Need advice from moms re: convincing SAHM to go to work/school (or something)

Ernesto - posted on 05/30/2014 ( 10 moms have responded )

2

0

1

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.

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 05/30/2014

13,264

21

2015

Perhaps she is comfortable with being a volunteer, and those opportunities will never go away. A lot of parents who don't wish to be in the 'regular' workforce, (and who are financially stable enough to not NEED to work) find it very fulfilling in both a personal and social way.

Have you asked her how SHE feels? She doesn't want to go back to school, so ok, why waste money and time? She doesn't feel the need to be in the workforce, because you ARE financially comfortable, and don't NEED the extra income, so why would you want to force her to do that? She may be completely content in being the 'pta mom' while the kids are in full day school, and moving on to other opportunities that present themselves as the kids get older.

To me, it sounds as if you may be approaching the discussion from the wrong angle. Instead of assuming that she's bored, or that her life doesn't have purpose, perhaps try viewing it from her point of view: She's got a good partner that provides well for the family, she is able to be at home and available whenever she's needed by either you or the kids, she has time to pursue things that interest her (volunteering), but still has time to take care of the house and all of the 'extras' that you may not realize she does.

10 Comments

View replies by

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 06/02/2014

13,264

21

2015

LMAO at certain poster's responses: "allowing" her to be a sahm...Most likely it was a situation that was discussed and decided upon...in this day and age, saying a man 'allows' his wife this, that or the other is quite archaic.

Robin - posted on 06/02/2014

2

0

0

As a sahm myself, I respect and love my husband for all that he sacrifices so that I AM able to live comfortable and raise our children. When the time comes, I will work out of the home and allow him the comfort he's given me.

Robin - posted on 06/02/2014

2

0

0

I don't think you are asking too much. It sounds like OP not only has valid reasoning, but sincere love for his wife. He's right, there's a lot of life to live and I think its only fair to compromise. If he's taken care of her and his family's security this long, allowing her to be a sahm, then she could give a little in regard to compromise. I'm not saying she should get a 9 to 5, but she should definitely start looking past her mothering bc there will come a time when no one needs as much mothering. She and OP could then expound more on their hobbies and/or spend time together comfortably thanks to goals started now.
I don't really have much advice other than to be kind and express yourself, communicate, and actively listen to her responses. Possibly write her a letter if things get too heated in face to face discussions.
But IMO you aren't asking too much.

Michelle - posted on 05/30/2014

3,920

8

3246

I feel you are going about it the wrong way as well. Have you asked her what SHE wants to do? Just telling her needs to get out and do something for herself doesn't work.
13 years out of the workforce is a long time and some women never return to it. She also doesn't have to just volunteer at the school, there are plenty organizations around that are screaming for more volunteers. If she gets out and sees what's around she may find what she wants to do. Don't put her down for volunteering, the world needs a lot more people willing to help others without monetary gain for themselves!

Stephanie - posted on 05/30/2014

33

0

1

Can I jump on the magic fairy bandwagon?

Also, thank you to Jodi and Shawnn for adding another perspective. Sometimes we all just need to see things from another point of view.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 05/30/2014

13,264

21

2015

I would also like to point out another fallacy on the part of the OP:

In his view, the volunteering at the school won't be able to continue once the kids are through with school (" 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")

In reality, the schools welcome ALL volunteers, of ANY age, whether they have kids enrolled at that school or not.

And LOL @ Jodi's "What did you have, a magic fairie?"

Jodi - posted on 05/30/2014

3,562

36

3907

"She spends her days mostly volunteering at the school (30 hrs/week), socializing, and sitting around the house."

So you have a maid and a cook then? Or do you do all of that? Or maybe you have a magic fairy.

"Do something that would add benefit to OUR household volunteering at the school does JACK for our family."

Actually, volunteering at the school does a LOT for your children. You'd be surprised at how much it means to the children. And maybe it is something that makes her happy. I did the volunteering thing for a couple of years after my youngest went back to school and it was really great for me and my kids. I don't do much of that any more because I work, but at the time, I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to do and this helped fill some need to find myself again.

I agree with Shawnn. You are approaching it the wrong way. Look at the things you have said. They are your perspective and your values. It sounds like she needs to gain some confidence in herself about going back to school or a job, and this "waste of time" volunteering (your perspective) is probably helping her build that.

Stop viewing it as a lack of contribution. I'm sure she contributes plenty to your family. You sound very unappreciative of the things she DOES do (you have told us all about what she doesn't do). How about you focus on those and make sure she knows how much she is appreciated rather than telling her how she needs to contribute more.

Stephanie - posted on 05/30/2014

33

0

1

Maybe instead of pushing her to just "get a job" or "go back to school" you could try sitting down with her to find out where her interests lie. Does she like making things? Does she like helping people? You said she tends to socialize while volunteering at the school, so would she be good in an environment where she can speak with new people every day? If she's scared of re-entering the workforce, maybe she could search for something she can do from home as well. If she doesn't mind doing home parties, she could work with Avon or Mary Kay (or something similar). If she doesn't want to do anything like that, she could do what I do, and help people save money on healthcare.

The main thing is to just talk with her, find out what her interests are, what she's good at, and take it from there. Pushing her will only be met with more resistance. She needs to find something she can be passionate about doing, plant that little seed, then work to make it grow.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms