December 28, 2011,
J.M. asks from Fox River Grove, IL on December 19, 2011
Help Me Be More Supportive to My Husband!
My husband recently received a pretty significant promotion which came with a 40,000 dollar a year raise. This is going to help our family significantly (obviously). This position also means he has to work longer hours, and a few more days in the year than he normally does. He still gets a total of about 7 weeks of vacation time per year and works only M-F but instead of getting home at 5 he now gets home at 6:30 and then sometimes has to answer a few emails etc from home after that. He leaves early in the AM just as the rest of us are waking up. Even as I type this out it doesn't seem like it is that big of a deal and I wonder what my problem is but I can't help b*tching at him all of the time about how he gets home so late or being cranky towards him when he gets home when all he has done is work hard to support his family all day. I end up apologizing but I would rather just not be such a hag! I work from home and we have 4 children so I know part of it is that I am tired from the long day as a "single parent," but I also miss my time with him! I am hoping I get used to this new "schedule" and it won't matter as much to me but right now I just can't help but be irritable when he gets home and I feel horrible about it! He has worked SO hard to get where he is and this new job gives us an income I could only dream of 5 years ago... and he is my very best friend and I love him so much... so what is my problem??? Can anyone relate to this? If so how do you turn your mood around? Thanks mamas!
W.. answers from Chicago on December 19, 2011
I think some perspective and bench-marking is always a good place to start to re-evaluate a spirit of entitlement.
I AM a single parent and I don't mean to be rude (she says... feeling like what is about to be written is kinda rude)... But you saying that you are a "single parent" is condescending. It's like when someone says their dog is the same as their kids.
You have someone who provides income and partnership and sex (probably... at least more than I have...lol). So, first of all I would adjust your thinking. In exchange for HIM doing what he does you GET what you get. It's a deal. That benefits you GREATLY. and it's BECAUSE of him. Not in spite of him. Even worst case scenario, if something happens you have someone who gives you a hug. Actual, real "single parents" don't even have that. I'll throw in military spouses. When their spouse is deployed they can say they are "single parents".
I don't know what your at-home income nets you.... but I would bet with 4 kids, it's not even the amount of his raise, unless you are also paying for childcare... which you don't indicate. I'm guessing, so forgive me if I'm inaccurate.
To be honest you also sorta lost me at 7 weeks of vacation each year. I get 1/2 day this Friday because I just started this new job a month ago. Next year I get 10 days TOTAL for sick, vacation, parent-teach conferences, days my daughter is sick, to go visit my mom, whatever. But then I'm a little jaded because I just spent a good part of my lunch break on the phone with the student loan people hearing exactly how much my master's degree that helped me get a job paying just above the poverty level (ie my total income is not even the amount of your hubby's raise... I work 50 hours a week for that - your hubby is basically working an extra 10 a week to earn what my entire family income) is going to cost me and even if I'm approved for income based repayment I'm going to eat Ramen noodles for the next 25 years. I'm probably going to apply at Target and Walmart tonight for a 2nd job overnights on Fridays and Saturdays so that I can make that insane payment that is several hundred dollars more THAN MY RENT each month.
It seems to me that there are so many posts about entitled kids who are not grateful for what they have. That attitude of gratitude starts with the parents and it's simply about knowing what it would be like without that "thing" that you think you deserve.
First of all - you aren't a single parent. You're married with a loving, non-abusive spouse with a good job. Make a list EVERYDAY of what he does for you. Thank him EVERY DAY for what he does for you. Think about where you would be and what your life would be like if you didn't have him. What would you be eating for dinner (see Ramen noodle note above)? Where would you be living (see sarcastic rent comment above)? Who would you be having a conversation with about whatever tonight after the news? Who would you be eating dinner with on Christmas? Because if you don't appreciate him there are a million women who would BE SUPER EXCITED TO HAVE AN INCOME PROVIDER THAT GETS HOME BY 6:30 each night who isn't sleeping with their co-worker. or telling them how nothing they do is good enough.
This is probably one of those posts that will get lambasted for being mean. But to me this is the perspective that you should have... to be grateful for what you have and know that you would be in worse shape without it.
Congrats to your hubby on his new promotion.
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C.W. answers from Santa Barbara on December 19, 2011
Oh J., J., J....where to start??
- Your husband stays an hour and a half later (doesn't sound like crazy hours, you are not familiar with 15 hours/day like some employees or even spouses traveling for weeks or even being deployed). 6:30 is NOT that late, you were very fortunate with his former 5 pm arrival time with him not starting work at 3 am.
- 7 weeks vacation...I'll repeat 7 weeks vacation!!! At my last high ranking position I had five weeks vacation plus two personal days (after ten years). Seven weeks!!
- You are NOT a SINGLE parent! If you were, I imagine you wouldn't be living the life you do.
You are right, you are being cranky and not really grateful. Gosh, please appreciate your good fortune, your best friend/husband and your family. Really, be nice from the start...make that decision. Use some of this "extra" money to go out on dates and enjoy your time with him. Hire a housekeeper to come every other week as well as a weekly gardener if your husband is doing this himself.
** Quick calculation - at 8 hours per week (not counting vacation because he is not there so this figure is LOW). that is $96.25/hour. Not on Saturdays or Sundays, not from 2 -3:30 am.
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R.S. answers from New York on December 19, 2011
"So how do you turn your mood around?" -- really? Do you realize how blessed you are? If you are saying "Yes," then why are you complaining? Really? Your husband got an amazing raise in the midst of this terrible recession and you are still finding a way to complain about it? Really?!?!
