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DH works nights and doesn't spend quality time with us - am I asking for too much?

(7 Posts)
MonkeyBread Mon 24-Oct-16 11:06:31

First of all sorry for the long post.
Looking for advice from night shift working parents or dad's perspective please.

Me and my DH have been together for 10 years now. We have 2 children.

I work from home which is great as it's flexible hours and allows me to spend time with the kids, pick up from school etc. One is in school the other one in nursery in the mornings.

He works from home mostly too although travels quite a bit as well. Great thing is that once the kids come home he is usually there and we have dinner together, helps with bathtime. etc.

He works evenings and nights as it's the time he can concentrate best and doesn't get disrupted. He programs and builds hardware circuits so it's quite intense which I get.
So he will go to bed anywhere between 3 AM to 6AM usually.

Now to the problem: During the weekdays I don't mind as much that he works those hours, we have a set routine but on the weekends he sleeps in EVERY TIME. We never have breakfast together unless it's Christmas or a birthday or mother days, that's it. Sometimes he will make an effort to get up early 10am is super lucky but usually he drags himself out at about 1-2pm.
With the kids being up from 7am, if not earlier that's half their day gone before daddy makes an appearance.

To give you a very quick background.

I come from a very tight and loving family. We are very close, especially with my mum and sister and coming from a country where family is at the essence. My parents still love each other very much which I admire.

DH comes from a broken home which comes with a lot of baggage. His mum abandoned him when he was four and his Dad (who he idolises) had a few different women until he decided to leave the house at the age of 16 and live with his uncle's family for a while. DH left school young and ended up living on his own from an early age. Dad committed suicide when DH was about 25.
Despite all that he worked hard to get where he is now. Which is one of the things that attracted me to him in the first place.

I understand there is pressure from him to prove himself at work and make enough money to sustain the family but I just think at the core his priorities are different. I LOVE spending time with the kids although I aso need my space from time to time as it's very tiring to work, but my main issue is that he doesn't feel like part of the family. I hate weekends for that very fact.
Don't get me wrong we will do things together but not as much as I would like to. Many times I just plan things with other friends and he stays home sleeping. I am too embarrassed to tell my friends he sleeps all day and always make excuses for him not being there.

I just wish he could be more 'normal' and make an active effort with the kids more. Which in a way he does but not enough.
He has never taken or picked up the little one from nursery.
He rarely picks up the older one from school. Childcare is all on me pretty much.

One thing that does work is if I plan something in advance and let him know that he needs to be up for x time so we can go and that usually works well. But as I said it's not part of the routine.
Working from an office or renting at the minute is not an option. Rent is very high where we live and he did try it for a while but the money just doesn't stretch that far.
He really is a night owl. When he tries to adapt to normal hours he struggles and is just tired all the time which is no fun for anyone.

I wish he would get up early and have breakfast with us.
I wish he would play more with the kids and be more involved in their day to day life.

My dad was a hard worker but the weekends he always made sure he spent quality time with us.

Am I being unreasonable here? Am I asking for too much? I have talked to him about it many times and he knows what my issues are but there is always an excuse as to why he was working late. He knows when I had enough and actively tries to make a change but it's part of who he is almost and finds it VERY hard to change that fact.

I tried to put things objectively but obviously this is my side of the story,

Sorry for the long post and thanks for reading if you got to the end.

Any advice will be much appreciated.

FATEdestiny Mon 24-Oct-16 17:41:47

Changing his very ingrained sleep pattern will require a lot of hard work and determination in his part. But he can do it, if he wanted to.

You need to get him to buy into the idea that normal daytime hours are better for everyone. If you make it easy for him to carry on as he is, he will.

Week days / weekend differences just wont work with his established sleeping pattern. It needs to be all in, every day and he needs to make daytime working work for him if you are going to do this.

JagerPlease Mon 24-Oct-16 21:40:13

If his hours were fixed by work then I would have said YABU to ask him to be up by 10 if he's not going to bed until anywhere up until 6am, but it's completely his choice - I get that people can be instinctively nocturnal but he needs to work.on shifting this - even if he goes to bed at 12/1 and gets up at 7/8. Spending time with your children is more important than your preferred sleeping hours!

Caterina99 Tue 25-Oct-16 03:34:22

I don't have any advice as not an expert at all on sleeping patterns, but that would drive me completely mad. Surely he has to want to change though? If he is onboard then a week of you waking him on a morning, strong coffee and doing the school run or whatever to get him out in the fresh air and daylight and then ready to work as soon as he gets back might help?

MonkeyBread Tue 25-Oct-16 10:29:40

Thanks for all the comments.

I don't know if it makes me feel better or worst that you all agree he should change his pattern.

Last night in fact we touched the subject again. He has been offered a full time position at a company very close to where we live and he could set up a workshop there so wouldn't have to work from home.
He said he would have to negotiate hours so they could accommodate him working evenings and nights.

And there was me happy at first thinking he could work normal hours and have him free on the weekends but then he crushes me with that comment. Clearly not wanting to make the change himself, I can't force him to do it. As you said FATEdestiny, he has to want to do the change himself. And when I complain he just grunts that here I am with my weekend issue again.
It was 3 am so I didn't want to pursue the argument any longer.

I just don't know in how many other ways I can say it to can he not understand my point of view?

I feel like running away and leaving him to deal with the kids himself, see how well he copes. I have been away for whole weekends a few times this year so surely he knows how much work it is. Yet he doesn't seem to appreciate it.

How can I make him understand? I'm at a loss sad

NapQueen Tue 25-Oct-16 10:34:41

This would frustrate me so so much!

What time does he normally start?

He is choosing to work then and imo choosing to opt out of family life.

ImAMoving Tue 25-Oct-16 10:38:47

If he genuinely needs to work Biggs then if finishing at 6am of course he should not be up at 10am, you can't work full time on 3hrs a night everyday if the week.

Understandabke if he needs complete concentration and no being disturbed that he's only get when you are all asleep.
You need to ask hi if he is having a job with a workshop with no distractions, why he can't work normal working day hours?

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