Work/Life Balance with Kids
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Work/Life Balance with Kids
I have been with my husband for 10 years, married for the last five.
We have two young children. He is very successful in his career and I
feel very grateful that he has a well paying job, we have a nice home,
and we are in a good financial place. But...
For the last couple years, as he moved forward in his career, he works
longer and longer hours and travels constantly (as in, often, a few
days per week.) He's in advertising, so needs to go to this or that
place for the productions. This is an industry that doesn't seem to
put to much value on ''family time'' and the days are long.
When traveling, he often doesn't finish work till late, so then goes
out and it's all expenses paid dinners/drinks at fancy places...often
till late because they wrap up late...while I sit at the table with my
kids and mac and cheese night after night. I can't help but feel
irritated by this. I do trust him, and he checks in constantly while
he is out/away and talks about how much he misses us, but it's so
lonely being the only one at home so often.
When he is in town, it's long nights and sometimes weekends depending
on work demands, but I will say that when he's off work...his family
is his priority and he spends his time with us. He is a loving and
gentle man and in other than this, he is very good to us.
We moved around a lot, to follow his career, although now I think we
are settled for awhile, but the moves have been tough. I quit my job
to be a stay at home mom, and am now living further from family and
friends. It's isolating.
I am depressed. I find myself resenting him for the hours he works,
for missing some of our kids' events, for never being able to schedule
things more than a few days out (and even sometimes that is hit or
miss.) Just when I think he'll be around for a bit, boom, it's more
travel and late nights. We fight about his schedule constantly, and
he says he's caught between a rock and a hard place trying to keep his
job while still being a good dad/husband.
I am at a crossroads. I know he's working hard to provide for the
family, and yet I would trade in some of the financial security for
our family to feel whole again. I'm beginning to question if the job
will always come before family, if my resentment will just keep
building. Am I being fair? Is this selfish? I'd love to hear from
any other women with traveling or workaholic husbands, and how they
Married But Alone
This sounds so painfully lonely, and sad. My heart goes out to you., and your
children The questions you ask sound tailor made for couples counseling.
Remember the two of you are a team, and if half the team isn't happy then
that's something worthy of serious attention. Good luck.
It sounds like you may need to ask yourself some tough
questions. Are you willing to give up your financial
security to have more time with your husband? Let me tell
you, that may not be as good as it sounds. My husband has a
low-paying job that never requires traveling. I am the
family breadwinner, but I don't make all that much money
either. Our lives are extremely stressful with both of us
working and there never being quite enough money for things
we both took for granted growing up.
If you don't want to lose your husband's income, here are
some possibilities. You may need to develop a hobby or
activity so that your life doesn't revolve around your
husband. Make plans for you and the kids that don't involve
him. Go out to nice places for dinner with the kids -- you
have the money for it! Skip the mac and cheese! Treat
yourself to a nice spa overnight, where they have hotel
daycare. Make friends with other moms in similar situations.
I love to travel on vacation, but my husband hates it, so I
find friends to travel with. Us moms and kids have great
times together. I think if you went traveling and had some
of the fun you think your husband is having, you might feel
less resentful. You don't have to wait for him to be around
to have a life!
Go for it!
I imagine many of us in the Bay Area are in a similar
position to you - our real estate prices are so expensive
that at least one member of the couple has to work
ridiculous hours. My husband has a similar work schedule
to yours. I also work, but both my kids are in school/pre-
school and I'm able to drop them off and pick them up on
I can't say that I never get lonely or depressed, but I
don't blame this on my husband's job or him not being
around. I try to figure out (when I feel like this) - what
is it that I really want or what would make me feel better?
Most of the time, I want friendship or a night out (to
swallow my food) or some exercise or other people in my
house for adult conversation. So I've tried to fill those
needs when they come up by getting a sitter for a night, so
I could have some time away from the kids or switching off
with another parent (it's often easier to take care of 4
kids when two of them are not yours, so the kids play
together - than just 2 of your own) to get a little
See if there are other parents with workaholic partners in
your area. At least you can share dinners once in a while
and laugh about the fact that mac-n-cheese is your regular
dinner. You don't talk about missing being treated as a
professional, but if you feel your kids are ready for
preschool or a day program 2-3 days per week, it's worth
looking for some sort of volunteer or work opportunity
during that time - IF it would make you feel better.
I can't stress how important exercise is for me. Just
taking a 20 minute walk once per day or swimming laps and
taking a shower a couple times a week is a life saver.
Best of luck to you
Well it all depends on one aspect you haven't mentioned.
Do you work? If you do you are justified, if you don't
then you need to find a venue to feel better about
For the first 2 years of my son's life i stayed home and
my husband worked a job like your husband, minus the
traveling. He was gone (and still is) 13 hours a day
(sometimes more). At the time he spent 2 hours in the
morning with our son. Now that his hours have changed, he
sees him 1/2 hour to 1 hour a day. He spends his entire
week end doing things with us.
