Sanity check...

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-06-2006
Sanity check...
11
Tue, 07-31-2012 - 2:02pm

I want to see what you guys think of this situation...  Dh goes to Aikido two evenings/week and one half day (cause the whole process takes 3 hours) on the weekends.  He's usually good about picking the weekend day that's the most open and helping with the parent taxi service.  When he goes during the week he goes straight from work because it's on his way home and the time is perfect (6:30 - 7:30) and is home around 8:30.  I have told him I think 8:30 is too late if he really wants to spend time with the family (and BTW when do I get to be away until 8:30 any night much less two/week every week).  He says he doesn't think it's too much to ask that he gets to work out 3 times/week.  I see his point but his workout adds almost 2.5 hours to the time he's away from us.  He has offered to let me pick time to go do something for myself.  If he goes two nights/week + a weekend and I go two nights/week+a weekend, when do we get to be a family?

Work has been incredibly stressful for him lately.  His boss-call him J (who is going to get the axe soon but doesn't know it-dh does) has been yelling at him, screwing up relationships with clients, treating the other employees like children, and generally abusing dh and taking advantage of him.  Dh has been told he is taking over when J gets fired but of course he can't say anything.  Dh has to do his regular job plus work on transition plans and future plans on the sly which is going to mean late nights at home and weekend meetings for a while. J's boss, B, is a friend of dh's.  B is afraid he's going to be in trouble too because J is screwing up on his watch.  Dh is trying to assure B that he's sticking up for him with the guys from the buying company.  B told dh that the guys from the buying company were very impressed and counting on him to turn things around.  And added "Don't screw this up".  He meant it in a good way but it just added to dh's stress level.

So now we get to the real question.  Yesterday the dog had a double accident in the house, Evan pulled an extended stunt (covering 3 hours during which he claimed his phone service was spotty and ended up at someone's house when he was supposed to be at the beach) when I was supposed to pick him up from the beach, and then dh texted me saying work was running late and he wanted to go to late Aikido class which meant he wouldn't be home until 10ish.  His view is that he's going to Aikido to relieve stress so he doesn't take it out on us when he gets home.  I feel like I'm being taken for granted and yanked around and his schedule is imposed on me and have felt this way for quite a while. I've told him before and he just doesn't get it.  He thinks I don't get his point.  I do but think mine trumps his...

Thank you if you've read this far. I thought that background was necessary to give proper perspective to the situation.  What would your reaction to his attending the later class be?  I only see more of that in the future (at least until things settle down at work).

Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999
Tue, 07-31-2012 - 2:30pm

Ami, we have had a very similar situation going on for quite sometime at our house.  DH owns his own business and up until a few months ago either worked on his own and had no employees, or had incompetant ones.  He would be gone all the time, work hours varied, etc., so when he did have a weekend day off or a large block of time, since i have always been the one to manage all the kid stuff, I would expect that I'd either get a break, or we'd spend time as a family.  That of course never happens, DH wants to go skydiving, which always takes at least 5-6 hours, or he'd want to go out with the guys for a bit, etc.  We've had knock down drag out fights about it because I, like you, feel totally taken advantage of.  I can't NOT come home right after work, I have to pick up the kids from daycare every night, or I have to find a babysitter, which still means usually no happy hour with co-workers or anything because of the commute.  We still haven't perfected it at all, but things we do try and do, that might work for you, is to try and schedule in time that specifically designated as "family time" and then specifically times that he has the taxi cab duty so you are relieved of it, and then you need to schedule in that occasssion date night.  One thing I would stress to him, which is hard to do in my house since my kids are still so young, is to use the line, "they are only here for a few more years before they go to college", they you and he both have a lot more time on your hands to do your own things and things as a couple, but those kids, they aren't around a lot longer.  I do understand his need for stress relief, do he have to do it 3 days a week, can he agree to cut it down to one night a week and one 2 hour time slot on the weekend? And then you can replace that one night he was doing it with the time you do something?  Can you take that time that was Aikido and do something with one of the kids to connect and spend time with them or find another way to do something with the kids that he can use as a stress reduction?  Those are my only real thoughts, its definitely hard to juggle the different needs of so many people in the house and still feel connected as a family.   

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-30-2003
Tue, 07-31-2012 - 4:25pm

Same situation here.  Or at least we used to until dh and I had it out. 

He wants to work out.  He started doing it 3x a week.  And then he INSISTED on doing the darn Christmas production at church "But I must feel useful there".  And then when he was home- he was on his dang laptop playing stupid computer games.  SIgh.  Got me mad- after having many fights of "You do know that Kristen's a senior and she's not exactly looking at schools right down the road from us"- he kind of got the point.  The gym went down to 2x a week. 

 And I understand wanting to do the gym .  His dad is obese.  Has joint problems.  Walking is very hard for him.  I noticed it while they were here- how he'd be straining to breathe after only going a few feet (and yeah- I'm kind of concerned about it- I've had enough medical classes to know there may be someting funny going on that he doesn't want us to know about) Dh doesn't want to wind up like that.  But we also need to do things too. 

One of the things he's started over the last few weeks is "no electronic night".  For the last couple of weeks we've done Tuesdays as no electronics after he comes home.  I've gotten 2 movies from Redbox, and we've hung out together and watched some goofy movies (Mirror Mirror was just too silly LOL)  But it's nice.  The girls grouse about it.  But Becca's just been surly lately anyways- I'm thinking she might be enjoying it as well (esp when she's been going out with friends lately).

I hope things get better for your dh at work.  Maybe if that stress goes away, things at home may go a bit smoother.

Cheryl

Avatar for turtleemom
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-25-2007
Tue, 07-31-2012 - 4:42pm
I think dvds on a no electronics night is an oxymoron.

The idea is a good one.

Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997
Tue, 07-31-2012 - 5:19pm

That is a really tough situation all around.

I think I would probably try to approach this from an angle of "what's right for the whole family" and "what's right for our marriage" vs "this isn't fair to me."  I'm sure you've already done a lot of that, but I would completely understand if your tone, and what he interprets from it, is "you're getting more than me," which inevitably sets off a defense of "no I'm not," and so it goes.  Can you tell I've been through this too?!  In fact, I think most couples probably have, and I'll bet most wives would say that somehow the husband ends up getting "his" time while the wife doesn't get "her" time.

Your DH's job does sounds stressful, but whose job isn't stressful?  Even mine can be stressful - I'm self-employed with one partner and I get to basically run my own life, but having clients and being the sole breadwinner for a very expensive family of five IS stressful, no matter how nice the perks of being self-employed.  The key here is to understand how to manage the stress.  It sounds like you and your DH already talk a lot about it, since you are well-informed of what's going on at work, which is fantastic.  However, it seems like "stress" has become a bit of a convenient way for your DH to justify spending 8 hours a week away from the family.  To me, that does sound excessive.

If they offer the late Aikido class at 10pm regularly, can he go at that time during the week?  That way, he could be home at 6:30, have dinner and some family time, and then leave when the kids are going to bed.  It might cut less into family time.

When my DH took up tennis seriously 10+ years ago, he started playing at 9 or 9:30pm, which meant less time away from the family.  I would go to bed at 10:30 myself, and he'd get home at 11:30, so it worked out great.  And for me, my exercise time has always been very early morning - 6am typically.  Since DH is a SAHD, I wasn't the one who got kids ready for school anyway, so no one missed me.  That has been the key for us - scheduling time so basically you're not missing out on family time.  As the kids have gotten older, that's changed, and now he plays tennis earlier once or twice a week, and I go out to some religious meetings a couple of times a month.  On the weekend I go to the nail salon and he often plays ONE tennis match.  But overall we continue to find the balance between what each of us really NEEDS and what the family needs and what our marriage needs.

We're kind of old now (kids are 20, 17 and 12), so we dont' even need to discuss this anymore, we intuit what the right thing is to do.  But it has required some negotiation of the kind you are talking about.

So I do think you have a point, and he has a point too, but you may need to approach it a bit differently.

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-30-2003
Wed, 08-01-2012 - 7:36am

LOL Heather!!!

And yeah I never thought about it that way LOL. 

