Need Advice on Husband Working Too Much, Please!

Updated on April 08, 2011
D.F. asks from Monmouth Junction, NJ
24 answers

My husband leaves for work in the morning at 7am and doesnt come home from work until 8-8:30pm. He also works Monday- Saturday. It kills me because its like I never see him. I find myself trying to force my 2 yr old to take a long nap during the day just so he can stay up late at night to see his daddy. My husband is a very important man at his job and he loves it. We dont fight hardly at all, but I fearthat is because we dont see each other enough to have something to fight about! Ive tried talking to him about the possibility of finding another job with less hours and I can get a job, but he hates the thought of putting our son in daycare. Plus, he in a high position at his job and fears if he changes jobs he will get stuck at the bottom of the todempole. I feel like theres nothing I can do but grin and bear it. We make more than enough money so money is not an issue. We could easily survive if he cut his hours but he cant, the job is so demanding, hes lucky that he gets in the door at 8! Is there anything I can to help ease the pain of hardly ever seeing him? I love it when hes home, I just want him to be home more often. Any encouraging words or advice would be much appreciated.

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answers from Jacksonville on

I feel you, I too have been on both sides. But the old adage that 'no one has ever seen a tombstone that said I wished I spent more time at work' comes to mind. Hopefully things will even out and he can come home more often.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Los Angeles on

I would be happy he has such a great job. Other families (cough, cough, ME, cough, cough) would give a kidney for financial stability. On the other hand, you could always take him lunch with your child, or even have a date night. Make the most out of the time you guys do have.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I understand where you're coming from, I truly do, but in this economy he's absolutely lucky to have his job and I'd cross my fingers every day that nothing happens that would cause you to be in my situation.

My husband had steady work that had him working hours like that, sometimes more for over twelve years. Almost three hours of the day was spent in traffic, sometimes more if the yuppies who have never seen a corn stalk before slowed things up in Petaluma when the maze began to grow along the highway. The time we spent together was good and during the time he was away, I busied myself with my own projects.

He lost his job back in August of 2010 and he still hasn't found another. Just last week he interviewed, along with many others, for a position that pays almost a third less than what he was making before, and what he was making before was just enough.

We've been trying to make ends meet on unemployment and whatever temp jobs I manage to land here and there.

Then, four months after the job loss and no longer being covered under his company health insurance plan, my gallbladder failed on me and I had to go to the ER. After a month of suffering and one surgery later the bill totaled over sixty thousand dollars. We are up a creek without a paddle.

Find joy in the time you spend together, restructure time on the days he's home to re-connect and be happy. If you reach for more, like we did, there's a chance it could all be swept away. I know I'm being negative but I've been at the bottom of this hole for so many months I don't even think I can see the light any longer.

I wish I had your problems right now. I really really do.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Stationed Overseas on

I feel you, but he's putting food on the table and keeping everything up right? That's always a positive. My husband is in the military so he is demanded a lot of time at work. Some nights he's not home till 11. Right now he's on Paternity leave seeing as I had an emergency C-section April 1st having our second son. He goes back to work on the 25th and his mother is coming to help us out from the states on April 18th. We live in South Korea. Sometimes it's hard on us too, but I don't keep my son up just so he can see daddy if he's working late hours. Some nights like maybe once or twice a month my husband pulls 24 hour shifts. I just go on with my day, sometimes I do surprise him at work and eat lunch with him and I bring our son so he can play with him. our other son is in the hospital still and won't be home probably for another week or two. He was 5 weeks early but healthy they just want to make sure his lungs are ok and eating good.

Don't worry try and find things to keep yourself occupied. good luck.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I totally get where you are coming from, my husband is gone 24 days of the month, maybe more, he works a 10 hour drive away and must sleep on his job sight in army style barracks.(oil work) he also wants me to be able to stay home with our youngest. I will not say no to this. He works longer harder hours so tat our family will be at peace. he takes on the brunt of the providing and i handle everything else. My advice,, make the most of your time with him, squeeze every bit of fun and relaxation alike out of that sunday you have, and your nights after 8 p.m. He deserves your understanding, and your effort. It could be worse, he could be unemployed.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I know what you're saying, but I think you need to change your mind set a little bit. Don't be so dependent on his presence to "make" your life complete--I mean enjoy the time you do have together but set a schedule for you & your child and stick to it. Think of it as *part of* your job!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

In this economy, his fears are completely valid. You might consider doing just what you mentioned. Shift your son's schedule as far into the evening as you can so your husband can have time with him.

