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He just doesn't get it! SAHM and husband who works away -a lot!

(31 Posts)
SweetieBumMum Tue 16-Apr-13 22:22:41

Hi, any advice before I have a heart attack from imploding stress?!? I am a stay at home Mum with a husband who works away frequently. We (or perhaps just I ) are rowing a lot at the moment as he is set to go away for five days this week, four next week... And on it goes...
Because he thinks he would rather be with his family that makes it all ok, like he's not really going away at all, just because he wishes it not to be. It's just work...
Meanwhile I'm here with a 10 month old baby and three other children. With out a break.
I keep trying to say to him that yes, I'm a SAHM, but my working day must finish with his and then child are is equal responsibility in the evenings. Therefore some thanks or actually asking that I will look after the children each evening, rather than assuming would be nice.
I feel as though I have NOTHING (other than my lovely children) in my life whatsoever. No hobbies even because I can't commit the time to anything while he works way.
Yes, he does bring in a good wage, but he also decides how it is spent so I'm feeling more and more like staff.
I don't want to do him a disservice, he is a loving father, nice, not abusive and does actually care a lot for me. But in this respect is completely blind. Just does not see it at all.
I actually feel like getting an f£)&ing job which would be half his salary then going oh sorry I'm at work, you need to pick up the children. The only thing stopping me is knowing the children would suffer, as we have no relatives willing to help with childcare and it would be like cutting my nose off to spite my face.
Anyone else dealing with this? Did they break out?

Cherriesarelovely Tue 16-Apr-13 22:49:28

Hi Sweetie, I understand to a certain extent. My DP works away 3 days every week with the occasional 2 or 3 week stint abroad. It is very difficult at times. My problems have been more because I work PT but because I don't go away to work I sort of have both the childcare situation AND the work situation to negotiate and she (DP only has the work) ifyswim?! I think if I was a sahm to several children all the time I would feel similarly exhausted and short changed. You are basically not getting any time to yourself. Even my drive to work sometimes has felt like time to myself and I would be a bit lost without it.

I understand totally your frustration that you KNOW they are at work, they HAVE to work but it is still bloody on you! My worst moments are when DP calls me from some far flung location where she is enjoying beer and dinner in some lovely restaurant after work and I tell her how both Dd and the dog are ill and her mother with dementia has flooded her flat and I have 24 reports to write and she says "Oh, love, take it easy"!!! Like I actually can!

Nevermind, she is a gorgeous caring partner and I absolutely don't have any of the money issues that you talk about. Not saying we are that well off but DP would never dictate how I spent money, mind you I am sort of the more frugal of the two of us.

AThingInYourLife Tue 16-Apr-13 22:54:29

"Yes, he does bring in a good wage, but he also decides how it is spent so I'm feeling more and more like staff."

Why does he decide how household money is spent?

I think you should get a job.

Your children won't suffer.

JammySplodger Tue 16-Apr-13 22:59:25

Does he actually appreciate what you do for four children every day? When was the last time he took them all at once and you had a full day (or more) away yourself?

And as far as hobbies or something go, can you find something you can do at the weekend, or ad hoc, like swimming.

WafflyVersatile Tue 16-Apr-13 23:03:43

I think the 'he decides how the money is spent' has to stop now.

Some of that money could be spent on childcare/cleaner so you can get a break whether that is to get a job or go rollerblading on horseback is up to you.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 17-Apr-13 07:49:48

"I actually feel like getting an f£)&ing job which would be half his salary then going oh sorry I'm at work, you need to pick up the children."

Do it. The children won't suffer at all, just the precious money he seems so keen to stay in control of. If you are frustrated with the way your life is and you are not supported by your partner, only you can change things. If he treats you as a 'kept woman'... then find your independence. Go out to work, get babysitters and cleaners so that you can have a social life, or split completely.... they seem to be the choices on the table.

tribpot Wed 17-Apr-13 08:02:52

I think finding a good balance when one parent works away a lot and the other is it home is difficult but not impossible. At an absolute minimum, though, you need a greater degree of control over the household budget - otherwise you're effectively in a gilded cage.

