To think it isn't particularly unusual or wrong for DH to ba a SAHD!!!

(60 Posts)
AnotherDay123 Fri 25-Jan-13 10:11:42

Last year DH, through no fault of his own, was made redundant from his job. We both have very traditional families in which pretty much all the women either do small part time jobs or are SAHM. I have no issue with this at all and if it makes them happy that is great. I on the other hand was lucky enough to have a senior position which I worked 3 days a week whilst looking after our 2 dcs the rest of the time. When DH lost his job we completely swapped roles, took DCs out of childcare and I went full time and gained a promotion. Now DH stays at home with DCs and I work. This works wonderfully for us, DH is a wonderful husband and father, the children are thriving and we are happy. DH saves us a fortune by growing all our own food and meat and preparing everything for scratch - and it makes him so happy, and in turn makes me happy that he's loving this life and DCs have one parent at home all the time. Our weekends and evenings are then dedicated to the children and having family time. I love my job, but do miss the children tremendously, however I also know they are happy and we have quality family time so this makes up for it. We don't see that it matters who is doing what roles in our family as long as we are together a team and together we meet the needs of everyone in our family and each role is just as important as the others!
Problems are coming from DH's family who we are close too. To understand DH's family you basically have to go into a timewarp and disappear back 50 years. there attitudes towards us can be summed up through the following comments which we recieve on a regular basis - 'Don't I feel like I am failing as a mother not being at home with my children', 'Well this is obviously only temporary until DH gets another job (he's not looking) and I'll go back to what I did before', to DH 'doesn't it feel odd being supported by a woman, not exactly providing like he should'. And the worse part is that my FiL actually said to DH that he didn't feel he had done a great job of bringing him up if he wasn't going to be a proper man and take care of his family!!!
These are not awful people they are just stuck in their ways but I beyond fed up with it. I've tried talking to them, tried explaining but I don't get anywhere. These comments upset DH and I don't want our DCs growing up thinking that these comments are acceptable or hearing this about their family.
How do I deal with nicely. I do love DH's family and we see alot of them living round the corner. DC's adore the GPs - it is just this one sticking point! Why can't they see how happy we are as a family and that is what matters, not who works and who stays at home!

Greythorne Fri 25-Jan-13 10:12:23

It's not wrong but you are being unrealistic thinking it is not unusual.

KenLeeeeeee Fri 25-Jan-13 10:15:22

Can I have your life please, OP? It sounds lovely.

Anyway, YANBU to want the comments from his family to stop but your arrangement isn't a typical one.

CartedOff Fri 25-Jan-13 10:18:10

"This is the right thing for our family and we're happy doing it this way" or some version thereof. Repeat, over and over again. Change subject.

Don't even bother engaging in a discussion with them. They're not going to get it.

AnotherDay123 Fri 25-Jan-13 10:18:55

Thanks - really? I suppose I know it isn't the norm but really didn't/don't think it is that unusual, but accept I may be out of my own on that one, which is maybe DH's family are finding it harder to accept?

Mumsyblouse Fri 25-Jan-13 10:20:44

I think I would let them know quite directly that you are happy with this situation, and see it continuing say for the next five years.

They are obviously subtley (not) trying to encourage him to get back into out of the home employment and see these comments as a way of doing that.

I would be blunt really, if they say 'don't you miss the children' say 'not really, because I know DH is doing a great job of looking after them so well, I'm so lucky'.

Defend your choices instead of trying to pretend you aren't doing that to them, I've found then some of my family who previously disapproved of women working are now really proud of me and my achievements.

Finally, it is not that unusual for women to earn more than men, last figures showed that nearly half UK families have a woman earning either the same, or more than their man. Nearly 20% earn more, about 25% equal amounts.

So, not that unusual then, to not have a male breadwinner.

CadleCrap Fri 25-Jan-13 10:21:20

We are in the same situation OP except it is my family who make digs about DH finding a job.

Really pisses me off. No-one said anything about getting a job to my DSis who was a SAHM.