You might also consider lunch dates with him? In his workplace, could you pack a lunch for the two of you and go visit him for a 30 minute break a couple of times a week? Also, you all could make a pact to drop each other a flirty line once or twice a day via text message to let each other know you're on the mind.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

My friend's Husband is JUST like that.
He is in a very high position... and worked VERY hard for many years to get where he is.
And now, he and his wife and family, can live very comfortably.
He is a good guy, good husband, good man.
But his work demands are demanding.
His wife also works, and gets home earlier than him, but that is their life.
They do whenever he is home, make the most of it.
And with the kids.
They don't know any different, because that is how it always was, even before they had kids. Their kids are fine, and they know Daddy works hard and is very important at work, and at home.

In his line of work. it is not like you can just get another job just like it. He thrives in his work. Thus, he is a happy Husband and Man. And he thrives at home too. Which makes their marriage, good/solid and doable.

Her Husband, cannot cut his hours. He even if very high up the food chain, he does have a Boss. And he has to travel too. And, when his higher ups are in town.
Her Husband, also gets home about 8:00pm. And he goes to work early, too.

The thing is, this is their life. He loves his job. He is also a good man and husband and Dad. She loves her job. Her kids are happy. She is happy. But they do make the most of their family time, when he is home. And they do make time for each other too.

Rationally, she will not tell him to find another job. His job is very unique and important in the community as well. Without him, his organization would not be where it is today. Nor helping those who need the help. And he is there for his family too. There have been many times, he has taken days off, to be at their kids occasions and pick ups or drop offs.

So, they are basically fine.
The job her Husband has, is something he is very talented at and born to do. To have him leave that and get another job, would be a sacrifice for his being and soul. He is very good at it. He not only provides a great life for his family, but also, does step up in many ways as a Husband and Dad. He knows... his job is demanding, so he also, even if very tired and stressed, WILL and is, there for his family and wife. And he is always, available. He is not selfish about it.

He has even on his off days, come over to my house for a play-date with his kids and my kids. And then let his wife, do her appointments/errands on her own, for her own Mommy time. Then they go home and have a nice family dinner together.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

At this point and time I would just grin and bear it. My husband was in a very high position and was laid off. He did not find another job for 2 years! That was really rough. He had a hard time finding a position because he was over qualified. Thankfully, he now has another job. He is currently working on one of his series test. He is out the door at 5:30am and is home some nights by 8 or 9pm. I don't complain, just support. I understand it is rough right now, but take it for what it is. He has a good job and you have a good income. You are luckier than you realize.

Enjoy the moments you have when you are with him.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I completely understand, my husband works about those same hours. You said your husband loves his job and that is so important-if he is forced to change job he might get something he hates, and that could cause a lot of issues also. If you are a stay at home mom and your son doesn't have to be up at any certain time, I would work on changing his schedule to stay up later and have some time w/his daddy. Also, Sunday would be 'there' day to hang out together

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Find out if he has lunchtime available and make dates with him. Part time daycare - 2-3 days or 1/2 days would probably be fun for your son, and you can have some "us" time and some you time. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

Be happy he has a job, and one that allows you to stay home at that. In this economy, at literally any moment layoffs can happen. We just had round 1 of layoffs in our office last week, round 2 is coming this next week, and if I'm lucky enough to survive that, I figure I might have another few months before the company folds. I'm sure my family wishes I were around more, but at this point, anyone who isn't in the office long hours has a target on their back, and my husband knows that. So, we put up with my crazy work hours and sock money away into savings, knowing a rainy day is coming.

My point is, I know you say you're willing to get a part time job so he can work less, but it's not always like that. If your husband pulls back to 40 hours per week, then your part-time job will be all your family might be living on. I don't mean to freak you out, and probably your husband is doing a good job of insulating you from this reality, but for now, you probably just need to grin and bear it. Get some more hobbies, meet your husband for lunch every now and then... make it work somehow. Above all, try to be supportive. It's hard having your family's entire well-being on your shoulders and knowing the kind of hours you have to keep up in order not to fail them. =(

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

If he is a high level executive as you describe, if his hours changed his salary would NOT. So let's put the $$ issue aside (for now)

I would not change your two year olds schedule to accommodate his father's late schedule.

How can you ease your pain? You could try to make a couple of lunch dates with him during the week--even if you just bring a picnic and enjoy it in his office. You could plan some late dinners (8 isn't bad) the baby could be down and dinner could be romantic and sometimes sexy!!

Although you miss him, you could let him know how grateful you are to have a husband and father who works so hard to support the family, when so many parents (as you have seen on this site) don't have employment or in the case of single parents, are dealing with absent parents who don't give a rats A if their child has a roof over their head.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

I can relate to your situation in many ways. Mine is somewhat different but some of the same frustrations. Unfortunately, there's not much you can do but you're not alone at all. Suggestions are to see if it's possible he gets home earlier and does an hour of work or so from home after your son is in bed. I know many men who do that. Since you can afford it, get some help to make sure you don't go crazy and you outsource as much as possible. Take as much off your husband's plate aside from work as possible so if he's not working, he's with you guys and relaxing. I'm sure this is hard on him too. It is sad and frustrating but you can think how it's not uncommon for kids to not see their father all that much - not optimal but not necessarily harmful if handled right. Also, while I'm suggesting you hire help etc, also make a plan for potential early retirement or a career switch. Later years of your son and husband being together a lot are probably more important than these early years.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

I hear you! My husband is a doctor in residency and works 98 hours a week on average. What we started doing is 2 times a week going up to his work and eating lunch as a family because he is not able to eat dinner as a family. We eat at the caf which is 5 dollars for the whole family or I pack a lunch that day.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Colorado Springs on

Be thankful your husband has a job - and one that he loves. A husband out of work, or in a job he can't stand, isn't fun to have around at all.

Your situation isn't unusual for any woman with an ambitious husband; you have to do quite a bit of time-sharing that other women may not have to do.

You have some good advice already. Let your husband know how special he is to you - without being demanding or adding any "buts." He IS special to you no matter what, right? Put little notes in his briefcase or on his mirror, unless that sort of thing annoys him, or you. Every week or so, schedule an appointment with him and take him out to lunch. Don't conceal the fact that you miss his being at home, but don't sound whiny (because, unhappily, he'll just remember the whininess and not the message).

Pay special attention to this: Since he's gone so much, use that "gone" time for something YOU (and your son) can really enjoy doing. (What are your personal interests? They're important!).

You can't change your husband, and I suspect you don't really want to. Manage your time and your attitude so that your husband MAY start to think, "Hey, I'm glad I married that woman. Why don't I see her more?" I'm aware that it isn't overtly assertive, which is the preferred method these days, but sometimes sugar works a whole lot better than vinegar does.

If you two can interact well enough to discuss the matter, then you might suggest some counseling - for the sake of your son, who is getting older by the day. After your husband thinks about it for a while, he may want to find out how to hold a high-level job and be a great daddy at the same time.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

My husband works about the same hours. I know how you feel. It really is hard when they are gone so much. We try to make sundays a big day. We grill, play games with the kids, go to IHOP... :) I also make sure either fri or sat night is a night for just my husband and i. It is very important to enjoy the time that you do have together. In our case we need the overtime. We are a family of 6 on a small income.

Please know that you are not alone.

ps. We eat dinner about 8 every night, just so we can have a family dinner. It is very important to me :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I haven't read the other response....but I'm in the same boat...My husband's has been very blessed at work and is a huge success and works super long hours and travels on top of it....

I'm wondering if you and toddler can get dressed up and go out for lunch with hubs once in a while? That way you see each other when you're both more awake and not just ready for sleep.

And like you, I have made those same schedule alterations wanting the baby to stay up later to have some time with dad. I napped along with the kids when they were smaller and we would have time in the evening together. It was a nice compromise that you'll outgrow once your little one starts school. Now we often come home at the same time in the evening after activities.

Not every work situation is perfect. I wish they had never made such "Leave It To Beaver" type of movies making so many people think that was a normal life style. I honestly don't know anyone who works just M-F, 8-5 kind of jobs.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

It sounds rough, sorry sweety, everyone is trying to fit there "role" in the family. Discuss it with your hubby, what could it hurt? It takes two to tango in a relationship, right? It may sound easy to me, but that is because i have built a strong foundation with my hubby, that is what your marriage needs. Just tell your husband that you love him and miss him.
Good Luck sweety.
- Freakingrockstarmama

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I have a husband that works longer hours than yours and also travels a lot. You are lucky your husband is in the door at 8pm. mine is rarely earlier than 9:30. We eat, do homework, take bath and read stories, and kids are in bed before he comes home. I found it easier to accept that and to work around that than to be unhappy about it. I would not suggest that forcing a child to take naps so he can be up to see daddy is a good idea….2 y/o is not going to remember any of that anyway….making life as normal as possible for kids is what worked for me. My 3 y/o seems very matter of fact about Daddy not being there a lot, he sometimes wakes up in the morning and when Daddy is home he is happy and surprised, says: “Papa, you are not working today? Not flying on the airplane far away?” My husband says: “No, I am with you guys today. What do you want to do?” My son will immediately come up with something he wants to do with Daddy and those happy moments last in his memory for a while. For a 3 y/o the trip to London sounds the same as the trip to a grocery store. He doesn’t know the difference. Daddy has to make time for the kids not them for him. If it is only one day he has to spend with them – let it be a one good day! They will remember that and look forward to their next time together.
When I realized my husband was busy and his work very much defines him as a person I learned to look for support and help elsewhere. You cannot change him you can only change your outlook on things. I have a 13 y/o and a 3y/o – my boys are extremely attached to me. We all accepted that Daddy is busy but we are the core, the family, always together. That will be your reward; you will be very close to your boy. Daddy will fit in the picture in his own way as the time goes by, just stay positive and explain to the child that Daddy is making money so you can have a good life. As your boy gets older he will understand that better.
I am very supportive of my husband climbing the totem pole. I know he is worried about the economy about his and our future and I trust he does his best all the time. You husband sounds like the same kind of guy.
If you need some more encouragement or support feel free to PM me anytime.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I am so sorry, sweetie. I've been on both sides of this issue and neither one is fun. It may not seem like it but this, too, shall pass.

There've been some great suggestions (I love the lunch dates idea!) and support offered here. I hope you find a way to achieve a better balance for your family. Help your husband stay grounded any way you can. Sometimes, being so involved with your work can lead to a failure to understand what you have at home. Also, sometimes hard working execs lose sight of how hard working their wives are to make sure everything runs smoothly on the home front.

Hug --

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

since he makes good money, sock it away so he can retire early & comfortably.....then you can enjoy eachother while sitting on a beach sipping a fruity least that's what i tell myself since my husband works long hours too

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Go do what you want to do, whether paid or volunteer. Your son is old enough to enjoy some time with other kids at a daycare and soon pre-school. Make your own life, so you have more to talk about when your husband gets home!



answers from Harrisburg on

The question is what is he like when he does come home? Is he a family man/husband who tries to do his part with you and your son when he gets home even though he is tired, or is he expecting you to do it all, etc?

It must be tough not being able to see him, but could you perhaps take your son and have lunch with him daily?

If you don't have time to talk much less fight/argue, then I would question what has him working so hard? It's understandable if as a big guy he has major role to play, but because he is IN that position, it should also give him more flexibility to do what he has to do at home and occasionally delegate.

If there was a major project or deadline I could understand, but not everyday and he is not single...that's odd.

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