There are so much expectations out there..money, nice
houses, perfect families...and then lots of divorce
because of too many unrealistic expectations. I think you
can choose to have a different life if you both agree. But
if you ask him to simply work less it's not going to go
well. he is holding up his end of the bargain very well
and you'd be surprised how many husbands DON''T. First you
should figure out WHY you feel that way. if it's because
you feel alone and unfilfilled it's not his job to fix
that. So socialize more, volunteer, work a little.
Whatever it might be try to own it and fix it.
You can't have your cake and eat it too...everyone i know
that has that type of life, including us, either both
parents work crazy hours, or one works insane hours. And
in the advertising industry it's very normal.
That said, you are unhappy. really you are a bit envious
and a bit bored it sounds like. Either you should
socialize more, work a little or even volunteer a little,
depending on what is actually possible. If it's too awful
then you need to talk to him and maybe you could
reevaluate your life...as in, he could take a job that
pays less and gives him more family time and you could
supplement by working or you could downsize, sell your
house and rent while the kids are growing up and need more
You said you trust him, you said he spends all the free
time he has with you. Those are great signs. Obviously he
works hard to provide a good life for his family since you
are financially stable and have a nice home. That has a
price. And it's that he is gone often.
Sigh, nothing is ever perfect, but I would count your
blessings. I could only wish for such a situation. My
partner is hard working (I think), but earns almost
nothing, gives it all away in child support, and I end up
supporting the him and my two kids here (and doing most of
the housework). At least he is good to the kids, has few
bad habits, and is around sometimes.
OH boy, does my heart go out to you! I have totally been
there and came out of it in ways better than I could have
imagined! Now, I work as a life coach, helping parents
cope with the many transitions we go through on our
journey from giving birth to the empty nest. Back then, I
found great comfort and great friends by finding others in
similar situations. I started up a ''lonely hearts club''
for Mom's whose husbands traveled a lot or worked late and
I found they were easy to find once I started asking
around! We would get together every week for dinner at
each others houses and boy did it help! It wasn't fancy
dinners but it was fun, supportive, relaxing and busy, all
at the same time. Don't overlook neighbors, single Moms
or Moms whose husbands play or coach sports (they
are ''seasonal widows''). I think you are doing the
right thing by reaching out to other Moms, they need you
as much as you need them!
Take Care and Good Luck!
I would be depressed too. And your story, although
different from mine, has a common thread: As a mother I
thought a big part of my job was to endure any situation
independently. So in essence, I took on the kids'
schedules, the kids' homework, the kids' social lives,
planning our family vacations from a-z, maintaining the
home and preparing meals for the family. In the end, it
was far too much and I had a mental breakdown. At that
time in my life, others told me I was a perfectionist
covering way too many bases, and neglecting myself all the
while. So here I type, a more balanced woman, wife and
mother. I am a work in progress, but I must say with
mindfullness, many positive changes have come my way. I am
so much happier and far more balanced. My husband
appreciates me more as well -- he sees that I am investing
in myself and he respects me for that. My husband and I
are in marital therapy, I am making time for my physical
health (I started yoga which I would recommend), I am
considering what my interests are beyond my family. I am
investing in childcare and giving myself more time and
space. I hire a sitter regularly (expensive but worth it)
to go out with my husband, sometimes in the company of
friends. If you are depressed because your husband is
absent, you deserve to ask him for what you need. If he
cannot give it to you initially, then at least create space
Best to you
Sorry to hear about your depression. You could go to a
doctor to make sure there is nothing wrong with you; but it
is understandable why you are depressed.
By your message; sounds like you have a lot to be grateful
for. Trust me, not being able to buy your child clothes or
meals out or worrying how you will pay rent is a big
streesor that you dont have. Also, your husband is involved
when he can so that shows you have a good man who really
Your good man is also very motivated to succeed in his
career. If he gave this up; he would be the depressed one.
A mans career and being able to provide for his family is a
strong sense of identity. If you convinced him to switch
careers to accomodate you then it is very possible he will
end up bitter and no longer the man you love today.
With that said...can't you use some of that money for
yourself. Tell your husband you are interviewing
nannies/babysitters so you can have free time both when he
is away and during the day to do things that nurture you.
Your husband needs to accept that you need your personal
time and you can use this to connect with friends, exercise
(very good for depression), volunteer or make new friends.
This will go a long way to easing your depression. Getting
out of the house and letting someone care for your kids
will go a long way.
Since money is not an issue, this should be a good start.
Also, your husband may not be too happy with this and it
may cause a shift in him knowing that you are not always at
home 100% of the time caring for his children. Take a stand
and let him know there are changes coming. Also, can you
leave him alone some time with the kids? He needs to walk
in your shoes (slippers)!
