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DH and his work/life balance

(15 Posts)
Ratfinkle Sat 22-Feb-14 20:44:04

My DH is fantastic in many ways. He is hard working, generous, a great dad, we share the same goals, life plans, humour, and he is lovely looking too. He has built us (literally) a wonderful house, and has worked his backside off to do it over the last five years or so.

But we have a recurrent argument every now and again about the fact that he works really really hard and doesn't spend much of the weekend with us. He runs his own business and works most evenings, every saturday and quite often part of Sundays too. Most of the time I put up and shut up because it's work and he has to do it. Also, I have a nice life (work PT, comfortably off if not rich, lovely home) and a great deal of that is because of him, so why am I complaining?

We have a lovely DS, and when he isn't working he's a great daddy, very hands on. I do all the daily maintenance things, housework, child care, food shops, cooking, organising stuff. Happily (most of the time!) because he works so hard. I am also pregnant, due in a couple of months. Currently feeling pretty shit, I think I have the beginnings of SPD and I think me being pregnant is contributing to the arguments because I get the rage

So my question is, how do we balance things. As I say, he works most Saturdays and that is what triggers the fights.

The backdrop to this is that his dad was like him when he was growing up, in fact much much worse, and although he loved his kids was quite absent in many ways. Sadly he now has a degenerative disease which means that he can't enjoy the retirement he worked so hard for. I don't want my DH to regret not enjoying his life and kids as well as working hard and I hate the fact that almost every Saturday I feel like a single parent.

Any thoughts? Should I just be grateful for what I've got or do I push him to work less?

gilliangoof Sat 22-Feb-14 20:53:13

I'd push him to work less. Time is much more precious than money. If you can't spend time with your family what is the point in having lots of money? I sense you think this too. The problem is convincing him of this. Maybe you could suggest he employs someone to help him with his workload.

I couldn't live like that.

Ratfinkle Sat 22-Feb-14 21:07:50

Thank you for the response gilliangoof, I agree time is more important. But how to get him to see it without falling out? He agrees with me to an extent, but can't seem to stop himself.

The thing is, although we are not poor, his extra workload doesn't get the big bucks rolling in, it's more to keep things going. Being a business owner is kind of all consuming in a way that having a normal job isn't usually. I often wish he just had a 9-5 job.

hollyisalovelyname Sat 22-Feb-14 21:22:13

One of my db had no work / life balance.
Complete workaholic.
Now he has no work!!!

ForalltheSaints Sat 22-Feb-14 22:06:24

You are right to be concerned given the life his dad has had and that you are doing so because of your love for him. Does he have people who work for him whom he has trouble delegating work to?

somewhatavoidant Sat 22-Feb-14 22:15:00

I'm in a similar position & it's a tricky one. One one hand I don't want to be trying to change him but on the other you're trying to point out what he's missing and what's important. DH ended up having a bit of a breakdown 18 months ago which slowed him up a bit but he's back to the old ways already & struggles with signing off at the end of the day. He does thrive on it though I think.

Ragwort Sat 22-Feb-14 22:17:01

Has he always been like this? Some people are just very, very driven and particularly if you have your own business it is hard to switch off.

I don't think you can make someone change, maybe you need to accept it and decide how you will deal with it - that might mean arranging your own activities on a Saturday, plan things that you can look forward to.

I know it's not the answer you want but there are so many lazy DHs that you read about on Mumsnet, be thankful you haven't got one of those grin. My DH is also self employed and it is very hard for people in 9-5, salaried positions to really grasp what it's like, often you feel if you aren't working then you are losing out to your competitors.

Ratfinkle Sun 23-Feb-14 08:42:29

Forallthesaints, he does have people he delegates to but struggles to let go and let them get on with it. We think he may benefit from a 'second in command' type person that he can really trust, but I am not sure he'll ever let go.

Ragwort, this is what I'm struggling with- I do totally appreciate that I am lucky to have a good un. But if I don't try and change him though won't he be the one that misses out in the long run? I do tend to plan my own Saturdays, I always have and generally have a very nice time with DS and our wider family/friends. I just get frustrated that a) DH doesn't see enough of DS and me and b) work is less important than family IMO... Life is too short etc etc.

Ratfinkle Sun 23-Feb-14 08:45:28

Somewhatavoidant I'm sorry your DH had a breakdown, I actually worry about my DHs blood pressure and also things like the risk of stroke from being too stressed and busy. He's only 38 but one person can only take so much pressure!

Ragwort Sun 23-Feb-14 09:46:53

Rat - I do see your point of view BUT as I said earlier, it is so hard to change someone else's point of view.

For example my DH is fit and healthy, very active and sporty - I know he would like me to active but I am happy to remain a slob (with high blood pressure blush) - he can't 'change' my point of view any more that you can change your point of view that DH should enjoy more family time.

I know it is common to say 'on your death bed no one wishes they had spent more time in the office' (or whatever the saying is wink) but actually a lot of people do genuinely enjoy working (look at all the threads on mumsnet saying people are 'bored' at home - not saying I personally agree with that, but it is a fairly common point of view).

And actually as we head off for 'family time' on the side of a wet, cold football pitch this morning the thought of being at work would actually be a very pleasant alternative grin.

blueshoes Sun 23-Feb-14 10:38:18

If it is his business, then it is his baby too and it provides for the family. If he does not cut down on Saturday work, what if you suggest that you step up your pt hours and bring more into the family kitty. Would that shift the goal posts enough for him to reconsider?

Ratfinkle Sun 23-Feb-14 14:13:10

Yes perhaps you're right ragwort, we have been having the same circular discussion for years now and although in theory he agrees with me, in practice he doesn't actually change. Maybe I just have to accept it. I can see if I gave up though, history would repeat itself and he could be an almost absent dad like his was and I know he doesn't want this either.

Blueshoes, good point but as we are just about to have another baby it wouldn't work in terms of child care - my extra hours would get eaten up in no time with CM costs and DH wouldn't be able to take time off in the week.

We have had a good chat about it again, he is thinking of changing how he runs his business. Kind of downscaling his ambitions a bit so he is not so stressed and busy. I think it could be the key but will have to wait and see what comes of it!

Thanks for the advice everyone.

FunkyBoldRibena Sun 23-Feb-14 14:17:21

Can you maybe sit with him and go through the things that he CAN let go of, and shift the things he does away from the weekend so that he can spend time with you all. There is little point working so hard to keep a roof over the family's head and see nothing of the actual family. Can you do some of the tasks during the week? Can his staff do some of it?

tobytoes Sun 23-Feb-14 14:20:26

My mum always says 'work to live,dont live to work' .

Givemeyouranswerdo Sun 23-Feb-14 20:26:11

Sounds a bit like my exH. He became super obsessive about his business and sidelined the family in pursuit of it. Years passed, my support/understanding wore a little thin. The kids reflected the fact he had no time for them. None of us see him now. I should have split up from him years ago. People don't change really. Good luck.

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