AIBU…. Why do we not have more SAHDs?

(76 Posts)
LittleChickpea Thu 28-Mar-13 15:52:10

To be confused? Read a lot of articles on this and I was wondering what mumnetters think? If it's of any interest.

It seems there is a feeling that mums end up giving up their careers to stay at home with the DC (for whatever reason) and are treated unfairly for it.

So for those couples that are affected by this? Do men simply not want to stay home or does the idea of men staying home rather than the women have little appeal to families? Does this even get discussed when the decision is made as to who will be the primary care giver if one parent is to stay at home for a number of months/years. Do women with high flying careers think the idea of a SAHD is laughable or not? Would current SAHMs be happy to work full time and their DP be the full time SAHP (taking salary into account - if you earned his exact salary)? Is the growing number of SAHDs a side effect of the economy?

Really interested in hearing what people think.

squeakytoy Thu 28-Mar-13 15:55:08

considering it it the woman who has to carry the baby, give birth to it, and whose body has to recover after giving birth, as well as breastfeeding being the preferred method of feeding.. it is logical that more women than men will be the SAHP.

Cant see that changing until men get the ability to do any of the above..

EldritchCleavage Thu 28-Mar-13 15:55:17

I've got one (smug).

Really interested in hearing what people think

Is that code for 'journalist with looming deadline'?

Poppet48 Thu 28-Mar-13 15:56:05

Personal preference, If a Dad wanted to be a SAHD then he has every right to be one. If a Mum wanted to be a SAHM then she has the right to be one. If both parents wanted a career then childcare is available.

thebody Thu 28-Mar-13 15:57:06

What squeaky says and which paper do you work for?

Tee2072 Thu 28-Mar-13 15:59:20

Because.

StitchAteMyEasterEggs Thu 28-Mar-13 16:01:19

My DH was with dd1, we swapped over when I had dd2. Might swap back again at some point. We made the decision on the basis of what was best for our family at the time.

LittleChickpea Thu 28-Mar-13 16:03:35

ha ha ha ha I am not a journalist. On another forum someone mentioned that societies perceptions of SAHMs will only change when we have more SAHDs and it intrigued me.. I read a lot about SAHMs and how devalued society makes them feel but we never seem to discuss SAHDs. And how the choice is made following the initial stages who will be the long term SAHP…

Phineyj Thu 28-Mar-13 16:04:52

Because they can get stick for it and are usually giving up more money, so they'd have to really want to.

Tailtwister Thu 28-Mar-13 16:06:47

Maybe more women want to stay at home? I know that if we could afford one of us to be at home full-time, I would want it to be me. I suppose that it's a natural progression from giving birth, breastfeeding etc.

TooExtraImmatureCheddar Thu 28-Mar-13 16:10:45

Because only women can breastfeed. DH is longing to stay at home with the next one, but he can't because I want to bf. He might become a sahd at some point, though, depending on finances.

madonnawhore Thu 28-Mar-13 16:12:18

Because men have higher earning potential than women. Because the world is a shitty place.

I would go to a full I've job ad DP would stay at home with the kids in a heartbeat, sadly DP is worth a shed load more than me in terms of employment and wages.

ChestyLeRoux Thu 28-Mar-13 16:15:52

I saw a figure stating that 68% of mums work.Soon I am sure that figure will be a lot higher. Most people work nowadays.

FreyaSnow Thu 28-Mar-13 16:17:13

Most SAHPs are parents of young children. It makes sense for it to be the woman because for most of that time she is probably heavily pregnant, recovering from birth or breastfeeding, if she has multiple children.

FreyaSnow Thu 28-Mar-13 16:19:16

CLR, I think that is probably because almost all mothers of seventeen year olds work and a lot of mothers of young children don't.

Well for one thing DH couldn't breastfeed as well as I could - so that wrote the first year off for a start. And I wasn't giving up my extended skive maternity leave for no man grin

ChestyLeRoux Thu 28-Mar-13 16:27:46

With regards to long maternity not many woman in their right mind would let the dad have it as its a chance to doss about and have 7/8 months off work.

Squitten Thu 28-Mar-13 16:35:20

I would imagine that birth recovery and breastfeeding make it more convenient for the mothers. And I suppose men are generally still earning better than women in many cases.

