SAHM goes back to work after 10 years - how do you cope with the resentment?

(127 Posts)
MsGasket Sun 10-Feb-13 10:19:31

So I yelled at DH this morning that I hated him and that I would keep telling him that until he left - I don't want him to leave (yes, I know v. unreasonable behaviour from me), I'm just finding it difficult to cope with my feelings of resentment. At least I think that's what I'm feeling.

AIBU to think that just because I only work part-time (so that the family continues to 'function') I shouldn't have to run the place!!! Yes, I know there are women that work full-time and run the home which is why I'm writing this in the hope of gaining some perspective.

This post could be epic so I'll stop now and write more throughout the thread as necessary. I'm a fairly regular poster but have name changed.

Pagwatch Sun 10-Feb-13 10:23:11

It's nothing to do with whether you are a sahm or a pt wohm or full time.

Your problem is that your DH is not taking on his fair share.
You need to focus on that instead of thinking of it as one kind of generic fall out from the work/home balance conundrum.

Tell your dh that the division of labour needs to shift and draw up a plan

And maybe write an op that is entitled 'my dh won't do his fair share. Advice please'

What do you resent? Working or running the home? If you are working there is no way you can do all the running of the home by yourself. You need to split things so you both have equal amounts of leisure time, split it in a way that works best for both of you. If he won't do his share he should pay someone else to do it.

MsGasket Sun 10-Feb-13 10:26:01

Thanks Pagwatch. He does do quite a lot but it's always as if he's doing me a favour iykwim. We do have a plan and it is fairly even. Maybe me feeling that I 'run the place' is all in my head. I might add that the place isn't v. well run either.

Pagwatch Sun 10-Feb-13 10:28:09

Hmmm .that's interesting. Maybe it is in your head a bit.
But I do get the 'doing you a favour' atmosphere. Is it a kind of 'I loaded the dishwasher for you' kind of thing?

janey68 Sun 10-Feb-13 10:28:29

Agree with pagwatch.
We can't possibly comment without knowing the details.
If you are working part time and your partner is full time, then it's absolutely reasonable that you do more domestic stuff (though obviously not all)
Have you recently started work after being at home for 10 years? If so, it may be that you haven't sat down and discussed the implications on domestic chores and childcare. Obviously you need to renegotiate because the situation has changed

rainrainandmorerain Sun 10-Feb-13 10:33:42

Well - if he continually makes you feel like he's doing you a favour, then it is unlikely to be 'all in your head!'

fwiw, I think whether a woman takes a years' maternity leave, or a lot longer, there are patterns that spring up about who does what - and it can be very hard to change these. Typically when a woman goes 'back to work' she ends up keeping more than her fair share of child related or domestic tasks. Which isn't fair.

From your dp's pov, nothing for him personally has changed, has it. He has been working for ten years - doing whatever he does around the house. If you start work, he has to take on more responsibility for what you were doing (assuming you are not happy to run yourself ragged trying to do more than you were before....) - and chances are he's not going to want to do that. To be blunt.

I think an honest conversation spelling out what you feel is fair, and what he sees as fair, is the only place to start. He either does things with a good grace because he accepts they are his job - or he refuses to do them upfront, and then you can discuss how they will be done. Which will boil down to you or paying someone to do it.

HollyBerryBush Sun 10-Feb-13 10:35:35

Is it financial necessity that is "forcing" you out to work, thus you are resentful at "having" to work?

TreadOnTheCracks Sun 10-Feb-13 10:39:54

I could have written this! I returned to work after 8 years off when my youngest went to school. I work 22 hrs a week. Sh commutes, long hours so I have full responsibility for every mundane thing in our lives. Dh does help but needs lots of recognition/ seems to expect thanks for cleaning the bathroom or whatever. Or he makes out it's all so easy and he's got no idea what I'm moaning about.
Reading this thread with interest.

niceguy2 Sun 10-Feb-13 10:40:05

You sound like a spoilt cow if I am honest.

You say you resent having to 'run the place' but then at the same time you say that he does quite a lot.

Have a word with him about the attitude of doing it as a favour by all means but to say you will tell him you hate him and will keep telling him until he leaves....YABVU.

I hope you get your wish.

MsGasket Sun 10-Feb-13 10:42:46

Thank for the replies, I'll attempt to answer them one at a time to keep posts relatively short.

janey68: 'If you are working part time and your partner is full time, then it's absolutely reasonable that you do more domestic stuff (though obviously not all)'

This is interesting as perhaps the root of the problem is that i don't agree. Why should I do more domestic stuff? I'd rather be doing my job (which I love) and getting paid (which is nice too and whilst not a necessity yet, is becoming more so) than be up to my elbows in five lots of dirty clothes.

HollyBerryBush Sun 10-Feb-13 10:45:49

I've got to be honest with you, DH is out of the house 7.30am-8pm depending on traffic, whereas I'm back in by 4.30. I think I'd need a right kick up the arse if I couldn't manage to run a house of near-as-damn it 5 adults on 3-4 hours a day.

DH does take over at weekends, coz he likes faffing in the kitchen, looking at all the pretty lights on the dishwasher and playing with the hoover but in all honesty I certainly don't expect him to.

lottiegarbanzo Sun 10-Feb-13 10:46:08

Oh, title and subject are two completely different things. I wondered who was resenting you working.

Well, housework is covered so often I'm sure you could find a hundred threads on the subject, whch all say 'do you have equal leisure time?'. The mental responsibility of planning and noticing everything, as opposed to doing discrete tasks when requested, is a big issue too.

(and if I take part I always express incredulity at the idea that SAHM equals 24/7 domestic servant, rather than indicating the job done during working hours, with parenting and domestic tasks shared equally during evenings and weekends).

MsGasket Sun 10-Feb-13 10:49:18

rainrain, DH has taken on more responsibility since I started working. He does school runs and after school activities on the days that I work.

niceguy2, maybe I am a spoilt cow. Perhaps the combined wisdom of MN can convince me as DH hasn't managed to.

I like to think that I'm a fairly reasonable person.

TreadOn, it's nice to know I'm not alone. Fingers crossed we get some help on here.

janey68 Sun 10-Feb-13 10:49:19

If you'd rather be working full time, then work full time and split domestic chores equally. If one of you is part time, then why on earth wouldnt you do more domestic / child related stuff? It makes no difference which gender does which, it's simple logistics. Someone working part time has , by definition, more time off work!

It sounds like you expect to work part time and your dh to be full time yet for him to do the same as you around the house. I would be the resentful one if I were him!

MsGasket Sun 10-Feb-13 10:54:00

lottie, the 'equal leisure time' is OK in theory but doesn't really help here. We both love our jobs and could happily spend more than the required time on them. What else should I be doing on my days that I am not working? That time is not leisure time or work time it's 'resentment breeding time'.

TheFallenMadonna Sun 10-Feb-13 10:55:47

Why aren't you working full time? You say in your OP that it's to keep the family functioning. Is that on a getting all the housework done level, or a getting the kids to where they need to be level?

MsGasket Sun 10-Feb-13 10:57:42

janey68, if I worked full time our family wouldn't function without major adjustments (not even sure what these would be).

'It sounds like you expect to work part time and your dh to be full time yet for him to do the same as you around the house. I would be the resentful one if I were him!' I don't expect him to do the same as me and I'm not even sure if him doing more would help.

Things are just not clear in my head. Thank you all for helping me to work through this.

HollyBerryBush Sun 10-Feb-13 10:58:54

What else should I be doing on my days that I am not working? That time is not leisure time or work time it's 'resentment breeding time'.

How do you expect to fill that time?

i'm sorry but I'm just not getting where you are coming from at all.

If there is an imbalance of working hours and an equality of leisure time/time out/whatever you want to call it, then that person should pick up the slack with running the house because if you don't then the person working full time loses their leisure time and you gain more.

And give me strength the next person who wades in with the "its so traumatic planning things". I cant remember the last time I was tramatised setting up a direct debit to pay the water bill hmm

lottiegarbanzo Sun 10-Feb-13 10:59:45

What do you want to be doing on your non-work days? Why are you not working full time?

Your non-work days are either 'parenting and domestic work time' which is work, or they are leisure time. What's the in-between definition?

MsGasket Sun 10-Feb-13 11:01:06

TheFallenMadonna it's on a getting the kids where they need to be level (I'm not house proud as such) and also, DH works away overnight/s from time to time.

I did work full-time for a few months and it wasn't sustainable (thankfully was only a temporary contract anyway).

TheFallenMadonna Sun 10-Feb-13 11:04:38

You need some major adjustments if you are telling your DH you want bin to leave when you don't really out of resentment at your current situation.

You need to be deciding what they are.

I went back to work full time after 5 years and it was a massive change for us, simply in terms of organising ourselves (a cleaner for 3 hours a week easily covered that part of my previous contribution to family life...!)

DH has changed his job, travels less. We simply couldn't fit my career into the model we had. It was the logistics, not the domestics, that didn't work for us.

MsGasket Sun 10-Feb-13 11:05:14

Holly, the last line of this isn't true for us.

"If there is an imbalance of working hours and an equality of leisure time/time out/whatever you want to call it, then that person should pick up the slack with running the house because if you don't then the person working full time loses their leisure time and you gain more."

DH doesn't really lose his leisure time (housework comes last for both of us) and my leisure time is ill defined.

I'm trying to be as honest and spontaneous as possible on this thread. Sorry if it's all a bit muddled.

lottiegarbanzo Sun 10-Feb-13 11:05:23

The 'planning and responsibility' bit isn't traumatic(!) and organising comes naturally to many of us but it does occupy headspace, that could otherwise be used thinking about hobbies, dreams, fanatasies or whatever you like.

The sense that if you don't keep an eye on things the household will stop functioning is a bit of a drag. It's good to be able to feel that you could be ill / go away / have a busy time with something else and your OH will naturally be able to pick up the slack and keep things moving.

aldiwhore Sun 10-Feb-13 11:05:45

I've just gone back to work after 8 years of being a SAHM. I get cross when the house is upside down if I've been at work and DH has been at home, but I try to remind myself that the house wasn't always shiny when he used to come home!

I have a day to myself on a Monday, where I has implemented a no chore rule... DH gets his on a Thursday. We often do chores on our 'day off' but it has made a massive difference to ot own individual miffed-ness (don't think that's a word but I like it, as I'm not 'pissed off, angry or particularly irate). What it means is that if I come home after working on a Thursday and the house is a shit pit I KNOW that it's DH's no chore day... the building rage subsides.

We also have 2 family house blitzes through the week in the evenings.. it means whoever IS at home during the day doesn't have to start from scratch every time. This makes a HUGE difference.

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