All I can say is I know someone who worked in Advertising
for 25 years and his work hours and travel sound the same
as your husbands. I think that is expected for that
industry. I think it is also an industry that spits you
out when you can't keep up with that schedule. If your
husband hates his job then I'd encourage you guys to
rethink his career choice. But if he finds the work
exciting and satifying, I suggest you get some counseling
together to see if things can be balanced a little more to
make you happier. There are other careers also that have
extreme time or travel demands and people make it work
when they want it to.
I hear you, and I'm so sorry you're experiencing this. My
situation is similar, though my husband comes home around
7pm but works on house projects in the basement till 2 or
3am and all weekend long (installing solar panels, a radiant
floor heating system, seismic retrofitting, etc -- all by
himself). So I feel totally alone. I used to get so
depressed, angry, frustrated, disillusioned, sad -- this is
not the marriage I want. But something has happened in me --
I don't like it, but it's how I'm coping. I've become
indifferent. When he's around, I am happy that he is such a
wonderful Papa. And, I am incredibly grateful that he's such
a good provider and caretaker. But I have stopped waiting
for him to be present, and I have started feeling that when
he is around it's like icing on the cake. Nonessential, but
marvelous nonetheless. So that when he's absent, I don't
feel depressed. It's weird to feel so indifferent, but it's
working. I love my son so much that I can be completely
happy with him, and I try to treat every moment as if it's
special, and I don't think about waiting for my husband for
something to be special. I make nice dinners for the two of
us (baby and me, with leftovers for daddy). I go to the
ocean and play with my son and my dog, and for the most part
I've actually stopped feeling sad when I see all the
two-partner families happily playing together. I have made
an effort to join a mama's group and sometimes I get
together with other families (I always feel a little bad
that my husband didn't join us, but then I remember to feel
grateful for the fun outing). It's not what I want in a
marriage or a family. But it's what I have, and things seem
so much better now that my emotional life is not dependent
on whether he is present or not. When he's around, I feel I
can really embrace our family time. When he's gone, I try to
forget about him and just be 100% present with my son. I try
really hard to connect with other people (though my natural
tendency is to be more solitary). And, I always try to be
grateful. I have so much to be grateful for, and just
remembering that helps me feel happy. Studies have shown
that the more grateful you are, the more happy you are, and
I can certainly attest to the truth of that. I hope that
things will change in the future, but my emotions are not
dependent on that hope, either. Things are much better for
Grateful and Happy
It is time to schedule a talk with him. Tell him how
unhappy you are and ask to negotiate for a better future.
Do the negotiations by brainstorming with abandon and
being respectful of each other.
If he feels he can not change his career path, work
together to spend more time together (start taking trips
with him often and finding alternative child care people,
Find time for each other and then the family to keep the
bond strong and feel connected.
Perhaps have a calendar to go over each week to schedule
time together and for him to attend functions for the kids.
You must be persistant and tell him this is not going to
blow over. That it is critical now and must be addressed
and worked on together as husband and wife.
I used to be in much the same boat as you -- husband
working all the time, little ones at home, moved far from
family and friends. I worked too which was also stressful
since we had part time childcare and I did almost
everything at home on top of my 40 hours/week at work. And
I had given up a high-powered job that I loved to get a
mellower job so that someone could be with the kids more.
But, from the start we had an end date (when he got tenure)
which made it more survivable.
Instead of fighting all the time about his schedule, can
you talk to him? Ask if he envisions his life to be like
this forever. Ask if he would be willing to do this for 3
more years or 5 more years and then get a mellower job.
Then work on saving as much as you possibly can during
those years. Pay off your house. Save for the kids'
education. Build up a nest egg.
You might also want to see if you can go back to work, at
least part time. Having more of a life yourself might make
you feel better.
BTW, when he is on the road, going out to those dinners and
drinks with co-workers and clients are part of his job. He
probably wishes he were at home eating mac & cheese with
you just as much as you wish you were going out to fancy
I'm not sure I have much advise for you but here's a true
story. My cousin's husband was very much like yours worked
and traveled all the time. family moved at least 6 times as
he was transferred around, finally was promoted so they
settled in one area and he didn't have to travel so much.
became more of a family man with a more balanced life. then
his company was bought and the new owners gave him an
ultimatum - take a demotion for less pay and previous hours
with the old traveling life-style or take 6 mo severance
and leave. He took the severance. He did find a job in
spite of the economy but he earns half what he did before
and they will probably lose their nice house.
It's hard to choose between financial security and a decent
life. This may or may not be time to make that choice given
the times. you say ''I know he's working hard to provide for
the family'' this is a big deal for many men and there's a
lot of pressure to do what it takes.
You also say, ''I would trade in some of the financial
security for our family to feel whole again.'' Would you
really? how much security? would you then look for a job to
share the burden? Would you be able to earn enough to come
out ahead of the hourly costs of childcare?
