Why My Husband Won’t Take Holidays

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.

Poole Harbour Choppy Sea SpookyMrsGreen

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.

Mummy Mondays SpookyMrsGreen

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About SpookyMrsGreen

SpookyMrsGreen: Mindful parenting and modern pagan lifestyle. See my blog for exclusive special offers, discount codes, health advice, eco-friendly tips, book reviews and more! Search #TheRedcliffeNovels and meet the vampires and werewolves of Cornwall, England.
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7 Responses to Why My Husband Won’t Take Holidays

  1. Joyful2bee says:

    I hate to say it but it may take a heart attack or even chest pain to bring him to his senses. I have been told that men often equate their identity with their jobs. Is he an oldest child. As one myself, it was grilled into my head to be responsible. Does he have confidence problems? Perhaps giving him positive reinforcement for anything he does with the family will make him want to be with you all more? Try to figure out why he is like he is and go from there. My husband was like that and even after a stroke at 56 and diabetes, he went back to work because he said he wanted to make a difference. He could have retired and play with the model trains he had but he wanted to work. Sometimes you just have to accept people as they are and make your own plans.

  2. Sandra Walsh says:

    Hi Catherine. I’m pleased you found the article helpful, I admit to being shocked to read that anyone would value themselves so little as to not prioritise self care and welcome holidays. No-one is EVER indispensible …
    However, one of the most important things to remember is that we can’t change someone else, we can only ever change ourselves.
    I suspect the answer lies in your final sentence – “For things to change, I must change” – he may wake up one day and smell the roses, or he may not 😉

    • Hi Sandra. You are completely accurate, and I am making no effort to change him, because it is not my place to do so. For now I can only change my attitude towards the situation, and find my own way to deal with the challenge. Thank you for commenting.

  3. Yes and yes! He has decided that the way he cares for his family is by spending nearly all of his time at work. It is his identity, I think. I am trying to do positive reinforcement, but that is a challenge when I’ve had a tough day with the children and he comes home when they are in bed. His dad had a serious (near fatal) cycling accident 2 years ago, my dad had a minor stroke earlier this year, and still my husband refuses to ease up on the work. Indeed, he is sinking further into the mire, it would seem. For now I am doing my own thing and waiting for him to assess his priorities when he is ready.

  4. Aquaryhun says:

    Yes mine is the same. Women push for equality in the workplace but the issues need to be addressed starting in the home with the male’s attitude to work and family. I never signed up to be a full time stay at home mum but circumstances – particularly around my partner refusing to take leave and company policy giving men little to no parental leave are a big problem. My priority was my baby and keeping her alive. My husband’s it seems is his job and always will be. His solution is daycare. My solution is a more balanced approach to work and parenting. I can tell you now it won’t stay this way forever. He will change or loose us both.

    • I am sorry to hear that you have the same struggle. Yes, it seems that men still grow up with the idea that all they can do is work, and it doesn’t occur to them that their families need quality time. My husband and I are now separated and he still chooses work over family. We will become just another statistic.

  5. Pingback: CBT is Basically Reiki Energy Healing | SpookyMrsGreen

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