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I feel like DH's job is ruining my life

(47 Posts)
IandJsmummy Sun 13-Sep-09 16:29:17

DH is a long haul pilot. He's away 50% of the time and about 70% of weekends. He's been doing this job for 3 years, prior to that he was a military pilot. Because of the risk and longer term absences in his old job, I thought things would definitely be better when he went to the airlines, but I am coming to see that it makes my life so tough.

I hate him being away weekends. He misses so much and the children (DD - 4, DS, 1.6) miss him terribly. I can't do everything I want to with them on my own. I work practically full time during the week. This weekend, he went away on Thursday and came back today at lunch time but went straight to bed. He's not up yet (4.30pm) so may not be up for tea so that will be the 6th meal I've cooked, fed and cleaned up after on my own.

I have no time to myself and I really resent it. I also wanted to have another baby and decided I couldn't cope, but I've realised that the reason I couldn't cope is because half of the time I would be on my own with all three. So his job impacts on what I can do at the weekend, what my children can do, how often they see their dad, my wider lifestyle choices and also my job, because I can't put in place any regular flexible pattern because he has no regularity. He misses social occasions, he will almost certainly be away this Christmas and he missed DD's first day at school. I feel we really lose out. He loves his job and gets to travel, see friends abroad, play golf, ski in the winter...

How can I stop feeling like this? Anyone else married to a pilot with a young family, how do you cope? I know other people work long hours (I am a city lawyer so I know that only too well) but I really feel that the weekends thing is going to become more and more of an issue.

I just don't know what to do. sad

foxinsocks Sun 13-Sep-09 16:33:55

you can't stop feeling like that

I know exactly how you feel. Dh works a lot of weekends and it is soul destroying.

Are there other options for your dh to explore (other jobs)?

I would have a sit down chat with dh. Tell him how you feel and how it is making you feel in your relationship with him. You may find he feels the same way.

I started feeling better when dh acknowledged he felt the same way and he'd start looking at other options. Unfortunately for us, the job market is so shite, other options have not come up . But knowing he feels the same has made me feel better and what was very important was me telling him how I felt (and I felt much the same as you tbh).

moondog Sun 13-Sep-09 16:37:43

Nothing is perfect.
I have a husband who works abroad for long stretches and yes, I have effectively brought up our children myself as well as working f/t at a demanding job.

But...our lifestyle means we can afford to do things and go places we wouldn't otherwise and we both have jobs we love.

If I want him home more, a lot of what we have will have to og.

MissisBoot Sun 13-Sep-09 16:38:17

Not married to a pilot but dh works v unfamily friendly hours and only has one weekend off.

Can you make plans to do other things with friends/family at weekends? Not sure why your children can't do things because its just you?

Its the weekends that drive me mad as you feel like there's no one else about so you have my sympathies. I agree about not being able to have a regularly pattern because of the shifts - I really wanted to go to a weekly yoga class but couldn't because I could have only done one week out of four.

Could either you or your dh work pt? Do you get his rota with lots of notice?

I think there has to be some give from each of you especially when your family is so young. You also need to find out what you want - this is only a small time when you look at it longterm - could you hang on for a few years getting by as you are?

What about household stuff - could you get a cleaner?

IandJsmummy Sun 13-Sep-09 16:54:11

Thanks for the replies.

I didn't mean they can't do things as such, but I struggle, for example, to take the two of them swimming on my own. And some activities are better for one child than the other but I can't really spend time with just one, if that makes sense.

I'm not sure if there's a solution, I guess I just need to come to terms with it.

It also makes me very lonely.

foxinsocks Sun 13-Sep-09 16:56:21

you have to tell him

I think you can tolerate this sort of lifestyle for a bit. But most people I know who live like this at some stage give up on it. Personally, I don't think it is long term sustainable but I'm sure some will disagree with me. I couldn't do it permanently. At some point you start to question why you got married if you never see each other and appear to be bringing the children up entirely on your own.

