Ernesto - posted on 05/30/2014 ( 10 moms have responded )
Disclosure: Im not a mom, Im a dad
I have looked and have not found a place where I can ask questions such as the following.. Not that I'm sure this is the right place either, because I’m sure I will quickly be flamed and then banned for being male, because that is how places like this tend to work. I’m looking for honest non-attacking (but perhaps critical) advice on how to communicate with my wife about her status as a SAHM. Currently whenever I try to discuss the issue with her, it always ends in a fight and I end up being shut down and out and she ends up feeling hurt and unappreciated. I’m certain that if I could re-phrase or understand the situation better it would not be like this unfortunately I think we are both to emotionally involved to speak rationally. Which brings me to why I’m here: I’m hoping there are SAHM that can provide prospective and perhaps even advice on how to communicate without insulting.
First some background:
My wife has been a SAHM for about 13 years... Our youngest child will begin the first grade next year and has been in all day kindergarten and pre-school (for 2 years prior), so for the last 3 years there have been no kids at home during the day (Except obviously summer). She spends her days mostly volunteering at the school (30 hrs/week), socializing, and sitting around the house.
For the last year and a half I have been working from home, and now that the children no longer require “full time care” I am more than capable of filling in for the random ride from point A to B or bringing the forgotten lunch to school etc. I have been trying to convince her to move on to the next stage of her life by either getting a job or going to school. I have told her that she is volunteering at the school to fill the void “nothing to do” in her life with something, but the problem is that eventually the kids will move on out of the school and she won’t be able to do that either. Ive explained to her that she can’t just sit around the house forever and that this phase of our life (young children SAHM etc) is coming to a close and she needs to begin to prepare to move on to the next stage. I think that as this situation continues to evolve she is going to find herself a “empty nester” with nothing to do and no life skills. She said that she did not mind being a Stay at home “wife”, however, I don’t need someone to take care of me, I can take care of myself.
We can afford for her to stay home, we are not distressed by bills or anything. We have a decent house, nice cars, and rarely have to worry about finances. However some part of this is still about money (and her level of contribution). For example, if she were to go to work we would be able to afford that boat or RV we always wanted, we could also save more money so that I can retire earlier and enjoy life too instead of spending all my time working so that she can enjoy ALL of her life.
I guess what I’m really saying is there are more productive ways for her to spend the vast amounts of free time she has. She could go to school (Im more than willing to pay for it), she could get temp work as an assistant (which is week to week so if she hates it she could move on), she could get A JOB any job. Do something that would add benefit to OUR household volunteering at the school does JACK for our family.
My motivation is not purely selfish either (although I admit parts of it are driven by that), I know that she needs a reason to live, something to do. A lot of times I think the reason that she spends so much time at the school is because she really doesn’t know what else to do, her life no longer has a purpose. I know she is scared about re-entering the world, she doesn’t want to go to school because everyone is going to be younger than her, and what if she cant pass, she does not want to look for jobs because she feels nobody is going to want to hire a SAHM with no skills (which leads me back to the school argument).
Anyway, I feel like this is increasingly becoming the elephant in the room and I begin to resent (and yes even envy) more and more the lack of contribution from her.
Thanks for any advice (including critical) you have.