I guess he should re-name it to be "no cellphone, iPod or laptop night". At least when we're watching a movie together there's conversation going on- your face isn't staring at a screen so you don't feel like you're being ignored.

Cheryl

Avatar for turtleemom
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-25-2007
Wed, 08-01-2012 - 8:56am
I do think it's a great idea. We've been doing pizza/movie/and snowcone night once a week this summer. Watching older movies-ET, Gremlins, etc.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-30-2003
Wed, 08-01-2012 - 9:15am

Gonna date myself here. 

Dh was at Walmart and he said he almost picked up Short Circut in the $5 bin. 

I remember seeing that one in a movie theatre.  "No Dissasemble!!!!!!!!!"

Cheryl

Avatar for turtleemom
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-25-2007
Wed, 08-01-2012 - 9:39am

My husband travels quite a bit.  When he is home, he's home and focuses on the family.  I would be angry if his at home time was spent away from us.  While I do get that being the sole breadwinner is stressful, I also think that being with the people you love should be somewhat stress relieving.  Taking care of your home should also provide some level of satisfaction.  DH genuinely enjoys his career.  I have little to no say in the travel.  I do have a say in how I spend my time.  I realized that extracurrics were ruling our life just as much as DH's work schedule was.  We had to be accessible when he was home.  I do have control over those. Our schedule has cleared up considerably, we are ALL much more relaxed.

Is there any way he could give up one night of Akido and you could be active as a family-bike ride, hike, doubles tennis, etc?  I know that would be trickier in the winter.  What about on the nights he isn't home for dinner, everyone gets up earlier and you eat breakfast together?    You mentioned that his company was moving closer to home, will this help with timing/stress levels at all?  I forget how old Evan is, but will he be driving soon to help out?   How about a bi-weekly housekeeper?  Having a reponsibility taken off of you would clear up some of your time. 

During the time that DH was travelling 3-4 nights a week, we strove to eat dinner together on the weekends, have 2 family nights a month (where we all did something together) and made sure that DH and Zeph had   1 night a week to reconnect and spend time just the two of them.  It wasn't ideal, but that is what we were able to make work and it took a while to accept it as the best we could do. 

Avatar for turtleemom
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-25-2007
Wed, 08-01-2012 - 9:41am
That would be a good one to add to our list. Close Encounters was the last one.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-05-2005
Wed, 08-01-2012 - 10:40am

Well, my perspective is probably completely biased.....  my ex (now deceased) participated in triathlons. He - and most others- made me feel like I should be supportive. I mean, he wasn't out drinking or seeing other women, he was exercising. How can you object to that? Well, I should have, because I realized later that it was just one example of him putting himself first and putting us and our family after. He wasn't a bad person, by any means, but he really didn't understand that he needed to change once he got married and had kids. I worked and was juggling kids/house, he prioritized his workouts after work.

Current dh....  he ran the Boston Marathon the year we got married. He was in volleyball and basketball leagues (ah, the life of a single guy with no kids!). Now, he gets up at 5:00 am to go to the gym before commuting into the city for a stressful job. His workouts are short and his "guy time" is pretty much non-existent. But, he's home 95% of nights by 6pm for a family dinner and he spends every weekend with us - granted, we're usually running to games or concerts or lessons (or cleaning the house, lol!) but we're doing things to make the family work. He isn't in nearly as good of shape as my ex, or as good of shape as he himself was 15 years ago, but to me, there is nothing that makes me feel closer to him than to see how he prioritizes us.

I don't think that your dh necessarily has to give up working out or Aikido, but he does have to be a lot more flexible. it seems to me that when work gets worse for him, what is given up is YOUR free time, not his. That's just not fair. And it's silly (imho) to say that you can go off and do something just as he does -okay, biased again, my ex used to say that. I always felt like that made it sound like we were sharing a "job" not a family:  "you work two nights (being home with the girls, cleaning house, making dinner) and I'll take two nights." I mean, it's not about being the one "on call" or "on duty," it's about being a family as a whole. Current dh also doesn't play any electronics and very, very rarely watches TV. He knows his job is demanding (but lets me be a SAHM, which is important to our family) and so other stuff is given up. You just can't have everything and your dh needs to decide what is really important to him.