Author Topic: My SO is a time-debtor  (Read 5362 times)

OnMon

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My SO is a time-debtor
« on: July 15, 2016, 12:58:56 PM »
I posted here years ago, and have lurked ever since. I was considering doing a case study, but honestly, financially we are doing OK. And our ultimate goal has never been 100% FI. I'm planning to drop into working as a staff nurse for 16hrs a week instead of full-time in the next 1-2 years when we have kids, and we're doing great on saving for that (both 401ks maxxed, and I just hit 6 figures on my personal combined retirement savings). I feel I'm in a much better position than many of my peers who happened into SAHP, especially since I'll be able to keep my career on a reduced schedule (and hopefully bring in income while avoiding the dreaded daycare $$).

I'd like my dear XY (husband of nearly 5 years) to take the idea of FI or part-time work more seriously, though, because honestly, he's got the worst time management skills of anyone I know. The man is brilliant...and SLOW. EG: He sleeps 5-7 hrs most work nights but insists on a siesta till noon most weekends (yeah, that's ending when we have kids). He takes a 40-45 minute shower every morning. He gets overwhelmed by tasks I find simple like cooking or cleaning, because he wants them done perfectly. He does a fabulous job every where he's worked (currently in IT, Systems Administration), but he ends up working very long hours and can't contribute to the housework, let alone take on hobbies outside of video games or TV watching (about an hour of such screen time per day), or long walks with me (we get in about 3 miles together each weekend), because he is behind (by months and years) on the various DIY IT projects he has going around the house (a UPS for our personal server, for example), and for help our parents ask of him on their electronics. I love him, and I love the pace he approaches life with (not so much the 45 minute showers, but the attention to detail and careful consideration are a great balance to my quick-to-jump-to-conclusions thinking), but at the same time the man is exhausted, overweight, and in serious time-debt.

Our non-mortgage debts are cleared, and our mortgage is pretty puny ($94.5K at 3.75%). We spend about $2250/month combined outside of mortgage and condo assessments, and save $1500-$2000/month outside of 401Ks (variable due to work differentials and bonuses). If we were spending the way I'd like to, we'd be closer to $1500/month spending outside of mortgage and assessments, and saving more like 50% or 60% of our income after 401ks, rather than our current 30% (which is right now going toward a Wealthfront fund that we are planning to use for a down payment on our next place, a single family home in our high COL city).

XY might have an opportunity to get a significant pay increase if he pursues a management position. His old employer actually floated the idea of hiring him back to take over as an IT director, and I can't help but think of the $$ increase that would magically jump up our savings rate without changing our current spending. XY hates the idea, however, because he'd potentially have even less time as a manager than he does in his current non-management position. But if he were actively pursuing FI he'd only have to work another 7-10 years, even with kids, me earning less, and a higher mortgage. Or he could work at the higher paid position for 4 years and then drop back down, right? I feel like XY is blind to the potential and thinking only of today, without realizing the impact that poor time management today is what's ruining his future (and current) free time.

I'm hoping to move into school nursing eventually when our kids our school age, so that I can have the summers off and be with them. My dream would be to convince XY that by the time our kids our school age, that we can earn enough from renting out our current condo and any dividends we may have saved that he can join his family on a fun "sabbatical" each summer. For that, though, he'd have to drop to contract work, and he's worried that if he takes long breaks of 3-6 months in IT, he won't be hire-able when he wants to return to the workforce. So then I propose FI, and he tells me he likes working (?).  I feel like we go round & round on this conversation to various extents, and he never really gets what I'm trying to say (which is ultimately, to give him the drive I see in frugal people like MMM or the FrugalWoods who are aggressively pursuing FI).

TL:DR: Is contract work for 6 months on, 6 months off an option in IT/systems administration or programming? Will those of you with crystal balls tell me if itíll still be an option in 7-12 years? And, how do you deal with your SO's time debt? (outside of everything I already do, which is 90% of non-IT housework/maintenance/decorating, 95% of cleaning, 100% cooking joint meals, and 70% joint laundry. On my nastiest days I feel like a nagging mom instead of a spouse, though I still manage to have outside of work hobbies. This is also why I need to switch to part time when we have kids, so that I can actually enjoy myself/my kids.)

