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Does anyone out there have any words of support or understanding, experience with or other relevant information to my situation? My value system and that of my husband's seem to be opposed. I believe that there is nothing more important than staying at home with our children. My husband agrees in theory, but strongly resents carrying the financial burden. When things get stressful at our house, he suggests that all would be easier if I were working.
The fact that I am ridiculously happy staying home with my child but also feel guilty for not contributing financially, and wonder if I am contributing enough to the world at large- make me terribly upset and confused about the whole situation. I believe that my husband and I are partners-. But what do you do when those partners have value systems that oppose each other?
My husband and I have discussed and intellectually agree with all of the arguments in favor of staying at home. I just think that his gut tells him that two-income families are better off. While my gut tells me that having one parent stay at home is the way to live our lives.
The question that makes me cry the most is: How can you be loved by and love someone who doesn't " when his back is to the wall" agree with what I consider to be paramount in my- our life? To me, spending quality time with family is more important than any other single factor. I feel like I am not supporting my husband, but to support him this way goes against the things that I hold most dear.
My female friends and family are either stay at home moms with the full support of their husbands, or working moms who love and want their jobs (or at least believe that their lives are better off with the income). I don't know anyone who has a situation like mine. I would love to hear from other people in similar circumstances.
I would never leave my husband. I don't think he would ever leave me- My biggest fear is that he will remain frustrated.
Sad and Scared
I suggest it's time for some serious discussion about how to relieve the negative feelings you *both* have about your household arrangements, without sacrificing the time with your kids that you both consider paramount. It isn't necessarily a question of should-you-work-or-should-you-stay-home. Perhaps you could get a part time job, especially something that would give you a sense of giving to/connection with the community, or start a home-based business. Perhaps he could focus on the ways you are able to contribute to the household economy not by earning but by saving (at home moms are more able than working moms to cook from scratch, shop for the lowest price, clean their own home, etc., although of course a lot depends on how old your kids are). Perhaps you need to consider moving to a less expensive home outside the immediate Bay Area. Perhaps you simply need to reassure your husband that he *is* a good provider and he needn't feel an obligation to focus on ''getting ahead'' at the expense of his own family time. Perhaps he simply needs to reassure you that raising good kids *is* contributing to the community and that he considers your work valuable, even though it does mean your family is financially more constrained than he'd like.
Quite likely there are other solutions I haven't mentioned.
Brainstorm. Problem-solve. As a team. Good luck!
You don't say the age (or number?) of your child/ren, but it's a fact that most families nowadays find it pretty hard to make ends meet on a single income. I don't blame your husband for wishing that the financial burden could be shared; on the other hand, have you thought through and carefully outlined to him all the ways that your being at home both contributes to the household well-being and saves money (in childcare, restaurant meals, etc.)? The two of you could probably benefit from an excercise in writing down exactly where the money goes each month (bring out 6-12 months worth of bills and make a spreadsheet if you can). Put your heads together to see how you, as ''thrifty housewife,'' can help save even more of the family income.
Make a long-term plan for what you will do as the kids get older and spend most of their days in school -- plan to take classes that will enable you to re- enter the workforce. Even if you decide to home-school, there will come a day when the kids will not need or want you home all day.
In the meantime, when push comes to shove, you may need to take in some
at-home work to do while the kids are playing/napping/etc. That may be part
of the compromise, too.
Good luck & best wishes,
You both have important jobs now and you BOTH need to acknowledge that...you are not just sitting around eating bon bons, as the old saying goes, you are raising your child. As to what to do when your life partner does not value what you value? I think that you have to first really value it yourself and I am not sure that you do (you mention the guilt of not working/providing financially). They are young for only so long and this argument will be moot when your child goes to school (you may want to work while s/he is at school). For now I say do what you feel is best for you and your child and think of this as another of the many disagreements that husbands and wives have (although I know that it means so much more to you than just a disagreement). Good luck
Is there some way of finding compromise? Can you find work to do in the home, so you are still with your kids but also bringing in income? I don't remember you saying how old they are. Eventually they will be in school (preschool?) and you could do some work during the time they are in school. Unless you are going to be fulltime homeschooling, it is unlikely that they will be with you 24/7.
Personally, I believe that kids do best when they feel comfortable and loved by a variety of adults, not just one person (ie, their mother). You could consider part-time work for you, and preschool/school/daycare for them, as a way of broadening their horizons (and yours as well!).
Alternately, you could offer to significantly decrease household spending (moving into a smaller house or apartment, taking fewer vacations, etc) as another way of lessing your husband's feeling of financial burden. Spending $20K less per year would be the equivalent of taking a good job. You guys need to find a way of working out something that will feel acceptable for both of you. Sounds like marital counseling could be a good investment right now.
I would take these conflicting concerns very seriously, or you could end up as a single mother with no choice but to work full-time. I've Seen This End a Marriage
But what about trying this--analyzing the financial picture if you went back to work? For many people with more than one child, the income from the second job is largely illusory because childcare (and all the other convenience costs that you get into, like eating out more often because both parents work) eats up the income.
