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Full Time, All the Time

with Britt Reints

Forget the 9 to 5; the demands of a working mom aren’t limited by a time clock. Full Time, All the Time is a blog about balancing the many roles of a modern woman - and maintaining your wellbeing while doing it. I am a writer, mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend and sometimes volunteer living in Pittsburgh. Oh, and I think you look pretty today.

You can also find Britt on Twitter and at InPursuitOfHappiness.net.

I want my husband to want to work less

Categories: balance

4 comments

36/365We are officially moved into our new home in Pittsburgh, PA.

Well, we have a couch, the kids have beds, and I finally found the power cord to my laptop this morning. We’re moved in-ish.

Yesterday, while I was picking up beds from local thrift stores and unpacking dishes, my husband was working. This morning, he left our new home bright and early to interview for potential job #2 (his possible side hustle.) While I’m eager to turn a rented duplex into a home as soon as possible, he’s anxious to bring in the cash. Almost, I daresay, too anxious.

It seems that my hard-working husband has fallen into a trap that is all too familiar, one I see all around me and that has ensnared me personally more than once: He’s desperate to make as much money as possible, but hasn’t stopped to consider how much money we actually need.

I’ve done the math. I have a slight addiction to both budgets and spreadsheets, so I’m keenly aware of things like how much cash is required to pay our bills each month, how much money we have in checking and savings at all times, and how much money we have coming in. I’ve shown my husband my beautiful Excel files and tried to give him a clear picture of our financial situation, but reality doesn’t seem to have much to do with his need to earn! earn! earn! right now.

I get it. 100%. I know how it feels to be consumed by an ambiguous need to do more, just in case. The sense of security is just out of reach, but if you can just work a little harder for a little longer, you’ll get there. And then you’ll relax.

The problem for me was that I rarely stopped to figure out just how much More was. I operated from a permanent place of not enough. I took every extra job and spent my precious free time worrying. My constant sense of lacking left little room in my head or heart for gratitude or peace.

Budgeting, deciding to go without certain things, and completely upending our life for a year helped me break that cycle of stress. I know that Jared’s attitude towards work and money has changed a lot, too, but I recognize that cloud of worry that seems to be forming around him (maybe he thinks he has to take up the slack now that I’m not obsessing about it!) - and I don’t like it.

I adore my husband and want him to be happy, but I’m confident he’ll find a balance of reality and responsibility that works for him eventually. Right now, I’m selfishly wishing for more time with him and help lifting the heavy furniture. I also want to be able to do my work and know someone else is helping on the home front. I’m not opposed to work or money (at all!), I just don’t want to revert to a lifestyle where one half of our family is focused solely on earning money.

More than that, it’s important to me that we know how much we need and make a conscious decision to earn more than necessary, as opposed to just earning as much as we can in an attempt to fill some bottomless hole. I don’t want the need for more to consume my household - or my husband.



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4 comments so far...

  • I love this post. My husband operates from a constant place of lack, and it drives me crazy! Worrying about not having enough steals the joy from life and carries over to everyone in the family. I am 100% on your side in this one, Britt. Now that you’re in Pittsburgh, let’s get together and commiserate!

    Mary  |  August 16th, 2012 at 8:49 am

  • My husband is constantly calculating if we end up saving X we could put an extra Y on our mortgage. We also have known income reductions coming up from our ex-pat accommodation allowance as it goes down over the years. My husband is often working out the math of how much of a raise he will need to get each year to cover the reduction.
    Annoying. We are earning and saving far beyond what we ever have. We track every pence we spend. We have a good grasp on what our life costs us. We each have a side hustle that brings in some extra income for extra mortgage payments. We are doing WELL.
    So let’s enjoy it. Not by spending a lot of money of course. But by enjoying where were at and not obsessing over where we will be.

    Rachel  |  August 16th, 2012 at 9:44 am

  • I wonder if a small part of this isn’t the idea that he’s a man and should be supporting the family. No matter how evolved the man, I think there is always a little of the “old school” in them.

    I hope he self-corrects and realizes that life is for living, not working.

    Megan  |  August 16th, 2012 at 10:15 am

  • I agree with Megan a bit here, as we deal with some of the same issues at our house. I’m the primary breadwinner, although Steve’s financial contributions are certainly valued and make a lot of the fun in our lives possible. His most valuable contributions are the non-financial ones. Thanks to him, we don’t have before/after care costs this year. Thanks to him, we can juggle extra-curriculars and have clean laundry and a decent-looking house and a yard that’s not overgrown. Despite all of my assurances, he still feels an internal and societal pressure to earn more. Yes, having a second care would make things more convenient. Yes, we’d love to travel more and do renovations to the house and yard faster and hire professionals to do it. But, the trade off of not having him around as much isn’t worth it to me. I’d rather stay at the level we’re at and be able to enjoy what we’ve got. After all, my dad once told me, “the more you have…the more you need.”

    Nancy (@ Spinning My Plates)  |  August 16th, 2012 at 10:38 am

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