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-   -   I need some advice from SAHMs (http://www.mothering.com/forum/329-stay-home-parents/818728-i-need-some-advice-sahms.html)

Dia 12-30-2007 03:04 AM

Since TTC, after getting married, I feel like my entire view of myself - or life goals - or whatever, have completely changed. I have a business degree and my salary, currently, is high. I want nothing more than to give it all up 100% and be a mom. As soon as I get pregnant. I think my husband would lose his sh!t if I told him this. I am a huge part of our income but truly, I want to be a SAHM. More than ANYTHING. And this is shocking - I always thought I was a total feminist but I suppose my definition has changed a great deal. After so after many years of college, and work to establish myself. And a career.

How do you approach this with your partner? Does anything have experience with this kind of issue?

Would just really appreciate some words from wise mama's about approaching this issue with DH.

Thanks mamas.

Hanilulu 12-30-2007 03:16 AM

I have to preface this by saying that I was a teacher before SAHMing, so I didn't make the salary that you are making. But, I sat down with my husband and asked him if we could go over the finances and see if it would be possible. My husband is the type of man who needs to see data and work things out logically, so I approached him that way. He was actually very supportive, which surprised me as his mom always worked growing up.

We did look at the finances and made a rough spending budget and we saw that it could work with some trade-offs. For example, we don't eat in the really nice restaurants we went to when we were dating, and we've found we can actually make quite good food at home. We also drive cars that are about 8 years old, and we're saving a little each month with the plan of replacing one of them in 3 years, and then the other 3 years after that.

You might want to look at your budget and find ways you'd be willing to economize in order to help make it possible. Also, figure out what you'd save in work clothes, meals you eat out because of work, daycare, etc. It can be substantial, especially for someone who has to keep up with the latest trends and impress clients as you probably have to do.

Really, just be open to him about what you want and why you want it. It may not be as bad as you think it will be!

vsmom2two 12-30-2007 03:22 AM

We talked a lot about it prior ot having kids. Because I felt similar to you. NEEDED to be a SAHM. I actually went back to work PT for a little bit a couple of years ago, but that wasn't ideal either.

As far as the feminism thing, I figure the whole feminist movement was about having the ability to make decisions on our own. More than working or not working, the capability of saying "this is what I want and I want it because ______"

Lots ot think about for you. And some tough decisions possibly ahead. But if you work it out with DH so that everyone is (mostly) pleased, so worth it to have the fully open communication.

Kirsten 12-30-2007 03:22 AM

My dh and I had that discussion before we got married - so I never had to bring up the topic. Both his mom and mine were SAHMs, and it was very natural for us to agree on that for our lives too.

What has he said in reference to friends or family members (or even people on tv or in movies) who are SAHMs? Was his mom?

I hope your discussion goes well. Let us know what happens.

Simsek 12-30-2007 08:33 AM

Like the PP it was something we discussed before marriage, but it was also something that we planned for financially. Before our first we went to a financial planner and laid out or goals, including having me stay home with the kids. We put together a plan that had us begin to live on DH's salary in advance so that we knew what we could and could not afford. With my salary we paid off our car loan and some of his school debt and put some in savings. But the idea was to acclimate ourselves to living on one salary, to plan out home-buying with that in mind, etc. It worked well for us, but it is important to be on the same page about this. For us, the value of raising our own kids full time instead of paying someone else to do it was tremendous. We were both raised by our families (his extended family and my mom) so it was a natural choice for us to want this for our kids, too.

I would start the discussion early, talk about the practical and financial implications, the cost of childcare (this becomes a bigger and bigger isuue as you have multiple children), the benefits to the children of having a stable parent/caregiver and environment, etc. How long would you plan to be at home? What lifestyle changes you could make to make living on one income more manageable? What sacrifices are you willing to make? I would find a way to come to some sort of agreement before getting pregnant so that you can plan together.

Good luck!

beccalou79 12-30-2007 10:56 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Simsek View Post
Like the PP it was something we discussed before marriage, but it was also something that we planned for financially. Before our first we went to a financial planner and laid out or goals, including having me stay home with the kids. We put together a plan that had us begin to live on DH's salary in advance so that we knew what we could and could not afford. With my salary we paid off our car loan and some of his school debt and put some in savings. But the idea was to acclimate ourselves to living on one salary, to plan out home-buying with that in mind, etc. It worked well for us, but it is important to be on the same page about this. For us, the value of raising our own kids full time instead of paying someone else to do it was tremendous. We were both raised by our families (his extended family and my mom) so it was a natural choice for us to want this for our kids, too.

I would start the discussion early, talk about the practical and financial implications, the cost of childcare (this becomes a bigger and bigger isuue as you have multiple children), the benefits to the children of having a stable parent/caregiver and environment, etc. How long would you plan to be at home? What lifestyle changes you could make to make living on one income more manageable? What sacrifices are you willing to make? I would find a way to come to some sort of agreement before getting pregnant so that you can plan together.