YOu mention feeling resentment, it may not feel liek it but
resent is a choice you make. you can get yourself a life to
occupy you while he works, as long as you wait around
wishing you will be resentful but you do have to. If you
feel like you can't plan because his schedule is
unpredictable then schedule stuff that can include him or
stuff you can just cancel. You have my sympathy, I'm not in
your space but if I was, I don't think I'd like it much.
But you do have options other than the ones you mentioned.
Dear Depressed (Husband works too much),
I felt compelled to write to you because your story could be mine, and you are
not alone in feeling the way you do. I have struggled with my husband's
schedule for many many years while everything else is good. I realized many
years ago that the work/travel hours were not going to change and it was a
turning point because I started to let go of the resentment as it was, subtly,
affecting our children and home life and corrosive for me. I too am a
professional who stopped working to stay home with the kids as our
combined work-life was impossible to sustain. Basically, I decided that my
job was the home and family front. I began to relax into this job, with the
kids, and began doing a lot more for myself, pursuing some other creative
interests through classes over the years (UC extension/ASUC, cooking,
literature, photography, exercise etc.), and making my home really livable.
This takes a while, and while life can be somewhat isolated, there are great
aspects to it. Raising children, having a loving home, being in a marriage,
these are worthwhile things in life to surrender to and it can take many years
to do so because we are educated and trained to do everything but value this.
I feel for your situation....as I was in your exact position 4 years ago. Yes,
your husband's work will be a priority.....and it's difficult to complain to the
neighbors or other moms if you are driving a nice care and finances are fine.
If your husband is missing all important child events and starts canceling
holidays, etc....I would be worried....but tread water when you confront him. I
started complaining to my husband (now ex) and it was a risk I
took....because he was very sensitive and thought I didn't appreciate the
money/lifestyle he provided. I was a stay at home mom and had to look
within myself and decide if this is what I would want for me and my life and
also my kids. If you went back to work....would your kids have good support
from family. Or, would they be with a nanny? You have to decide what you
want for yourself. If you want changes in your family situation....you need to
confront them and talk to your husband....but realize that there's a possibility
he may not support you or change his lifestyle. I decided to go the nanny way
to take time for myself...but I continued to by unsatisfied cuz my ex was still
not there for kid events or weekend holiday fun. Finally, I had to ask for
counseling ww My ex was completely enthralled in his work..traveling for 2
weeks straight to various projects and reading technical books and taking
business calls at night. We went into counseling and the marriage ended up
ending. I was devastated for my boys....who are still very young as well.
Despite my worry for the boys, I am much happier as a person. I have a
luxury of having enough money where I still don't need to work much. If you
would like to discuss more...please email me.
I'm married and both my husband and I work full time. We
try really hard to make things 50-50 and share equally in
both providing for our family and raising our kids when
we're home. So I don't blame you for feeling resentful.
Boy, this raises my hackles as a feminist. It's so common
in our society! Here's my thinking: the best parenting is
done as a shared job. It was a mutual decision to have
kids and raising them needs to be a mutual task, shared in
partnership. This requires some sacrifice on the part of
both people. You've sacrificed everything. Your husband
has sacrificed nothing. He's going way beyond the basic
job of providing for his family. It's easy to get lost in
careerism. Time to pull him back. This is just my personal
opinion but it's not okay for your husband to continue
advancing his career. He's pursuing his personal career
goals at the expense of his relationship with you and his
family. Time to ask him to reprioritize and scale back his
job, even look for a different career, so it's more in
line with family life. He can always ramp up his career
again as the kids get older, leave the house. As he
downscales, you could take a part time job to help balance
things. Advocate for your kids and yourself. All the best.
Hi! Me, too. Before we had our daughter (we are currently
expecting our second), my husband and I were workaholics
with successful careers. We'd do fun things together
whenever schedule permitted. But as soon as we got married
and had our daughter, I realised a definite shift in my
focus, while my husband has unfortunately lagged behind. It
has been over 2 years and we are expecting our second in a
few months, and I still have to bitterly fight and struggle
with the skewed work-life balance. At times, I feel bitter -
bc he is the one forging ahead with his career, while mine
is on hold. But I know this is a false emotion, because I
would not trade taking care of my kids at this critical
stage for anything in the world. And, also for their sake, I
want a home where there is plenty of family time, a regular
work schedule that does not eat into our time together, and
an obvious focus on building us as a family versus
job/financial security. In the end, to me, building a strong
family and social network where the kids have memories of a
golden childhood is far more meaningful than building
individual careers, living in isolation, just so we can have
a fat bank account. My husband argues that being an
entrepreneur this will always be his life. I disagree, and
feel despair. If he does not internalize the importance of
shoving everything aside so he can be with us, even if that
means having less ''stuff'', less money, I am not sure how I
will provide for my kids the way we were by my parents - in
fabulous memories of parties, picnics, vacations, fun
together. I feel like my husband has to be strongly rebooted
into understanding that it is not acceptable for him to
arrange our family life around his work. It is a tough
situation, bc mine like your's is a wonderful, sweet, gentle
man. But things will have to change around our house. I
cannot continue with the way things are, and I am determined
to bring about that change in mind-set before our second
arrives. Mostly this is accomplished through extensive talks
that we try to have regularly..Hang in there. I hear you
loud and clear...
