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DH thinks only manual labour is stressful and tiring

21 replies

Menomama · 06/10/2023 14:43

DH works in a manual labour role, meaning during a working day he most certainly breaks a sweat and probably averages about 15 000 steps. When he gets home, he’s tired and most days has a nap as soon as he gets in.

I work in a non-manual role. I often spend the day in front of the computer, running workshops and doing lectures online (I can’t turn up 15 minutes late if people are attending a lecture so in that sense I guess my work could be considered time-critical).

This week, albeit unusually, I have done these live, and quite a distance away (I’ve done between 4,5 to 6 hours of driving per day most days this week) and was worrying about this in advance as I had a 6 day working week (including international travel) last week and am feeling quite drained physically and mentally.

DH basically told me to stop moaning as my job is nowhere near as tiring as his is. It’s true physically, of course. But I feel incredibly hurt at what I guess feels like disrespect: ”I just sit and talk at people all day”, it’s hardly back breaking.

At the same time, this was an eye-opening conversation as I do most of the household (admin and practical) and parenting related things which I feel is stressful but after 20+ years together it has suddenly dawned on me that we have very different opinions on what is stressful.

Hence, I don’t see any incentive for him to change anything about the set-up.

We both work full-time by the way.

So AIBU? If not, can you help me find some way of explaining the stress-factors to him?

If on the other hand IABU, please explain your thinking as it will probably help me that it comes from an outside perspective.

And sorry for typos and general incoherence… am typing this at a rest-stop after a call from him asking me to pick up some stuff from the shops on my way past! 😅

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?

65 votes. Final results.

You are being unreasonable
You are NOT being unreasonable
GCSister · 06/10/2023 14:52

I have a very similar job to you and agree that it can be stressful and exhausting.
The way I explain it to people is that I have to be 'on' all of the time. You can't switch off because either you're presenting/talking or listening.
As for international travel, it is soooo tiring! Small talk with people who often don't have English as their first language......i'm always exhausted after those types of trips!

CrashBangWallow · 06/10/2023 14:54

This is a prime example of someone being unable to see past the end of their own nose. I’m guessing he has never worked I a job like yours so how can he expect to know jphow stressful/tiring it is?

Almondmum · 06/10/2023 14:59

There are, of course, different types of tiring. Physical and mental.

But it doesn't really suit him to see this from your point of view does it? So I doubt you'll ever be able to present him with an effective argument.

He currently has it made, he gets to nap and leave everything to you. If he really believes that anything that doesn't involve physical exertion isn't tiring then he can take over ALL of the admin associated with running a home can't he? But I doubt he will.

linziere · 06/10/2023 15:01

My husband used to work retail and would get really frustrated when I'd complain about being tired from my office job as he was on his feet all day and dealing with customers in his face. He now works an office job and is wiped out mentally by the end of his week. It's taken a role change for him to put himself in my shoes. He has since apologised for not getting it.

BranchGold · 06/10/2023 15:04

Urgh, people who think everything is a competition are tedious. What does it matter really if something is more tiring, can’t be just be an empathetic partner?

Sugarfree23 · 06/10/2023 15:04

I think it's a different type of exhaustion.

I don't think physical work is stressful physically tiring yes, stressful no.

LannieDuck · 06/10/2023 15:20

It sounds like he's just offered to take on the entire mental load of kids and house...

Georgina125 · 06/10/2023 15:33

Oh god, my father and brother are like that. Making digs at my mother and I for having "cushy jobs". My mother works in payroll and I work in a hospital. Apparently neither are hard because they don't involve working outside, driving around and lifting heavy loads. I think it's insecurity on their part. There's nothing wrong with their jobs but they are defensive anyway.

Devilsmommy · 06/10/2023 15:33

Tell him that although his job is more physically tiring, yours is more mentally draining. Both equally awful in their own ways. Guarantee your dh couldn't "talk at people all day" without needing the biggest nap he's ever had🙄

TheseLegsDefinitelyUsedToBeLonger · 06/10/2023 15:36

I have a mentally tiring job but certainly not a physically tiring one. I’ve been doing a lot of garden clearing this summer though, so I’ve gone from mentally knackered by Friday to physically knackered by Sunday afternoon! It’s quite a switch. All jobs are different though, with some certainly more stressful than others. It’s whether someone understands the differences that matters.

Yants · 06/10/2023 16:01

Assuming you have a good knowledge and experience of and a degree of passion for the subject matter that you're providing online workshops and lectures for then I don't see why it should be a particularly mentally tiring or stressful role.

GCSister · 06/10/2023 16:06

Yants · 06/10/2023 16:01

Assuming you have a good knowledge and experience of and a degree of passion for the subject matter that you're providing online workshops and lectures for then I don't see why it should be a particularly mentally tiring or stressful role.

Have you ever done the job?

Menomama · 06/10/2023 17:32

Thank you all for your helpful replies. You have given me lots to think about. It’s not a competition, no… nor was I really asking anyone to rate which is more stressful, but wondering whether DH or I was BU in this.
Obviously, the fact that DH (it turns out) thinks that my job is un-stressful, explains why he also thinks it’s fair that I shoulder most of the household and childcare duties.

@Yants - Not sure if you were just having a dig, but - I’ve been in my current role for 10 years and am very passionate about my work (and have expert in my title for that matter) and while I don’t usually find that a lecture stresses me out in itself (I do actually quite enjoy that part of the job) …if I have several in a day, or do a full-day of training or even a half-day workshop where I am, as a pp helpfully explained, ”on” all the time, reacting to and engaging with participants then yes, I do find myself feeling drained by the end. The subject itself is emotionally loaded if that makes a difference. This week has been particularly draining as last week was a 6 day week AND, if you read my post - I have been commuting for several hours per day.

