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I have an issue that has been going on in my marriage for a while. Well, from the beginning actually. I just really need some help to figure out what to do about it.

My husband really is a good guy, and I love him very much. We have a beautiful little boy who will probably be our only. Our son is a very active child and requires a great deal of energy throughout the day. I am a stay at home mom/part time student, and by the time my husband gets home most days I am more than ready for a break. My husband is great about this, and really helps out in as many ways as he can.

The issue I have really started right after our son was born. When my husband and I were dating and when we were married, he was a professional bike racer. He had raced bikes 20 years and had even been the world champion racing a specific type of bike. In his sport, being a professional is not like being a pro in most sports. He did not receive a pay check for racing. We spent money to travel around the country to go to the races, and he only got money if he placed well. At that point in our lives, it was a wonderful thing. We were both professionals and had decent paying full-time jobs. Traveling was fun and we had a lot of friends that we saw when we traveled. At that time, I also had a car that I raced at the local drag strip, so I had a hobby of my own to keep me busy when he was practicing or doing something else.

Shortly after we got married, we found out we were going to have a baby. The first thing to go was my car. Honestly, I didn't mind then, and I still don't miss the car as much as I thought I would. During my pregnancy, my husband continued to race and travel, with the idea that he would be doing less of it once the baby came. Because of general pregnancy discomfort and minor complications, I chose not to go on the long road trips with him. Again, at this point, I was perfectly fine with his traveling. I wanted him to get in as much as he could while he was still free to and not "tied down" with a baby.

After I delivered our son, I had a number of complications which required surgery, but the doctor didn't recommend the surgery until after my 6 week checkup. Even knowing that I would be having surgery just a couple of weeks down the road, my husband decided to go to a race that was 12 hours away when our son was just 6 weeks old. Because this was a very important race, I didn't give him too much grief about going, but I was very upset that he decided to go. The race was over Thanksgiving weekend, and I wasn't to thrilled about him missing our son's first major holiday.

At this race, my husband had a major crash and wound up in the ICU for two weeks in a city that was 12 hours away from his wife and newborn. He had internal injuries as well as a seriously broken wrist.

After this, he took a little break from racing. My surgery was postponed because of his accident and I later had to have two surgeries to fix the complications I had from delivery of our son.

During his break from racing, he decided to begin coaching high school football, as well as continuing to coach kids in racing. Both of these things take up a great deal of time, in addition to his full-time job. I started working on a master's program part-time, and he also decided to work on his master's degree.

Our son is now almost 4 and is a very busy child. He plays a number of sports, but is very skilled (for his age) at hockey. I spend at least 4 days a week at the ice arena for lessons, practices, and games.

My problem is that my husband has recently decided to take up racing (and traveling) again, this time as an amateur. He is no longer classified as professional, which means he is only racing for trophies. He is only traveling to 3-4 races per year at this point in time, but these races take up entire weekends. In the meantime, he is missing our son's first league hockey games. Our son is also old enough now to realize that Daddy is gone for several days and wonder where he is. I do not tell my son that Daddy is racing, because he would be sad that he couldn't watch the races. At this point, my son and I cannot travel with my husband because of distance and cost. In addition to that, the only time we have ever traveled without going to a race was our honeymoon. If we were able to go on a vacation, I feel that it should be one that everyone enjoys, not just one to go watch my husband race.

I am not mad at my husband for racing. I am upset that he does not realize that the time he spends on all of his different endeavors takes more and more time away from his son, who loves him very much. My husband gets home late after football practice, spends a few minutes with our son, and then starts getting him ready for bed so that he can get his homework done. I am upset that a trophy is more important to my husband than watching his son participate in his first game in his first team sport. I am upset that I have to console our son for days on end because he is wondering where his father is. I want him to realize that I, too, had to sacrifice some things when I became a parent, and that is just a part of being a parent.

I guess I need to know if I am being too hard on my husband. We have had a lot of ups and downs even in our short time together, and I love him and respect him very much. And I need some advice on what to do.
 

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In a way, you are but in another way you're not. My boyfriend was an over the road truck driver. He would be gone 2-5 weeks at a time, and only home for a few days before heading out again. So, in comparison, it seems silly to complain about your hubby being gone every now and then. But then....my boyfriend was doing this to earn money, to support our family, so it's easier to try to understand and accept. Your hubby is doing this for sheer pleasure and enjoyment. And while I agree that everyone should have a hobby that they enjoy and get immense pleasure from, I also think they should know or learn how to balance that with family, work, and everything else in their lives. I also think that when a hobby carries the dangers this one seems to (2 weeks in ICU is a pretty big deal to me), some serious thought should be given to whether or not it's such an appropriate hobby, or at least whether so much time should be spent on it.

I think the first step is for you to sit down with him and explain your feelings to him. Explain everything you said here to him; print it out and let him read it, even. This way he understands exactly what's bothering you and he can address each concern in turn. Keep in mind you've been thinking about this for years, so he may need a little time to think on what you've said before he can respond. I wouldn't give him weeks or months, but even a few days possibly.

If you talk to him and he sees nothing wrong and wants to continue with things as they are, you may need to see if there's any compromise to be made. Maybe he spends less time practicing. Or he can only go to competitions as long as there's nothing important going on that weekend. Make him explain to your son why he won't be at those important events if he goes anyway.

Nothing will be solved until you talk to him, though.
 
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