If he can't change his job, I would look to sit down with him and make a long term plan. I believe most pilots retire quite young? Is this in the forseeable future?

BonsoirAnna Sun 13-Sep-09 16:57:46

Your children are still very small, and it is very hard work being with more than one small child on your own. It will get much better when your DS hits about 3 and half, and can walk fair distances on his own and generally gets a better understanding of life.

Hang in there for a couple more years smile. Could you afford a little more help when your DH is away, just for a couple of years?

rosbif Sun 13-Sep-09 16:59:10

I'm is a very similar situation, I've just taken DH to the airport, he will be gone 12 days now and I have three under 7's. I think you have got an enormous amount to deal with and I can understand why you are starting to resent him being away. I am incredibly envious of my DH at times and feel like I have shafted my career immensely so he could pursuit his dreams. But I think it is important to look at the impact on the children if you let the bitterness take hold, I try and get out with them as much as possible and always make sure we do special things when he is at home. I am sure he won't be in aviation forever and it does afford us a good, reasonably secure lifestyle so I think although it is a compromise we have to stick with it for now. I do hope that you can have a chat and vent, best of luck

ThePhantomPlopper Sun 13-Sep-09 17:06:11

It will get easier as the DC get older.

My DH is never home either, he's in Iraq for 7 months ATM and when he is at 'home' he works in Scotland during the week and is only home for 1 day. It's hard but I've found it's got much easier with DS at preschool.

I get through it by knowing he's in a secure job and it enables to have a certain life style.

Have a word with him, let him know exactly how you're feeling and take it from there. Good luck.

Kbear Sun 13-Sep-09 17:07:21

So he is home 50% of the time? You need to work in what you want to do when he is home, see friends, do a class, go swimming, whatever it is. My DH works long hours, nights and weekends - I work the things I want to do in around his shifts. I can't do them every week necessarily no one gets what they want all the time do they?

As someone else said, his job affords you a certain lifestyle which you would have to presumably give up if he quit his job so compromising is the answer here and not being depressed because he is away so much but making the most of the time he is home by doing things you want to do, both apart and together as a family.

He needs to know how you're feeling but I don't suppose he'll be able to give up his job easily, especially in this market.

bloss Sun 13-Sep-09 17:08:40

Message withdrawn

foxinsocks Sun 13-Sep-09 17:13:09

I don't think it gets easier as they get older. As the children get older, they start missing their dad too. I also work full time which does make it harder (as the OP says) because with your other half working weekends/away a lot, you are literally a lone parent in everything but name. In a way, it's the worst of both worlds because you're not a lone parent, you feel you should have some support but because you're in a relationship but you don't set up the support a lone parent might do because you're not a lone parent!

I must admit, I didn't mind it for a very long time. But I think once it starts bothering you, you have to look to ways to change something otherwise it can spell major problems in the relationship (just my opinion - resentment such a horrid feeling!).

foxinsocks Sun 13-Sep-09 17:14:57

as the dcs get older, they also get their own committments which can mean you spend a lot of the weekend ferrying around

brimfull Sun 13-Sep-09 17:19:09

I really sympathise

Sorry no experience as dh has local job but have always htought it must be a real bugger for mums like you.

I would get some help if you can afford it.

slowreadingprogress Sun 13-Sep-09 17:20:31

I agree with what foxinsocks has been saying.

Also I think it totally depends on your viewpoint; to me, having a mum and dad around out of normal work hours is a luxury lifestyle and what I'd want to give my kids. The other stuff is just not important. Specially not if it comes at the cost of missing time with their father.

I think if this was me I would certainly have a real honest chat with my DH because you need to know that you have the same aims in life and are heading the same way. His job is taking him away an awful lot and his children are only children's a cliche but you never do get this time back and it's so precious.

IandJsmummy Sun 13-Sep-09 17:22:49

I think you are right that we need to talk about it. I've just started some counselling for depression which I thought really stemmed from DS being ill and my job, but she really seems to be focusing on DH and his job. When I think about it, I do realise that so much of my unhappiness stems from his work, even though I think of us as a happy couple. I feel i am sacrificing time we will never get back and I am worried about becoming bitter.

Not sure what our options are. We are thinking of me working less and that will lighten some of the pressure of being main earner and main carer, but it won't solve the sadness over the lost weekends. He could also go part time, but I am not sure he would really do the extra stuff at home he says he would and he thinks that if he was part time, he'd still work 2 weekends in 4 but not much else.

I am also thinking about au pair/nanny type support. I have always been very afraid of the idea but perhaps it would lighten the load a bit. I do have a cleaner one day a week, but clearning as such isn't really the issue.

I do feel a bit like a single parent 50% of the time, although I was reluctant to say that because I have a friend who really is a sole parent and she has it much harder without the support of a partner, at least he helps with big decisions etc.

Not sure about the lifestyle point. We do live in a nice house for which I am grateful but I am starting to think I (and especially my children) would prefer a smaller house and to have DH to share all weekends with.

slowreadingprogress Sun 13-Sep-09 17:27:31

That's totally my point IandJ - we have a two bedroom terrace but we have family time every day and every single weekend, DH reads to DS, tucks him in every night, etc etc and without going down the 'poor but 'appy' route, it is worth saying that I think to a child THAT is true luxury and gives you a sense of security and self esteem that no amount of holidays, houses, au pairs ever could.

But hey that's just my view and not everyone will agree, but I think the main thing here is that you and your DH seem to be heading off in opposite directions in terms of how you feel about life in general.

Are you the main earner as well then? Because if so no bloody wonder you are fed up, earning AND caring for the kids AND the house etc etc.

definitely time to sit your DH down and have 'the chat' imho.

BonsoirAnna Sun 13-Sep-09 17:28:00

Does your DH like his job as a pilot?

Romanarama Sun 13-Sep-09 17:30:53

As Anna says, if you give it 18 months doing things with the dcs will be quite easy on your own, at least in terms of the physical struggle. But I realise that dooesn't really solve the problem. A nanny housekeeper could be a good idea for you too, especially if he's often away at night. It's good to have back up.

noddyholder Sun 13-Sep-09 17:36:41

I agree with slow reading.My dp was there a lot and still is although at 15 ds not too demanding but ds openly talks about how glad he is that dp gave up the rock and roll travelly thing to be a dad with less money but lots of time.If this is important to you you need to talk

IandJsmummy Sun 13-Sep-09 17:38:24

Slowreadingprogress, that's exactly what I mean.

Have to go for now, I am cooking and supervising and I also think DH might be waking up and I'd rather talk to him than have him read this.

FWIW, the sleeping when he is at home drives me even more insane than just being away. angry

BonsoirAnna Sun 13-Sep-09 17:42:12

At DD's school there are a lot of mothers with DH's who travel a lot for work (often globally, for long stretches) and frequently work late and at the weekend. They all have some kind of childcare/household help if they have more than one child - it is essential to their wellbeing.

You can stick one small child in a pram and do pretty much what you and he/she feel like, in equal doses. Two children and you are stuck.

Millarkie Sun 13-Sep-09 17:53:54

I work almost full-time, dh works abroad for a week about every 6 weeks. For the last year we have had au pairs and it has meant that I have someone to share the racing round for after-school activities, someone to help in the swimming pool, someone to entertain the kids whilst I cook and just as importantly when dh is home we have no excuse not to go out since we have a babysitter available (we went to a movie together for the first time since ds was born!). It's worth a thought.

Conundrumish Sun 13-Sep-09 18:04:35

Could you consider a childcare course student to come in and help you with supper etc while he is away?

NoahAmin Sun 13-Sep-09 18:06:51

I have direct expericen of pilots
put it this way i wudl never let my dd marry one

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