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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!

NymphadoraTonks Sat 26-Jan-13 09:47:09

My husband is a sahd and it works well for us. I've never actually had anyone comment on it before either tbh.

DeckSwabber Sat 26-Jan-13 09:45:30

In my family these attitudes have been incredibly damaging. Men do need to do more in most families these days, and it sounds like your husband is fab.

It is quite unusual, but certainly not wrong.

DH was a SAHD for dd1 until I had dd2, he loved it. Luckily neither of our families are stuck in the dark ages.

Your set up sounds great, whatever works for your family and makes you happy.

I would pull them up on it.

Iteotwawki Sat 26-Jan-13 05:55:11

YABU if you think it's not unusual - it's still very much the norm for men to woh and women to sah. However it's definitely not wrong!

We decided 7 years ago that I would go back to work full time and DH would be the sahp. Lots of reasons, not just financial - I definitely fit the "volatile, stressy" description whereas he is calm, steady and consistent. He's far better at parenting than I am!

I get to do fun stuff (baking, reading, board games, etc) as well as homework. He does lunches, suncream, laundry, school runs, shopping, food prep ... I don't have to worry about a work day overrunning (which it does on average once a week) or having to take time off if the children are sick, or on call work - gives me the flexibility my job requires.

I'll have to talk to him about growing our food though!

Glittertwins Sat 26-Jan-13 05:16:10

YANBU, it obviously works for you and your family.
DH and I discussed this a while back if he was made redundant. If it had happened, I would have done as you and gone FT with him being SAHP.

FellatioNels0n Sat 26-Jan-13 05:06:24

soworn Sadly I think that is a very common attitude towards men who are the SAHP long term. It's a terrible double standard and very unfair. I've read plenty of comments on here over the years from women complaining that their SAH husbands don't pull their weight enough at home, mocking their 'so-called' 'working from home' jobs like writing a book, or trying to get a small business off the ground while doing childcare and running the house etc. They generally get support whereas if a man came on here complaining that he regularly gets home after a hard day in the office to find his wife hasn't even started the dinner and the house is a mess he'd get slaughtered, and told that she's at home to care for his children, not to be his skivvy!

There is still a deeply held view that a man is somehow a sponger or a cock-lodger if he happily lets his partner do all the breadwinning.

FellatioNels0n Sat 26-Jan-13 04:55:13

Not at all wrong but still fairly unusual.

StuntNun Sat 26-Jan-13 04:07:06

I had a SAHD from when I was seven when he retired (through ill health) and my mum went back to work). My dad took me to school, dentist/orthodontist appointments, music lessons, nursed me when I was sick, made my tea when I got home from school. He must have found that difficult in 1983, especially as he had been a senior executive before, but it was great for us kids. He's the calm one and my mum is more volatile and stressy so we definitely had the better parent to be looking after three kids. He did say that he liked it when the vicar's son started school because there was another bloke doing the school 'walk' as it was in those days. I can't advise about your sexist ILs, OP, but I do think having a SAHD had great benefits for me.

deleted203 Sat 26-Jan-13 03:41:27

My cousin had exactly the same situation. She was very career orientated, loved her job whereas her DH was laid off and at the time (he was a brickie) there was a recession on and he couldn't get work. He stayed home and cared for their children and she continued with FT work. The comments from her family have been appalling. Even though he was a terrific cook, gardener, patient with kids - all the things that she wasn't, basically. She freely admits that being a SAHM would have been her idea of hell. 25 years later they are still doing this - and she is at the very peak of her career as CEO to a huge, national company. He has not worked in this time - by the time the children had grown up he was too old and had been out of the trade too long to realistically get another job, but he has been happy to support her in her career and do all the domestic stuff that has left her free to focus on her ambitions. No one would think twice about a man being CEO of a corporation whilst having a wife who ran his life and did everything around the home. (Which her DH did! I don't think she ever dried a pot or pushed a hoover around). I cannot understand why the family cannot appreciate the tremendous contribution he has made to her career - it is unlikely that she could have got where she is today without the home backup he provided. They still continually go on about him being 'lazy' and cannot appreciate that she loves him very much and that their relationship and lifestyle choices work for them. I think you need to firmly tell the in laws that their comments are hurtful and distressing to you both and that, whilst they are entitled to their opinions, they have expressed them and that is now the end of the matter.

Homebird8 Sat 26-Jan-13 03:26:54

DH used to work 60 hours weeks plus commuting. I used to work freelance from home and do everything else: DCs, housework, car stuff, garden, chairperson of this, that and the other, social secretary, etc.