Good luck!
: This is GREAT advice!!!

That Is Nice 12-30-2007 10:57 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dia View Post
I want nothing more than to give it all up 100% and be a mom. As soon as I get pregnant. And this is shocking - I always thought I was a total feminist but I suppose my definition has changed a great deal. After so after many years of college, and work to establish myself. And a career.
I think you can be a SAHM and a feminist simultaneously. I am.

That Is Nice 12-30-2007 10:59 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by vsmom2two View Post

As far as the feminism thing, I figure the whole feminist movement was about having the ability to make decisions on our own. More than working or not working, the capability of saying "this is what I want and I want it because ______"

That Is Nice 12-30-2007 11:06 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kirsten View Post
My dh and I had that discussion before we got married.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Simsek View Post
Like the PP it was something we discussed before marriage.
It does help to discuss before marriage/kids the issue of your desire to be a SAHM, but as I have learned, people change. And what may sound like a good idea in theory to your spouse, may not be his idea of reality when the time comes. I did talk to my DH about staying at home before we got married (he agreed it was a great idea IF it could be afforded) and then I talked to him about it while we were married for years before we had a baby. And he hedged a bit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kirsten View Post
What has he said in reference to friends or family members (or even people on tv or in movies) who are SAHMs? Was his mom?.
This can be very telling. My husband has made derisive comments about SAHMs so I know deep down there is some issue...I just can't pinpoint exactly what it is. So, yes, I think what your husband says about other SAHMs is a good guage.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Simsek View Post
Like the PP it was something we discussed before marriage, but it was also something that we planned for financially. Before our first we went to a financial planner and laid out or goals, including having me stay home with the kids. We put together a plan that had us begin to live on DH's salary in advance so that we knew what we could and could not afford. With my salary we paid off our car loan and some of his school debt and put some in savings. But the idea was to acclimate ourselves to living on one salary, to plan out home-buying with that in mind, etc. It worked well for us, but it is important to be on the same page about this. For us, the value of raising our own kids full time instead of paying someone else to do it was tremendous. We were both raised by our families (his extended family and my mom) so it was a natural choice for us to want this for our kids, too.
This is great advice. This is what I did on my own so that I could reduce debt and build savings in order to stay home at least in the baby years. Good luck!

Softmama 12-30-2007 11:07 AM

If your dh is hesitant simply from a financial standpoint a really good "test" is to start living RIGHT NOW on just his salary. This is great because it gives both of you some time to adjust to what that will feel like AND it starts up a nice nest egg (your salary into savings) for emergencies. If he isn't ready to sign on for the SAHM thing, see if he would be willing to give the test a try while you TTC.
GOOD LUCK!!

stephaloo 12-30-2007 11:08 AM

My dh and I discussed this before having kids too. I decided to go back to work and keep my career. I made a very decent salary and had fun at work. I was going to be supermom and supercareerwoman.

I had dd and went back to work. OMG! I lasted about 6 months. I nearly had a nervous breakdown. I felt I didn't know my baby, it was awful for me.

We talked and talked and made budget after budget. We cut out a lot of expenses and I quit to stay home. I am much happier and so is dh. I have been a sahm for 7 years now with 2 dds.

When the littlest one is in school full time I plan to return to work but then again who knows.

You can talk and plan for what you will do when the kids arrive but you don't know how you will "really" feel until that first little bundle of joy arrives.

Good luck!

Amys1st 12-30-2007 03:18 PM

As a "total feminist" & sahm to 2 dds for 6 years this winter, I can see your point. In my previous life, I had a nice salary at a Fortune 500 firm and a Fortune 15 firm and my education (still have it cannot take away!). I can add to my list of great things- seeing my 2 dds growing up. I would give you all my previous things back and more just to have this time. It is the best gift I and dh can give our children. We both had mothers at home so it was important to us even before we got married. And, as pp have stated, we planned for it for years.
Of course my dh was and is totally on board and the only sacrifice for us is material things we do not buy. They would get old and forgotten but then so would my children's childhood if I choose that over it.

Someday I can return to corporate america or do something else with my talents. But now, I want to spend time w my kids and give them the best of me. Its what I choose!

zinemama 12-30-2007 03:57 PM

Chiming in to say that of course you can be a feminist and a sahm. I'm one.

This is not to say that the financial implications of being a sahm are not huge. I would really advise you to read Ann Crittenden's The Price of Motherhood. Not to discourage you from sah - not at all - but because it really helps to understand the socioeconomic circumstances around both woh and sah in our current culture.

Like others have said, you are in a good position now to try living on dh's income and seeing how that works. Having your financial ducks in a row will beforehand is crucial. Don't approach it as, "I really want to stay home" so much as, "Hey, let's see how this might work if we made my being at home a priority."