You definitely should use some money to get some 'you' time whilst he is away - a day a week in nursery or something similar, just so you can get some breathing space.

What happens when he is back at the weekends? Does he immediately assume all household responsibilities to cut you some slack? Or does he assume he is entitled to 'free time' for his hobbies and pursuits then as well? I've done the working away thing (pre-kids) and in fairness it is a rubbish lifestyle, with basically everything you actually want to do compressed into a day and a half at the weekend, on top of the tiredness of long distance travel. So you both need to find a better balance. Perhaps whilst the children are so young you focus on study rather than work, with the aim of going back once they're all in school?

Pozzled Wed 17-Apr-13 08:03:28

He should not be deciding how the money is spent, you need to change that right away.

Bonsoir Wed 17-Apr-13 08:06:11

Why does your H get to decide unilaterally how his income is spent? I'd start making spending decisions if I were you!

ArtVandelay Wed 17-Apr-13 08:24:15

You are going to get sick if this continues. I have only one DC and a working away DH and I'm having to move out and stay with family this summer because I'm so exhausted and completely isolated (overseas). I can't believe you've coped so long - that's pretty amazing. Basically, your husband must cough up for some childcare and ideally a cleaner. If he won't then I think you need to reconsider your marriage. If you lay it I'm the line, surely he'll listen? (hopeful)

GibberTheMonkey Wed 17-Apr-13 08:36:49

If you asked to have some control
over the finances what would he say?

diplodocus Wed 17-Apr-13 08:52:52

His control of the money is completely unacceptable, but other than that I can sort of see both sides. For a while I worked part-time while DH worked full time and while he wasn't away he left early and came home very late so I had all childcare responsibility, which was hard. Then our situation changed and I am now sole full time wage-earner. I didn't realise how stressful this would be , particularly in these insecure times. Certainly in my sector it's not enough to just "do the basics" - you need to be seen as pro-active, taking every opportunity etc. which is time consuming and can mean travel. I would feel quite angry if DH tried to put restrictions on what I could do in my job - I already feel torn enough between family and work.

I think as others have said you need to gain greater control of your joint income, and a part of this may be getting a job (but that should be as well as, not instead of, him relinquishing control of his wage). However, you may have to accept that this travel is an essential part of the job if he wants to stay in employment, although obviously greater appreciation of your role certainly wouldn't go amiss.

slipshodsibyl Wed 17-Apr-13 09:03:33

It's the budget control that is a problem. The other things you describe are hard in partnerships like yours as it is,I key he is working very hard and is stressed. Travel is tough. These can be worked out if you see each other as equal partners. Others may disagree but I think with these work patterns it can be easier to divide responsibilities in an old fashioned way, though I know it isn't ideal. You do have to have equal financial control and respect though.

Instead of making him work harder when he is home, I would be looking to employ some help so that life is easier when he is away and time and energy is freed up for when he is home. This assumes he is engaging fully with the family when at home - just not currently doing enough of the repetitive grunt work.

whiteandyellowiris Wed 17-Apr-13 09:11:03

cherries has a good poiint, alot of times, people that i know, that work pt, are still expected to take up all the slack, sick days, inset days holidays etc
so they end up even more stressed

and it should be about whatyou want, you need to decide that, then talk to him againa nd really lay it down

good luck

Timetoask Wed 17-Apr-13 09:17:10

I totally understand how you feel! My dh had a whole year of commuting Monday to Friday, I was exhausted. The difference is that my dh lets me handle the finances and he also understands how hard it is on your own at home so I had a cleaner and used child care for some hours a week to give me a break.
So, since he earns a good wage, I would get a cleaner, organise a child are a couple of mornings a week so that you can do sport, drink coffee, read a book or whatever you want.
I would NOT get a job just yet, you will end up even more stressed.

