AskMe makes us better parents and spouses? January 6, 2011 10:28 PM   Subscribe

Am I the only sap who left work a bit early today after having read this thread?
posted by bluedaisy to MetaFilter-Related at 10:28 PM (166 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

[joke about not having a set time to arrive at or leave work]
posted by not_on_display at 10:38 PM on January 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


In this economy? Probably. Consider the long-term welfare of cultivating a strong familial bond; leave work early; collect unemployment.
posted by carsonb at 10:38 PM on January 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


also: [joke about working from home and putting pants on for dinner tonight]
posted by carsonb at 10:39 PM on January 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


God, that thread was annoying, people going on about why he doesn't have to stay so late, he can leave at a regular time, etc etc. They sounded like his wife.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:57 PM on January 6, 2011 [26 favorites]


Brandon, you sound like my spouse. wait a m...
posted by special-k at 11:15 PM on January 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


It's not your night.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:23 PM on January 6, 2011 [8 favorites]


They sounded like his wife.

Mostly they just sounded like people who've never had that kind of a job. "Just tell your client you need to leave at a set time every day." I'm sorry, what?
posted by dersins at 11:26 PM on January 6, 2011 [14 favorites]


Yeah, his wife, that's what I said.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:33 PM on January 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow. These are not the comments I expected when I clicked on this post!

Keep it classy, guys.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 11:48 PM on January 6, 2011 [18 favorites]


The classy reading is that it's not about clients and flexible work times but about that stupid dynamic of "do you come home when you told me you would/when I have the right to expect you home/when I'm tired of not having you home/why can't you ever whatever."
Brought back some painful memories. Can't answer that question in rational mode. "Better parents" be damned. You come home half an hour later because you did the darn groceries for half a week on your way home and you get shit anyway, and the "be a better parent" shtick is high up on the list of what you get told.
It doesn't help to leave work "a bit early today" either. Come half an hour early - eyebrows will be raised, too.
(yeah I know. Anecdotal stuff, all of this, 15 years ago, and written before my morning coffee)
posted by Namlit at 12:05 AM on January 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


*barf, barf, barf*
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:37 AM on January 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


The very negative comments towards this person's wife on that thread on this did rather leave me wondering why some people have kids when they don't seem to want them. And yes, I do know what I'm talking about, both my parents were doctors with on-call duties; if they could call to say they would be late they would, they would tell each other when they were on-call and liable to be late, and basically try and treat their partner and children with as much respect as they treated their patients and colleagues.

And still the unreliability did upset me as as kid. That much may be unavoidable in certain jobs, but trying to at least mitigate it doesn't seem unreasonable.

This isn't about sliding off work early and losing your job. If you were late for a client, you'd ring them and tell them when you were probably going to arrive. If you don't care for your kids as much as your clients, then why did you breed? It's not like it's compulsory.

Yeah, all the negativity got to me, putting myself in the place of those kids, and yeah, I'm taking it personally (which is why I didn't put this on that thread, a bit too emotional).
posted by Coobeastie at 2:29 AM on January 7, 2011 [29 favorites]


Brought back some painful memories.

I deleted a comment wet with spittle before posting it at that thread. I used to be an IE doing line support in mfg. In SE Michigan. Where anonymous probably is. Where the unemployment rate is in double digits. Where Detroit is. Where those weekly FPPs of photo galleries of urban decay come from.

The only reason the guy still has a fucking job is because he stays and works as long as he has to. In this part of the country, if you lose your job, you don't get another.
posted by klarck at 2:44 AM on January 7, 2011 [14 favorites]


And yes, I do know what I'm talking about, both my parents were doctors with on-call duties
The asker says that he generally is home between 5.30 and 7 PM. That's hardly the unreliable parent some people make him out to be, and not comparable at all with doctors and other really unrealiable schedules.
posted by davar at 2:49 AM on January 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


To answer your question, bluedaisy.. I worked about an hour longer than I had planned, and stopped on the way home to buy some new gloves, get groceries, and let the dog run at the dog park for a while...

Then I called anonymous' wife and said "see, it could be fucking worse!". I think she's OK with his schedule now....
posted by HuronBob at 3:12 AM on January 7, 2011


Coobeastie: And still the unreliability did upset me as as kid.

My parents are both university professors and were grad students in the first few years of my life so they've always had wildly varying schedules (well, my mom had a counselling job for a couple of years when I was 6-8, but that wasn't exactly a 9-5 kinda job) and it never bothered me at all. Living in the same city as my grandparents it meant that when my parents were both stuck at work I would go and stay at their place after school or they came to my parents' apartment. Before that, when my parents were grad students in Paris, they would pick me up after kindergarten got out and if they needed to run errands or go back to school for something I would come with them, which I enjoyed (we would usually stop at a café and I would get a sandwich and orangina or some other treat, so that helped).
posted by Kattullus at 3:23 AM on January 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not much changes huh? That whole thing is like a Cheever story or some sort of early 60s era "battle of the sexes" movie.

The only logical step is to pack the kids off to boarding school, mom stays home and drinks sherry all day and dad carries on with the girls from the steno pool.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:00 AM on January 7, 2011 [7 favorites]


AskMe makes us beitter parents and spouses?

FTFY.
posted by SomeTrickPony at 4:05 AM on January 7, 2011


As a contractor, I work "right next to my client". I leave exactly when I always leave, every day, without fail[1]. If I was working on something that isn't finished, I either leave it undone until the next day OR hand it over to someone else to work on.

[1]Actually, I stayed an hour late once, but it was on accident. I was deep in a work-related conversation and didn't notice the time.
posted by DU at 4:33 AM on January 7, 2011


My wife would kill for me to have a schedule where I come home sometime between 5:30-7. Right now it's either 12-4 and I get home about when she does so it looks a lot like the days where I didn't go in (except for the part where she catches me in the shower because OMG IT'S ALMOST 4 AND I HAVEN'T TAKEN A SHOWER YET!!1!!!!1!!11!!!) or 4-11 and I'm out the door before she gets home and come back after she's asleep.

Things where a lot better when the restaurant was open for lunch and I could get those day shifts that wouldn't be taken away because last night was slow and the did a lot of the prep work then.
posted by theichibun at 4:38 AM on January 7, 2011


Those hours were awesome. I'd kill for a regular schedule like he had. The comments that asked why he couldn't tell her by the afternoon what time he'd be home at night came across as people who'd always worked a fixed schedule themselves. Given my industry, I often don't know until 5 mins before when I can head out the door. He didn't seem to be understanding of his wife's position though.
posted by arcticseal at 4:47 AM on January 7, 2011


Mostly they just sounded like people who've never had that kind of a job.
posted by dersins at 7:26 AM on January 7


I had that kind of job for almost thirty years and it is eminently possible to manage time - and clients - a hell of a lot better than that guy is doing. At the end of the day, what's more important to him? Kow-towing to a capricious client or saving his marriage? That said, his wife could definitely be a little more understanding.

When I worked in the States I noticed a very unhealthy workslave mentality amongst far too many people. Unpaid overtime. Regularly leaving late. It almost seemsd like some sort of stupid macho bullshit was behind it, not any real necessity to work that way. I got so tired of hearing the "oh poor me" water cooler whining; the "Man, I couldn't get away until 9:30 last night" boasts. And that's what they were: boasts. I just started saying things like "Really? I left at 5:30, as usual. Hey did I tell you what a great review I had last year?"

Anyone who works in this type of client-facing contract and is late home or unpredictable as a matter of course is simply lousy at time management and planning. Or a masochist. Or the kind of idiot who thinks that working that way somehow makes them look all thrusting and important. It doesn't. It makes them look like a no-life rat-racer who can't organise his life for shit.
posted by Decani at 4:56 AM on January 7, 2011 [56 favorites]


Also, no one is going to be fired for the sole reason that they work "only" 8 hours a day. You might be the one chosen to be fired when firing is about to be done, though. But in that case, the same logic dictates that you must spend 100% of your time fellating your boss.
posted by DU at 5:02 AM on January 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


arcticseal: "Those hours were awesome. I'd kill for a regular schedule like he had. The comments that asked why he couldn't tell her by the afternoon what time he'd be home at night came across as people who'd always worked a fixed schedule themselves. Given my industry, I often don't know until 5 mins before when I can head out the door. He didn't seem to be understanding of his wife's position though."

