My husband has it backwards
Originally Posted by Prairiemother
I have to say, though, that experiencing these difficulties makes me more determined to continue my part-time work. I am starting to realize what challenges women face when try to return to work after being a SAHM. I totally support the idea of being a SAHM, btw, but I couldn't justify it, at least not until my student loans are paid off!
Your post about being a SAHM and the impact on a future in one's career made me want to post something I've been mulling over for a while now.
I think the SAHM and working mom issue that hits so close to my home and my heart is always presented sort of backwards.
My husband, especially, looks at it backwards. He thinks that I am a loser, basically, although he uses more colorful terms, because I stayed at home after our baby was born for a little over 2 years. Prior to that, I'd worked a decade in my field and had a good career, and he "thought" I was career oriented. He always says that condescendingly.He thought I was career oriented.
OK, look, things change when you have a baby, right? Especially in my personal, anecdotal world where I have absolutely no family to help out and where my husband works long hours (either because it's required, or he's goofing off with is pod casts, or because he wants a break from me or our child - it's a combination). But the thing is he's always worked late and long hours and he has never taken time off and it never used to be a big deal because as a childless woman I could handle everything myself, and basically did.
So, having a child changed the entire dynamic of our relationship, and the way our household runs.
It's basically chaos now. My DH helps out LESS than most husbands of SAHMs I know! It's so shameful, I think. I've grown so resentful of him. Yeah, that doesn't help, but this is years into it, and I've approached him many times, and he is just not going to change. I've tried what I can try. It's not going to change. So, I'm just treading water.
And it's not that I don't want to work. Like I said, I was and am a career person. I like my career. I like the work, I like the people, I like the issues I am connected with, I like the stimulation, I like the challenge, I like it all, including making my own money and getting my own, way better benefits than DH. He makes comments now and again about the amount of money I make or that I can't use his money on something so I guess, really, I have the kind of marriage where I need to make my own money if I want to do certain things in life that DH doesn't agree with.
But here's the thing. There's no acknowledgement that anything has changed when I had a baby who is now a toddler. It's like, just keep going, keep working the way we worked before, nothing is different. Everything is different.
Here's what is backwards: DH thinks only women who didn't have a career, or aren't career oriented, or wouldn't make enough to pay for daycare are SAHMs. And let's be honest, even on MDC, which is so welcoming, balanced, and understanding, that is often a thread of belief. I have seen so many posts where a mom says, well, it was a no brainer, I didn't/don't make enough to pay for daycare so I stay at home.
But I think that is backwards. I know there are women who gave up good careers where day care was paid for because the demands of balancing a career and a family are tough, or because the work/home balance between spouses was not equal and something had to give, or because the emotional tug at leaving young children day in and day out, even with excellent day care options was, well, biological and strong.
I have felt all three of those things, deeply and emotionally.
My DH has it wrong. He has it backwards. I do not ever think I want to be a SAHM because of my career drive or lack there of. It has nothing to do with my career! It is only because, 100% because, I have a child now.
If I didn't have a child...if I had not given birth to my child...I would never have taken any amount of time away from work or my career. I would have kept going the same way I had been going the decade prior to giving birth.
So, I get mightily offended when DH starts questioning anything about my career or my drive or my motives or my interest in things outside of the house. He has it backwards. I am not starting from a place of career or no career. I had a career, I still have it, it's just now I also have a child, and that child will be my child, though will have matured into adulthood, long after I retire from my career, be that in 20 years or at some point sooner.
DH was telling me yesterday, which is why I am thinking of this, that I shouldn't compare myself to SAHMs we know that never wanted a career or didn't have one. "Stop comparing yourself to the lowest common denominator." That's a direct quote. What DH didn't get is that I wasn't talking about career. I was talking about parenting.
DH can't separate parenting from career, ever. To him, career is just a given, and if you can't be a parent while having a career, you are not career oriented. And I think we all know here at least that isn't true at all.