DontSHOUTTTTTT Wed 17-Apr-13 09:17:53

This was our situation for many years. My DH works really hard and I, mostly, just got on with things. It felt a bit relentless at times and I would have appreciated him being a bit more considerate at times. I think if you are away from home a lot you can forget how draining the kids can be.
I preferred my DH to spend his time at home doing 'nice' Dad things with the kids. He would read to them or play with them. However, grinding the kids can be I always felt I still had the better deal. I felt sorry for my DH having to work so hard and being away from home. I know he had the occasional nice meal etc etc but lot travelling and staying in hotels is pretty soul destroying.
I had three kids under four at one stage (and no other support). It was hard but it soon passed and once the kids are at preschool or school it gets loads easier.
I think the reasoning have not felt resentful of my DH is that he has always appreciated what I have done, just as I have appreciated what he has done. Our money has always been our money.

If I thought he didn't respect me I would be VERY very pissed off. Are you sure that he doesn't? Could it be that he just doesn't vocalise it? Would you be able to get a cleaner or a babysitter to help out. It might make a big difference. You certainly need a good chat with him about this.
My DH and I always tried to go out together once a week or once a fortnight. I think it was a big help for our relationship.

givemeaclue Wed 17-Apr-13 09:20:10

Several issues, the working away is prob not something that can change easily.

But the financial situation is, you should have joint financial control and some money should be spent on support for you such as babysitting, mothers help, cleaner or similar to help you.

dreamingbohemian Wed 17-Apr-13 09:28:10

Is there a point where he won't be working away anymore?

How different do you think things would be if he didn't work away -- i.e., would he still work long hours, would he still control the money?

I'm just wondering how much of this is just because he works away, or whether he'd be a workaholic, controlling, selfish man whatever his job situation.

Jenny70 Wed 17-Apr-13 09:58:14

My DH works away too, and because of this I feel that I couldn't get any meaningful job, as childcare would always fall to me (and no family here either). I choose not to get a "casual job" as to me it's not worth the stress, even though it would give me an outlet for adult conversation etc.

Your DH needs to recognise that your contribution keeps the family together. Having financial controls over you is not on at all. You need to discuss family budgets, including access to money for treats etc for you (does he freely buy lunches, magazines while travelling etc?).

Then you need to see what would help you the most (other than feeling appreciated for what you do). Would a cleaner be the thing that helps you, knowing you can put your feet up and not look at dirty floors, untidy kitchen etc. Or would babysitting help, going out one night a week with friends (even to their house, without the kids to deal with), movies, even for a walk??

For me, I have a few things I need babysitters for if DH is away, and I "allow" myself treats like coffee and cake on a friday with friends after the school run - this makes me happy. My DH is always appreciative of what I do, and if he is away and the kids are sick/challenging behaviour etc, he remembers to call me in the morning to see how they are, what happened next etc... he is still connected to the family, even when he is away.

I think you need to think about what would make life easier for you in terms of help you can "buy in", and talk seriously to DH about being more connected to you and the family when he is away, not just travelling and expecting the lovey dovey family when he's home.