I feel you on that one. The tables that come in at the last minute. The tables that sit around for fucking ever. I hate them all. Mostly because right now I'm washing dishes. Servers can get all of their side work done. Cooks can get the line clean.

I, however, need to wait until that damn table leaves so I can get their dishes. Even if plates are taken up they'll always have glasses until they actually leave. Can't wash the dump bucket because I'll need it. Same for the big strainer because there's no way in Hell I'm digging lemons and stuff out of the sing by hand at the end of the night.

At least for me I'm hourly and get paid to wait around. If they don't like it then I can blame the manager that night for letting the table in late or not sending them home. And we have sent people out before.
posted by theichibun at 5:11 AM on January 7, 2011


This thread reminded me of the Idiot Plot, where the movie only works the way it does if everyone in the movie is an idiot. According to Roger Ebert: "If they weren't, they'd immediately figure out everything and the movie would be over."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:32 AM on January 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sounded to me like nobody was completely in the right and nobody was completely in the wrong. When you have to work, you have to work. It pays the bills. But when you're home all day with two kids I'm sure every minute past 5:30 seems like an eternity. I saw answers saying pay someone to come by and sit with the kids for an hour or so in the afternoons and I agreed with that so I stayed out of it. But no it didn't make me leave work early. At work I have a fancy office and people treat me like a big shot and call me Mr. ¢. At home I'm just ND or daddy and I have to do dishes and stuff. Pass.
posted by ND¢ at 5:35 AM on January 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


When I worked in the States I noticed a very unhealthy workslave mentality amongst far too many people.

Hell yes. I was in a similar job a few years ago - small company trying to churn out a product competing with much larger companies that could throw engineers at a problem like there was no tomorrow. It was a weird point of pride for our chief engineer that he got us all to bust our asses for 80-100 hours a week in order to get product out the door.

Essentially, it was crunch time, all the time. This customer needs a software update for something minor - an indicator is changing colors to red before it's supposed to. Management - on Friday afternoon - promises them a fix by Monday morning. Five of us spend literally the entire weekend in the office, sleeping in our cubicles, because while the fix was three lines of code it takes something like a week to test and certify the build.

Repeat every week for some other customer. One of my friends set up a tent in his cubicle and would regularly spend overnights in the hotel next to the office because it took too much time to drive home each night.

I was one of the first of that group to leave, but since then there's been a massive exodus from the company. Everyone that I've spoken to from there has gotten a "sane" job with normal working hours and, looking back on it, none of them regret leaving. You work long hours like that for what? Non-existent pay raises, rising healthcare costs, slashed benefits, and layoffs.
posted by backseatpilot at 5:39 AM on January 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I like how we went from 'dawh this post made me realise I should try and spend more time with the kids' to 'what kind of sap is this guy? Of course he should put his job/family first!'.

Can't we stop trying to be right and just admit that sometimes things are hard with no hard and fast answers? And that in some situations nobody wins but that it's good to do the best you can?
posted by litleozy at 5:48 AM on January 7, 2011 [9 favorites]


"SINGLE."
posted by fake at 5:49 AM on January 7, 2011 [10 favorites]


I'm glad you posted this, bluedaisy! I wouldn't have noticed that thread otherwise.

I think that AskMe had a lot of positive outcomes. The OP was offered a bunch of different perspectives, people got to share and vent, and the overall consensus was geared towards solutions that prioritized love and family. It was really heartwarming.

I teared up reading the responses...and I don't even have a husband, kids, a house or a job! I think that speaks to this universal idea of wanting to be respected loved by others, how it manifests in seemingly weird and mundane ways – "What time are you coming home?" – and how to give and get what's needed and desired. AskMe helped a bunch of people with that today.
posted by iamkimiam at 5:53 AM on January 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


If I had to guess, I'd say the poster is probably not being 100% honest with himself on his ability to get out the door at 5 on a regular basis. Fires do pop up and there will always be the occasional day of "No, sorry, I can't tell you when I'm getting home -- could be 2 AM," but no one's ever getting fired for cutting a casual conversation with a client short because he has to get out the door to get home. I think a lot of the unfortunate and unhelpful projecting relationship dynamic responses came about because the undertone of the question was "SHE SHOULD JUST DEAL AMIRITE?"
posted by MarkAnd at 5:57 AM on January 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sounded to me like nobody was completely in the right and nobody was completely in the wrong.

Oh, you and your reasonableness!
posted by rtha at 6:00 AM on January 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sounded to me like nobody was completely in the right and nobody was completely in the wrong.

But...but...how can one feel morally superior then?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:05 AM on January 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think that AskMe had a lot of positive outcomes. The OP was offered a bunch of different perspectives, people got to share and vent, and the overall consensus was geared towards solutions that prioritized love and family. It was really heartwarming.

Honestly, I felt the exact opposite. People were trying to shoehorn the guy into a particular nuclear mold and completely unaware of how aggravating and frustrating it can be to have answer the same damn question every single day from someone who's supposed to be on your side and understanding. The condemnation and presumption of telling him exactly how to manage his schedule without hearing the full story struck me as not very helpful.

That said, this was also one of those AskMe's where it seemed a more input from the OP would have helped a lot. I suspect a longer discussion with him would give more a fuller picture of what he's truly up against and how to help him best to solve the problem.

Clearly the couple need to talk and compromise, but frankly, marriage is a two way street and there's no reason why she can't start the discussion either.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:35 AM on January 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Many of the people in that thread acknowledged that it might, in fact, be impossible for him to pin down his schedule further. (Giving him some benefit of the doubt, as like others, I personally got a vibe of "I just don't feel like" from his post.) They advised him to have a conversation with his wife about why his arrival time is important to her, to do small things like always calling when he leaves the office, to consistently show up early in the morning to try and shift his schedule forward a little. He never said anything in his post about worrying about being fired. He also said next to nothing about his wife, other than telling us that she nags him and that he considers a stay-at-home mom "unemployed."

So if you guys are coming into this thread and talking about how the commenters on the original askme are a bunch of naive harpies who don't get it and "sound just like his wife" -- many people explicitly stated that they were in a similar work/spouse situation, empathy with the anon's wife doesn't mean they can't also empathize with the anon, and half the point of a lot of our comments was that there's no way to know what his wife sounds like because he didn't deem her or her perspective important enough to describe to us in any detail.

Seriously, this MeTA is depressing the hell out of me.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 6:43 AM on January 7, 2011 [24 favorites]


I think that AskMe had a lot of positive outcomes. The OP was offered a bunch of different perspectives, people got to share and vent, and the overall consensus was geared towards solutions that prioritized love and family. It was really heartwarming.

It'll be heartwarming if the OP takes the advice offered and his life gets better. He never came back, so it's hard to know how the advice was taken.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:48 AM on January 7, 2011


He also said next to nothing about his wife, other than telling us that she nags him and that he considers a stay-at-home mom "unemployed."

Yes, he didn't say much about his wife, which is why I found it odd that a lot of commenters consistently kept explaining what she's thinking or feeling as instead of dealing with instead what the OP was thinking and feeling.

...empathy with the anon's wife doesn't mean they can't also empathize with the anon...

It would help if they expressed that empathy with anon.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:56 AM on January 7, 2011


...also said next to nothing about his wife, other than telling us that she nags him and that he considers a stay-at-home mom "unemployed."

Perhaps she does? I know plenty of adults who, after a layoff, were functionally stay-at-home parents, but didn't really refer to themselves as such, because their desire and intent was to be employed, and the stay-at-home-parenting was just a way of making good use of that time.
posted by Tomorrowful at 7:02 AM on January 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


I totally sympathize with anon because I have a schedule like that and it would drive me nuts having to explain it like that every day, but he still came off as really condescending towards his wife, which is probably the real source of his problem, not his schedule.

My read on it was that he doesn't respect her, and she is insecure. Which is the cause and which is the effect, I have no idea.
posted by empath at 7:08 AM on January 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


It would help if they expressed that empathy with anon.

Agreed. Sometimes families need to make choices among options no one really likes or choices "are made" and not really talked over leading to resentment. Both situations are uncomfortable.
posted by shothotbot at 7:10 AM on January 7, 2011


If I had to guess, I'd say the poster is probably not being 100% honest with himself on his ability to get out the door at 5 on a regular basis. Fires do pop up and there will always be the occasional day of "No, sorry, I can't tell you when I'm getting home -- could be 2 AM," but no one's ever getting fired for cutting a casual conversation with a client short because he has to get out the door to get home.