You turn your mood around by realizing what a gift you have in your husband -- a husband that is willing and able to work to support your kids so you don't have to work more than you do. A husband who is willing to spend time away from his kids just so that you all can live a more comfortable life.
Think about the families that have no jobs -- my colleagues sister's husband and dad to five children just got laid off. My cousin's ex-husband and dad to her three kids refuses to see them or pay child support, and her new husband is unemployed.
Sounds like you need some refreshing. How about you find a family member or friend to watch the kids for a day while you have some time to yourself? Trust me, I am pretty sure that even if your husband had time to spend with you, after a day running after four kids and his long day at work, don't expect your time with DH to be exactly a relaxing oasis. More often than not you'll be talking about work, kids, and whatever. Time alone, I think, is more of what you need, to recharge and reenergize yourself. That way, you'll have time to appreciate your gifts and find it in yourself to support your husband in a loving way.
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J.W. answers from Philadelphia on December 19, 2011
wow big raise!! and his hours sound normal to me, as does working from home in the evening. The part that is not nomal that you should really enjoy is the 7 weeks vacation!! that's unheard of in my circle of family and friends!! make that time special
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J.W. answers from St. Louis on December 19, 2011
So you have an amazing raise, use some of it so you aren't so tired and bitchy when he gets home. If you don't have a cleaning lady get one. You would be amazed how good that makes you feel. If you like cleaning maybe have a structured we time.
I don't know what your buttons are but figure them out and then use some of the reward to make the price worth it for both of you.
I can't believe some of the answers. She says she has no reason for the mood but she is feeling it none the less. So everyone calls her selfish? How about it will pass when you find your new groove? Maybe you don't realize it but her feelings are no different than when anyone's schedule changes, would you tell a woman who just had a baby she is being selfish just because she is having trouble adjusting to the new schedule?
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K.M. answers from Chicago on December 19, 2011
Wow.... I'm just amazed at how selfish your are. Your husband is busting his butt and all you can think about is yourself. Quit feeling sorry for yourself and apologize to him for b*tching at him and thank him for all of his hard work.
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S.T. answers from New York on December 27, 2011
My husband is a NYPD sergeant. He's been on the job for more than 12 years and finally is off most holidays - but at the next promotion he'll be the junior guy and will be back to working Christmas day, New Year's Eve, 4th of July, etc. He wears body-armor becuase people shoot cops. He's been run down by a criminal in a car while he was trying to arrest the guy (ended up on the hood of the car), had things thrown at him from roof-tops, had "peace" protesters sucker-punch him, etc. Whenever there's an emergency - like a black-out, terrorist attack (9/11) or blizzard he workes even longer hours so when his family needs him most he's not home. I can't tell you how many times I've shoveled the driveway, the car, etc. by myself. Untold trips to the doctor & ER with the kids by myself. I frequently attend the kids' games, school concerts, church activities, etc. by myself.
My husband risks his life every day. When I read articles about cops killed in the line of duty I cry. Just 2 weeks ago another NYPD officers was shot in the face and killed. His 4 daughters (middle school - college) went through their first Christmas this year without him. Can you imagine?
After 12 years doing this kind of work and now as a sergeant he finally makes a wage that could support a family in Pennsylvania or Indiana - but we live in the NY metro area - so I have to work too. I am finally able to work PT so I can drive the kids to all of their activities and do all the things that need to be done. He commutes more than an hour each way - so he leaves the house at 7:30 and gets home about 7:30. That's great becuase now he gets home before 9 and he can help my HS daughter with her trig homework.
We really have to focus on what we have, how fortunate we are to live in the USA, that our bills are being paid, that we have a warm bed to sleep in and blankets, food in the cabinets to last for weeks.
If you can afford to by a book and the education to read it you are better off than 2/3 of the world's population. If you lived 150 years ago you and your husband would both work 12-18 hour days in an agricultural environment and so would your kids.
It's all about perception and realizing what we have - not what we don't have. It is tough being with 4 kids every day on your own - but since you're in CA the weather is probably reasonable even in the winter - get outside and don't allow yourself to stew over how crazy your life is. One day you will look back at this at the sweetest season of your life. And BTW - 7 weeks vacation? where does he work? I want that job!!!
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C.M. answers from St. Louis on December 19, 2011
Take some of that new income and go out by yourself once in a while. Or hire a sitter and take him out to dinner and a movie as a surprise during the week. Or use it and order take out once a week so you do not have to cook.
I bet it's just you getting used to not seeing him as much. It will all become normal in a few months. Try to bite your tongue if you know there is really no reason to be upset or grouchy...but if you really just need to talk to him and need him to listen - tell him that. Don't hold the feelings in. But do not resent him for what hes' doing. I realize that sounds counter productive....but I think you can make it work. Be honest and open with him but don't do it if it's not going to make you feel better....does that make more sense?
I just keep seeing $$ signs...LOL 40K is a HUGE raise!!! For only 1.5 extra hours away from home (this is how I would see it).
As far as him checking emails in the evenings - ask him to refrain until the kids are in bed or at least the bath. Ask him to take charge of something in the evenings - cleaning up after dinner or bathing the kids or putting them to bed so you get a few minutes to yourself. He, at least, has the drive to/from work to unwind and not have to answer to anyone...you deserve your time too!
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