I suggest that you (privately) do a budget for what you could contribute if working, and be sure to deduct everything, including:
1) paid childcare
2) commute costs, including increase in auto insurance
3) taxes (adjust for higher income bracket)
4) work clothes, lunches out
5) housekeeper for the number of hours you currently spend doing laundry/chores while home with your child
6) more takeout dinners for when you're both too tired to cook
and see what you get.
My brother and sister-in-law found that her salary minus childcare
gave them only a few hundred dollars extra each month, and I don't
think they did such a detailed analysis of the real costs. Even if
you come up substantially on the plus side, you might put it to
your husband this way: ''I love staying home with our child, and I
think that the benefit to me and our child is worth a lot,
certainly more than $X per month. What do you think?'' You can also
remind him that if you work, your free time then becomes more
precious, and it becomes much harder to decide what to do with it
(especially if the choice is, recuperate and do housework on the
weekends or go out and do something kid-friendly).
Mom who loves her job
The two of you would benefit from mediation that helped you BOTH support the family that you are raising, together. Whether that support includes your working isn't really the vital issue, though you've focused on it.
Good luck in finding a more creative solution, that meets the
needs of everyone in your family.
How might this be relevant to you? I think you are worth standing up for, and you have to do it, with both gentleness and firmness. The gentleness comes by finding a time and a space and way to share again with him how important this is to you, as how you wish to spend your life. Creating that space requires carving out a proper atmosphere for you BOTH to be relaxed and receptive. A day-time babysitter on Sunday, so you can both go out to a relaxing brunch (make reservations at a great place, even... daytime conversations often go better for sleep-deprived parents). The gentleness is your receptivity, your recognizing him and hearing him.
The firmness is your connection to yourself, your feelings but also your clarity about this, and your clarity about how much you love your child and husband both.
If the question is really about money (and I think this is an opportunity for you to deepen your risk-taking communication and intimacy with your husband), there are alternatives to your going to work. Make an accounting of your monthly expenses, divide each category (Cable TV, restaurant meals, buying household gadgets) by your husband's hourly wage to see how many of his life-hours he's spending for that item. Seen from that perspective, there were a few expenses that I found it possible to reduce. (This is part of a larger financial self- enlightenment program found in a cool book, ''Your money or your life'') So spend less. Or coach and support him, make him feel so great about how good a widget-wocket-engineer he he feels like he deserves a promotion, a raise and paid vacations.
Best wishes. ranwithscissors
1) Would you make enough money after taxes to off-set the cost of childcare, commuting and other possible work costs (clothes, drycleaning, lunches out?). So many of us can't that the issue resolves itself...
2) If you do make good money, would you want to consider finding part-time work that would bring in some extra cash, but still give you a great deal of time with your child? I have worked about 15 hrs./week, but still felt like a full-time, at-home mom.
Good luck. anon
The hard part for you I think is your disappointment that you and your husband disagree on something so core to your values. I hate this part of relationship too! The first time I found out that my husband held a view that clashed deeply with my needs, I was bewildered and hurt. I then accepted the reality that other people are also complex combinations of needs and wants and that they don't always fit the picture we'd like. Accepting your husband as he is will bring you closer to him in the end.
I wish you all the best and admire your committment to your
Increasing your household income will not necessarily help your family ''get ahead.'' Most of the time, a higher income is just followed by a higher cost of living.
I got a pretty different image of your husband (and your relationship with him) than everyone else, I think. From your post, it sounded to me like your family is getting by -- I don't recall that you are deeply in debt. Your husband just wishes there was a little more ''extra,'' and he imagines that if you were getting a paycheck things would be easier. But I take the view that most of us have insatiable wants. We have to choose to be grateful for what we have, or else nothing will ever satisfy us.
I also wonder whether your husband has any concrete idea of how he'd use the added income. I think that's important to know. Ask him to list one or two major financial goals, and then see if the two of you can figure out ways to achieve them without sending you back to work. If not, then you can start calculating whether part-time work makes sense.
But I'm not inclined to advocate for that solution as much as other posters. Part-time work adds many of the same stresses to family life that a full-time job would.
Your husband has told you that he thinks having you home is good for your children. Now he needs to put a value on that -- just how important does he really think it is? And how important is your personal fulfillment? Would he want you to take the highest-paying job you could get, even if you didn't enjoy it? Does he find his own work fulfilling?
Until he's honest about those issues, his comments to you just seem passive-aggressive and unfair. But if the two of you talk about these things, you might find a compromise. Or maybe you'll decide to laugh in the face of (near) poverty instead. We've chosen the second option. My husband happily supports my decision to stay home, he just wishes someone would pay me for everything I do. So do I!
So that turned out to be much more than one point. Like
everybody else, I did a lot of soul-searching to determine my
feelings and values around this issue. It felt good to write
about it. I hope some of this is helpful to you. Good luck!
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