You are probably presuming too much. I've been stuck on conference calls with customers for HOURS after my scheduled time, and I'd pretty much get fired if I told them that I had to leave before we fixed their problem.
posted by empath at 7:10 AM on January 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


My takeaway from that thread is that raising children is so isolating and stressful that I am probably better off not doing it. I can barely cope with a job, what chance do I have raising kids?
posted by Ad hominem at 7:10 AM on January 7, 2011 [12 favorites]


(and that is pretty common. Maybe not daily, but it happens a lot. And always right as I'm about to leave.)
posted by empath at 7:11 AM on January 7, 2011


Mostly they just sounded like people who've never had that kind of a job. "Just tell your client you need to leave at a set time every day." I'm sorry, what?

I actually do have that kind of job, or have had it in the past, and I answered the question in a way that was, I feel, sympathetic to both parties, as did the majority of posters. But god forbid we act sympathetic towards the stay-at-home spouse in a situation!

Seriously, this MeTA is depressing the hell out of me.

A-freaking-men.
posted by muddgirl at 7:11 AM on January 7, 2011 [8 favorites]


MetaFilter: all thrusting and important
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:12 AM on January 7, 2011


But god forbid we act sympathetic towards the stay-at-home spouse in a situation!

Sure, but I think a lot of commenters are doing exactly what seems to be going in the situation: picking sides as opposed to realizing, they're a team, they're married and they need to figure this out in a way that at the very least doesn't stress the marriage or their familial relationships. They're a team and hopefully will strive to operate as such.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:22 AM on January 7, 2011


My takeaway from that thread is that raising children is so isolating and stressful that I am prob
ably better off not doing it. I can barely cope with a job, what chance do I have raising kids?


that's the real issue here. i'm guessing that their relationship isn't that strong, but lots of not so strong relationships survive. the real problem is that he has kids and they shouldn't be working so much. it's a shame there isn't a defence of marriage act that might help them in this situation...
also,

he considers a stay-at-home mom "unemployed."

this is a pseudo-feminist sucker punch. the OP may or may not have valued the work his wife does at home but he gave no information about that opinion:
She thinks I should be leaving at the same time every day. She's currently unemployed and staying at home with our two children. Prior to this, she was employed by the federal government [set hours of work, no staying late, no working weekends, etc].
it's perfectly clear what he was expressing.
posted by ennui.bz at 7:37 AM on January 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'd just like to point out again how amazingly condescending, rude, and annoying "FTFY" is.
posted by norm at 7:38 AM on January 7, 2011 [10 favorites]


She's ten to five
But I'm shiftwork
And my woman alive
Shiftwork
Shiftwork
I thought shiftwork would work
But it's good as broken us apart
Lights flash over me
Twenty-four hour bulb
I'm just home for tea
But she's in work mode

posted by Burhanistan at 7:42 AM on January 7, 2011


They're a team and hopefully will strive to operate as such.

Which is what MOST commenters expressed. This MeTa is annoying because some people (note I didn't say most) are picking on the few comments in direct support of the SAHS and acting like they are the majority, while ignoring both the balanced comments and the ones in support of the working spouse.
posted by muddgirl at 7:49 AM on January 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


The very negative comments towards this person's wife on that thread on this did rather leave me wondering why some people have kids when they don't seem to want them.

Seeming to want kids and loving your kids are pretty different.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 8:03 AM on January 7, 2011


This MeTa is annoying because some people (note I didn't say most) are picking on the few comments in direct support of the SAHS and acting like they are the majority, while ignoring both the balanced comments and the ones in support of the working spouse.

Taking out the particulars, I'd say that applies to at least half the Metas ever made.
posted by Phyltre at 8:04 AM on January 7, 2011


It's not just the kid I feel sorry for, though it sucks when a parent comes home from work whenever he feels like it because he can't manage his time or doesn't even really want to come home.

I feel bad for his wife. I know, wives are not supposed to want their husbands around, if a wife wants to see her husband or spend time with him then obviously she's "needy" and ought to make friends. Yeah man, your old lady, your ball and chain.

In the worst case Harlequin scenario, the wife does make such a friend. He's wonderful, a 9-5 job that is family friendly and maybe not as well paid, but he's incredible and thoughtful and considerate and enjoys spending time with her, and the father the wife had hoped her husband would be to their kid. Soon the kid is referring to his dad as "Frank" and calls his stepdad "Dad" and thanking him in his Nobel prize speech. His biological dad was really just a sperm donor for his mom. This other guy was his real dad.
posted by anniecat at 8:10 AM on January 7, 2011


I'd just like to point out again how amazingly condescending, rude, and annoying awesome"FTFY" is.

(I hate FTFY, too, but I couldn't resist.)
posted by Pater Aletheias at 8:11 AM on January 7, 2011


These kind of marital arguments tend to be about something other than the concrete issue at hand. Nobody really cares enough about a bag of trash on the kitchen floor to have a screaming knockdown fight about it. But people have plenty of fights where the bag of trash on the floor is the symbol for other issues to sort out.

I answered this one early on, both sympathetic to the wife, but also offering a solution to the husband that satisfies her, and makes him the hero on a regular basis. And reading through the other answers, I feel like most people struck that balance. They're not failing to answer because they're explaining the context, they're trying to contextualize their answer so it makes sense.
posted by headspace at 8:13 AM on January 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


His biological dad was really just a sperm donor for his mom. This other guy was his real dad.

In a sensitive yet masculine manner, a single tear falls down his cheek.
posted by muddgirl at 8:15 AM on January 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I stayed slightly later, then, on the spur of the moment, met a lovely MeFite for some drinks and a play.

Or is this question only for you marrieds/breeders/other offensive/divisive/pejorative term?

(Hmm, I don't think that nested /-multithreading works...)
posted by Eideteker at 8:17 AM on January 7, 2011


In a sensitive yet masculine manner, a single tear falls down his cheek.


We all know how this turns out.

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon
When you comin' home dad?
I don't know
when, but we'll get together then son
You know we'll have a good time then


....

I've long since retired, my son's moved away
I called him up just the other day
I said, "I'd like to see you if you don't mind"
He said, "I'd love to, Dad, if I can find the time
You see my new job's a hassle and kids have the flu
But it's sure nice talking to you, Dad
It's been sure nice talking to you"

And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me
He'd grown up just like me
My boy was just like me


Aw yeah
posted by anniecat at 8:19 AM on January 7, 2011 [8 favorites]


both my parents were doctors with on-call duties; if they could call to say they would be late they would, they would tell each other when they were on-call and liable to be late

Well, the OP (from his point of view) said that he would try to let his wife know his schedule, but for perfectly good reasons could not say exactly when he would return home. His wife was unreasonable, and demanded an exact time.

The issue here is not working hours, it's the guy's relationship with his wife.

Like the OP, I'm self-employed, and am the sole income earner in the house. This means I have to work and work and work and work. My wife realizes this. We never have this conversation.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:19 AM on January 7, 2011 [1 favorite]



I'd just like to point out again how amazingly condescending, rude, and annoying "FTFY" is.


I might have mentioned this before at some point, but I'd always read that acronym as "Fixed That to Fuck You." I was quite surprised to learn that it's mostly read as "fixed that for you" since the "fuck you" always comes through so loud and clear.
posted by Forktine at 8:23 AM on January 7, 2011 [6 favorites]


he considers a stay-at-home mom "unemployed."

In the strictest sense, a stay-at-home parent is unemployed. That's not to say they don't have a job to do, an incredibly important and hard as hell job that will make them work as hard as anyone drawing a paycheque, but if one is not contracted by an employer to perform specific duties for payment, I don't think it's horrible to say that are unemployed.

Shitload of projecting in here. Nothing against the OP, but I don't see the point of this MeTa, and think it would probably discourage the Asker from participating further if they came across it.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:24 AM on January 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


IMO, the OP should just say he'll be home no later than X time every day, and if he is ever home before that, it's a bonus for both of them, and if he's not going to be home by then, then he should call and let her know.

That way she can plan on dinner or whatever else she needs to do at a regular time.
posted by empath at 8:25 AM on January 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've been stuck on conference calls with customers for HOURS after my scheduled time, and I'd pretty much get fired if I told them that I had to leave before we fixed their problem.