YANBU

HecateWhoopass Fri 25-Jan-13 10:22:04

the majority of parents who remain within the home are female. So people do notice when it is the male.

That said, it shouldn't bloody matter!

I think you're going to have to be very blunt with them.

This is the arrangement that we have chosen and it is working wonderfully for us and we are very happy with it and have no plans to change it. Please stop insulting us. It is very hurtful.

And perhaps point out that what they are saying is that the woman's contribution to the household is meaningless in their eyes. Because when the man does what the woman does - it's 'not taking care of the family'. So clearly that means they don't value it.

I'd be saying that really, the women in the family ought to be insulted by this!

I'd also be saying that money is being earned in order to feed the family, keep a roof over their heads and look after them. Meals are being cooked. House is being cleaned. Children are being looked after. etc etc

All of those things that together make up everything parents need to do in order to care for their children.

If they are saying that this is not acceptable because the wrong gender is in each role - then they need to get themselves into the 21st century.

god. you need to give it to them straight! You really do.

Paiviaso Fri 25-Jan-13 10:22:20

Your arrangement is unusual, but of course it is not wrong.

I think all you can do is hammer home that you "are very happy with your arrangement thank you." You can tell them you do not want to discuss it any further. You can change the subject whenever it comes up. Don't engage with them about it.

AnotherDay123 Fri 25-Jan-13 10:23:30

Thanks Mumsy, I do hope that they will come around and the problem is simply that this is just still a relatively new situation for them to accept (8 mths now ish).

Mumsyblouse Fri 25-Jan-13 10:24:13

It is more unusual to have the father not earning at all, but staying at home, but it's not unusual to have fathers staying at home some of the week. My husband stayed at home three days a week and took the children to all the usual swimming and playgroup activities, and there was a handful of men at all of them and we are not in a cool trendy involved dad area, there was also the odd grandad who did a day or two a week childcare.

This is more normal than 40 years ago when a man would not have been seen pushing a pram down the street, now men have slings, do childcare, pick up the kids from school.

Just be confident in your choices, they sound great for your family (repeat as necessary).

purrpurr Fri 25-Jan-13 10:25:05

Your life sounds lovely. You both sound like brilliant partners for each other.

My DH's family is the same, stuck in the 1950s. I'm currently pregnant and not working, my career was making me quite poorly so after some serious saving up from us both, I left and became a housewife. The intention is that I will have a couple of years off once the kid arrives and be a SAHM. All traditional-ish so far. The problem is that my DH has long wanted to do a particular thing for a living, which would require a similar amount of time out of work to retrain, and then a length of time earning less than he currently does as he worked up the ladder. I desperately want this for him, and would be overjoyed to be able to support him in this. He sees it as a pipe dream. His family would be rather... Surprised, I'll say. I'm working on it gently for now, but I'm trying to press home to him how fair and right it would be that we worked and saved hard as a unit for me to leave a damaging job to have a rest before an official maternity leave type period, then enjoy some SAHM time, and so I think we should work together as a unit in the future to allow him to at least pursue this dream, see if it would work out.

Sorry for the long waffle, but it really makes me sad that such ingrained stereotypes can be so harmful. You only get one life. Who cares which one has the penis and which one has the ovaries? It's irrelevant when you're both in a box at the end of it (sorry for morbidity). It's not like you go off to pink or blue heaven.

Kirk1 Fri 25-Jan-13 10:27:12

YANBU to think there is nothing wrong with your DH being a SAHD I think you are being a little unrealistic to think it's not unusual though!

Next time your PIL make comments of this sort, say something along the lines of "haven't you heard of gender equality?" The FiL's comment about failing to make him Son a"man who provides" is pretty vile. Tell him he should be proud he's got a son who is secure enough in himself to support his wife, and what is growing all your veg if it's not providing?

LtEveDallas Fri 25-Jan-13 10:28:38

How are your ILs re embarassment?

My own parents were like this when I went back to work and DH became a SAHD. My P's are really old fashioned, wont mention "privates" or toilet behaviour (ie we couldn't discuss DDs potty training because it was 'uncouth'). They almost had a fit when DD told me (in front of them) that her vagina was itchy...horrified that she had used that word grin.

So, when they made digs about DH or me I would say things like:

"DHs penis doesn't make him unable to change a nappy mum"
"Do you need a penis to have a job these days dad?"
"My vagina makes no difference to my earning power"

and so on... every time they made a comment

They couldn't cope with it - and stopped commenting. For all I know they still think that DH is "laying about doing nothing whilst Eve works" but they aren't saying it to me, so I can pretend it's not happening smile

AnotherDay123 Fri 25-Jan-13 10:39:04

Thanks Lteve, Though I think they would be motified if I said anything like that - definately one to keep in the back pocket though! ;-)

wanderingcloud Fri 25-Jan-13 10:45:22

Is it unusual? It doesn't seem that unusual around my way, I know of at least 3 families where that is the case. My OH has been at SAHD when I returned to work after mat leave and he's keen to again.

I agree, state how happy you all are over and over until the message is understood!

fromparistoberlin Fri 25-Jan-13 10:47:24

"It's not wrong but you are being unrealistic thinking it is not unusual"

bollocks to that I say! in my office we have 3 woman with SAHDS alone

and a few at my school too

maybe its more common in London?

OP I think you need to tell them that they need to STOP making any comments in front of the kids, they are entitled to their opinions but they must not say anything to the kids

My DH is from a v latin country and I think his family dont get it either, but we only see them twice a year

and count blessing, you sound very happy. dont let them upset u

slug Fri 25-Jan-13 11:03:53

There's nothing either unusual or wrong with your lifestyle. You and your DH are bringing up your children to be "proper people" by teaching them by example that parenting and penises are not mutually exclusive.

I can honestly say that the best move we ever made as a family was the decision to have me go back to work and DH stay home with DD.I was going spare at home, he was depressed at work and DD didn't care as long as there was someone there to feed her. She has learnt so much from him that I couldn't have taught her especially the view that men can cook, change nappies, cuddle away hurt and clean without compromising their masculinity.

DeafLeopard Fri 25-Jan-13 11:08:56

As usual my response is "What Hecate said"

Do what works for you and ignore their silly comments

Crinkle77 Fri 25-Jan-13 11:10:07

Your husband sounds great and thankfully has not turned out like his family. At the moment you are all happy with the arrangement and you need to do what is best for your family. Just ignore them all. Maybe your husband could do with turning round and telling them firmly to mind their own business

squeakytoy Fri 25-Jan-13 11:10:22

There is nothing wrong with it, but it isnt the "norm".

Biology and human nature dictates that a woman carries and gives birth to a child and her body enables her to feed that child, therefore the male in the partnership is the "hunter/gatherer" who goes out to provide for his family while the mother does what nature intended with her baby. Until men can give birth, and breastfeed, then it will not be "the norm" for a man to be a SAHD while the mother goes back to work.

I know many men who would not want to be SAHPs while their partner went out to work, and I also know many women who would feel the same about it as well.

However, having said that, it is nobody elses business what a family chooses to do.

extracrunchy Fri 25-Jan-13 11:13:20

Your DH sounds like an absolute dream!!

ChocHobNob Fri 25-Jan-13 11:14:56

It's not wrong in the slightest. It is unusual as it has always been the norm for Mothers to stay at home, but it is becoming less unusual.

Lueji Fri 25-Jan-13 11:15:08

I think in recent news SAHF were at about 10%.

So, still uncommon, but increasing.

I think your OH has to work on his feelings towards his family and work out a standard response.

Also, the children will grow up and he can start working again, or setting up a business, etc.
And, of course, he's contributing. Child care is not cheap!

fromparistoberlin Fri 25-Jan-13 11:18:28

squaky

cant you see that by spouting shite like that you are perpetuating the views that the OP moans about???

her children are older, not breast fed bubbas!!!!

you come across as extremely biased against people that do it to be honest (be SAHDs I mean)

I only rant as its very out of date to spout this hunter gatherer BULLSHIT

rant

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