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So am I being selfish too?

(27 Posts)
marriedtoatoddler Wed 05-Aug-09 08:15:36

Read with interest thread about DP planning trip to India and the universal condemnation of him as a selfish irresponsible git. So what do you all think of me, then?

I work at home most of the time, so finish up doing more than my share of the housework, school runs (3 teenage DC), etc. which I don?t mind. But the part of my job which I really love involves freelance work in Europe - 1-2 weeks at a time and a total of around 7 weeks a year at present. This isn?t enough to keep me up-to-date, and I want to increase it to, ideally, 10-12 weeks.

This part of my life is the real me - the part that makes me myself and not just the next mum at the school gate. I also really value spending time on my own, without constant demands for attention and sex (and that?s just DH, the DC look after themselves!)

DH has always bitterly resented my being away at all overnight - I have long given up suggesting visiting my family or taking the children away by myself occasionally, and don?t particularly miss that. He goes ballistic if I put one day on the beginning or end of the trip to see a bit of the place I?m working in ? it?s apparently just about bearable that I should be earning money, but not that I should actually enjoy myself. Cue apoplectic fury, wild threats to leave his job so he can accompany me on every trip, vague promises to ?make my life hell?, insisting on taking me to and from the airport so he can try to dictate what flights I should take, etc.

So am I the selfish commitmentphobe, or is he the clingy toddler? I can see he feels deeply threatened and rejected. But am I supposed to restrict my life so he can feel better? Is 10 weeks a year apart too much?

Portofino Wed 05-Aug-09 08:21:54

I don't think you're being selfish - this is totally different from the other thread! You are travelling for work and your dcs are old enough to fend for themselves a bit. Your DH on the hand sounds a jealous arse!

RealityIsHavingAPartay Wed 05-Aug-09 08:22:53

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skihorse Wed 05-Aug-09 08:24:06

He's behaving like a jealous toddler - imagine if you were the "trailing spouse" and threatening to throw all your toys out of the pram - there would be much eye-rolling amongst his colleagues - although I doubt you've dared even tell yours due to shame! shock

I think 10 weeks is a lot if you're staying away weekends. I used to travel with work and it definitely put a huge strain on us when I was away weekends or our weekends were cut short by getting me to the airport.

I met a woman on one trip who'd left her 7 week old daughter at home with her husband, she wasn't breastfeeding and had decided that in all eventualities her husband could be trusted with said child and would not kill it - however you'd have thought she'd offered to saute it with mushrooms by the general reactions...

You're off travelling with work, presumably not in war-zones or geographical/political grey-zones. I'm going to assume your employer (or expenses as a freelancer) pays for your airline tickets and you do not ask the bank for a loan to do so. You probably take taxis rather than ... I realise I'm going on here to take a dig at Captain India. But what I'm trying to say is that your work travel happens to be in another timezone, but the danger you put yourself in is no more than if you were to be working in another part of the UK.

skihorse Wed 05-Aug-09 08:25:04

PS I notice your three are teenagers - in which case you're being a great role model!

BakewellTarts Wed 05-Aug-09 08:26:41

He is a very clingy toddler. You are not being selfish as Portofino says a completely different situation...I even don't think it would be unreasonable for you to add days to your trips smile.

stuffitlllama Wed 05-Aug-09 08:27:10

putting a day on at the end is the thing

hope you reciprocate with that

he's being completely over the top though

BakewellTarts Wed 05-Aug-09 08:28:34

BTW my SIL is an academic with 2 small DCs (similar ages to mine)...with my DBs support she travels for work and no I don't think she is selfish either.

RealityIsHavingAPartay Wed 05-Aug-09 08:30:29

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RealityIsHavingAPartay Wed 05-Aug-09 08:31:29

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marriedtoatoddler Wed 05-Aug-09 08:41:29

DH is a homebody and does very little unless I organize it. He does one thing of his own every week and once a year does something more extensive, but doesn't believe in being away overnight so reciprocating hasn't been an issue. He basically thinks we should be together as much as possible, and it suffocates me.

marriedtoatoddler Wed 05-Aug-09 08:43:22

Forgot re hols - two-week family holiday with DC, plus if I am away more than two weeks, DH and DC come over for one week. DH won't take a job where he would have to travel.

stuffitlllama Wed 05-Aug-09 08:43:29

your situations are entirely different

surely you can see that

RealityIsHavingAPartay Wed 05-Aug-09 08:45:07

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ABetaDad Wed 05-Aug-09 08:51:11

marriedtoatoddler - no it is not unreasonable to want to be away to develop your career. We all have our other selves. However, some of the reasons you give are worrying:

"I also really value spending time on my own, without constant demands for attention and sex (and that?s just DH, the DC look after themselves!)"

Well they make it sound like you really just want to be away from DH. My suggestion is go away for work but agree times when he will fly out and meet you there at the end for a holiday or short break. I used to miss DW desperatley when was away overseas but never would stop her. I really used to love flyng out to meet her in some exotic place. I also used to go away too but so it worked both ways.

Maybe DH misses you or is frightened you are drifting apart?

BonsoirAnna Wed 05-Aug-09 08:54:29

I think that 10 weeks a year apart is quite a lot, yes! Not OTT, but getting to a sensitive threshold.

But I think that some time apart every year is a good thing and I would not tolerate my DP never letting me go away without him.

marriedtoatoddler Wed 05-Aug-09 08:56:41

I have done this work for 25 years. When I met DH I was working away freelance 10 months a year, but cut it down to 12 weeks or so pre-DC. When DC were tiny I did 5 weeks a year (DH's annual leave), everyone came with me and he looked after them.

RealityIsHavingAPartay Wed 05-Aug-09 08:57:49

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Lizzylou Wed 05-Aug-09 08:57:51

If it is necessary for your career, then no, you are not being selfish. Would love your job though!

I couldn't be away from home for 7 weeks+ a year tbh, but my DC are only 5 and 3, so a bit different.

I love my own space, but DH is a bit like yours and doesn't like to be alone, I relish my time alone, so can sort of understand your point of view.

marriedtoatoddler Wed 05-Aug-09 09:01:56

I have suggested DH come out at the end when I have finished work, so I have my weekend to myself in the middle (of a typical 2-week stint) and we can have time together when I am not trying to work as well. This is not acceptable because two weeks is apparently too long for us to be apart.

squilly Wed 05-Aug-09 09:03:14

It's not the same situation as the India thread at all. You're working. Your children are older. You don't seem to be abdicating responsibility for caring for your family either financially or emotionally.

You do, however, seem to have some pretty deep seated issues regarding your DH. If I was so desperate to get away from DH's demands for sex/attention I'd be asking myself why.

Something in that relationship ain't working properly and maybe your DH knows that, which is why he's acting out?

marriedtoatoddler Wed 05-Aug-09 09:04:12

I phone home for an hour every night I am away, FFS.

BonsoirAnna Wed 05-Aug-09 09:06:41

He does sound very clingy.

FWIW, my DP used to be like this shock. I had to wean him off me. He now totally understands that he had been brought up to be unable to be on his own, and had had no opportunity in life to develop the skills he needed to enjoy his own company. Might this be your DH's case?

He now rather enjoys chilling out on his own - and we are refreshed when we have spent time apart.

marriedtoatoddler Wed 05-Aug-09 09:13:50

BonsoirAnna - how did you do it?

CMOTdibbler Wed 05-Aug-09 09:14:27

Well, my Ds is 3, and a quick look at my calendar tells me that I have been away for 45 nights so far this year, in blocks of up to 8 nights - and before DS, I was up to 170 nights a year, in blocks of up to 2-3 weeks.

The difference is that much as DH misses me, he fully accepts that this is part of my job, and is not controlling about it. I very rarely take an extra day to do things though, as I would much rather be home. DH has only ever joined me once in 9 years - far too complex to work out his leave to coincide, and when I'm away I'm doing long hours so wouldn't be with him.

It does sound a little as though you don't enjoy your time with DH though

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