DH and I gradually drifted apart.

<Fade to present>

We moved to another country. I work full time (40 hours), DH is a SAHD, has made us new friends and volunteers when school need him for trips etc. He posts photos on Facebook of the lovely lunches out he enjoys with his lady friends SAHM friends. He is relaxed and happy. I am loving work and relish the time I spend with DH and the DCs. The DCs have loads of friends and supportive and cheerful home life.

FIL thinks DH is 'messing around' and that 'it can't go on'. He treats DH with even less respect than before. Same reasons as your states.

Who's the miserable one? FIL. Both of them.

I send a wave from my SAHD to yours AnotherDay wine

TraceyTrickster Sat 26-Jan-13 01:08:03

MY DH spent the last 2 years being a SAHD...made life a lot easier for us all. We just took no notice of people commenting on the arrangement.

That said DH is now at work, DD starts school next week and she has declared I need to go to work like I did before. She thinks I will be lonely at home (and I am looking!!!)

Having a parent at home for first 5 years and early school years makes life so much easier

NatashaBee Fri 25-Jan-13 15:42:10

why don't you say to them, our family are so happy with things they way they are, DH is happy, the children are happy and it's working out so well... the only thing that makes us sad and really upsets us is when people make digs at us for doing things the way that works for us and try to upset DH when in fact he's looking after his family so wonderfully.

^^ This is a good response. Do they understand that he is staying at home through choice, not just because he wasn't able to find another job? Your setup sounds lovely, as close to ideal as it gets ... I'm sure your children will look back and think what a fantastic childhood they had!

BadLad Fri 25-Jan-13 15:31:03

Nothing wrong with it,obviously, but it isn't exactly a secret that it raises eyebrows of older people.

DewDr0p Fri 25-Jan-13 15:13:16

I think your setup sounds great. I'm sorry your ILs can't see that.

My ILs used to spout all sorts of opinions on everything we did. We started ignoring them (on the advice of a counsellor friend) and interestingly they have stopped. So my advice would be don't engage. Pretend you haven't heard - the children are a great excuse for this!

I suspect that FIL still privately thinks all the awful things he used to say but at least I don't have to listen to him grin

Peevish Fri 25-Jan-13 15:02:03

Exactly what Cory said - please let's not let that kind of ill-informed spouting about hunter-gatherers and 'primitive' societies go unchallenged. It's bad anthropology, apart from anything else.

OP, your ILs sound royally painful and 1950s-ish. Depending on where you are, fathers doing the primary childcare isn't that unusual. Till recently I lived in north London, and fathers were a significant minority of the parents at various baby and toddler groups and classes - the baby massage class I went to was about 1/3 fathers. A friend of mine is a longterm SAHD (and loves it) who moved from London to rural Devon and - having not been at all unusual in his London setting - suddenly feels much more anomalous. But he's very together, and is aware that this is other people's issue, not his. I know three longterm SAHDs in London and Cambridge.

Also, I grew up in a city where there was massive male unemployment in the 70s and 80s after some big local heavy industries folded, and it wasn't at all unusual for working class families to have the father doing the childcare if the mother was able to find work. I grew up thinking of it as normal.

Emilythornesbff Fri 25-Jan-13 14:37:39

It is unusual for lots of reasons (including those mentioned by squeaky toy) but it's not wrong. In fact, it sounds like a real winner for your family. Good luck to you all. Some ppl find it hard to get their heads round a lifestyle that isn't conventional don't they. For lots of men (not all, obviously, before the pitchforks and torches are brought out) supporting their family by "bringing home the bacon" is an important part of their masculinity, and similarly women can often feel that traditional female roles help to define them. They probably just need a bit of time to get into a more modern way of seeing things. Best to try not to take it too personally. Sounds like it's great round yours tbh.

zoeymlucas Fri 25-Jan-13 13:36:45

OMG are you sure your not me!!!!

My DH was made redundant and I was a SAHM, and was suffering with post natal depression as had always been a career woman and as much asI loved my children being at home 24/7 wasnt for me so when he was made redundant we decided to try me working as in all honesty I can earn double what he can.
I have gone back to work full time in senior management role and quite an important job and DH stays at home with the children and we both love this balance. DH loves how the boys adore him and he gets to see everything they do and he does all the cooking, cleaning, shopping and DIY as well as school runs etc.
I do miss my children daily and sometime have a pang of guilt that I am not with them all the time but DH is so much better at the stay at home thing than me so when I am home everything is done and its just pure family time!

So many of his friends laugh at him for this but he dont really care as he is happy and do are his children. His mother hates our arrangement my eldest isnt my husbands child and feels he has to look after my child which is hard and we no longer speak to her as we are a family are happy and thats what matters!! DH says his job is too look after his wife and children and he still does that but physically not financially .

I am due another baby in March and will be having 3 months off and then back to work and hubby will be at home with all 3 kids - he is equally there parent and just as caplable of looking after them and all there needs - times change and so do families so as long as yours works for you then stuff everyone!!

Frustratedartist Fri 25-Jan-13 13:32:26

There are a few SAHDs in our school, and other dads who are able to be in the playground regularly because their work hours are flexible. I think it's great.
Kids need parents to be around - there shouldn't be a rule about which parent does which role. If your family is happy that's all that matters
It's none of your in-laws business and I would tell that quite firmly. Why are you wanting to be nice about it? They are being rude and unsupportive. You don't need to be rude, just be firm.

AnotherDay123 Fri 25-Jan-13 13:13:57

Definately cornflake they do like having DH and the DCs around alot more and see them every few days now when it was more like once a week before.

cornflakegirl Fri 25-Jan-13 12:49:14

My DH has been a SAHD for seven years, because I enjoyed my job, and he didn't really enjoy his. His parents are also old-fashioned and didn't approve initially, but we don't get comments any more. When we did, I fluctuated between challenging and ignoring, as I did if they spouted something from the Daily Mail. (They are lovely, but have a very different outlook from me.)

My PIL actually benefit from DH being at home because they can come to visit for the day and he's actually around to see them (they're retired). Is that something your PIL could appreciate too?

Chunderella Fri 25-Jan-13 12:31:22

Mumsyblouse makes a good point. While your set up of what sounds like a professional type WAHM and fully SAHD is relatively unusual still, more and more dads have working arrangements that allow them to spend time at home doing childcare. Part time, flexible hours, consulting, working from home a day or two a week etc. DH likely isn't the only dad at the school gate on any given day.

Additionally, in areas that have been particularly recession hit, couples often don't have a choice about which one will be at home. If you don't have a lot of qualifications and live in an area where there are very few jobs, when one of you can get a few days a week minimum wage work, you take it. You don't worry about gender roles. So I suspect that in many poorer parts of the country, there are couples with a SAHD and WOHM regardless of individual preference and it may well be more common than it was due to the recession.

Binfullofresolutionsfor10thjan Fri 25-Jan-13 12:30:44

YANBU I have a DH who is a SAHD and a few of my friends think he is using me. hmm

These tend to be single childless friends who live London lives with cleaners, ironing services etc, that don't really understand the benefits of a reliable, trustworthy partner that enables you to freely continue in your career with as little stress as possible.

Also, everyone tends to forget that while I was at home he was in the Army. Now that he is retired, he actually lives off his little pension, I pay the big bills and living expenses. He doesn't actually "cost" me anything!!

To be honest, I would just answer with the stock response "No, we are perfectly happy" or, "Pardon me for sounding rude, but it's simply none of your business"

Stop feeling the need to explain every detail to everyone. That'll feed more fuel to the fire and make you sound like you are over compensating.

HecateWhoopass Fri 25-Jan-13 12:26:46

It's a very unusual* situation where I live. I can't think of anyone who is a sahd.

I think it depends on where you are in the country, possibly.

*Unusual does not mean wrong

DontEvenThinkAboutIt Fri 25-Jan-13 12:23:49

It is not an unusual situation, I have known quite a few SAH dads and don't think anything of it. The only drawback I have noticed is that SAH Dads are not very good at braiding their DD's hair but as I am rubbish at it too I probably shouldn't comment. grin

If I were the OP I would call the InLaws up on it. They seem like nice people but I find a lot of older people like me Dad lack tact. There is no need for arguments but they do need to be clearly told that it is very unacceptable. Evenif it didn't bother you and your DH it is not a nice thing for your DC's to hear.

Songbird Fri 25-Jan-13 12:14:32

cory yes, completely right. Men were (and still are in certain cultures in Africa, eg) the hunters, and women were the gatherers/processors of food.

And to suggest that a woman should be stuck at home shackled to a breastfed baby is just ridiculous - it's far from the only option these days. I have heard tell of a remarkable contraption called a breast pump...

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