Dia 12-30-2007 06:14 PM

Thanks for the responses; lots of great advice from you ladies.


[QUOTE=What has he said in reference to friends or family members (or even people on tv or in movies) who are SAHMs? Was his mom?QUOTE]

His mom was a SAHM of six. But, honestly, I think part of the attraction to me from the beginning was that I always expressed no interest in following a traditional mom path. When we met I was college, fielding offers, getting ramped for my career, and I think he really liked that. But as someone else said here, people change. I certainly have. I guess my fear is not so much financial in nature, I worried about having this discussion because I don't know if he'll respect me. I don't think he has a tremendous respect for women who stay home. (his sister recently had triplets - !! - and went right back to work. I could never / would never make that choice though I respect her decision. He admires her tremendously for that. Talks all the time about how awesome she is for working with 3 babes.)

Thanks again for you thoughts and reading my ramblings...

Dia 12-30-2007 06:16 PM

[QUOTE=Chiming in to say that of course you can be a feminist and a sahm. I'm one.QUOTE]

Oh, and I agree with you. My point was that my (previously rather naive) definition of feminism has changed. Much to my suprise.

SweetPotato 12-30-2007 06:39 PM

I'm a feminist SAHM with a Master's degree While I've always wanted to sah, my dh tells me that he didn't realize that was "the plan." Thankfully, though, he's been tremendously supportive. I am very lucky that his parents continusously express their great respect for the work I'm doing with our dd- which I think really sinks in. We also spent over a year before I even got pregnant living off of his salary and banking mine away so that we'd both learn whether we could live on so little and so that we'd have some $ stashed away to pay ourselves an extra few hundred $ a month or so as needed-- it's been a big comfort to have that designated cushion! I think the biggest thing that's helped him appreciate the value of my being at home is to just watch our dd grow and learn. When she first started babbling, I remember how he made a big deal about how hard it would be for parents to understand their children's first words if they weren't with them 24/7 to know the context, etc. I think I'd find some research, if he's a research kind of guy, and show him how much having a sah parent benefits a child (oh-- and nursing on demand is great, too, and is much easier if your boobs are actually available!) If he respected your dedication to being 100% into your career, hopefully he'll appreciate that your role as a prent is something you want to give 100% as well. Good luck to you!! I was, and still am, really psyched about my career path- I'm very interested in it and good at it-- but I'm even more of an expert on my daughter- and I'm even more interested in her. I think a big part of growing up and becoming a parent is that your priorities really DO change- and that's okay.

zinemama 12-30-2007 07:43 PM

If you're not sure if he'll respect you for the choices you make, then I think there's a long talk that really needs to happen in your marriage.

Partners shouldn't have to wonder about that sort of thing - which is really the bedrock of a relationship, after all.

Softmama 12-30-2007 08:56 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dia View Post
I guess my fear is not so much financial in nature, I worried about having this discussion because I don't know if he'll respect me. I don't think he has a tremendous respect for women who stay home.
hmmm...in my opinion this is a much bigger hurdle to overcome than the financial aspect. there can be a real imbalance of power if only one spouse is making money and my guess is this will be heightened in a situation where the man think his wife *should* be working. And having a dh that resents you would be a lot to handle. And that attitude would most likely make you resent him as well.

I really really hope that you guys can work this out. Definitely get on having that conversation. Best to do it now instead of 2 weeks before the babe is due!
Good luck.

WoolyMama 12-30-2007 09:01 PM

I am nursing so here goes:

I think being a real feminist is letting women change with time and life circumstances. There are many different ways to be a go getter and someone who wants to be at home is truly beautiful: the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.

My husband was surprsed when I said this half way thru my first pregnancy, but he went along because he fell in love with our baby,too, just moreso after she was born, which is different for men and women, I think.

Amys1st 12-30-2007 09:12 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by WoolyMama View Post
I am nursing so here goes:

I think being a real feminist is letting women change with time and life circumstances. There are many different ways to be a go getter and someone who wants to be at home is truly beautiful: the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.

My husband was surprsed when I said this half way thru my first pregnancy, but he went along because he fell in love with our baby,too, just moreso after she was born, which is different for men and women, I think.
funny, the first few minutes after dd1 was born, after dh stopped his crying, he just fell in love with her and would not put her down after her intial nursing with me, he took her and held her for a long long time. He then said a week later when he went into work- "I really dont want to go and leave her behind so I could not imagine how you would feel doing it. "

WoolyMama 12-30-2007 09:46 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amys1st View Post
funny, the first few minutes after dd1 was born, after dh stopped his crying, he just fell in love with her and would not put her down after her intial nursing with me, he took her and held her for a long long time. He then said a week later when he went into work- "I really dont want to go and leave her behind so I could not imagine how you would feel doing it. "
oh that made me cry. how sweet.