I have as well! Once in a while I'm surprised at the end of the work day by an urgent thing and have to work later than normal. Sometimes it's something that's come up, and sometimes it's because I did a poor job of managing my time throughout the day and I spent time on MetaFilter or screwing around instead of getting the thing done.

I've also wrapped up casual conversations more quickly than clients wanted because I wanted to be done with work for the day. This is what it sounds like to me when the poster says, "To say nothing of her reaction if I get stopped talking to a client or someone else while packing up and talk to them for 45 minutes."

"I'm sorry but I'm running late and I really have to go. Can we pick this up tomorrow?"

That will work 99% of the time. It's not rude. No one's getting fired. It's not coming up in your next performance review. I think that if his trouble setting and keeping boundaries is a reason why his wife's frustrated with him, then that's a fair point.

But I don't want to make it sound like I have any idea about the actual situation. I don't know who's right or who's wrong and I don't really care. The question was asked pretty poorly, is my point.
posted by MarkAnd at 8:27 AM on January 7, 2011


His biological dad was really just a sperm donor for his mom. This other guy was his real dad.

Wow. I like to riff and goof off as much as the next guy, but that seems really fucking mean and inappropriate. I hope the Asker doesn't read this MeTa.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:28 AM on January 7, 2011 [7 favorites]


What he should do is come home and say "Aw man, they just changed my schedule and I have to work until 8pm every night. Those BASTARDS!!!! Oh well I guess I'll quit tomorrow." And she will be all like, "No its okay honey we can work this out. I'll manage." Then he can get off work whenever he is done with what he's doing, and if it's before 8pm he can go to a bar, have a couple of beers, get some chicken fingers, watch a little TV, and head home at 8pm every night. She will never have to worry about what time he will be heading home and he will get to eat chicken fingers. Win win baby.
posted by ND¢ at 8:29 AM on January 7, 2011 [6 favorites]


Many of the people in that thread acknowledged that it might, in fact, be impossible for him to pin down his schedule further.

Except that his schedule is (as he himself says) partly odd because sometimes he wants to come in late or take a long lunch.

Brandon Blatcher, I am un-spousing you now!
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:33 AM on January 7, 2011


And no, you don't get half my posts.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:33 AM on January 7, 2011 [4 favorites]



What he should do is come home and say "Aw man, they just changed my schedule and I have to work until 8pm every night. Those BASTARDS!!!! Oh well I guess I'll quit tomorrow." And she will be all like, "No its okay honey we can work this out. I'll manage."


Unless she says, "That's a relief. I never thought that was a great job and it made me want to divorce you. I'd rather have you around more than all the money you spend on gizmos and iPads You should teach math or computer science to kids in rural Mississippi. Let's do it. Then we can all spend more time together as a family."
posted by anniecat at 8:34 AM on January 7, 2011


My father, during many periods of my childhood, was self-employed and the sole income earner. He worked and worked and worked and worked. And yet he was home for dinner most nights! He went on family vacations with us regularly! It was very clear that, although he loved his job, he ALSO loved his family, and he worked out a schedule that managed to give him time to work and to spend time with us. (It involved, as many people said, getting to work early -- before 8:30! -- and not taking long lunches except when required to by clients etc.)
posted by jeather at 8:35 AM on January 7, 2011


Except that his schedule is (as he himself says) partly odd because sometimes he wants to come in late or take a long lunch.

Yes, but contrast that with the OP statements where he gets stopped at the end of the day by a client. It's not a black and white, either/or situation.

And no, you don't get half my posts.

Not a problem, as long you keep the kids.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:38 AM on January 7, 2011


It seemed like another one of those AskMe threads where the answer is "You guys need to work as a team to figure out what the real problem is here and everyone needs to take parenting seriously" but what we got was a lot of people reliving their own relationship problems. Since all I had to contribute was "I grew up like this; don't be that guy" I declined to answer.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:38 AM on January 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yes indeed having kids and staying home with them is isolating, and terrifyingly so.

I suggest only having one child, carrying it/wearing it, and living in a walkable area or at least within walking distance of at-home friends/family.
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:39 AM on January 7, 2011


"That's a relief. I never thought that was a great job and it made me want to divorce you. I'd rather have you around more than all the money you spend on gizmos and iPads You should teach math or computer science to kids in rural Mississippi. Let's do it. Then we can all spend more time together as a family."

Then he says, "I got a job offer as a CIA hitman. I have to leave on a jet to Hawaii now in this $8000 suit. Would you like to come along? There's a daycare there for the kids and you've always wanted to learn to surf."

Wait, what were we talking about?
posted by ODiV at 8:40 AM on January 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


My parents divorced when I was very young. I'm not 100% sure but it might have been better for my father to have been around even if he missed a few dinners, even every dinner.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:41 AM on January 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wait, what were we talking about?

I think Hawaii. And surfing. And something about the mafia.

What?
posted by anniecat at 8:44 AM on January 7, 2011


Unless she says, "That's a relief. I never thought that was a great job and it made me want to divorce you. I'd rather have you around more than all the money you spend on gizmos and iPads You should teach math or computer science to kids in rural Mississippi. Let's do it. Then we can all spend more time together as a family."

Then he can say "Yeah great idea, but teaching has always been your dream. I think if you are unconcerned about money then it may be best for you to teach inbred hillfolk's chilluns and I will follow my dream: opening my own bar/restaurant, but not really a restaurant more like a bar that also serves bar food, mostly chicken fingers. The problem being that I don't have much experience. I'll tell you what, I'll start researching the ins and outs of my new business venture in the evenings from the time I get off work until 8pm and you start boning up on how to explain integers to kids whose parents think professional wrestling is real and we'll readdress this in six months." Six months of 5pm to 8pm chicken fingers baby.
posted by ND¢ at 8:45 AM on January 7, 2011 [8 favorites]


Then he says, "I got a job offer as a CIA hitman. I have to leave on a jet to Hawaii now in this $8000 suit. Would you like to come along? There's a daycare there for the kids and you've always wanted to learn to surf."

I would never agree to my husband being a hitman unless I had superpowers and could protect him from danger. If someone tried to hurt him, by God, I would kill them.
posted by anniecat at 8:48 AM on January 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


And if my partner thought that a long lunch or sleeping in a little bit was a good reason to come home whenever, I would be really unhappy. So I didn't answer the question.

Some workplaces are more understanding than others, of course.
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:49 AM on January 7, 2011


Anyone who works in this type of client-facing contract and is late home or unpredictable as a matter of course is simply lousy at time management and planning. Or a masochist. Or the kind of idiot who thinks that working that way somehow makes them look all thrusting and important. It doesn't.

Or that's just the employment situation they have. I had a job like this for a few years but it wasn't clients so much that made a mess of things scheduling wise, it was the boss. The only time to predictably get any useful face-time with him was at the "end of the day", whenever that was (anywhere between 4:30 - 8pm depending on the turmoil in his world). Yeah, he could've used some time-management coaching but he wasn't getting it. Finally, I made an issue of it for many of the good reasons mentioned throughout both threads ... and I very quickly wasn't working for him anymore.

I never really missed the job, but I sure missed the paychecks for a while. Which of course speaks to the whole wage-slave idea. It's such an easy term to throw out, but what does it mean exactly? What is one a slave to? Is it about big bucks so you can drive a big car, live in a big house, take big vacations, send your kids to big schools? Or are you genuinely just trying to keep food on the table, a roof over your heads? I have very little sympathy for someone in the former situation, all kinds for someone in the latter. And a small part of it goes out to that moment, late afternoon when, with a sigh, for what seems like the thousandth time, he/she has to say, "Honey, I just don't know when I'm going to be able to get out of here."
posted by philip-random at 8:55 AM on January 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


As an aside, most of the younger guys I work with try to rush home even if they don't have kids. All the older guys pull an ND¢ and drink at the pen station bar every night and never make it home before 10.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:57 AM on January 7, 2011


Six months of 5pm to 8pm chicken fingers baby.

Men. They pretend they care about living a healthy lifestyle, they act like they do really love good food, then they trap you into marrying them and insist on eating chicken fingers every night. GUESS WHAT CHICKENS DONT HAVE FINGERS!
posted by anniecat at 8:58 AM on January 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Annicat, I feel it's important that we sit down and discuss shrimp.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:00 AM on January 7, 2011


The question was asked pretty poorly, is my point.

Well. I think the framing was shit and probably a bit revealing of other problems in their relationship, and I think that the OP, if he reads the responses with an open mind, will probably get a lot out of it. Even if a lot of the replies are probably off the mark, I imagine some of them will hit uncomfortably close to home.