But I realize it might just be me personally, and that this is an uncommon experience, which is why I posted about it.

OP posts:
MatildaTheCat · 06/10/2023 17:46

I used to work in a busy and stressful medical environment which was physically taxing and mentally and emotionally exhausting too. I couldn’t understand that DH’s job was stressful because he sat in meetings, traveled largely by train and sat down a lot.

I now see that he was actually always chasing new business, had the usual cash flow issues that most businesses suffer, had to comply with any number of regulations which, in a small to medium size business means you largely do it in house and on top of that are responsible for making sure that 50 odd people get their salaries to pay their mortgages.

Its probably better to try to both agree that work and life are bloody hard a lot of the time and competitive tiredness is a total waste of time.

CrashBangWallow · 06/10/2023 17:48

“competitive tiredness is a total waste of time.”

This is so rule and a lesson lots of people could do with learning.

NeverDropYourMooncup · 06/10/2023 17:51

Don't play the game.

I'm willing to bet that if you did a physically demanding job, he'd then declare that you didn't have to use your brain as much as he did and, in any case, because you're not as strong as him, it's a easy physical job compared to his.

Kalodi · 06/10/2023 17:52

DH used to have a similar opinion. He does 12 hr shifts of manual work whereas I have an office job. He never really understood how I could be stressed or tired. That was when we first got together. I'm not sure what changed his opinion buy he definitely understands now. Maybe it's exposure to seeing how frazzled and overwhelmed I can get.

BeverlyBrook · 06/10/2023 17:55

There's a few men on the Times newspaper commenting on articles with those sort of comments - that it's only men who do difficult physical jobs. And only those jobs are 'proper' jobs.

I don't think you can change their minds, they are so fixed that what they do is more important.
Unless they end up doing an office job then they can experience it.

Does he not see you physically tired? Can he not empathise that you have used up personal energy in your working day?

I'd go on strike if I were you

SkiingIsHeaven · 06/10/2023 17:57

My husband said exactly the same as yours until he retrained and became a Chartered Building Surveyor.

All if a sudden you can be tired by being mentally drained. Funny that!

RememberWhy · 06/10/2023 18:07

CrashBangWallow · 06/10/2023 14:54

This is a prime example of someone being unable to see past the end of their own nose. I’m guessing he has never worked I a job like yours so how can he expect to know jphow stressful/tiring it is?

Spot on. I sit at my laptop all day (whether at my desk or in an airport lounge - or while flying) and I'm really tired at the end of each day. I do run the company but that's not the main reason. It's the being 'on' all the time. Driving people, being positive, motivating, trouble shooting, fixing other people's mistakes, coming up with ideas when you think there are no more ideas. It's exhausting.

Waldo1984 · 13/10/2023 19:33

Your DH is a whiney little b*h.

Saw this advertised on Facebook, and this really pissed me off. Specifically created an account just to respond to this and call your husband out. PLEASE show him my comment.

I was an infantry soldier back in the late 80's, stationed in S. Korea, where we spent something like 250 days a year out in the woods playing Rambo (field exercises), with 18 hour days being the norm, with such joyous activities like doing guard duty at -70 degree Fahrenheit to running around in a MOPP suit during 110 degree weather (and I literally mean running, as you'd be in a field exercise), while carting around a 26-pound machine gun (I was an M60 gunner) and a 50-pound rucksack.

You'd get an average of six hours of sleep per night, with a 2-hour guard shift somewhere in the middle of it. When we weren't out in the field, we'd work six days a week, with physical training at 6am, then working until 8pm, Monday through Saturday. At one point, I worked a 90-day stretch without a day off, and also did a 72-hour work shift without sleep.

Short version, when your husband complains about his manual labor job, I wouldn't be surprised if being in the infantry would have made him cry like a little baby.

Yet that was NOWHERE near as tiring or stressful as my last job in the hotel IT industry, working in a luxury resort, where the constant stress, low-grade abuse (from higher ups, entitled co-workers, and guests), and the daily threat of getting fired for the dumbest and pettiest of excuses had me legitimately thinking of suicide at one point. My wife and I at the time had a mortgage and two cars, but I seriously wanted to just walk off the job and go flip burgers at McDonald's because I absolutely could not stand the constant and consistent mental anguish. Homelessness sounded preferable, and only my wife's threat of divorce kept me there.

Being an infantry soldier during peacetime was definitely physically demanding, I'll admit that, but there was almost zero stress. I wasn't deployed to an active combat zone, no one ever shot at me, and while I was physically exhausted on a consistent basis, that physical exhaustion went away any time I got a decent amount of sleep.

On the other hand, constantly having to worry about my job, my livelihood, and having to perform like a trained monkey, presenting my best, most professional face, and keeping everyone happy with me when I couldn't always help them with their own stupidity was endlessly grating. Having to carry my cell phone and laptop with me everywhere I went, no matter what, because I was constantly on call (and actually getting a call ON MY HONEYMOON, which I had to answer, and which required me to work for an hour while my new bride was waiting), was soul destroying.

When you have a job that is a constant drain on your mental health that just consistent wears at you and beats you down, there is no real recovery from that until/unless you quit, and even then, it can have long term effects on your mental and physical health. Stress kills. There's more than enough documentation about that online.

Not saying DH's "physically demanding" job isn't tough, but to belittle you for having a stressful job is absolutely ignorant.

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