mysticmomma 12-30-2007 09:56 PM

I would advise you to check out dave ramsey's financial books. You could be way ahead of the game by the time kids come around and be set financially to live off of his income until your kiddos were old enough that you felt good about going out of the home to work for money again. Even if it would jsut be freelance, part time gigs. I'd imagine with a business degree you can do a lot. He talks alot about kids and paying off debt so one of you can be home. You could say.. Hey, i found this book, and there is a way for us to get so totaly fi8nancially sound and prepped for whatever kiddos we have that we wont' even have to worry about expensive daycare, whathaveyou, I'll be able to stay home... then talk about how long you think you'd want to, why (easier to bf, less sickness, less worry, no gas money to work, daycare, etc, no daycare/nanny money, etc etc whatever your importnat points are). Then tell him what you'd need to do to be ready for that. Get the book, you guys will be floored at how it won't even affect you.

T

Azuralea 12-30-2007 10:12 PM

My post will be a little different, but first I think the advice of all the people above is a good one. I wanted to be a SAHM too before my DS was born, and so we planned and saved for years before our DS was born to make that happen. I made 50% of our family income at that point, so it was a gigantic shift for us. However, since we'd been saving for a long time and living frugally, we didn't experience much of a lifestyle drop at all. That made the transition much easier.

My one additional suggestion is that you think carefully about how you want to leave, because that may make a huge difference to you in a few years. I think planning how you leave your career is as important as planning the financial aspects.

This is my story, starting from a position like yours: When I left my job, I planned to be home for years. However, we were not sure how well we could manage the finances and how well we would like going from two WOH to one SAH. Because of those nagging thoughts, what I did was arrange to take a kind of leave instead of outright quitting. I talked with my bosses and said I wanted to be home for some years, but I would keep my skills current and be involved. I phrased it as a "leave" (obviously unpaid, and my position was filled), and I did work hard to keep my contacts up.

This turned out to be a crucially important thing for us as a family. It turns out that I was one of those absolutely miserable SAHMs. I felt like I wasn't connecting well with my DS because I was so depressed that I was shutting down emotionally to deal with it (so I had guilt on top of it all). I never fit in at any of the mom's groups I tried, which unfortunately turned into husband-complaint sessions or working-mom-bashing sessions the times I attended, something I was not comfortable with at all. I absolutely hated how soul-deadened I was starting to feel. I gained a lot of weight that I'm still trying to get off (now that I'm WOH, I lose weight rather than gain weight). It didn't matter that I was there for some "firsts" -- I was so sapped of joy that I couldn't appreciate them. DS turned out to be a very, very active and extroverted child, and I found it very hard to meet his needs. Both me and DH felt that our marriage was no longer the equitable partnership it had been up to that point. After a lot of emotional discussions with DH (it's hard to admit defeat!), we decided to try daycare and two-WOH.

As it turns out, I went back to work very easily because I had worked hard to keep those contacts up. I didn't go back to my previous hard-driving job, but those contacts are what got me my job. Planning my time at home as a "leave" really made a huge difference. I know for sure I could not have walked away and come back if I hadn't been working to keep up my contacts and keeping my skills current.

For us, it has worked out so well, I'm sorry we ever pressured ourselves to fit into a mold that was never going to fit us. We are definitely significantly happier as a two-WOH family in two family-friendly jobs. My DS thrives at daycare and I'm thrilled with how much it's enhanced his life. I'm much more emotionally connected to him than I was when I was home. Our marriage feels a lot stronger.

In hindsight it shouldn't have beens surprising to us. I grew up in a very close two-WOH family (I'm from a long line of WOHMs). We are closer than most of the families I know. Meanwhile, my DH grew up in a traditional SAHM/WOHD family, but his father was essentially an "absent earner" and his mom did everything, and they were an unhappy family. He always swore he would not raise his kids that way. In talking about it later, we both realize that we felt tremendous social pressure to have a SAHM (it's such a cultural ideal in this country), but neither of us really wanted it at heart. So, of course, it didn't work out. We should have listened to that, but we didn't.

I don't know what we'll do if we have another child, something we're talking about. We did like the fact I could nurse on demand. On the other hand, I've seen how much the infants in my DS's daycare get out of interacting with the other kids, and I know that SAHM does not work well for us, so maybe we will each negotiate leaves and then a new baby can go into daycare at 10 months or so. I'm just not sure.

Anyhow, that's a very long story, but I just wanted to say that if you plan how you stay home and plan how you leave, you will give yourself the flexibility to switch should you find that you either like it so much you want to be home permanently or you find that it's not working at all and you want to go back to work. My DH and I are both happy that we carefully planned leaving my career, because it would have been a family disaster if I hadn't been able to go back to work when we realized how much SAH wasn't working for us.


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