Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Married Working Father in School = No Alone Time

"SELFISH" IN SPRINGFIELD wrote in to Dear Abby:

For the last five years I have had no time for myself.
Not good.

I'm 30 and have a wonderful wife and two daughters, 7 and 4. I work a 40-hour week and go to school full-time.
Well yeah, that will do it. Let me guess... the reason you're going to school full-time now is because you were busy getting married and making babies when you should have been finishing you education?

I don't want to sound selfish, because I know that my priorities are my wife and daughters, and I enjoy spending "quality time" with them. But I also feel that every other week or so, I should be able to get away for a few hours by myself to enjoy 18 holes of golf or go fishing.
Well yeah, that's the way things should be, but when does your family get to see you?

If I tell my wife I'm going to do something, she makes me feel guilty. If I ask, she gives me the third degree. I know she doesn't need or want time to herself because I have asked her repeatedly if she does, hoping she'd return the favor -- but she doesn't give me "permission."
She thinks that because she doesn't need time alone, you don't either. You could have more, legitimately, if you weren't going to school full-time. Higher education is optional. But then your wife might still be unhappy. Are you keeping yourself busy to avoid her? You describe her as "wonderful" but it sounds like she is insecure and emotionally needy.

How do I find time for myself and tell my wife without upsetting her?
You can't. Her feelings are hers, and they aren't necessarily rational.

Dear Abby responded:

You have a full schedule and you deserve quality time for yourself.
Not at the expense of his children.

And be sure to tell her that having some time to yourself will make you a better husband and father -- because it's the truth.
You can't be better at something if you're never around to do it.

Here it is, people. Do your education before you get married and before you have kids. Or it waits until your kids are grown.

I feel for the guy, but he chose his wife and he created this situation.

My wife knew early on I needed and wanted my alone time. And yet, I hardly get any ever, and I'm not going to school. Why don't I get any time alone? Because I have a career, I have a household to help run. I have kids to raise. The kids need their father. My "alone time" is almost entirely confined to being stuck in traffic when I'm driving alone, usually work-related.

I recently gave my wife a break. I suspect she spends more time shopping than she needs to, just to have the time, but I wanted to give her a block of time, so I named a day and told her she was to do with that day whatever she wanted. I was responsible for the kids without her help. She enjoyed it, and I was glad to do it for her. I'd like to have my alone time, but I made my life the way it is.

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