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Lacking Family Time
 
Q: Due to some very unfortunate circumstances, my husband and I had to increase our work schedules. I now work two jobs while my husband has taken a bunch more hours at the factory. We have two girls at home (17 and 11). Itís gotten so bad that weíve had to put the 17-year-old in charge while weíre both at work. As of now, I come home at 8pm and by that time itís much too late to actually cook dinner or do anything other than sit on the couch. My husband doesnít get home until 1am, sometimes later. I basically never see him. You can imagine what this is doing to our family, both emotionally and physically. I miss our old life. And even then it was rough, but not like this. Do you have any advice on how we can spend quality time together when we are all together? -Jacklyn, 52

Dr. Anna: This sounds like such a tough situation. When your back is up against the wall, it can be hard to see the bigger picture. In the short term, during the time you do have together try setting some screen-free activities that all of you can do. Whether thatís the four of you pitching in to finally clean out that closet or playing a board game together. You can also write notes for your loved ones and leave them as surprises for when they get home. Small gestures are important in maintaining connection with family.

Longer term, it might make sense to think about other options, whether itís possible to downsize, lower your cost of living, renegotiate debt, or change your spending so that you can work less. Sometimes thatís not possible, but sometimes it is. During the time you do have with your husband, talk to him about how youíve been feeling and try to work together to see if there is any path to working less eventually.

 
 
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help. Read her complete bio!
 
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward. Read her complete bio!
 
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults. Read her complete bio!
 
NOTE: The information contained herein is provided for information purposes, and not intended as a substitute for advice or treatment that may or should be prescribed by your physician or recommended by your therapist.
 
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