This is one of those threads where answers to questions that weren't asked are probably better than just answering the question.
posted by empath at 9:02 AM on January 7, 2011


This thread has taken a turn.

An AWESOME turn.

(But chicken wings > chicken fingers. Empirical fact. And none of that boneless wing crap.)
posted by kmz at 9:02 AM on January 7, 2011


I work in a university where everything is petty and politics are big.

Young, untenured professors have cut off conversations with the PROVOST in order to get home to their kids by dinner time.

Those young, untenured professors got tenure with no problems.

I've had urgent situations at the end of the day that require IMMEDIATE attention, but the director of the program is the one in his family responsible for picking his kids up from school. So though it is super urgent and the dean is awaiting an answer, he goes to pick up his kids and deals with it early the next morning.

I've, too, had urgent situations pop up that required that I be present, but as soon as I tell my boss, "I have to pick up Toddler Zizzle now," my boss says, "Okay! Go! We'll get on this first thing tomorrow."

I, too, get that things come up, and I admit that I work in a luxury environment for that. But unless your a doctor or a disaster relief worker or in another actively-responsible-for-saving-lives role, I just don't see how it's possible not to have a set time to get home, outside of peak busy times that every job has. I know accountants who work until 10 or 11 every April and part of May. But that's only April and May.

Also --- the OP shouldn't be taking long lunches if long lunches means he gets home later. That's inconsiderate to his family and smokes of disrespect for his wife who is, quite frankly, asking a straightforward question that should have a straightforward answer. If the OP is as smug and egotistical in real life as he in that post, his marriage is not long for this world.
posted by zizzle at 9:03 AM on January 7, 2011


Annicat, I feel it's important that we sit down and discuss shrimp.

Isn't it a little early to start making these kinds of overtures? I mean, you and Sidhedevil just unspoused like an hour ago.
posted by anniecat at 9:04 AM on January 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


automotive OEMs are highly stable and not. Chances are he will have alot more time with the misses in the coming year. And a question of that kind borders on hilarity.
posted by clavdivs at 9:06 AM on January 7, 2011


Your young friends have a lot to learn Mr. hominem.
posted by ND¢ at 9:08 AM on January 7, 2011


Wait, Sidhedevil is unspoused.

/ me pops collar

"Hey, baby..."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:08 AM on January 7, 2011


And none of that boneless wing crap.

But I love those! Despite the fact that they were never wings to begin with!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:09 AM on January 7, 2011


Well, I guess boneless wings are acceptable in one scenario: you need your fingers absolutely clean, you somehow have no access to napkins or paper towels or a sink, and you don't have chopsticks handy. (Everybody knows how to eat chicken wings with chopsticks, right?)
posted by kmz at 9:12 AM on January 7, 2011


Your young friends have a lot to learn Mr. hominem.

I'm with you. Every night is chicken finger and Johnnie Walker night for me. I might go boneless wings for lunch and double up on the impossible poultry foods today.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:14 AM on January 7, 2011


Shit, now I really want chicken wings for lunch.
posted by kmz at 9:14 AM on January 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


(Everybody knows how to eat chicken wings with chopsticks, right?)

Stab the wings and eat them as if they are delicious saucy lollipops?
posted by runningwithscissors at 9:15 AM on January 7, 2011


I just don't see how it's possible not to have a set time to get home, outside of peak busy times that every job has.

Seriously, it's entirely possible. I manage the production department of a weekly newspaper. On deadline day, there are writers, editors, salespeople and clients that all have to have their stuff together in order for me and others to go home at a reasonable hour (Oh, those 10pm days where so much fun). Then of course, there's the matter of the final PDFs actually being print ready, i.e., don't have technical issues which will prevent them from screwing up on press. It's not a big deal anymore, but it's not uncommon for me to be an hour or two late on deadline day.

Almost universally, it's some "issue" with a client, where they're trying to get an ad in, their designer screwed something up and have to be tracked down (so much fun after hours), they haven't approved the ad yet etc, etc. I could take a short lunch, long lunch, come in a little later and it still wouldn't matter in terms of what time I leave if one of the above happens, because hey, there's a paper to put to bed.

So it doesn't surprise me that the OP has issues if he's working directly with clients, who are working on a schedule of their own. For instance, bar owners don't seem to wake up until 4 or 5 for obvious reasons. That's a bit of issue when the deadline is 5 and they're trying to finalize booking of a band, etc, etc.

This isn't "Oh whoah is me," just trying to explain how it's totally possible for work schedules to be fluid in certain jobs.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:15 AM on January 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Whoah, there, pardner.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:17 AM on January 7, 2011


"Oh whoah is me,"

That's totally what this meme should have been called.
posted by ND¢ at 9:19 AM on January 7, 2011 [14 favorites]


Yes, but contrast that with the OP statements where he gets stopped at the end of the day by a client. It's not a black and white, either/or situation.

Exactly, yes. Which might be why the wife is so on edge, because she doesn't know which it is (as I said in the thread). If he saved the emergency footing for actual emergencies, instead of the days when he wanted to take a long lunch, that might help them coordinate the whole thing more easily, yes?

And wait, what? WE HAVE KIDS? I thought that was just your entourage of lovable urchins a la Sherlock Holmes!
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:24 AM on January 7, 2011


If he saved the emergency footing for actual emergencies, instead of the days when he wanted to take a long lunch, that might help them coordinate the whole thing more easily, yes?

It really depends on his specific situation.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:26 AM on January 7, 2011


As an aside, most of the younger guys I work with try to rush home even if they don't have kids. All the older guys pull an ND¢ and drink at the pen station bar every night and never make it home before 10.

Don't these old guys know there's a recession on?! Money's tight!

We drink at home. Besides, I work in the suburbs and live in the city and all the good bars are close to home.
posted by backseatpilot at 9:30 AM on January 7, 2011


I think if you're still at the office at the end of the day when most of the employees are gone, and you arrive late and take long lunches, I can't assume you're working. I'd probably assume you're just hanging around surfing the web. I would go so far as saying that the employee who comes in on time and actively seems like he has somewhere to be after work is probably the employee I would trust more not to be screwing around on the internet all day and night while I'm paying him a salary.
posted by anniecat at 9:33 AM on January 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


And wait, what? WE HAVE KIDS?

No, not we, YOU.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:35 AM on January 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


We drink at home.

Me too. And I buy wine in jugs now, though I'm looking into wine in boxes so the goldfish can't judge me anymore. There's nothing like leaving work at the end of the day to get home. After all, home is where the booze is (I'd like to crochet that into a pillow).
posted by anniecat at 9:36 AM on January 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


After all, home is where the booze is

Speak for yourself. Apparently, you've never heard of this modern invention known as a "flask."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:40 AM on January 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Speak for yourself. Apparently, you've never heard of this modern invention known as a "flask."

I tried that and the goldfish appear to recognize it and stare at me all judgey-like, which is why I drink merlot out of coffee mugs now.
posted by anniecat at 9:45 AM on January 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Speak for yourself. Apparently, you've never heard of this modern invention known as a "flask."

Actually, the last time I saw it was in my desk drawer at work, which is now flaskless. I think our accountant stole it.
posted by anniecat at 9:47 AM on January 7, 2011


To the extent that other people have different departure options/realities at their jobs, that has no bearing on his situation. Maybe he can leave at 5:30 upwards of 90 percent of the time and maybe he can't.

(I've a friend who works in Luton, UK, who knows all too well that the wage-slave/long-hours mentality is alive and well in England. It's damn sure alive and well in the Middle East... .)

What the guy actually said: If I say "530, give or take" she gets exasperated that my "give or take" can be up to 30 minutes. To say nothing of her reaction if I get stopped talking to a client or someone else while packing up and talk to them for 45 minutes. Both the inconsistency in departure time and my inability to effectively explain what that time will be infuriate her.

That didn't strike me as wildly unreasonable, at least not so unreasonable to "exasperate" and "infuriate."

Agreed with those who related that he seemingly could have tightened up his schedule, given up some flexibility and left at 5:30 when seemingly he did not do so because of choices he made, at least made the gesture, much as it may not have a bearing on when he can leave.


As someone above noted with an example of taking out the trash, a sense that there may be more driving the exasperation, etc., than this particular issue.
posted by ambient2 at 9:51 AM on January 7, 2011




Isn't it a little early to start making these kinds of overtures? I mean, you and Sidhedevil just unspoused like an hour ago.