Captain FIRE

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Re: My SO is a time-debtor
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2016, 01:22:54 PM »
I know a few tech people that were pushed into management and absolutely loathed it until they could get back out.  I wouldn't be quite so quick to push him in that direction if that's not what he wants.  Yes, it would shorten the time to FI, but if the journey is too miserable it can cause health problem/encourage him to quit his job/etc.  It would also likely mean less time with you, just as you're about to have kids!  Not an ideal plan.  Kids are stressful too, so trading a job you like for one you hate at the same time seems bound to create problems.

If you want to push hard for FI, instead consider continuing to work full-time rather than dropping to full-time.  Maybe make a list of household chores that would need to be done (including future ones such as picking kids up from daycare), and discuss together how you'll split them once you have kids.  (Not sure how the interaction between the pursuit of perfection and kids will work out...he may either realize it's impossible, or kids may cause him to shut down entirely?)

OnMon

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Re: My SO is a time-debtor
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2016, 03:39:01 PM »
Thanks for replying. Are you in IT? I agree that being pushed into management may make him crazy, and of course it's totally his call. But if I were going to be the primary breadwinner, that's the route I'd be pursuing. I read the Mad Fientist's guest post on the Frugalwood's blog, and realized that with working a (potentially) more stressful, political job instead of a more hands-on technical job, XY might be even more unhappy and isolated, even though he felt it was the "smart" financial choice. But if it were only for a few years? I dunno. We had a long talk last weekend that if he is given an offer from his old employer, he ask his current employer to counter...and I asked him to include in the counter something about more flexibility (4 10hr days instead of 5 8hrs) in exchange for not meeting the same salary (his current company is too small to offer him a similar position/salary). I'd love to hear from Mustachian IT types, though, about their experiences with moving up to management vs. staying hands-on, stepping down (but not out) from a management role, or contract work with long breaks in between jobs.

I'm deadly serious when I say his poor time management skills would make me crazy if I'm working full-time too with kids. In addition to the daycare hemorrhage whose numbers would drive me crazy, the TIME thing would really drive me crazy. I'm not exaggerating when I quote the unfair percentage of work I take on around the house, etc. He will likely try to shoulder the responsibility, I'll snap at him for his halfhearted job, his weight/isolation/potential for depression will only get worse, and both of us will just feel even more stressed as a result. Much better to have us have kids on our own terms and sacrifice a few more years of work, than being really crazy and making a poor time-management/unequal parternship situation even worse. And I have days that I love at my job (jack-of-all-trades nurse management and education) which make me really loathe to step down to a more boring staff-nursing role. At the same time? It would be SUPER freeing to always ALWAYS leave work at work and always have the exact same hours (I start and stop different hours ALL THE TIME). I can't see a way to maintain my current position full time and be happy in my marriage with kids. There's just no way it would be worth it.

Putting off TTC much longer isn't an option as we are now mid thirties. I'm tracking BBT and have had a pelvic ultrasound which showed lots of follicle activity in the past year so pretty confident I'm ovulating, but there's no guarantee of success of course. Maybe if you could tell me we'd have a guaranteed pregnancy with me at 40 I'd have no qualms about pursuing FI before kids...and I'm telling myself to just "relax" and enjoy the first 9-12 months, because hey, extra savings! (Or start younger. Oy, what a difference being more focused in my 20s could have made!) But yeah, I also want our kids to know their grandparents (my dad is turning 80 this year) and we've put this off long enough.

OnMon

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Re: My SO is a time-debtor
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2016, 03:52:18 PM »
And rereading "How to convert your SO to MMM in 50 awesome steps" I feel we are stuck at step 13. And I don't want to sound like I'm bitching too much about my share of the housework/cooking; to me it's "step 8" and I never even bring it up as a result. Really, I just want the final scales to fall from XY's eyes on what an FI future could mean for him.

PS I'm confident that I will be able to shave $100-$200 off our current budget by become XY's barista and preparing his "just so" siphon-brewed coffee and (lower calorie) muffin most mornings, as well as convincing him to meet with me for a picnic lunch at least once a week, considering it part of my "part time" job when I'm working part-time. But that doesn't change our savings rate much. The man refuses to carry a lunch bag, even if I do make extras or leftovers.

ender

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Re: My SO is a time-debtor
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2016, 04:55:01 PM »
I've worked in software dev/IT for about 5 years and can say that very, very few people go from IT/software dev to management for any reason other than the money. Potentially as they get older to avoid getting aged out. But nearly never for the joy of the job.

And nearly everyone I've worked with who was an individual contributor loathed the management related tasks, let alone people management.

I'm not sure how you figure that him being more stressed/busy/displeased with work (assuming he takes a director role) will somehow make him more effective outside the home.

Evgenia

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Re: My SO is a time-debtor
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2016, 05:37:36 PM »
I worked in tech for 20 years. I was in senior engineering management in the SF Bay Area/Silicon Valley for the last 10 years of that. Management will only add, significantly, to XY's time debt. It will almost certainly get a lot worse. There's a reason for the success of every kind of meal delivery, TaskRabbit service, etc: they succeed where people are working 80 hours/week, in a typical week.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but Sweet Husband and I actually agreed, as a household, that only one of us could work in tech management at a time. Even a no-kids household like ours could not handle two of us in that kind of role, and maintain any semblance of normal life. When it was my husband's "turn," I fully understood and accepted I'd have to do ALL the cooking and cleaning (or get a house cleaner as we did), pick him up late at night when he worked late, literal everything, AND let him relax and not expect him to do anything but recover on Sunday, to keep him from premature death. Likewise when I was the one in management: he did all the cooking, dealing with mail, taking the car in for repair, shuttling me wherever, etc. Because each of us had been in the role, we knew what was required.

I still have NO idea how ANYONE with kids and two jobs pulls it off.

At risk of projecting, what you've described also sounds like the behavior of many overstretched tech workers I've known, myself included before FIRE. I felt a tremendous amount of sympathy when I read your descriptions of XY's "time debt."

Tech work is, much of the time, incredibly cognitively demanding, to say nothing of having to deal with the wacky exec-type (and other) humans involved, many of whom require emotionally exhausting handholding, tons of education, etc. It can be difficult to get one's brain to slow down, and can take a long time for it to do so (hence the 40-45 minute showers, which are also often one of the few rare pleasure times when one is not in front of a screen, and it's quiet).

Moving slowly is also a sign that he's thinking about something challenging. When I was working on gnarly engineering problems, I couldn't just NOT think about them if an idea struck.

My husband refused tech management as long as he could, but did it for his last year before FIRE. His health plummeted: he couldn't sleep well, he was sullen and exhausted, he slept all weekend, he was a stress case on Sunday nights, his skin broke out... I had more than one crying breakdown in the car where I said the extra money wasn't going to matter if I were widowed, and I meant it. He had a colleague drop dead of a heart attack at work at age 38 -- never smoked, didn't drink, had no known health problems. It is not worth it.

Also... getting to your contract work point... Short contracts with long breaks may not be the only option (as in, the long breaks are not a given), and six months on, six off is not the type of clearly delineated format I've seen in practice. The fact that my husband stayed MOSTLY hands on (and that I kept my hand in even in management) is part of what's making FIRE so comfortable for us now. He can EASILY get as many contract hours of writing code as he wants. He's advising a couple of start-ups (on the engineering side) for a high hourly rate, with very low -- but consistent -- hours. The context switching can be difficult when you have multiple folks you're sort of "on retainer" with, and things can get busy at times, but there are a LOT of possibilities.

Don't discount the hands-on knowledge, and keeping it: I think it's long-term FIRE leverage. I work 10 hours/week now. Without even trying, we're going to have a very nice income this year. If we couldn't be hands-on contributors, I'm not sure these flexible options would be open to us.

pbkmaine

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Re: My SO is a time-debtor
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2016, 05:54:47 PM »
Some of your post is about changing XY, and it seems to me that the traits that are driving you crazy may just be an essential part of who he is. You are not going to be able to change his essence.

former player

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Re: My SO is a time-debtor
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2016, 02:21:07 AM »
There is quite a lot about XY that I recognise in myself.  And I'm going to tell you: I don't think he can change.  Not won't change, can't change.  I think that the behaviours you are describing are his ways of managing to stay functional.  He works long hours, does a good job, brings in a good income, limits his screen time at home to an hour a day and goes for a walk with you at weekends.    That's all good stuff, right?  But he gets overwhelmed and can't cope with anything more, hence the showers, the sleeping, the inability to cope with a full share of the housekeeping and cooking.  That "overwhelmed" bit is what's not going to change, because he can't.  You could, most neurotypical people could.  But I strongly suspect that XY is not what's called "neurotypical" and that he is hard-wired to only be able to deal with so much of the world at any one time.  That's not going to change with kids, by the way.  What can change are his priorities within the time and effort for dealing with the world that he has available, but there is no magic way to provide him with more time and effort for dealing with the world overall.

Please don't force, encourage or cajole the poor man into management of any kind.  He has found his niche, he is good at it, management for him would be a disaster.  Probably also contract work would be a disaster too and make things worse not better as a significant part of his limited engagement broadband would be taken up by worrying about his less certain status, where future jobs were coming from, and pushing him into networking for new contracts.

I would suggest that you try to find strategies to help with him managing the bandwith he does have in better ways.  Can you help him rationalise those unfinished IT projects?  If they have been hanging around for years they are out of date in any case.  Suggest some other ways for his parents to get help with their electronics, or combine that work with a family visit.  Arrange something to do one evening a week which means he has to leave work on time/early.  Maybe ramp up the weekend walk into a couch to 5k running programme for the two of you together: takes very little more time, will help a lot on health and fitness, gives you a hobby together, and running may have the same self-soothing effect for him as the showers.

And accept that, kids or no, this brilliant man that you love will never do 50% of the housework, the cooking or the childcare.  And if that matters to you, consider whether this is the man you want to have kids with - you need to think long and hard about how his current levels of engagement could be redirected in a household where you are bringing up kids together, and whether you can cope with what will be available from him.  Because if he can't change his fundamental behaviours, and I don't think he can, you need to be able to work with what you've got.

lhamo

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Re: My SO is a time-debtor
« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2016, 04:37:21 AM »
Your expectations for what is a "normal" amount of sleep seem to be a bit out of whack, as well.  5-7 hours of sleep a night on worknights, may be sufficient for some, but for many that is severe sleep deprivation.  His sleeping until noon on weekends is a normal reaction -- he is catching up on his sleep debt.  After a year of being FIREd/not working, I find I feel best when I get at least 8-9 hours sleep a night, sometimes with a nap in the afternoon in addition.  When I was working I regularly went to bed at 9-10 pm because I had to get up at 4:30-5:00 am for my hellish commute -- and I was still tired. 

Since you mention he is overweight, he should also consider being assessed for sleep apnea -- highly possible that is another issue he is dealing with. 

Before you bring kids into this mix I think you would be best served focusing on supporting him to improve his overall health, including building good/healthy habits in the sleep, diet, and exercise.  Some men are able to make changes when there are children on the way -- my DH did.  The income stuff is secondary -- there won't BE any income if he loses his health, so get your priorities in order before adding kids to the mix.   I know you feel the pressure of a ticking biological clock, but you need to be ready in more ways than just the financial before you add kids to what sounds already like a pretty stressed out relationship.

And, though I'm not in IT, I would second the cautions about not moving into management unless you have your own ship in order in terms of good time management/delegation skills.  I was awesome at time/project management as a program manager.  But found it very hard to delegate, even with a great team.  So when I got put temporarily in a high management role, it was awful.  I was basically having to do two jobs -- my old program manager job, and the new office director job.  I did ramp up my skills at prioritizing/delegating, but there was still always more to do than one person could get done.  If I hadn't had the strong skill base I had going in, I would have drowned in 3-4 months, tops.  As it was I lasted about 16 months doing both jobs, and then another 4 months still doing much of the director job.  Would not go back.  Four years of asking him to step way outside his comfort zone/skill set is, in my opinion, another disaster in the making.

rockeTree

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Re: My SO is a time-debtor
« Reply #9 on: July 16, 2016, 05:22:10 AM »
This guy will be a desperately unhappy manager, and likely not a very good one. He will feel as responsible for several underlings work as he does for his now, and he will be stressed by the degree to which his job is not about the work but is instead focused on managing the emotional reactions of those above and below him in the hierarchy. Seven years is an eternity. I might make two. And not even that if I had little kids on the way or in the house.


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Lanthiriel

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Re: My SO is a time-debtor
« Reply #10 on: July 16, 2016, 11:41:39 AM »
OnMon, our husbands sound very similar. My husband has never been diagnosed, but I STRONGLY suspect he has Aspbergers. We have been together 10 years, and I have come to respect that he is going to always try his hardest to support me and do what's best for our little family, but that his best won't always meet my "expectations." In these cases, it's my expectations that have to change.

Please take stock of your current situation and decide that if he is working his current job and you work part time if that will be enough to keep you financially afloat and allow you to do 90% of the caregiving for an infant. I doubt that forcing your husband into a management position AND baby care is going to be good for either of your mental health.

If having a kid is really what you want, and be honest with yourself about how much you think he can contribute. People, and in particular men, generally don't magically change because there's a kid involved. I have come to terms with the fact that it is unlikely I would feel adequately supported by my husband in the case that we have a kid. I have decided that I would rather not become a parent than feel resentful and abandoned by my husband who I love very much.

Your situation might be very different, but from your post, it seems like you are counting on a lot of things about him and both your job situations to change to make you happy/have parenting work out. Just make sure the situation still looks tenable without the rose colored glasses.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2016, 11:48:12 AM by Lanthiriel »

Lanthiriel

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Re: My SO is a time-debtor
« Reply #11 on: July 16, 2016, 11:45:19 AM »
There is quite a lot about XY that I recognise in myself.  And I'm going to tell you: I don't think he can change.  Not won't change, can't change.  I think that the behaviours you are describing are his ways of managing to stay functional.  He works long hours, does a good job, brings in a good income, limits his screen time at home to an hour a day and goes for a walk with you at weekends.    That's all good stuff, right?  But he gets overwhelmed and can't cope with anything more, hence the showers, the sleeping, the inability to cope with a full share of the housekeeping and cooking.  That "overwhelmed" bit is what's not going to change, because he can't.  You could, most neurotypical people could.  But I strongly suspect that XY is not what's called "neurotypical" and that he is hard-wired to only be able to deal with so much of the world at any one time.  That's not going to change with kids, by the way.  What can change are his priorities within the time and effort for dealing with the world that he has available, but there is no magic way to provide him with more time and effort for dealing with the world overall.

Please don't force, encourage or cajole the poor man into management of any kind.  He has found his niche, he is good at it, management for him would be a disaster.  Probably also contract work would be a disaster too and make things worse not better as a significant part of his limited engagement broadband would be taken up by worrying about his less certain status, where future jobs were coming from, and pushing him into networking for new contracts.

I would suggest that you try to find strategies to help with him managing the bandwith he does have in better ways.  Can you help him rationalise those unfinished IT projects?  If they have been hanging around for years they are out of date in any case.  Suggest some other ways for his parents to get help with their electronics, or combine that work with a family visit.  Arrange something to do one evening a week which means he has to leave work on time/early.  Maybe ramp up the weekend walk into a couch to 5k running programme for the two of you together: takes very little more time, will help a lot on health and fitness, gives you a hobby together, and running may have the same self-soothing effect for him as the showers.

And accept that, kids or no, this brilliant man that you love will never do 50% of the housework, the cooking or the childcare.  And if that matters to you, consider whether this is the man you want to have kids with - you need to think long and hard about how his current levels of engagement could be redirected in a household where you are bringing up kids together, and whether you can cope with what will be available from him.  Because if he can't change his fundamental behaviours, and I don't think he can, you need to be able to work with what you've got.

Somehow I missed this response. Former player, are you secretly my husband?

+1 to all of this, especially the first and last paragraph.

mozar

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Re: My SO is a time-debtor
« Reply #12 on: July 16, 2016, 11:50:30 AM »
Sounds like there are a few things going on. First your husband sounds depressed. I remember when I was depressed I was easily overwhelmed, struggled to do housework because it felt so exhausting, barely cooked etc. It took me a couple of years to learn how to get more sleep at night so I could start to feel less exhausted and overwhelmed. It was a long journey to get from waking up at 11am on Saturdays, to actually getting out of bed at 9. For one thing, I learned that getting up early on the weekends is crucial, so I am able to fall asleep during the week.
Another issue may be emotional labor. He may be ignorant of what it takes to manage a household, or assume its your job. Here is a video of a guy who realized that he wasn't doing enough around the house. http://jezebel.com/interview-with-a-millennial-dad-who-admits-hes-a-shitty-1725121414

Also, brilliant engineer who struggles with day to day tasks?He may consider being tested for autism spectrum disorder. Even if he's not officially on it, he might not be neurotypical, and unable to do some things.

Also, you can freeze your eggs! Yes, it might not work, but life is a gamble anyway.

LAGuy

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Re: My SO is a time-debtor
« Reply #13 on: July 16, 2016, 12:15:03 PM »
Sounds like there are a few things going on. First your husband sounds depressed. I remember when I was depressed I was easily overwhelmed, struggled to do housework because it felt so exhausting, barely cooked etc. It took me a couple of years to learn how to get more sleep at night so I could start to feel less exhausted and overwhelmed. It was a long journey to get from waking up at 11am on Saturdays, to actually getting out of bed at 9. For one thing, I learned that getting up early on the weekends is crucial, so I am able to fall asleep during the week.
Another issue may be emotional labor. He may be ignorant of what it takes to manage a household, or assume its your job. Here is a video of a guy who realized that he wasn't doing enough around the house. http://jezebel.com/interview-with-a-millennial-dad-who-admits-hes-a-shitty-1725121414

Also, brilliant engineer who struggles with day to day tasks?He may consider being tested for autism spectrum disorder. Even if he's not officially on it, he might not be neurotypical, and unable to do some things.

Also, you can freeze your eggs! Yes, it might not work, but life is a gamble anyway.

I agree, he sounds depressed. Why do I think that? Because basically I was him with a wife just like this. Everything was fundamentally great, and yet it was never good enough. Do more at home. Make more money. Work harder/longer hours. No wonder the guy doesn't want to retire...work is his escape from his unhappy life at home and his nagging wife. I'm sorry if this sounds harsh, but better to hear it from me than your husband when he walks out the door.

Look, this poor guy is already working hard and bringing home good money. He isn't a spendy pants. Essentially he's doing nearly everything you want out of a man. He just wants his weekends to do his own thing. The only unfair bit, as far as I can tell, is that he's not keeping up his end on the chores and what not. Here's my advice on a happy, healthier marriage:

1)He's not going to change. Probably doesn't see the need to. Stop trying/hoping/wanting him to. Love him for who he is. Be happy for him when he gets to sleep in, have his shower, and play his video games. He earned it.
2)Help him clear his backlog of household IT projects. Plug the UPS in yourself. Everything else just throw it out, get rid of it, cancel it. Doesn't need to be done if nobody has done anything with it for a better part of a year.
3)Hire a cleaning person. I understand some people here are going to face punch for this. That's BS. If you're both working full time, the cost is negligent and frankly I see it as Mustachian. Basically, you're trading money for time...that's exactly the same thing that FIRE is. Really, just do it. If I could point to the number one thing that would have saved my marriage it was just hire a cleaning lady. It is truly some of the best money that two full time earners can spend.
4)If/when you go to part time, summers off, whatever it is. Realize that you'll be doing all the childcare and household chores. I mean, what did you think being a housewife entailed? I don't think a woman's place is in the home, but if you choose that job then you better be ready to bring your bread winner his slippers when he gets home from work.

SilveradoBojangles

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Re: My SO is a time-debtor
« Reply #14 on: July 16, 2016, 01:46:54 PM »
I had a boyfriend like this. Brilliant, excellent at work (and works in tech), 45 minute showers, overwhelmed by the rest of life because he would get bogged down in the details, prone to depression. He was late for everything because he would just completely lose track of time. I remember trying to help him pack one night before he had to move out of his place. He basically had all his possessions out on the floor and was just looking through them, packing nothing. I was like, "Put things in boxes and look at it when you unpack it! You've got to be out of here in 9 hours!" I think in the end I just decided to leave and let him deal with it. I loved him dearly but I knew he would never make a good partner. I couldn't change him (and frankly, didn't want to, as some of the most frustrating things about him were the things that made him so much fun). We are now good friends, both married to other people. My current partner has excellent time management skills and is just a much better fit for me. By the way, my lovely ex-boyfriend (really, he was lovely in every way as long as I didn't need to rely on him for anything) got promoted to a managerial level about 2 years ago. From his account I don't think it's going well.

That's probably not what you want to hear. I think you need to either commit to working with his strengths and around his weaknesses, or consider that this might not be the man you want to have kids with, because you are going to end up doing just about all of it. You also might want to have a conversation about what your ideal lives are like - working? Not working? Balance of chores? Is his ideal day to just stare at his computer all day and not do any household things, or does he actually want to contribute more and feels bad that he can't? If he had more free time, what would he do with it? Same for you. How does he expect kids to change his schedule? I think that with these kinds of questions you might be able to figure out if he's happy, what he wants to be different, and whether your dreams for the future are compatible or not. Also, he sounds like he needs more sleep!

Dee18

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Re: My SO is a time-debtor
« Reply #15 on: July 16, 2016, 02:27:50 PM »
It sounds like your vision of a future with kids is far from the likely reality.  The current facts are that your DH doesn't plan to make a manager's salary, doesn't get summers off for lots of family time, and doesn't have time/energy/interest to do much housework (or childcare).  It's great that you are thinking about this now, not so you will necessarily make a different choice, but so your expectations will be more realistic.  I am a single parent by adoption and I have loved it...I would have loved it even more just working 20 hours a week.  But I went into it knowing I was going to do all the work. I was often frustrated by how others acted like I had a tragic situation (and sometimes it was hard, but I expected that).  As with living frugally or any other choice that is not mainstream, there will be critics.  The trend theses days is for dads to do a lot more hands on care, but of course every family is different.  Just do what you want, with your eyes open.

Noodle

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Re: My SO is a time-debtor
« Reply #16 on: July 16, 2016, 03:36:28 PM »
These kinds of posts come up from time to time: Partner A sees a problem in the marriage/household, comes up with a solution (often requiring dramatic change), happily presents it to Partner B, then Partner B isn't all that enthusiastic and crestfallen Partner A turns to us for advice in getting B on board. Certainly there's nothing wrong with offering up a solution--there are a number of people on these boards whose spouses embraced Mustachianism pretty quickly when presented with it--but a lot of times the real answer is to rewind back to the problem and then involve Partner B in the discussion of solutions right from the beginning. It's totally fair to ask your partner to either take on his share of the work in your relationship, or negotiate something that seems fair to both of you, and to let him know that part of your concern is the upcoming extra work of children, but the solution might not be your ideal (or his)--it might involve getting a cleaning lady, dropping the home IT projects, living in a messier house, eating more boring food, having a lower savings rate because you have cut back your hours, etc. I mean, it doesn't sound like your husband wants to retire early anyway, so once you have FI money well in hand to take care of your family in case of disaster, is it so bad if your savings rate is lower while you have littles at home?

In general, I think spouses can be cheerleaders or sounding boards for work-related issues, but it's not a great idea to try to steer specific directions (especially if you haven't been asked for an opinion). If you're not in the workplace, it's pretty difficult to get a sense of the personalities and responsibilities  (and workplace culture) that might color a decision.

purple monkey

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Re: My SO is a time-debtor
« Reply #17 on: July 16, 2016, 05:38:01 PM »
Sounds like there is some aspergery things going on.
Would not push into management.
Good luck with starting your family.
Good job on saving and now being able to work less prior to kids.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: My SO is a time-debtor
« Reply #18 on: July 16, 2016, 05:58:10 PM »
He won't make much money in a high-paying management role if he sucks at it, because those checks won't keep rolling in.

human

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Re: My SO is a time-debtor
« Reply #19 on: July 16, 2016, 06:04:53 PM »
Don't. have. kids.

Seriously get a plan in place with your husband before bringing other human beings into the world.

It sounds like a lot of drama and you don't even have kids. His job seems to be his call, so don't even bank on him going into management. Make plans with his current job and you working 16 hours a week. First see if you can divide chores before getting into crying babies.

dess1313

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Re: My SO is a time-debtor
« Reply #20 on: July 17, 2016, 09:22:27 PM »
Your expectations for what is a "normal" amount of sleep seem to be a bit out of whack, as well.  5-7 hours of sleep a night on worknights, may be sufficient for some, but for many that is severe sleep deprivation.  His sleeping until noon on weekends is a normal reaction -- he is catching up on his sleep debt.  After a year of being FIREd/not working, I find I feel best when I get at least 8-9 hours sleep a night, sometimes with a nap in the afternoon in addition.  When I was working I regularly went to bed at 9-10 pm because I had to get up at 4:30-5:00 am for my hellish commute -- and I was still tired. 

Since you mention he is overweight, he should also consider being assessed for sleep apnea -- highly possible that is another issue he is dealing with. 

Before you bring kids into this mix I think you would be best served focusing on supporting him to improve his overall health, including building good/healthy habits in the sleep, diet, and exercise.  Some men are able to make changes when there are children on the way -- my DH did.  The income stuff is secondary -- there won't BE any income if he loses his health, so get your priorities in order before adding kids to the mix.   I know you feel the pressure of a ticking biological clock, but you need to be ready in more ways than just the financial before you add kids to what sounds already like a pretty stressed out relationship.

And, though I'm not in IT, I would second the cautions about not moving into management unless you have your own ship in order in terms of good time management/delegation skills.  I was awesome at time/project management as a program manager.  But found it very hard to delegate, even with a great team.  So when I got put temporarily in a high management role, it was awful.  I was basically having to do two jobs -- my old program manager job, and the new office director job.  I did ramp up my skills at prioritizing/delegating, but there was still always more to do than one person could get done.  If I hadn't had the strong skill base I had going in, I would have drowned in 3-4 months, tops.  As it was I lasted about 16 months doing both jobs, and then another 4 months still doing much of the director job.  Would not go back.  Four years of asking him to step way outside his comfort zone/skill set is, in my opinion, another disaster in the making.

5-7 hours of sleep is murder for me.  i can barely function.  i NEED 8 hrs or i'm dragging.  his energy levels seem to be low at times.  have you ever had medical advice given?  As a shift worker and person from a cold climate it is common here for people to become vitamin D deficient.  look up sunlight affective disorder also known here as SAD.    Its also common for those who spend a lot of time indoors.   some people i know also suffer from thyroid issues which can cause a lot of complicated side effects including tiredness, and low energy.  Also does your SO snore a lot, or choke and gasp and groan when he sleeps?  the quoted comment about sleep apnea could be very true.  I have been diagnosed with a type of restless leg syndrome that would even with 12hrs of sleep leave me tired, cranky, and exhausted when i woke up.  yes even after 12 HOURS OF SLEEP, i was never getting sound sleep therefore never getting rested fully.  when treated i sleep soundly and wake up rested.  its amazing how terrible my focus is when i was barely sleeping and barely functioning. I might as well have been a zombie.  he may be suffering from something affecting his sleep and not be aware of it. 

And to be honest, some people are not cut out for management positions.  some are just not ever going to do well, or be suited for those positions and will go down like a burning plane.  If he has an area he excels in as his job, let him excel at what he can do
« Last Edit: July 17, 2016, 11:06:52 PM by dess1313 »

Metric Mouse

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Re: My SO is a time-debtor
« Reply #21 on: July 17, 2016, 09:33:21 PM »
I think what a lot of people are pointing out is that one should celebrate the good parts of their partner's personality, and let go of the little things. "Happiness is being loved for who you are." Embrace what hubs can do well and figure out how to work around the other stuff.

I agree that a house keeper would probably be a great compromise that would solve many problems.