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re DH (and the world's) attitude to work?

(94 Posts)
needtofeelinlove Sun 14-Sep-08 21:30:39

DH has been away for the last week on business. He left last Monday and got back midday Saturday. This meant he missed our son's third birthday party. He spent the rest of Saturday recovering from jetlag.

This week he goes away from Tuesday till Friday on business. So I was doing meal planning for the week and asked if he was going to be here on Monday night for dinner (incidentally DS2s 3rd birthday) and he said: 'Well it's the only day I'm going to be in the office this week so will probably be back late.'

I understand. He's been away for a week out of the office and will be away again this week so needs to catch up, but why is it acceptable that because he's not going to be in the office for the week ahead, he should work late rather than say: I'm not going to be with my family again all week so I'll get back early?

This isn't even a dig at my DH. It just seems to be the way people are expected to work - work comes first, family comes second. And it pisses me off.

I probably am being unreasonable but it just doesn't seem right.

ethanchristopher Sun 14-Sep-08 21:32:03


if it was not his sons birthday then fair enough

but it is his sons birthday...

Pennies Sun 14-Sep-08 21:32:38

YANBU - I could have written this post. It's a sad state of affairs really.

policywonk Sun 14-Sep-08 21:32:45

Seems reasonable to me. As you say, not your DH's fault, but not unreasonable for you to be peed off. Don't know what the solution would be - statutory maximum hours? (I can see the tabloid headlines from here...)

ByTheSea Sun 14-Sep-08 21:34:54

YANBU. My DH hasn't had a decent rise or promotion in years, because he does leave to spend time with his family (and has a long commute). We know he is stagnant careerwise because of this attitude, and sometimes even worry about his being made redundant (he's a City IT Manager and very good - I know because I used to work with him), but these are the choices he's making.

FrayedKnot Sun 14-Sep-08 21:39:11

How about asking DH to come home on time on the Monday, see DS2, and then if necessary sit down after kids are in bed and do some work from home?

wolfear Sun 14-Sep-08 21:43:35

That would really suck. I'd hate if I saw so little of DH. YANBU

Judy1234 Sun 14-Sep-08 21:54:25

If I've been out of the office a lot on business the one day I am back I have so so much to do. It's also always the time the children want to see tha tparent because the parent has been away and yet the parent is mega busy because of being away. It's just how it is if you work in that kind of job. May be if you earned more than he did the pressure would be off him. Women doing well at work solves a lot of the inequalities in marriages. We need many more women out earning their men.

strawberrycornetto Sun 14-Sep-08 21:56:42

YANBU. I do think the attitude to work in this country is rubbish. When I go back to work, I am going to try so desperately to avoid the whole "face time" thing but I do also feel sorry for your DH, assuming he'd like to be there and feels under pressure to stay at work. Its unhealthy for families and I wish there was a way to stop it.

Dropdeadfred Sun 14-Sep-08 21:58:34


I'm wracking my brains to think of any possible scenario that Xenia doesn't assume could be fixed by women earning more than their husbands....hmm

ChupitosGalore Sun 14-Sep-08 22:00:58

dp used to work 18 hour days not uncommonly. and at one point his 'office' was in paris, home just outside london and he had to go to seattle every other week for meetings. crazy. he spent more time in the air than he did with his then wife, im sure.

i often think id do better to have a stronger work ethic/more discipline... but that sort of commitment is just crazy when you also need to maintain a private life.

HairyMaclary Sun 14-Sep-08 22:08:25

sounds very familiar! No advice, it does seem stupid though doesn't it!

ScottishMummy Sun 14-Sep-08 22:12:32

is dh upset that he missed ds birthday,what does he think about all of this?

could dh negotiate work at home and TOIL

yomellamoHelly Sun 14-Sep-08 22:31:33

Totally understand where you're coming from, but this needs to be balanced with job security / credit crunch / predicted rises in umemployment too. How safe is his job really? Does he need to be seen to be doing this?

nametaken Sun 14-Sep-08 22:36:56

YANBU - to be honest, I don't know any man who wouldn't put work before family. In fact, I've even met men (and I mean nice men, not a*holes) who, given the choice between seeing their kids and working, would work. sad

Don't know what to make if it all.

Seabright Sun 14-Sep-08 22:47:55

You are right, it's the work culture we have. I'm 7.5m pregnant and I've been off work for the last week with breathing problems and been in hospital 2 days. I was told to take the rest of the week of to rest, which I did.

Trouble is, I know I'll have to work loads and loads of overtime next week to catch up as the work won't have been done in my absence. My contract says I have to work overtime if required, as does everyone's in my business.

The work needs doing, the clients demand it, the economy's crap - what else can you do?

crokky Sun 14-Sep-08 22:55:17

My DH works 7 days a week. Leaves house 5-6am ish, back 9-10pm ish. Sometimes later. I have been in major rages about it - DH told his boss that I wanted to burn the office down!!!!!!!!!!! He misses out on life big time - went out for the day yesterday with DD, DS and DB&SIL. DH worked. He worked today whilst me and my mum to DS do sports and swimming. He isn't seeing his kids, but I am fortunate to have family to help me.

Seabright - can you not say F it and start your maternity leave? You and your baby are more important. Alternatively, I am sure a GP would write you a sick note in a flash. Better to lose a client than for a pg woman to suffer.

bran Sun 14-Sep-08 23:00:23

I have just had a very similar conversation with dh who works in Amsterdam 3 or 4 days a week and usually has to do a long day on the days he's back in London. His big concession recently has been to fly out on Monday morning instead of Sunday evening so that he can spend Sunday evening with ds.

I have to disagree with Xenia's usual advice (and I did think I would find it on this thread wink) I don't think it would make any difference how much I earned. The driving factors here are the expectations of the clients/employers and dh's workaholic nature.

Tinker Sun 14-Sep-08 23:02:25

But if you earned more than your husband, presumably it'd be you or both of you missing your son's birthday? What am I missing? Don't really want an answer.

petetong Sun 14-Sep-08 23:06:00

I think this is very sad, however, my husband has just been on 3 weeks of lates. He isn't a high earner, he works in a warehouse. During the past 3 weeks I have had to see both of my children go back to school, including my son going up to secondary school which he isn't coping very well with and I have had to deal with it on my own. My husband isnt too far above minimum wage and we moved here because of his job so there is nobody to help. Life is hard.

strawberrycornetto Sun 14-Sep-08 23:06:23

Seabright, when I was 22 wees pregnant I was admitted to hospital with cramping. I was really scared. While I was waiting to be admitted in the day assessment unit, I tried to email work on my blackberry. I had an email from a client requesting an immediate response on something. I emailed bac to say I was sorry but I couldn't deal because I was pregnant and in hospital. I got an immediate reply saying that he was sorry but could I let him know when I could get back to him that afternoon!! shock [anger]

I stopped working earlier than I really wanted to because you are right, the stupid hours are expected in client driven environments. I decided that while I was in the office there was no way to control the pressure or hours. I felt guilty that it meant I would have less time off afterwards but a good mw told me that I was a mother to the baby before he was born too and he needed me to look after him just as much then. I took that advice and was glad I did because DS was only 5lbs 12 anyway.

It really sucks though.

dalek Sun 14-Sep-08 23:17:00

More sympathy from me as I understand how you feel - dh has been to work today - still not back and will be late everyday next week except wednesday -as we have a school thing.

nooka Sun 14-Sep-08 23:17:33

If I was working those sort of hours and I wasn't single then I would look to move to another career that had a more sensible balance. I don't think anyone should work like that. Just what sort of money compensates for having no home time? People who work like that cannot have a life outside of work, and that sucks. What happens if his company goes bust or if he burns out? I can't see how you can maintain friendships let alone a family life when essentially for 90% of the time you just aren't there. Are your children not very upset about this, or has he become a distant figure in any case? I think it is very sad. Is he happy about how things are? Do you really need to live like this - would it be possible for him to step sideways or into another career?

My dh told me the other day he would like to be a SAHD again, but then I've always been the higher earner - he said he would like to support me to be a management consultant, but I've seen what this did to my brother's relationships. I really think if you have a family you should be around for them.

peasoup Sun 14-Sep-08 23:17:43

I don't understand why people put up with these jobs that take over their lives. There are lots of nice easy going ways of making money in this country-we are not all living in Albania FFS, and the less hours you work, the less money you need as you don't have to pay for help at home quite as much or after school clubs or gym memberships or office clothes, or lots and lots of retail therapy to make up for the fact that you're always stressed out and working too much. Get off the fucking treadmill if it's ruining your life.

ScottishMummy Sun 14-Sep-08 23:26:56

well,mortgage,car,broadband,food,day to day expenses nothing is cheap.nice easy going maybe so well paid.

client driven,goals and fees earning work is well paid (and incurs a bonus too). im not excusing work-work culture but realistically these jobs pay well but demand a lot too. sometimes too much.

also once working at a certain level of responsibility and autonomy hard to let it go and step off, unless one is really solvent and can give it up to go do something else

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