It's all right, annicat--I spoused CPB on the rebound. Find our wedding registry at the Rory Marinich Experience Superstore!
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:05 AM on January 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


And still the unreliability did upset me as as kid. That much may be unavoidable in certain jobs, but trying to at least mitigate it doesn't seem unreasonable.

This isn't about sliding off work early and losing your job. If you were late for a client, you'd ring them and tell them when you were probably going to arrive...

If you don't care for your kids as much as your clients, then why did you breed? It's not like it's compulsory.


This strikes me as an unnecessarily harsh take on a parent working late, especially from someone who's experienced it. My younger sister and I were raised by my mother after my parents got divorced, and from age 10 on we were often waiting until 8:30 or 9pm for her to come home. This is a single mother who hadn't worked in probably 10 odd years and had 2 kids to think about, and she had to start at the bottom selling magazines and encyclopedias so that we could eat something that didn't come out of a box. Doing well enough at some jobs requires you to work odd hours, perhaps deal with people in other time zones, or any number of other things in order to make a decent living. Implying that someone who's job regularly requires them to work late likes their clients more than their children or shouldn't have "bred" is just cruel, and your assumption that all clients are reasonable and will understand that your family obligations are more important than their bottom line is a little naive.
posted by Hoopo at 10:13 AM on January 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


This strikes me as an unnecessarily harsh take on a parent working late, especially from someone who's experienced it. My younger sister and I were raised by my mother after my parents got divorced, and from age 10 on we were often waiting until 8:30 or 9pm for her to come home.

That's different. Your mother was struggling and had to deal with supporting two children all by herself knowing there would be no support, no wiggle room or anything. This guy is a consultant who doesn't want to manage his time or spend time with his family because it's inconvenient to the flexibility of his work schedule.
posted by anniecat at 10:26 AM on January 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I hear that sex tape is on clearance at the Rory Marinich Experience Superstore. That, and the retro sequined t-shirts.
posted by catlet at 10:36 AM on January 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Now I have chicken wings. Fuck yeah.
posted by kmz at 10:39 AM on January 7, 2011


If you don't care for your kids as much as your clients, then why did you breed? It's not like it's compulsory.

The one thing I've heard over and over from parents is that those of us who are childless have no real idea what to expect and no appreciation for how completely our lives will change if we ever have kids.

And as for it being compulsory, not much is literally compulsory, but it can often feel that way. The societal and familial pressure to do things like follow a religion, reproduce, take on the family business, follow normative gender roles, etc, can be pretty damn strong and can make it seem like there aren't other options.

This seems like a good place to post a link to Brady's fabulous essay, "I Want a Wife."

Thanks for linking that. I wonder if she ever found a wife.
posted by ODiV at 10:50 AM on January 7, 2011


This guy is a consultant who doesn't want to manage his time or spend time with his family because it's inconvenient to the flexibility of his work schedule.

Bunk. The two variables he has a measure of control over is his start time and lunch, and even if he adhered to a set start and abbreviated lunch, it's moot if circumstances require him to stay longer - and it could well be a working lunch, so he may not even have that much control over that. Stop talking shit and pretending you're telepathic.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:51 AM on January 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I spoused CPB on the rebound.

I couldn't be happier. The snuggling is incredible. But I really wish you'd stop asking me what time I will coming home from work. I mean, geez louise. It's not like you do anything all day home with the kids, anyway.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:51 AM on January 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I hear that sex tape is on clearance at the Rory Marinich Experience Superstore.


Awesome. I ran out of sex tape this week and had to use sex staples. Not really an optimal solution, IMHO.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 10:58 AM on January 7, 2011 [8 favorites]


if circumstances require him to stay longer - and it could well be a working lunch, so he may not even have that much control over that. Stop talking shit and pretending you're telepathic.

Likewise.
posted by anniecat at 11:07 AM on January 7, 2011


Oh, snap.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:10 AM on January 7, 2011


Oh man, I want a wife, too! Who wouldn't?
posted by stoneweaver at 11:18 AM on January 7, 2011


I read the post to my husband and my response to the post and I'll be darned if he didn't find a way to be home when he said he was going to (to the minute!) last night. Miracle of miracles!! And to those who say that us stay at home wives (or stay at home husbands) don't get it-most of us worked at some point too and back then before we had kids, we all worked til whenever the hell we felt like it. But life changes. My husband is a doctor with extensive on call responsibilities and he is able to estimate much better than that OP said he was able to, so I think the OP could have been trying a little harder. If a person placed a similar value on trying to be punctual with their spouse that they did with their job, they'd find a way to do it at least most of the time. It's not all or nothing. I don't think anyone expects their spouse to be on time every single night-things come up. But night after night of having no idea of when you'll be home and no control over it either is hard to believe in a world where most people eventually end up with a family and/or kids that they have obligations to. Nice to know my husband wasn't the only one who read the thread, gave it some thought, and walked in when he said he was going to last night to cheers and hugs.
posted by supercapitalist at 11:18 AM on January 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


The one thing I've heard over and over from parents is that those of us who are childless have no real idea what to expect and no appreciation for how completely our lives will change if we ever have kids.

The original comment was: "this isn't about sliding off work early and losing your job. If you were late for a client, you'd ring them and tell them when you were probably going to arrive. If you don't care for your kids as much as your clients, then why did you breed? It's not like it's compulsory."

I don't read that as lol why u have spawn? I read it as lol why don't u call, like u would @ work? And that's a pretty apropos question, really. I suspect the answer has at least as much to do with resentment issues (on both sides) as it does with concrete variables like work, scheduling, love for the kids, love for the wife, life changes after reproduction, long lunches, chicken wings at the bar, blah blah etc.

Like someone above said, this fight is not actually about taking out the trash.
posted by vorfeed at 11:20 AM on January 7, 2011


But night after night of having no idea of when you'll be home....

Quote from the original poster in the original thread:
I have a 45-60 minute commute coming home, so I arrive home between 530 and 7 most nights.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:26 AM on January 7, 2011


Do I need a set departure time every day even if its not what I want?

That's a direct quote from the question. I would take that to mean that he does, in fact, have some control over the situation.
posted by jrossi4r at 11:26 AM on January 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Or he doesn't want a set departure time because it will mean more aggravation and hassle if/when he blows it, hence the "Damned if I do and Damned if I don't" in the paragraph above the line you quote.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:32 AM on January 7, 2011


Man, I wish *I* was telepathic.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:33 AM on January 7, 2011


Must buy a new bottle of whiskey for my desk draw.
posted by Artw at 11:34 AM on January 7, 2011


The OP updated.
posted by scarykarrey at 11:35 AM on January 7, 2011


Not only do I sometimes doubt that a lot of unhelpfully judgemental mefites have kids, I also kind of doubt that a lot of them have real jobs.
posted by Artw at 11:37 AM on January 7, 2011 [8 favorites]


lol why don't u call, like u would @ work

In addition to what Brandon Blatcher said, I'm not seeing where the OP said he doesn't call. He just might not have a reliable estimate about the specific time he's going to get home. Which is not unusual--let alone unreasonable--for certain kinds of work.

She thinks I should be leaving at the same time every day....My position is that I have a salaried job that requires me to work past 5pm some days; stay until 9pm some days, get up at 2am some days, and work weekends some times

Sounds like this is exactly the kind of work where this is not unusual or unreasonable to me, and according to the OP they're literally fighting about "up to 30 minutes give or take."
posted by Hoopo at 11:38 AM on January 7, 2011


Not only do I sometimes doubt that a lot of unhelpfully judgemental mefites have kids, I also kind of doubt that a lot of them have real jobs.

Being unhelpfully judgmental can be a job.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:40 AM on January 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


vorfeed: What I quoted just seemed like a nonsensical statement. I get the argument. Saying "If you don't care for your kids as much as your clients, then why did you breed?" is asking why someone doesn't have precognitive abilities about non-existent humans, which seems pretty pointless.

Who could?

And if they did, how annoying would it be that of all the paranormal abilities that involve seeing into the future you've only got the one that's telling you you're going to hate your little brat kids.
posted by ODiV at 11:44 AM on January 7, 2011


On the exceedingly small chance I ever become married, this thread is an excellent reminder of the consequences of related AskMes.
posted by adipocere at 11:49 AM on January 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not only do I sometimes doubt that a lot of unhelpfully judgemental mefites have kids, I also kind of doubt that a lot of them have real jobs.

I consider some of you to be my children.
posted by anniecat at 11:54 AM on January 7, 2011


Ok, he can get lunch down to 30 mins which is good but I think there are a few more minutes he could shave off here and there. He should look into keyless entry and remote start for his car. He is probably wasting precious seconds fumbing with his car keys on cold days.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:54 AM on January 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


"All the older guys pull an ND¢ and drink at the pen station bar every night and never make it home before 10."

Tracks meetup?
posted by Eideteker at 11:55 AM on January 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ok, he can get lunch down to 30 mins which is good but I think there are a few more minutes he could shave off here and there. He should look into keyless entry and remote start for his car. He is probably wasting precious seconds fumbing with his car keys on cold days.

Streetlights and brakes are for people who despise their children and loathe their spouses.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:58 AM on January 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


backseatpilot: At the end of the day, what's more important to him? Kow-towing to a capricious client or saving his marriage Feeding his family or pacifying his wife?
FTFY

That said, his wife could definitely be a little more understanding.
Ya think?
posted by coolguymichael at 11:59 AM on January 7, 2011


I consider some of you to be my children.

I was wondering where this diaper came from.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:06 PM on January 7, 2011


She thinks I should be leaving at the same time every day....My position is that I have a salaried job that requires me to work past 5pm some days; stay until 9pm some days, get up at 2am some days, and work weekends some times

Sounds like this is exactly the kind of work where this is not unusual or unreasonable to me, and according to the OP they're literally fighting about "up to 30 minutes give or take."


I felt pretty sad reading his description of his job, and I felt extremely sympathetic to him after reading his follow-up. It still sounds like he isn't really telling his wife his worries about his job and his industry. As a married person, it's just hard for me to believe that if she understood the situation, why she would be unhappy and not just grateful that he's bringing a paycheck home before he, what he implies is inevitable, is laid off. I didn't really think too hard about what field he was in, I don't know much about it, and it seems like his job skills aren't transferable, so he's stuck working for a dying industry. That's very sad.
posted by anniecat at 12:10 PM on January 7, 2011


In the followup he says

if you got to work at 9am after a 2am-5am code deployment,

For a multinational , even for a scheduled release, there are only certain windows of opportunity to deploy code. A production deployment would require signoffs by multiple departments as well as scheduling it so downtime would impact the least amount of people. For a devloper on the east coast this might be some crazy time, like after the Hong Kong office closes. I schedule at least 3 hours for deployment.

For a breakfix, or an emergency patch, it is not uncommon to have to come in on a weekend, or work all night. I have seen people get called back from vacation on christmas day.

Oh, and I have seen somebody get fired for leaving at 5. I saw a PM leave at 5 pm, 3 hours before a scheduled release. He was let go the next day.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:26 PM on January 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


anniecat: the automotive industry isn't dying, people will always need to buy cars. It is getting smaller and much more competitive, especially for US firms. Should be getting better this year though, anyone else see the December auto sales numbers?
posted by ish__ at 12:30 PM on January 7, 2011


I work at home, for myself, and my boss is a real witch. If I don't want take a conference call from the UK (I live in California), she'll never let me hear the end of it. And my dog? Totally unreasonable about walks. Thank heavens my kids were box-trained.
posted by Ideefixe at 1:15 PM on January 7, 2011


vorfeed: What I quoted just seemed like a nonsensical statement. I get the argument. Saying "If you don't care for your kids as much as your clients, then why did you breed?" is asking why someone doesn't have precognitive abilities about non-existent humans, which seems pretty pointless.

Yes, that's what the question literally says, but I think it's implying that the OP should reconsider his relative standards of treatment for entirely existent humans. He has clients. He has children. He has a choice as to whether or not to make changes to accommodate his family, just as he would for his clients. And lo and behold:

Thanks to most everyone's very helpful responses, I must have hit a nerve or common experience or something. I'm going to start texting her at 430 every day without fail with the evening plan, even if it is a +/- 30 minute thing, and fix my morning departure time.

I bet this will help a lot, because as I said above, this argument is not actually about his failure to come home every night at the exact same time. It's about his wife's perception (even if incorrect) that he is not trying to be consistent, and the resentment that's built up around that on both sides. This daily text message creates a team -- the OP and his wife versus the job -- and that's much better than the job and the OP versus his wife.
posted by vorfeed at 1:46 PM on January 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Everyone in my department with children take off earlier than those who don't.

In other words...if it breeds, it leaves.
posted by mreleganza at 1:58 PM on January 7, 2011


if you got to work at 9am after a 2am-5am code deployment,

Yeah, that's my husband, although fortunately not very often any more. He still manages to do a better job at managing my expectations than the OP was doing. I'm glad the OP updated; I felt better after reading how he was going to do it in the future.
posted by immlass at 3:17 PM on January 7, 2011


Among the many things I love about my job is the fact that I have a bottle of scotch in my desk drawer right now. A bottle given to me by my boss, even.

I actually have a bottle of ginger beer here as well, but that's going home with me.
posted by gingerbeer at 3:29 PM on January 7, 2011


I consider some of you to be my children.

Can I borrow the car?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:32 PM on January 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Soon the kid is referring to his dad as "Frank" and calls his stepdad "Dad" and thanking him in his Nobel prize speech. His biological dad was really just a sperm donor for his mom
While Frank gives half his income to support their lifestyle and is denied access to his kids.
posted by dg at 3:40 PM on January 7, 2011


I think it's implying that the OP should reconsider his relative standards of treatment for entirely existent humans. He has clients. He has children. He has a choice

Well, he also led with this:

wondering why some people have kids when they don't seem to want them.

which is an awfully strong way to suggest that he "reconsider his relative standards of treatment" and you're being very charitable. That comment came with the caveat that it's very emotional and coming from personal experience. It reads as though he's suggesting the OP doesn't care about his family because he doesn't have a job he can leave at 5pm everyday.

I'm surprised that people here think coming home regularly between 5:30-7:00 with some exceptions is somehow neglectful, especially with one parent staying home with the children. It's totally normal, and probably a lot better than what most kids deal with for parents who do shiftwork or any other number of irregular work hours/overtime/on call situations. My wife's last job was understaffed and often had her doing 3 hours or more of overtime and she could not say at any given point when she would finally have the opportunity to leave because of customers and clients. On those days, instead of getting angry and resentful, I made dinner later. Having "something something of Customer Service" on your door or nametag means people come to you all damned day with their stupid snowflake complaints and they do. not. care. that you've been off the clock for 2 hours. It sucks, but it's not gonna fly when your boss gets a complaint that you told a customer that you couldn't help them. Contract work? Your boss or client is working late on a project they need you involved in, you're working late on that project. You might not know how long it could take. This is how it is for some people and how they make a living. It doesn't mean they don't like their families or have fucked up priorities.
posted by Hoopo at 3:42 PM on January 7, 2011


None of you "regular schedule" people ever have to fix things that break? If I break the site / one of my areas is broken, I can't just say "oh well it's after X o'clock I'll fix it tomorrow". Hell, if YouTube goes down for 5 minutes people freak out. And thats as a developer, if I was operations I'd be doing that sort of thing far more often.

Deadlines are an issue too (thought I'd have it done, it's the night before the push, need to get it out) but those arguably you have some control over and can get better at predicting. Stuff breaking is often inherently unpredictable (and can happen a lot... in my previous job we were in crisis/meltdown mode for 2 years, I eventually quit).
posted by wildcrdj at 4:20 PM on January 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Some days—not at all always!—the more I read Ask Metafilter, the more I love my cat. Times like this, it makes me want to get a big fat bumpersticker that says I LOVE MY CAT AND I'LL COME HOME WHENEVER THE F I WANT, MEOW MEOW MEOW.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 4:34 PM on January 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


which is an awfully strong way to suggest that he "reconsider his relative standards of treatment" and you're being very charitable. That comment came with the caveat that it's very emotional and coming from personal experience. It reads as though he's suggesting the OP doesn't care about his family because he doesn't have a job he can leave at 5pm everyday.

To me, it reads as though he's suggesting the OP doesn't care about his family because he's not willing to call if he's late. That has little or nothing to do with the kind of job he has, and everything to do with his behavior with regards to that job.

Again, the sentence right before the one you keep quoting is: "If you were late for a client, you'd ring them and tell them when you were probably going to arrive." A bunch of sentences before that are "And yes, I do know what I'm talking about, both my parents were doctors with on-call duties; if they could call to say they would be late they would, they would tell each other when they were on-call and liable to be late, and basically try and treat their partner and children with as much respect as they treated their patients and colleagues."

Quoting out of context is not enough to make this comment a blanket value statement about having "a job he can leave at 5pm everyday". Not when it's clearly about the proper behavior to have when you don't have a job you can leave at 5PM everyday.
posted by vorfeed at 6:09 PM on January 7, 2011


Again, the sentence right before the one you keep quoting

I only quoted that once I think; my objection is to the idea stated twice in that one comment that his behaviour somehow implies he doesn't want his kids, a conclusion that appears to be drawn because the OP can't provide a reliable ETA by the afternoon phone call within a 30-minute range of accuracy. I'm not seeing the part of the question where "he's not willing to call if he's late". I am seeing the part where he does call to say he's running behind and it makes her angry, or sometimes just can't leave when he wanted to and she gets upset, or is honest and says "dunno when I'm leaving yet" and she gets upset:

If I try to accommodate and estimate a departure time & miss it or have to call to change it she gets upset; but if I try to be vague or noncommittal about a time she gets upset

Based on the information provided in the question, at what point is his behavior not "proper"? If it's true he usually gets home between 5:30 and 7:00, that's an entirely reasonable 90-minute window that shouldn't mess up anyone's schedule too much if its closer to 5 or if it's just after 7, let alone say anything about his relationship to his children. That's just mean, and I suspect it's based on someone else, not the OP.

Anyways, that's enough arguing for me for one day.
posted by Hoopo at 7:09 PM on January 7, 2011


Mommy's alright, Daddy's alright, they just seem a little weird.
posted by Sailormom at 7:20 PM on January 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not seeing the part of the question where "he's not willing to call if he's late". I am seeing the part where he does call to say he's running behind and it makes her angry, or sometimes just can't leave when he wanted to and she gets upset, or is honest and says "dunno when I'm leaving yet" and she gets upset:

In both of those situations, though, the wife is on the hook for a non-specified period of time. She has to wait for a call which may never come (and if it comes, may come at any time) and/or may be quite inaccurate. This can be really frustrating, especially with kids. The "I'll text at 4:30 with a daily update" solution gets around this problem: every day at 4:30 she'll know roughly what time he'll get home, as opposed to playing a +/- two-hour guessing game every night and/or causing even more annoyance on both sides by bugging him about it.

Based on the information provided in the question, at what point is his behavior not "proper"? If it's true he usually gets home between 5:30 and 7:00, that's an entirely reasonable 90-minute window that shouldn't mess up anyone's schedule too much if its closer to 5 or if it's just after 7, let alone say anything about his relationship to his children. That's just mean, and I suspect it's based on someone else, not the OP.

His behavior wasn't proper because it was driving his wife nuts. It's not like there's some objective definition of "proper", here -- it's a problem if it's a problem, like everything else in a relationship. For what it's worth, I agree that his behavior was within what I consider to be normal parameters... but then, I'm not his wife.

Since the comment you're responding to said "if they could call to say they would be late they would, they would tell each other when they were on-call and liable to be late, and basically try and treat their partner and children with as much respect as they treated their patients and colleagues", and the OP has already said that he'll call from work with updates every day, I think that's good enough to absolve him of any not-caring-about-his-kids which may have been implied.
posted by vorfeed at 9:49 PM on January 7, 2011


While Frank gives half his income to support their lifestyle and is denied access to his kids.

Another thing I'm sick of seeing from male Mefites. You guys sound like Sean Penn. "Oh, I got taken for half of everything in my divorce." You didn't get taken. They are your kids.
posted by anniecat at 7:28 AM on January 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


While Frank gives half his income to support their lifestyle and is denied access to his kids.

Also, exactly how often does this happen? Because if the judge decides you're a crazy nutjob who can't be trusted around his kids but still owes child support, I think it's fair that you should be denied access to the kids. You brought them into this world but it doesn't take a genius to fertilize an egg.
posted by anniecat at 7:33 AM on January 8, 2011


Another thing I'm sick of seeing from male Mefites.

Try being one sometime then come back and type.
posted by Sailormom at 7:34 AM on January 8, 2011


Another thing I'm sick of seeing from male Mefites.

Really? You're going to go there?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:45 AM on January 8, 2011


You guys sound like Sean Penn. "Oh, I got taken for half of everything in my divorce."

Not a very well-built strawman, I'm afraid.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:42 AM on January 8, 2011


Really? You're going to go there?

Ugh. My foot tastes terrible.
posted by anniecat at 9:13 AM on January 8, 2011


God, reading that question made me tense up. I hate those frustrating communication patterns you can get into with your spouse (speaking for myself, at least). Everyday she knows she will call and get an unsatisfying answer, and every day he knows she'll call and he'll give an unsatisfying answer. Ugh. I'm sure both of their blood pressure shoots up as the afternoon approaches. Break the pattern, people! Of course, it's easy to say from the outside. My husband and I definitely have those tension-filled topics.
posted by JenMarie at 10:36 AM on January 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Bluedaisy, I guess to sum up, the answer to your question is: yes. Yes, you are.
posted by ErikaB at 12:33 PM on January 8, 2011


While Frank gives half his income to support their lifestyle and is denied access to his kids.

Another thing I'm sick of seeing from male Mefites. You guys sound like Sean Penn. "Oh, I got taken for half of everything in my divorce." You didn't get taken. They are your kids.

Also, exactly how often does this happen? Because if the judge decides you're a crazy nutjob who can't be trusted around his kids but still owes child support, I think it's fair that you should be denied access to the kids.


The specific scenario I responded to was a male being the non-custodial parent. This sort of thing happens to both genders. Would you be happier if I said 'while the non-custodial parent gives half their income to support the lifestyle of the custodial parent and is denied access to the children of the relationship'?

Of course a parent who can't be trusted around kids should be denied access to them. This doesn't happen often (I think) in a formal sense, but it is not uncommon for a non-custodial parent to be denied access to their children in lots of other ways - by the custodial parent going out of their way to make access difficult, by the custodial parent moving away with the kids, in lots of other ways. Where this happens, it's not unusual for the non-custodial parent to end up paying a significant portion of their income to an ex-partner to the extent that they don't have sufficient income left to have any financial security themselves while not being able to interact with their kids in any meaningful way. It's also not that uncommon for a non-custodial parent to go to great lengths to get out of their responsibility. Such situations almost always bring out the very worst in people of both genders.

I think it's important when considering such issues to remember that the right to access is not one of parents having a right to access their children, it's a right of children to have access to their parents. Taking away the access of a parent takes away the rights of children, resulting in the children being punished for the sins of the parents.

Yes, of course both parents are equally responsible for providing for the children (financially and otherwise), absolutely.

I didn't say anything about a judge denying access - that was your take on the situation. This is not a gender issue, it's an issue that a breakdown in relationships where there are children sometimes (often?) leads to bad situations for all concerned.

Just because a comment is made by a male, it's not automatically sexist.
posted by dg at 4:12 PM on January 8, 2011


^Some days—not at all always!—the more I read Ask Metafilter, the more I love my cat. Times like this, it makes me want to get a big fat bumpersticker that says I LOVE MY CAT AND I'LL COME HOME WHENEVER THE F I WANT, MEOW MEOW MEOW.

Really? My experience with cats has been that if you go home whenever the F you want, they use their bodily fluids (and solids, come to think) to tell you what they think of you.

I didn't respond in that thread because I felt ashamed, thus annoyed with the OP, who well might be completely innocent of my sins but who might not.

My confession: Even as a chick with an employed husband and no children, I have frequently failed to leave on time because I am a jerk who reads internet forums for, like 5 minutes before I go, only to find it's been 20 minutes, I've missed my bus and it's going to be 7 before I get home. This is completely unacceptable and I know it. The only way to rectify it is not to do it. But if I do, I must immediately shut down, talk to whoever might catch me on the way out, call with an apology and ETA, and go without further delay (even if my bus won't arrive imminently.) All else leads to madness.

See? Shame. And over-identification.
posted by gingerest at 7:58 PM on January 8, 2011


« Older Is this post acceptable?   |   New Twitter/Facebook sharing options proposed Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments