Working day and night...

QUESTION: My husband and I had our first child six months ago. In the months afterward I noticed that my husband has started working more overtime and even on weekends sometimes. First let me start by saying, I don't think he's messing around, I know thats the first thing that comes to mind. I see the bank deposits, I know he's on the clock when he says he is and that is what is bothering me. He is working so much now that I hardly see him and I know that this started after our son was born. Is he trying to duck the dirty diapers or is he trying to be a super dad? What is he thinking?

GARLAND: Thanks for the question! Maybe he's trying to do both - but I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt and say he's mostly trying to be a super-dad.

A few years ago, I heard about a survey that some school conducted and it showed that when men became the fathers of boys they tended to work 20% more than normal as opposed to about a 10% increase in the fathers of girls. Now, please don't quote me on those exact numbers, it's been a few years but I think I'm pretty accurate in my recollection.

(DATA UPDATE: This study was conducted by The University of Washington in 1999/2000 using data collected from 1200 men from 1968 to 1993. The Study showed an increase in annual work hours for the fathers of sons at an average of 84 hours and fathers of daughters at an average of 31 hours. So, my 20% and 10% were kinda' off - but like I said, it's been a few years!)

The main premise of this increase was based on the assumption that men did this subconsciously to instill a strong work ethic in their male children. They were trying to lead by example. Boys that see daddy working hard tend to grow up to be men themselves that work hard.

I think this is what your husband is doing. Sure, your son is only six months old and doesn't notice dad's good intentions, but that doesn't matter to your husband. He has just kicked into overdrive. He is also probably coming to grips with his growing responsibility as not just a husband, but now as a father too. Whether you know it or not - I'm willing to bet that he has increased his life insurance and had a physical since your son has been born! I think he's just doing what he thinks is best for his family.

I think you should either give him a little space to go at this pace for a few more months with the hope that he slows himself down [which I doubt he will] or maybe you should just pull him aside and tell him that its okay if he doesn't kill himself in the office. Tell him you and your son appreciate what he's doing, but you both want him home more. There is nothing better for a man to hear than his wife's voice telling him how much he is appreciated. Good luck and congratulations on the little one!

CHUCK: While I might question that survey Garland cites ("Let me work harder. After all, I've got a son."), I do agree with him that your husband is probably working more to make a better life for the three of you.

Being a parent can take a lot of money. I'm not telling you anything new by saying that. But your husband may not be focusing just on the immediate expenses (diapers, bottles, Elmo toys). He may be thinking of the REAL costs that lie ahead. I'm talking about stuff like regular wardrobe replacement as he grows, costs for recreation activities, college. Things only get more costly as a child grows, and he may be trying to get a leg up on these expenses. And most men are under the cultural pressure to be the provider for their families. Your husband obviously takes this seriously. You've got a problem a lot of women probably wished they had.

But if you feel he's doing too much, let him know. Tell him you appreciate him working for you and the baby, but all things should be done in moderation. By working so much, he is missing time he'll wish he had back later, both with your son and you. He may not even realize what he's doing. But I think he'll understand where you're coming from.

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