Hard-working Husband: If he’s going to be late, is a call all it takes?

Q: Your hardworking spouse, who stays late at the office many nights–and seems to think a heads-up phone call earlier in the day makes everything OK.  Should you go easy on him?

A: Be grateful for the important things!  At least your spouse is considerate enough to give you advance warning so that you can plan your evening accordingly.  You can also remind yourself that at least he is employed and that he doesn’t have to stay late every night.  Keep in mind that he would probably rather be home as well, experiencing a home-cooked dinner instead of drudgery.  It’s time for you to be thoughtful and offer him your understanding.  You would want the same from him if you were the one burning  the midnight oil.


  1. Alicia

    I think it depends on the ground rules that the two of you set up. If you need or want more then negotiate that with your husband in advance. I also think it depends if this is a common thing or an uncommon thing. If he is working late 3-4 days a week vs 3-4 days a year makes a huge difference.

  2. Michelle

    On the one hand, it sounds to me like the underlying current may be a lack of trust. Are you worried that your husband isn’t *actually* at the office, working late? If this is the issue, then you should talk over the core of your issues with your husband, and not dance around the problem.

    However, if you are truly upset about him working late, remember that work is just that…. work! It is not fun. No one wants to pull extra hours at the office, especially when they have a family (especially one that includes you!) at home. I agree that you should be grateful that he has a job, and that he is getting good hours. The last thing that anyone wants, while they are pulling OT is to have someone angry, at home, for something that they probably don’t even want to be doing in the first place! Instead of being angry about circumstances that are probably out of his control (who WANTS to work late?!), why not try to be understanding and just say “Hey, I am sorry that you are working late, and I hope that you are able to focus on your work to get it done as quickly and efficiently as possible. I will see you when you get home”? If he IS working late because he genuinely likes what he is doing, then be happy that he likes his job! Again, there are people that don’t have this luxury.

    Maybe plan a day together if you are feeling like you lack quality time together.

  3. Lin

    I can understand being upset about him working late, especially if you have plans and kids. My husband’s work is semi-flexible in hours – as long as you come in on or before 9am and work 8 hours, they don’t mind; my husband got into work at 9am today because he wanted to sleep in, and since my transportation and babysitter will be working late and my other options are otherwise occupied, I’m knocked out of my plans of a ladies’ night out (being a stay-at-home-mom of 2 under 3 without a car can feel pretty lonely at times). If this sounds similar as to why you’re feeling frustrated, try to see if there are other people who can help you catch a break for adult-only social time. (Most days when this happens I’m fortunate enough for my parents to babysit the kids and drop me off to where I’m supposed to be.)

    Also, our evening routine can get hectic without the aid of my husband. Trying to balance between getting the little kids fed/bathed/dressed, keeping them from doing something 911-worthy, and keeping your sanity is a challenge. During times when he does suspect a lot of late nights, could he help you get stuff together to make those nights easier for you (freeing you up to make a few dinners ahead of time, take some of the laundry duties off your hands for a few loads, etc.)? If this is an everyday thing, is there anything in your schedule you could change to make the evenings flow a bit smoother (like bathing one child earlier in the day while the other one is napping or squeezing in a 15-minute break in the evenings for yourself)?

    I’d also talk to your husband to see what is going on that is requiring so much OT. There are some people in situations who are terrified of loosing their job that they will do anything to kiss the behind of the boss (even before the economy went south); others have bosses or clientele that do not care that he has a life outside of work. It might help you see his side of the situation, give you a chance to discuss your side, and together work on some ground rules to help both of you deal with the situation better.

  4. Miss Bec

    I like the fact he’s calling you – that shows kindness and consideration.

    Why not make lunch or breakfast plans if you’re craving some extra time with him – I’m sure both you and he would love that. Much better that than him feeling guilty, and you feeling angry for not getting time together.


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