want to give them up. Quite possibly he also doesn't want to be a SAHP or spend a lot of time parenting. Few workaholics or people with the kind of drive to get where he is do.
You need to make your decision about whether you continue the marriage on the basis that it stays like this.
YANBU but if it’s not what he wants I’m not sure what you can. My DH gave up his career for similar reasons and went freelance and it’s great but he enjoys being at home and taking on a lot of the childcare.
YANBU to ask, but he has said that's not what he wants, so you can't make him.
Does he have to give up his career to go PT? There’s few well paid jobs where it’s logistically impossible to have any reduction. Both DH and I work PT in very well paid jobs. We have same role but in very different companies. So I have done 3dpw since DC1 was born (which is fine most of time but at certain times of year I basically work nearly 5dpw with the extra unpaid). He does 4.5dpw flexibly (so 4 days some weeks, 5 days others). It took me years to persuade him to reduce slightly but he’s glad he has and wished he had done it sooner and is working with his boss to try to slightly rejig his role to move to 4dpw. Can you both suggest to your employers a trial of a small reduction in hours and see how it goes?
It's up to you whether you split over this, but my recommendation would be to build you social and support network to counter that feeling of loneliness and unhappiness. Pretend you are a single parent who is inexplicably very well bankrolled and also inexplicably has a man turn up in your bed occasionally.
I hate to say this but it sounds like the two of you are currently incompatible- you want fundamentally different things in life. I rarely suggest it, but I think you might both benefit from some couples counselling to work out if there is a compromise you can both make.
If he has the sort of drive, ambition, energy to enjoy the sort of work he does now, then he probably wouldn’t like a slower, easier life and might not like spending more time parenting. You would have to be very clear that you both wanted it for it to work.
YANBU to want that but it’s his career and you can’t force him to give it up unfortunately
YANBU to ask. He’s not BU to say he doesn’t want to.
Has his career always been important to him?
If he really is miserable and exhausted there is probably a compromise that doesn’t involve him giving up his career but working more reasonable hours.
It sounds as though counselling would be helpful to get to the root of what’s driving these feelings and possible solutions. Do you think you might have a touch of PND influencing how you feel? Do you have friends and family who you see regularly? I am wondering if you tackle the feelings of being isolated, whether this would change how you feel. Maybe you both have a more profound difference in values. Whatever happens it would not hurt to make sure your mental health is as good as you can make it independent of this issue.
If he’s that much in demand then he could probably go to 4 days quite easily. Then you’d have an extra day together?
He could work insanely hard the rest of the time?
"...I could not feel like a single parent!...."
Single parent with own career here....Not even the same ball game.
First, count your blessings.
Second, find ways to create your own social and support network whilst you go through these gruelling early kids and career years.
Hope other posters in a similar situation will be able to assist with more positive ideas to improve your situation.
I don't think you're BU at all, there's nothing unreasonable about actually wanting your partner to be present in your lives, especially when he is missing the young childhood years.
But it's not what he wants - is his job really more important than his family? It's not unheard of by any stretch.
I agree, I think you might benefit from counselling to have a discussion about your family circumstances.
We chose quite a different route from most of our friends who went the legal/finance City route - vocational jobs, national average wage, crap car, old house renovating ourselves. We don't have money for holidays or luxuries really but we're both present for each other & our children, low stress, live close to the coast.
A spate of early deaths in our family brought it home that really (cliche alert) life is too short.
It has to be his choice. If you pressure him and he does it he will only resent it.
Fwiw, dh and I did it and the only reason it worked is that we were both fully on board. Giving up a career involves giving up more than just money.
I told him how I feel but he doesn’t feel the same. He likes his job and wants this expensive lifestyle
Then yes, YABU.
And if he’s the type of person that really enjoys work, you may well find that he loses a lot of what makes him him when he’s not got a fulfilling job, like a piece is missing.
There might be a compromise here, somewhere; but there might not. But you need to be aware that you’re massively changing the guidelines quite far down the line. You have everything you have, including the ability to downsize, because of the decisions you’ve made so far.
Sorry YABU. Another poster said this and it’s correct…
Well, that's not what he wants. And apparently you were OK enough with it in the past to marry and get two children in
He likes nice things, his job and he clearly likes having a good income. You knew all this and decided to have 2 kids with him knowing how much he worked.
YABU. He loves his lifestyle and career and you knew that before marrying and having kids with him. You knew how often he was working before he committed.
If you weren’t okay with that, the time to mention it would have been before marriage and kids, not after.
You are asking the wrong question. He needs to get his work life balance right to suit him and the family needs including yours. The fact that he managed to have SPL and the sky didnt fall in on the job means the long hours are probably just as much down to him
I think you need to say to him no its no ok. You are not ok. You cannot go on doing this like this he needs to spend time with you and give you a break
Once your DC are older it will be a lot easier. Long hours for your DH may be the nature of the job, could be others taking advantage of it, could be that he is a workaholic, or something else. So the option of reduced hours or even DH working such that there are rigid times at work should be explored. Unreasonable to expect someone to adjust to half or less income by choice.
You have a baby a few weeks old. Now is not the time to make these decisions.
Start small. Make sure he takes his holiday entitlement.
You need to build your own life to run alongside his. Nice things cost money and that usually means one or both people have to work hard at it. Walking hand in hand in the sand doesn’t pay bills.
You're not wrong to want what you want, he's not wrong to want what he wants.
But, unfortunately you're completely incompatible at the moment.
My next sentence is no help to you whatsoever, but maybe someone who's reading will think - it's a shame these things weren't discussed or considered before you had children.
It sounds like you love him. It sounds like he's not going to change. So, I would look to widen my social circle if I were you, to help with your loneliness.
I have a couple of friends who are / were in this position. Neither signed up to effectively be single parents. In both cases the longer hours crept up.
One made it clear that if her DH went for another promotion their marriage would be over. The other split.
For the couple that split it did actually work out for the best. The DH originally worked all hours inc weekends but after the split didn't work at all on 'his' weekends so actually saw a lot more of his DC.
The first couple are still happily together too. Both DC are now 18 and 21 and starting / finishing uni. He recently confided that he regrets seeing so little of his girls as they grew up.
It’s unhealthy to depend on your DH to meet all your social needs. Have you developed friendships with other mums of young children and babies? Developing mutually supportive friendships with other SAHPs is your starting point. I suspect it’s been difficult due to covid restrictions however now is the perfect time to start. Go to groups, arrange to meet up with others, invite new friends over for lunches, then review the situation in a years time when everything is more established.