SweetieBumMum Wed 17-Apr-13 10:51:37

Thanks for your support and advice. It's slightly more complex regarding the finances though. We lived away for three years and when
We returned to the uk we were really ripped off by the company. At that time my husband did look after the finances and I was happy with that as I had at that time three children under the age of three! Had enough on my plate! Anyway, instead of dealing with these financial problems and telling me, he tried to 'protect' me by do itall himself. As people who have had debt problems know, things can spiral out of control very rapidly. To cut a long story short he did the classic stuff of maxing out two credit cards and we were in serious problems when I found out. We then got burgled and about £100,000 of stuff was taken (all nice jewellery and pre-children). Although the police got some people for handling stolen goods the insurance company would not pay out, cancelled our insurance policy and intimated that we were in someway involved. For him that was the icing on the cake and he had a breakdown. I found out about the financial stuff and we got it sorted. But that means we have very little disposable income as we pay off our debts. So when I say he chooses how the money is spent its a little misleading, I mean by the nature of his getting us into debt, he has chosen how it was spent.
We had 18 months of counselling to get over that.
I think what gets me is just the assumption that I will always be there, especially in the evenings when he is travelling. I feel trapped. I also recognised that I need to take charge over this, so feel a little angry with myself for not doing something, but what would I do. I feel a bit like a fraud, wanting time for something but not actually knowing what I want to do.... I can't talk about this to family either as they all know about the financial stuff in the past and I could really do with support rather than the judgemental stuff from relatives.

JammySplodger Wed 17-Apr-13 13:09:17

Crikey! Are you completely open and in agreement over what you small amount of disposable income is spent on now? Do you at least get an equal amount of anything to spend on yourselves?

There's still plenty of things you can do, just to have some space of your own, without spending loads - time to read a book at the library, go out for a walk, take up photography. A little time without children really isn't too much to ask for.

kilmuir Wed 17-Apr-13 13:13:59

I have 4 children and husband works away. He is working to provide for us as is your husband. Not sure what you expect him to do?
BUT, that said we have equal access to household income. You need to challenge his behaviour on this
Seems bizarre to say that your working day should end when his does. Not a competition

DontSHOUTTTTTT Wed 17-Apr-13 15:51:21

I don't know how old your kids are now but, assuming they are still youngish, you really will be amazed at how much easier and less tiring they become as they get older. Having them close in age is pretty intense at times. I enjoyed my kids tremendously when they were little but it was bloody hard work at times. I found it hard to make time for my DH and for myself. ........ But it will change. smile I promise smile

There are other worries with older kids but they are so much easier to deal with when you are not knackered all the time.

Your family has gone through a lot recently. It's not suprising you feel a bit fed up.

I hope everything works out ok.

LittleMissBunnyoni Wed 17-Apr-13 16:04:58

I haven't got any answers for you but I just wanted to say I know how you feel.

My husband has had various roles which have involved him being away on courses a lot and away with work a lot, he is currently working shifts which I am finding hard.

My kids are in school now which makes it easier in the day, but I don't have family close by so that I could go out in an evening and I work at weekends which is difficult for childcare. My parents come over (they live over an hour away) but I don't like to ask them to much and they both still work full time.

He gets to go out socially whenever he likes as I'm always here, but I find it difficult as I can't just go out, and I can't sign up for a regular course or anything in an evening, or go to a regular exercise class with friends.

I don't regret having children at all, but maybe I'm just jealous that he can come and go as he pleases?

I don't mind doing most of the housework but yesterday I was out volunteering in a school and he went to work mid afternoon and couldn't even be bothered to do the washing up!

I just feel taken for granted and unappreciated and I'm guessing that's how you feel too?

Binkyridesagain Wed 17-Apr-13 16:06:32

Things will get better, you both have to talk to each other not just about the mundane everyday home/working but how you feel, how you miss each other as friends not just the spare pair of hands. When he is home you have to share the home and childcare duties, if you both work together to get jobs done then there is more time to have fun as a family.

Make time for yourself, even if its just finding time for an interrupted lounge in a hot bath, or handing over the DCs to him at the weekend and going for a walk on your own.

He has to understand that when he is home he has responsibilites and can't just sit recovering from his working week.

It is very very hard, exhausting and there seems no end when the DCs are little but as they grow up it gets easier as they don't need your attention as much, you eventually find the time to have a hot brew.

My DH has worked away for about 13years, home at the weekends, at first there was a lot of resentment but through talking and trying to understand how each other feels and giving each other support we have managed to get this far. Its still tough when he leaves but a hell of a lot easier now the DCs are a lot older.

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