Finding it very hard to be the working mom with a stay at home dad. Anyone else??

Sarah - posted on 01/22/2016 ( 9 moms have responded )

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I'm now going on my 8th year of being the primary breadwinner while my husband stays at home with the kids. I've never been a huge fan of the arrangement, as I always imagined myself staying with our kids. I am a doctor, and we had to move for my residency, so when I had my first kid my husband and I decided he would stay at home with kiddo instead of look for a new job. Our eventual plan was for me to finish residency then for us to switch at some point, and have me stay at home (or at least work part time) and he would return to work. The problem is that its now 8 years later, we have four kids, and my husband with only an associates degree is not able to make enough money for me to not work, or even for me to work part time right now. With each of my babies I had to return to work after 8 weeks, and I always told myself that with one of my babies I would get to stay home and see at least their first year. Now I am sad because I had my fourth and last baby 9 months ago, and I couldn't work it out being the breadwinner to stay home more than 10 weeks. I am always very envious of the time he gets with the kids, and he is actually tired of staying home and wants to work-but cant seem to find a job that could support us. He also has never been good with housework, so I end up doing most of the laundry, dishes, grocery shopping, bill paying, scheduling etc, and I feel very tired and overwhelmed having so much responsibility. Do any of you have a similar situation? I find myself mad at my husband a lot because he is doing what I want to do and doesn't seem to like it very much, and I am sad he hasn't tried to go to school or do anything that would help him get a more lucrative job. It just seems sucky. I always look for people to talk to in similar situations, but can't seem to find many people like me.

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Natalie - posted on 08/23/2016

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You are not alone.

I have been married for 11 yrs and my husband has been staying at home with our now 6yr old daughter for 2 yrs. Yup. It's hard. I won't even go down the rabbit hole about the problems we had and still face but your situation sounds familiar in a few ways.

I did the "I can go to work and do all this after work and still love him even though he didn't do any of the things I thought he should have been doing......" And then I got tired. So the conversation was had that we could no longer continue in this capacity so I took a long hard look at how I was behaving and how it was affecting him. Please keep in mind that we talked about all this stuff, and it was hard, and it is a long process and I still fall into the habit of just doing it myself but when I fell overwhelmed I try to remember that it isn't up to me to do it all.

I was minimizing him.
Wrong way: He is more than capable but it was not to my standard or exactly how I would have done it so I would do it myself.
Right way: Let it go, and this is not easy ladies. Ignore the dirty house, let him take her to the doctor, go to parent teacher and find a sitter.
These are just a few of the things that we want desperately to do but how tired are you afterwards as a result? How much good are you to anyone?

I was not communicating clearly what my issues were.
Wrong way: Huff, start doing dishes at bedtime routine time and just expect him to pick up that I want him to just put her to bed.
Right way: "Honey, can you please put her to bed tonight? No? Oh, well I just really had a long day and will do the dishes if you could just take care of her please"
Surprisingly, they might take five minutes to get their act together and might not be so happy about it but at least you can state exactly what it is we need them to do and why. This is particularly hard if you are tired but communication is SO important. Once again, this is after you have had the initial discussion regarding the changes that just have to be made for survival of your marriage.

Take ME time.
Wrong way: GET OUT GET OUT GET OUT! I JUST NEED FIVE MINUTES.
Right way: Hey, can you please take the kids to the movies?
This is for whatever too by the way, if you need a bath, do yoga, nap, stare at the wall......the world is the limit. But take time for yourself at home. Don't think that running to the store for milk is a break. It is not. Do what you NEED to do. Oh, and 'me time' is not a bad word.

And please remember that for all the things I have done that worked, there were a hundred that did not. The most important thing is don't be manipulative. Talk to them, tell them why you need what you need and why you want change and they might be slow off the couch and your children might not have milk for cereal for a morning if the groceries were not gotten but let it go. They do figure it out quick when we finally hand them the figurative baton. Tell him honestly that we are going to make changes and it will be rough for a bit until something is figured out but simply reading this and putting it into action without talking to them will make him wonder what alien took his wife and where is she.

So this is what kinda sometimes works for us and our family. Please, please, please post any other ideas that have worked for you and your husband. Share because you are not alone.

Diane - posted on 01/30/2016

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It has been 9 years for me. It took a really long time for me to accept that I was the bread winner and my husband was not going to be in a full time career again any time soon. I still have a hard time accepting the fact that my house is never cleaned, even now that the kids are in school all day. I do the bills. The longer he has been home, the deeper he slid into a hole. There were many years of anger. And, my husband has had a horrible time getting a job. You are not alone. I'm not sure what the answer is. But, it's nice to not have to feel so alone.

Sue - posted on 07/29/2016

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Hi Sarah,

I have been the working mom for eight years, my husband started staying home after the birth of our first child and then the second. He was in construction before and we felt that the cost of daycare didn't out weigh the total factor of work, gas and meal expense. I would hope that the guilt of not being with out kids would get better with time, I don't think we would feel any different if both parents were working and a lot of families don't have the ability for even one parent to be home with the kids. So I try not to project my guilt onto him as a failure. If he was able to find an interest that he could make money at perhaps that could alleviate some of the stress, you could get help with a house cleaner. I know I want to spend my weekends with my kids and family not running errands and scrubbing the bath tub so I understand what you are feeling. I would find a healthy way to deal with the jealousy because resentment can be a cancer in a marriage. Maybe set some time aside where you and he can calmly express your feelings. I went to a seminar this year that said you should take turns saying 2 nice things you appreciate about one another then one thing that needs improvement. I am sure he feels resentment towards you that you can escape the house and kids and being referee.

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Ayo - posted on 08/04/2017

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What I hated was when I went to a La Leche meeting and the leader acted as if we worked we wouldn't be able to breastfeed and we had to make "simple sacrifices" so we could stay home and feed our babies. My husband isn't working so someone has to. I am not working so we can eat Sushi once a week or go on vacation. I am working so my kids have a home to live in. Anyway I work and breastfed two of my babies until 4 and tandem fed and still breastfeeding so don't let people discourage you that you can't be a good mom because you are working. Sometimes it's not the amount of time it's the quality of time.

Ayo - posted on 08/04/2017

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I set aside some money each week to have housekeeper come in. It seems the biggest issue is always the cleaning. His excuse was that he can't because he is taking care of the kids. Since we have a maid come in twice a week there is much less arguing and I felt happier about not having to do all the cleaning. I make sacrifices. I don't spend a lot of money on clothes, shoes, make up or jewelry, etc to use expenses on housecleaning.

Ayo - posted on 08/04/2017

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I have a very similar situation. I am a doctor. I have been working for past 8 years. Husband was staying home during the week and working part time on weekends.It was difficult. We never saw each other and had no weekend famy time. We tried a variety of different schedules but best schedule was me working per diem hours and having days off when I want. He also has only an associates degree and never will make as much as I do. So part of the problem was I felt when he was working it wasn't that beneficial financially. The babysitter made more money than he did per week. It's been working out only because he does all the grocery shopping, all the cooking, he changes diapers without asking, puts kids to sleep, makes meals for me to take to work, etc. I have little family support from my parents -who were never really supportive if I do anything they disaprove of. They are like it's their way or the highway. So that's the only thing that makes it a little difficult. But fortunately I have a very supportive brother who visits and helps out at times. I think if my husband didn't cook and help with the kids. I certainly wouldn't be cooking for him. I work long hours. There is no way I would go home and cook and clean. I do wish he would play with the kids a little more but not everyone is good at that, not even moms.

I think if you are working you shouldn't have to cook and clean because then you just have another child not an adult sharing responsibility for taking care of the household. Order Home Chef and tell him to follow the directions. Fortunately I entered the relationship being the worse cook.

Cynthia - posted on 08/03/2017

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These posts sound all too familiar. I'm in the same boat. It's now been 12 years of me supporting the family and it's still a challenge (first 5 years was so he could go to school full-time; our kiddos are now 5 and 7). I'm the household provider and still come home to do a lot of the cleaning, laundry, and do most of the cooking, etc. It's exhausting and frustrating. His lack of housework despite being home all day kills me. I start doing everything and I'm in a foul mood. Intimacy has been out of the window for some time. Just how do we keep this department afloat?

On a positive note, the good thing is that he has worked on his education this whole time and is a year away from completing his Masters to become a Nurse Practitioner. Of course, then we'll face the issue of who picks up the kiddos after school if both parents are working.

Anyone at phase 2 of stay-at-home dads re-entering the workforce? How did that change go?

Amy - posted on 06/27/2016

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I have been the full-time, sole breadwinner in our house for over 5 years when our son was born, and have had 2 girls since then. My husband has stayed at home with the kids from the start. I am an attorney with a great job with great benefits, and my husband has had numerous jobs over the years (mechanic, car salesman, retail, etc.,) none of which earned more money than would be spent on daycare for all 3 kids. We talked about him working, but though it doesn't seem like he loves being with the kids all day, he has said that he would rather stay home than get a crappy job just to pay for daycare. What causes me the most grief at the moment is that I am exhausted all the time. Work is stressful at times and I feel like my husband thinks I am just having a relaxing fun day with friends when I'm at the office, while he is in "conflict management" (so he has called it) all day at home. I'm still the one who does the majority of the cooking, cleaning, laundry and taking care of the finances and shopping. But, we have a 5 acre property that requires a lot of maintenance, and he takes care of all our vehicles and home repairs. I guess I'm just tired of doing all the housework and feeling like I never have "me time" and I feel like I don't have anyone I can talk to about this because I don't know anyone else with a stay at home dad. So Sarah, I am RIGHT THERE with you on how you are feeling. I have to force myself to ignore the messes around the house every night until the kids go to bed so they can have as much of my attention as possible, which means that I'm up until midnight, which the baby doesn't seem to care about as she's up 2-3 times a night and my alarm is going off at 6 am. How do we get rid of some of the anger/resentment that comes along with this situation?!

Jennie Onita - posted on 06/01/2016

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I have only been a mom for 4 years with two babies my newest is only 3 months I am in the very same situation except that I'm not a doctor I'm a sous chef and don't make alot of money so it's hard to live pay check to pay check and no matter what he won't get a job that makes more then me so I have to keep my job I won't so badly to be able to stay home with my babies alone lol I find myself not liking him he gets mad very easlisy and acts like I cheat on him all the time cuz he has to be home with the babies it's very stressful I get up at 5 am walk to work which is a 35 min I work a 9 he day in the kitchen always moving then I walk home I help take care of the babies and everyday I find him getting mad at me and starts fights with me for the most little things I'm so tired and he seems not to understand what it's like not to be able to be with your babies it breaks my heart all the time to leave them i feel like i have no one to talk to about this so it feels good to write it all down for once lol

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