The end of summer is upon us. Tomorrow, our eldest daughter returns to school, later in the week our younger daughter will return to preschool, and I can return to some form of regularity with my work. As a freelance writer I am fortunate in that I answer to nobody in terms of working hours and taking time off. The downside is, of course, that when I don’t work, I don’t get paid. Strangely enough, my published novels do not sell as well as they could unless I put the effort in to market them. But that’s another story.
I have just finished reading an article from the Harvard Business Review that talks about how Millennials are workaholics, according to research. As I read the article, I nodded to just about every point that was discussed, and the one person that stuck in my mind was my husband. He is notorious for not making use of his allocated paid holiday at work. We recently returned from a week away as a family, and the only reason he took that holiday was because I had back-up from his mother to force him to book the time off. I find that very upsetting, and quite disturbing.
What is it about my husband that makes him so indispensable at work, to the point where he will sacrifice quality time with his family in order to wade about in rubbish (he is a Chartered Waste Manager and doesn’t like office work)? Well, he is obsessed with his job. He is convinced that the site might collapse if he is not there to run it single-handedly. He worries that his peers might think he is a slacker if he so much as tries to take a lunch break, never mind actual time off. I know for a fact that they do not. In truth, they need a break from him sometimes!
So, where does this leave us, exactly? At the moment we are at loggerheads. I have to be at home with our children when they are not in school and preschool, and this has impacted on my freelance work during the summer holidays. Truthfully, I feel like a single parent most of the time, because I do so much with my children when our husband is at work. He simply cannot take his holidays, because the guilt and anxiety becomes too much for him to cope with. We haven’t considered half-term or Christmas, and at this point he will not discuss it since he just had a whole week off during summer.
How did we reach this situation in life? We are Millennials, only just, and I can actually see the differences within our circle of friends who are only a few years older. Most of our friends make the effort to balance their home and work life, and I see them taking regular, planned holidays throughout the year. My family unit is far more chaotic because of the fact that my husband is absent so much of the time. I know that he does want to be with us. I also know that he feels he cannot be away from work. And I cannot break through to him. It is a challenge, indeed.
Thank you to Sandra from Adventures Aboard AreAndAre for sharing the article with me, and for showing some support and understanding at this time.
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