Hello Married But Alone,
I'm so sorry that your husband and you haven't been spending
the amount of regular, predictable quality time together
that you desire. It's great that you are listening to
yourself and taking action by seeking advice.
One next step you can take is to figure out exactly, and
specifically what you want and don't want in your ideal life
with your husband and children. Then you can start to write
down a list of what you want in that ideal life. Keep
refining! Don't settle for: "I want my husband and I to
spend more time together," instead write: "I want my husband
to spend time with me and our kids between 6pm and 9pm every
weekday, and all waking hours of Saturday and Sunday, except
for the 5 hours when he will go to grandma's, and also pick
up the dry cleaning." You get what I mean. Wrap yourself
up in this beautiful dream.
The next goal here is to make sure you communicate with him
so that he understands you are not attacking him, you are
simply communicating exactly what you want - to be with him
because you love him! Acknowledge his feelings, and also
that his job is a huge part of his identity, his competence,
and his survival. Then ask him how he feels or thinks about
the situation. Make sure you absorb his ideas from a neutral
place, not reacting to them, just letting them sit in your
mind, the way you hope yours will sit in his mind. When you
discuss ideas in a caring way, and approach with empathy,
your ideas have deeper impact.
One third step you can take is to find ways to slowly create
the life you want without changing someone else. For
instance, maybe you could find a way to come and bring the
kids on some of his trips, so you'll be together in the
hotel room. Or have a friend watch the kids, and go with him
alone sometimes. These might not be your solutions, but
nurture your dreams and find the path which calls to you! I
wish you well on your journey! Lauren
i just wanted to validate your husband's feelings of feeling caught between a
rock and a hard place. i'm a mom, and i also work in advertising, at an
agency where there are both super-high expectations AND lots of people
waiting in the wings, eager to take my place.
before i had my son, i worked all the time: nights, weekends, you name it. since becoming a
mom, i constantly feel like i'm screwing up both at home
and at work. at work, you just can't be the person who consistently says no, i
can't stay late or no, i can't go on production or no, i can't take on any more
projects. it will leave you extremely vulnerable, especially in this economy.
just as in your situation, my income is our only income, and it's scary as hell
to have that weight on your shoulders.
after changing jobs several times in search of a more family-friendly
situation (which i don't think exists), i ultimately chose to take on a role that's
pretty dull for me, but offers more predictability on the home front. it's
depressing to see other people pass me by, but have to hope that eventually
i'll be able to go back to working on stuff i care about. in the meantime, i'm
trying to focus on the positives: i'm providing for my family and spending
more time with my son than a lot of other parents who work in advertising.
your husband may be able to work less, but it will come at a cost. greater
marginalization/vulnerability at work, maybe. or doing work that's not as
great...which can also make him less marketable in the future, since getting
new job offers always comes down to ''what have you worked on lately.''
it's tempting to consider a less challenging agency, but if your husband is on
the more senior side (ACD or above), an agency that pays less or has lower
expectations can actually end up being more stressful and time-consuming,
since the work still has to get done, but there are fewer motivated/talented
people to do it.
allllll that being said, your concerns are TOTALLY valid. i would feel the same
resentment you do. i think you should try and approach the subject knowing
that he probably feels equally bad/guilty/stressed/depressed about it, and
discuss the risks versus the benefits of reducing his time at work.
again, i know you wanted to hear from people who were in the same
situation as you, but i wanted to let you know that it's really, really, really
hard on both sides of the equation.
It would be great if you could accept that your husband is
and will not be available as much as you would like. In
many ways you need to reframe your situation - you are a
single Mom. Enjoy him when he is there as a perk and
create your own life. Join or create a Mom's group (with
some single Mom's), plan a regular weekly dinner with your
kids and another family, plan vacations without your
husband. It is more common that you think. Just don't plan
on him being there. Make some more friends. Take the kids
out to eat more. Your kids will not be young much longer
and what a tragedy if you miss their childhood resenting
the mac & cheese.
My husband is not available also. I choose to stay. It is
not the perfect nuclear family but my life is full and
rich. He is happier I'm not mad all the time.
I would trade for your situation in a heartbeat. Have you ever lived with not
enough or barely enough money? It's the worst. Your life sounds wonderful to
me. The only issues you have are a little loneliness and perhaps jealousy of
your husband's more social and exciting life. These are not difficult issues in
the scheme of things, especially in a comfortable financial position. How
about hiring some help for a few days or evenings a week and finding an
interesting class to take or a social group to join? There are many moms out
there who have to spend a lot of time alone with their kids -- you could try to
find them via BPN, craigslist, Studio Grow, etc. and start a group, maybe trade
off having dinners out or at each other's houses.
I think you should appreciate what you have -- a loving, faithful, and hard-
working husband, a nice home, and a comfortable financial position. Sounds
like a dream to me. My husband is a co-owner of a small business and works
seven days a week, so I'm alone with my child a lot in a rental house where I
spend a lot of time worrying about how we'll ever buy a house or pay for
I know it's extremely difficult that your husband is gone so much and I feel
for you regarding that. But try to figure out how to make it work. Try to be
creative about it. You are very, very fortunate to be in the situation you're in,
and in my opinion you should be grateful and proactive, not just tuned in to
the negative part.
My husband works long hours, and we went for years when if I
saw him a couple of hours a day, that was it. Frankly, my
advice is to accept it. At least for now. A couple of things
may make your life easier. Is there a chance that as he gets
more advanced in his profession and senior in his company,
the demands will lessen? It may not be the right time to
change jobs - but maybe thinking ahead a few years? If you
have financial security, can you spend more on yourself, get
someone to look after the kids so you don't feel so
isolated? Getting a job, even if it creates more logistical
issues, may help. Maybe lower your standards for parenting?
You could be making it harder for yourself by thinking you
have to be two parents. Kids are resilient. I will also say
that it gets SO much easier when the kids get older. My
relationships with my kids are very special, in part b/c I
had that alone time with them. There's a silver lining - I
actually enjoy having time alone without a husband to make
demands on me.
I know I don't sound too sympathetic, I just feel like I had
to face the same hard reality and it would have been better
if I had accepted it earlier. It sucks when your life
choices require compromises you thought you'd never make but
sometimes you don't have good options.
One last thing - are you using the word depressed
colloquially or clinically? If it's becoming a mental health
issue, deal with that first and foremost - I found for a
long time I thought the issue was my husband's hours but it
was more complex than that.
you might want to check out the book by mira kirshenbaum
on ''our love is too good to feel this bad''--because, as
some people have said, you do want more time with him
because you love him and i'm guessing that being with the
kids is not only work you want to share but a joy you want
to share, with him. it is really hard, but if you two can come
up with concrete things that he can do to make him more
involved, you will both be happier...the book had lots of
great suggestions. good luck, it sounds like it can get
much better and will....
I scanned responses, without intention to contribute. But
someone has to say it... A nice house is not worth a good
relationship. Period. On the one hand, thinking it does
will make you afraid of reality, of change, of hope. On the
other, it's a priority that will extinguish love, insidiously.
And this too: advertising is hardly a profession to
sacrifice family over. I know that people burn with
ambition, and selling is satisfying at a gut level, but
these passionate feelings are cold as ice compared with family.
To the person who posted, you already understand these
things at some level, which is why your question exists.
Let this understanding grow, and give it to your husband.
You will strengthen your relationship as well as yourself.
Hi Realize you recvd lot's of hits:)add my 2cents.
Work is num.One priority in this house,I'm extremely
grateful for the work.Some responses sounded judgemental
albeit very good advice I needed to HEAR.Remember ''walk a
mile in my shoes.''I love the money,but money doesn't make
me HAPPY.My family and friends are far away,it's hard
being alone ALL THE TIME.It takes time to develop a good
support system.I'm from another country,took me FIVE years
in transient land-ieBay area to have good friends.Try to
talk to one of your close friends Daily.I get resentvle
too.Alleviate some of that&insist on'daddy's night' during
week, any night that works. Grab a bite with friends or
just exercise there's YMCA/late night Yoga.My dh takes
wkend mornings, his childcare routine-morning breakfast,I
try for one day on the wkend, mostly doesn't work out. You
really have to lve house to get time for yourself-I
Realize your goal is more family time.Taking turns with
children's activities-not feasible,his schedule is crazy,
I make lot's of home movies. Get out more and do more
things.We drive over to fisherman's wharf for dinner.Eat
out few times/week all the kiddie spots.We love the rain
forest cafe.It's fun. I just have to accept the
loneliness,create my own life,he's not going to change. If
my husband worked less hours(less than 75)he'd be
miserable.Enjoys being in his zone tremendously,all that
excitement,in same breath tells me how much he misses
us,work responsibilities are beyond his control.He's not
allowed to work wkends anymore, although he just worked
this SAT,that creates resentment. Like you, we have fought
over his schedule, constantly.If you want to spend more
time together,money not an issue get a good counselor.from
Our experience u've got to go through about 5-6 to find a
good match. It's really worth it.My husband trys to make
time for counselling,always late/misses some. Counsellor
reminds me to practice little exercises throughout the
week discourages that resentment.Reminds him to walk a
mile in my shoes.I gave up a beautiful exciting life,I too
get depressed the more he works. Talking to someone will
always make you feel better.Your kids&your husband need
you happy, you have a good man like I do, they're really
hard to find. Take good care of yourself
joining Lonely Mom's Club soon
I'm a mom and have worked for the past 16 years in
advertising. My perspective:
Advertising thrives on competition (especially Creative).
There is a lot of ego involved too. The unfortunate result
of this is the constant need to watch your back. Teams are
pitted against each other on projects and the ''winners'' go
off to produce work. There really is always ''someone in the
wings.'' And that someone is probably 10 -15 years younger
and will work longer days for 40-60% less. Advertising
simply is not ''family friendly.''
This is not to say there aren't a ton of (mostly male)
creatives with families. When I first returned from
maternity leave, I complained bitterly to my husband about
the ''ad guys.'' How could I compete? While I was running to
the pump room and rushing home to tuck my newborn in, they
hung out at the office endlessly and schmoozed over drinks
with the bosses. I had one coworker (with 3 kids) tell me he
came in on weekends ''to get away from the family.'' And
another (2 kids/who I was competing against for a project)
tell me he came in one weekend not to work, but because our
new (male) directors were there. This caused me tremendous
Until I got over it.
I decided for me, my family was more important than my
career. Competing against the ''ad guys'' simply was not
sustainable for myself or my marriage.
I now do work that is less sexy with less production. But,
there's more management and I'm exercising parts of myself
I hadn't before. I don't expect I will be able to easily
step back into ''the good stuff.'' As the other ''ad mom'' said,
you are judged on what you did last week. Oh well.
As I look at my life balance, this is where it needs to be.
It took me awhile to get here. It's not easy to shift from
evaluating an agency/position based on ''what kind of work
you'll get out of it'' to ''when you'll get out of work.'' I
still give long explanations to fellow ''creatives'' for my
current decisions (did I mention the amount of ego involved?)
I encourage you to speak up and let your partner know you
are unhappy and that you need more (my husband told me this
and I listened!) And seek a good counselor.
Ultimately I think having a family means sacrifices from
both partners. [Funny when you choose to have a child you
feel like you're ''adding'' something to your life/marriage -
but it means giving up things too!]
Another Ad Mom
I am a full-time working mother of a toddler trying to find that
work life balance. I have a wonderful job that I love and am
good at (and make a great salary) with a good, understanding
boss as well as a great, helpful husband who works closer to the
house and helps out a lot with our child as well as the
household chores and grocery shopping. We love being with our
child but during the week have only an hour or two by the time
we get home from work, pick her up at daycare, make dinner,
etc. It is hard to do anything after work anymore (pre baby I
used to meet friends for dinner, etc.) but we like coming home
to be with our child. I am also tired all the time!!
But I just feel like I never have enough time for friends
anymore and since our only real free time is the weekends, we
have to make choices - do we see friends, run errands, just
spend time as a family, workout, go out to dinner or cook at
How do you make it all work and fit it without giving up too
much? We only have one child right now but really want a second
and know it only gets harder. Are there working mom support
groups (I was in a mom's group earlier but most were SAH moms so
our issues were very different when we got together and I had
less in common with a career) where you can get together with
other full time career moms and talk about these things?
My husband and I both need to work and really like our jobs. I
just want to feel like I have more balance as a working mom.
full time working mom
I don't have advice, but your letter could have been written by
me, to a tee! I feel for you and would love to hear what others
have to say on this.
My husband and I have been studying under a international
speaker of human transformation and he says it succinctly and
honestly, ''You can't have a pleasure without a pain''. It's a
universal law. We simply can't have it ALL at one time.
Something gets sacrificed.
So, you pace yourself, plan way ahead, you pay people to do
your errands, etc. to free up the time you have to do what you
really want with friends and family. A second child will make
this very apparent.
I think it is so great you have a job you love. That is so
important. If you are happy, your children will be happy.
Staying at home isn't for everyone and don't let them tell you
otherwise. Enjoy your job, your child, your husband and your
friends. If you can work 30 hours instead of 40, go for it.
Being a working mother can be tough (especially in the
beginning) but it is worth it, especially given your overall
situation. Don't give up on your career. My kids (now in
elementary school) are happy, well-adjusted, and proud of what I
do outside the home. Finding the balance is a challenge. Your
child must be your priority. Your social life, personal time
will come back. It will just be different (motherhood changes
everything). I don't know of any local working mother support
groups (we just don't have that kind of time!), but I have
reached out to other working moms through my office and I also
subscribe to Working Mother Magazine (www.workingmother.com).
Good luck and hang in there!
a fellow working mom
It is tough, no doubt about it. The only way we've been able
to work it out is by having one parent work slightly less than
fulltime. I work 4 days a week. I have a friend whose husband
reduced his schedule to 4 days as well while she stayed working
fulltime. I spend my day off doing errands, grocery shopping,
dealing with repair people, paying bills, etc. so we can spend
more family time on the weekends. We also ''outsource'' as much
as possible - we have a cleaning service every other week and a
gardener twice a month - so we don't have to do chores we hate
on the weekends. We don't do any social activities during the
week. Our childless friends we really don't see much at all,
but we try. We do see our other friends with kids a lot
because that allows us to combine family time and friend time.
We get together for game nights or picnics or other family
activities. I would love a moms group with working mothers.
If you start one, I'll join!
I don't have the magic solution to the ol' work-life balance, but
I started a group that might be of interest to you.
It is a play/support group for working moms and dads. We meet
once a month, on the weekend, so the kids can have fun and be
their wacky selves. We do things like potlucks, field trips to
Habitot or the Zoo, etc. We also have some mommy and daddy only
events like movies and moutain biking. The children are almost
all in the official toddler range.
All of the parents work, in some capacity, and we all struggle
with the ''do I go grocery shopping and buy diapers on Saturday,
or spend quality time with my family?'' debate.
Check out our group and send me an email if you are interested:
I completely share in your frustration! We have a 4 year old
and an 18 month old and both work full time. The only friends I
have in the area are co-workers and many of them are
significantly older than me (I am 31). By the time I get off
work and home with the kids I have to cook dinner, clean up, get
the youngest off to bed, dishes, re-braid hair 4 year olds hair,
and convince her to get to sleep!! My husband feels neglected
and I feel like I no longer have any type of life and I secretly
look forward to going to my office since it's the only time I
have to myself. (Except when I lock myself in the bathroom.)
It would be nice if there were working mom's weekend groups.
However, there would need to be a lot of members since I am sure
other things will come up and people will not regularly attend!
You may also look into a play group ring -- I am not sure what
they call it -- but I have read that some families alternate
watching all of the kids. This would ensure you a full house
perhaps once a month and 3 weeks of some time off for a date
with the hubby or window shopping!
I am also a full time working mom with 2 girls 5 & 7. My short
answer is that juggling parenting, family and work is somthing
that changes from week to week and month to month. Some days I
have it under control while on others I feel very run down.
Personally I exercise everyday before everyone has to get up.
That means getting up an hour earlier than my children and being
ready for the day before I wake the family. I have a treadmill
at home which helps. Exercise is the thing that keeps me sane
and healthy. I try to go to bed no later then 10pm and earlier
if possible. I am tired alot of the time, but exercise
definetly helps. Next, I am learning to say no. You cannot do
everything and somethings need to be put aside. Third, I keep
our meals very simple and use the time to be with the kids (my 5
year old loves to wash lettuce and wash tupperware, so we talk
while we are ''working'', my 7 year old will read to us too) It
doesn't always work, but sometime kids just want you there, you
don't have to be engaged 100%. By the time I get home and put
them to bed, I feel as if I have worked harded than the entire
day! But that is the way it is for now. Next, I also do errands
during work (if I am out of the office I may have to stop by
Target on my way back, for instance). I also do my weekly
grocery shopping early saturday and my laundry on Sunday (and if
I get it folded and put away I am way ahead). The point is, I
need to have my responsibilities structured so that they get
done, and then I can do the fun things. I suspect that I will
struggle with finding the balance or juggling the
responsibilities until my children have children, but these
little things help me. Focusing on what is important is key and
learning to give up some things (temporarily) helps. My job is
flexible but demanding and I am my own manager, but somehow it
is working (probably because that is the way it is). A few last
thoughts, look forward to spring when the days are warmer and
longer and you can go for a walk before dinner or take dinner to
the park (can't we eat samwiches or have take out for dinner?).
Have fun and laugh with your kids. Decorate your walls at work
with their art (mine looks like an art center) and talk about
your kids so they stay in your thoughts all day. Good luck and
if you every get wind of a great piece of artwork of someone
juggling, let me know, I want to hang it up.
I think that women have been sold a bunch of hooey about having
it all. In my opinion, you can't have it all, all at once and
stay sane. Working part-time works for me. I can always pick up
my career again, but my children will only be young once.
I am the single, full-time working mom of a preschooler. It is
very easy to feel in a rut during winter. In my experience, it
works to make plans for a couple of weeknights per week. Such
as, Tuesday evening at 7pm I will run errands; Thursday evening
at 7pm I will go to the gym; Friday evening we will have carry-
out for dinner and go for a flashlight walk. It also gets
easier when your child is a little older as well as during
daylight savings when you and yours can play outside after
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