It was natural for me to be the SAHM because I didn't have a career as such and my wages wouldn't have covered childcare, so I was happy to do it. One of DH's colleagues, however, has a SAHD and they're setting up a seperate office for her, at her request, so that once she comes back to work she can bring in the new baby and feed her. His business is generally very generous to all parents though, giving them extra paid paternity leave, etc, so it's rare.

Kazooblue Thu 28-Mar-13 16:38:23

I think women simply want it more.Most mums I know would be/are jealous of sahds.

nightowlmostly Thu 28-Mar-13 16:43:21

My DH is a sahd, well he works one day a week. It works for us as I earn more. I was able to take nearly a year off and then he went part time after that. He cooks better than me, and enjoys being at home more than me as we'll so it makes sense! The only tricky bit will be if we have another baby, him not earning much means we'll have to save a bit first.

I do get very frustrated with the sexism. Just because we carry the babies doesn't automatically mean that dads can't stay home. Things will get better for women and men when it becomes more acceptable for the roles withink the family to be more equally shared.

BlingLoving Thu 28-Mar-13 16:50:31

We should seperate initial maternity leave from SAHParents. I'm not sure I buy the argument that there are fewer SAHDs because of BF and post birth recovery issues. Women who are BF go back to work. Many others stop BF much earlier.

I think there are two main reasons. The first is that as a society, men are still paid more - they tend to take jobs in higher paying industries and of course, there's still the pay gap. As a result, in most families, it does not make financial sense for the man to stop working.

The second is that there is still a perception that childcare is a woman's work. While women's careers are hurt by taking time out to be full tmie carers, it's an accepted reality in some circles and a heavily contested one in others. For me, it's not even on the agenda so a man thinking about it does so knowing that he will probably struggle when he gets back into the workplace.

As a rule, I think women with "high flying careers" are the ones who are least likely to think the idea of a SAHD is laughable. They are the ones who understand the financial, mental and emotional issues from both sides best because they've probably been on both sides.

nightowlmostly Thu 28-Mar-13 16:57:08

Another reason I think that more women become sahps is that women tend to settle down with men who are a little bit older and therefore maybe more advanced in their careers. So if their partner already earns more than them and this is the reason they give up work, they're never given the opportunity to get that higher wage in the first place.

ICBINEG Thu 28-Mar-13 17:01:15

I have a SAH DH.

I think the big thing is the tendency of women to have relationships with men who are older than them.

This means when kids come along it is more often the woman with the lower paid less advanced career so her being the SAHP makes more sense.

DH and I are a few months apart in age...my career got off to a slightly faster start and hence he is SAHP....

GrendelsMum Thu 28-Mar-13 17:05:59

I went to an interesting seminar last week where the speaker suggested in passing that there are a lot of cultural pressures that men and women have internalised by the time they have children - and that men feel their prime responsibility to their family is to get a promotion and earn more money. When we see women on Mumsnet worrying about breast feeding, supporting their children's reading, helping children navigate friendships, etc etc, the male equivalent is worrying about have you got far enough up the ladder to provide for your family, are you letting them down by lack of promotion, etc etc.

exoticfruits Thu 28-Mar-13 17:08:14

Personal preference. I would hate to be the one to go out to work.

nenevomito Thu 28-Mar-13 17:11:45

I'd give my left boob for DH to be a SAHD, but he did it once and said never again.

His reasons why not include feeling out of place when discussing what he was doing with male friends with serious and non-serious piss taking right through to hating being the only man at playgroups and being a 'novelty'.

Until there's a shift-change in people's expectations of men and women, it's not likely to change.

mumsnoc Thu 28-Mar-13 17:16:05

What squeaky said. I think expecting there to ever be some sort of equality of numbers between SAHDs and SAHMs is a futile, academic exercise. There are perfectly natural, logical and indeed, biological reasons for there to be a higher number of SAHMs than SAHDs and this will always be the case unless society is forcibly (and, IMO, unnaturally) engineered otherwise.

I think we should be more concerned with improving the lot of families and women in general so that being a SAHP is a viable option and is recognised as a valuable way of contributing to society. Many people think that the only kind of work that is valuable to society, and should be facilitated and rewarded, is work for personal, monetary gain. This is what needs to change. Voluntary work is very important too and that includes people who care for their own children full-time. It is also why maternity leave benefits and conditions must be upheld by law i.e. that society must not allow women to be discriminated against or marginalised for taking maternity leave.

