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.


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


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


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

When I worked in the City the majority of really top women had a SAHP. Moved to the west country and although fewer female high flyers there seems to be a more shared approach to parenting, lots of fathers at drop off pick up no one bats an eyelid why would they. How annoying for you.

MoreBeta Fri 25-Jan-13 11:20:18

It isn't wrong but it is still unusual and many people still struggle to understand or accept SAHD. Over the years I have had lots of jokey comments about it. I only know of one SAHD who is a friend of a friend of a friend.

Ignore your relatives. Its nothing to do with them.

I share being SAHP with DW but she is working full time soon so I will be proper SAHD albeit to two soon to be teens so not quite as hands on as with young children.

I do all the cooking, cleaning, gardening, DIY and share washing and ironing and other child/school related activities.

To me its just like a job alongside my 'earning a living' job. No big deal to me but society still does not quite expect or accept the existence of SAHDs.

Women are just as bad as men in their attitude to SAHDs. Most of the time I stand in the playground on my own at pick up and drop off time while a crowd of mothers stand in groups chatting.

Its getting better though. Slowly.

Viviennemary Fri 25-Jan-13 11:21:02

There is absolutely nothing wrong with this and it can work very well. But there is no doubt that it is very unusual.

kerala Fri 25-Jan-13 11:21:59

That said the SAHD do seem to stick together I have tried inviting them to stuff but they dont come (fair enough!)

cory Fri 25-Jan-13 11:50:34

My FIl was a SAHD for many years. He was born in 1909 and could remember visiting Versailles before the outbreak of the First World War.

cory Fri 25-Jan-13 11:56:00

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

"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 think you would be hard pushed to find any traditional hunter/gatherer societies where the female sits in a cave and waits for the male to bring home food to her: this simply isn't how hunting/gathering works and would be very unlikely to provide food for a whole family unit. Females tend to be on the move and spend as much time as men in food pursuit.

Traditional (what would have been known as "primitive") agricultural societies also tend to depend on women doing a substantial proportion (often more than half) of the food production.

The only type of food provision that tends to be a male preserve in "primitive" societies is hunting.

But the concept of a female who sits at home and does nothing but mind children is a post-World War II invention.

AnotherDay123 Fri 25-Jan-13 11:57:35

thanks all, and yes extracrunchy I woke up this morning to a lovely cuddle from DH and thought I must be one of the luckiest women in the world bto have this man as my husband! smile

Things will probably change when DCs go to school and DH would like to get into landscape gardening and/or famring on a larger scale, we only have a few acres at the moment but enough to provide us and bits for family.

Cory it is nice to know that this isn't a new thing! grin

It seems to be that it depends on wherre you are in the country in relation to how unusual it is. We are in the SE, in a rural area but not too far from London so have lots of commuters which maybe means it is a little more common here...

badguider Fri 25-Jan-13 12:06:28

I think you need to call them on this - 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.

I think you need to let them know they are upsetting you all and it's not acceptable to make those digs.

HazleNutt Fri 25-Jan-13 12:07:17

I understand how you feel - we're expecting DC1 and will be doing the same. It's easier for me to earn enough money for the household, so it's only reasonable that I'm the one going to work. When we mentioned that, DH's family laughed - they sincerely thought it was a joke, that of course one can't really do such an absurd thing..

Well, we still are and if anybody wants to see our family, they'd better keep their opinions to themselves.

BooksandaCuppa Fri 25-Jan-13 12:09:21

Depends on how you define 'unusual', but I wouldn't call it rare. I know of at least 2 SAHDs in my village - one's wife is a Headteacher, one a major HR Manager. Also have a friend elsewhere whose dh is not only a SAHD but they also foster too...

These were all by choice (ie always planned or based on who earned the most) but I imagine that scenarios like yours which are down to redundancy/the woman increasing hours accordingly are increasingly common in this financial climate.

Your arrangement sounds fantastic and good luck to you all. Ignore the ignorant ILs.

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...

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.

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

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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!!

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.

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.

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

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.

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!

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

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

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.

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.

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

Not at all wrong but still fairly unusual.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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