Shellington Thu 28-Mar-13 17:21:48

I have heard a lot of the following, in relation to a SAHD recently:

How is he coping?
Is he managing?
How are they getting on with being a SAHD?
How is he finding it?

Take from it what you will! I don't recall ever hearing these said, definately not in the same tone / way - with the <head tilt> - to a SAHM.

tomverlaine Thu 28-Mar-13 17:42:53

There are a lot of factors to consider
- finances - a lot of couples need both partners to work.
Relative earning - it would be interesting to know the stats but i think even before children there is often a salary inbalance- women often marry up (eg someone who earns more0 or someone who is older (and hence all other things being equal will earn more);
men will often see their career as meaning more than just the money - so even if it didn't cover the chidcare cost they see it as a more long term investment- it is also (for a lot of men) key to their identity.
Women are generally off for a chunk of time with maternity leave which can create a more natural flow into SAHM - and also mean that the man has already got accustomed to working parenthood

But I just don't think that most men even consider it- its not a matter of evaluating it as an option and dismissing it - its never even considered.

nightowlmostly Thu 28-Mar-13 18:21:26

A lot of people at work ask me how my DH is getting on being at home yada yada, but I think it's an unusual choice so is bound to attract comment. Most people are just making small talk anyway I think!

I just hope that it becomes more normal as time goes on. The sexism surrounding this issue is negative for men as well as for women. For men, they are expected by society to be happy working full time and 'providing'. If they did want to be at home it's seen as weird and unmanly.

On the other hand they never get asked how they can bear to be apart from their children, it's never asked of them that if they were never going to see their kids why did they even have them if they work. So in that respect it's women who get the shitty end of the stick if they don't fall into a traditional role.

I believe that the more people who organise their family's life this way the better off we'll all be. Employers will have to expect men as well as women to request flexible working or take expended paternity, so women won't be so discriminated against in the workplace.

LittleChickpea Thu 28-Mar-13 18:42:48

It's interesting reading your responses and comparing them to SAHM focused discussions. I am a professional career women due ttc my first. 1 mc that's how i found mumsnet. My intention is to go back after six weeks (dependant on birth and probably unrealistic) and this may well change post baby, I understand that. Could I ask. How does the SAHP work or social based discrimination manifest itself in your opinion? And do you think the discrimination faced between a SAHM and a SAHD differs? I note the comments about men feel uncomfortable with peers ect.

I've been a SAHM for 12 years. DH was made redundant last year, and we've decided that we'd like him to be a SAHD and me go back to work. Of course in theory this is great, but in practice...well we'll see what happens. I'm signing on atm and we're both frantically applying for jobs. It's a case of whoever manages to get a job first will be the working parent, the other will be a SAH parent.

Meringue33 Thu 28-Mar-13 19:00:05

Surely it's the pay gap more than anything? DP is a natural parent, he'd be a great SAHD... But he earns nearly twice what I do (is only two years older and we have only just started our family).

mumofweeboys Thu 28-Mar-13 19:07:58

My dh was sahd for 3 years with ds1 as I had a more secure job. He did find it hard. He went to toddler groups but often got ignored or was unwelcome in conversation and my dh is very sociable. He never got play dates so was often left just with ds for company. He went back to work ft after I had ds2.

INeedThatForkOff Thu 28-Mar-13 19:17:13

I would earn £10k more than DH if I went back to work FT. However his employers would not allow him to work PT (in fact they've refused a flexible working request in the past on fairly spurious grounds). Even if they would, personally I want to be at home with my DCs as much as I can because I'm their mum, and I feel that there's nothing better for them even though their dad is great. I'm aware that's an old-fashioned and somewhat sexist attitude though. And I think I'd struggle to be a FT SAHM.

somewherewest Thu 28-Mar-13 19:19:16

DH and I split the SAHPing between us, with DH doing about a third of it. He's great with our one year old and they love spending time together. We both felt that we would ideally like one parent at home with DC for the first few years, but we were very pragmatic about who that would be and it turned out to be both of us. I think DH would find full-time SAHDing isolating though. Obviously 99% of SAHPs are women and have their own networks that it isn't easy for an SAHD to feel part of. For example DH takes DS to a toddler group once week and some of the women will just not chat to him or make any effort to include him. I have no idea why.

partTimeWorker Thu 28-Mar-13 19:40:04

As I posted on another thread - we split the working and the stay-at-homing exactly down the middle - both work 3 days, do childcare for 2 days, with 1 day of nursery for the day we both work.

We love it- both keep careers going, both get to spend time with DS. I think it has worked because we are similarly qualified, and have similar earning power, so financially there was no bias to one or other of us working/ not working.

DH has encountered some negativity from his work colleagues (most of whom are male) but also envy from others, I've had neither response. I don't think DH has encountered negativity outside work - there are other part-time working fathers in our NCT group, who we meet up with regularly, and also at the playgroup he takes DS to.

Sadly, this arrangement is coming to an end - I am being made redundant (company folding) and all the roles advertised in my area are full-time, so if I manage to get another job, DS will probably be in nursery 3 days a week (if we can manage to get extra days, otherwise goodness knows what we'll do - but that's a whole other thread)- and DH will still have his 2 days at home with him.

LadyLech Thu 28-Mar-13 19:49:31

In my case, it certainly wasn't down to the Money..

In terms of our hourly rates, I earn more than my DH, and I have the career as opposed to DH who would say he has a job.

Yet, when we had children, I wanted to stay at home with the children. DH couldn't imagine anything worse. So I went part time. Even now the DC are at school, it would financially make more sense for me to go full time and DH to go part time and do the pick ups. Yet neither of us want that, and tbh I think I would resent DH if he did what I consider to be my 'job'. So I work part time (0.75) and dh works full time, and we cope with the loss inincome (but we're both happier this way).

louisianablue2000 Thu 28-Mar-13 20:03:11

I only know 1 SAHP and that's a Dad. He treats it like a job and is very active on lots of voluntary organisations. It will be interesting to see if he manages to get back into work when they are all at school.

DH and I both work 4 days a week and personally I think both doing part time work is a better arrangement for everyone. The kids get to spend time with each of us (rather than never seeing the wage slave) and we both get to progress/maintain our careers which gives us more financial security. I don't get why it has to be an either or situation.

IncrediblePhatTheInnkeepersCat Thu 28-Mar-13 20:42:44

I've just gone back to work after 7 months maternity leave, with DH now a SAHD. I'm still breastfeeding before/after work. It made sense for us as I'm the one with a stable/secure career (teacher) and DH is a self-employed builder whose work comes in fits and starts.

I'd love to be the one home, but we need the security. DH also has some physical health issues, which work exacerbates, so glad that he can have a stretch of taking it physically easier. If a job comes up, my DM will have DS unless it falls on my holidays/day off.

DH was apprehensive to begin with, but is now loving it. The only thing is that he's still too nervous to go to baby groups (I went to loads on maternity leave) as he's worried that he'll feel out of place. However, he did talk to one mum at the park today, so think he will brave it at some point. His best friend is also a SAHD in the same work position as us.

NumericalMum Thu 28-Mar-13 22:46:22

I think it is more common than a few years ago but there is tremendous stigma attached. My DH has faced enough trouble when he asked to leave "early" (5pm) to fetch our DC one day a week. If DC is sick then he struggles to get work to allow him to stay home (they always say why can't your wife). I took most of the strain before DC started school with leaving at 5 on the dot to sprint to the station and more sick days etc. my boss never gave it a moment's notice but I think society always expects the mum to do the childcare still. I would never want to be a SAHP and whilst I think DH would want to more than me he would never do it because of the negativity he perceives from colleagues, "friends" and probably our families too. We both earn similar amounts and we both hae similar prospects in the future.

nokidshere Thu 28-Mar-13 23:55:12

My DH would have given up work in a shot to be a sahd. And still would. Except we cant afford for him to give up work and I can earn the same from home as I can in my chosen workplace.

Shame - he would be much better at it than I am smile

jellybeans Fri 29-Mar-13 00:00:29

'considering it it the woman who has to carry the baby, give birth to it, and whose body has to recover after giving birth, as well as breastfeeding being the preferred method of feeding.. it is logical that more women than men will be the SAHP. '

Agree with squeakytoy

PenelopeLane Fri 29-Mar-13 00:38:22

I think it happens in clusters, and ideas about it is changing as well. We had friends with SAHD's, so when I had DS, DH and I split the year. DH loved it.

Based on reactions from people I know when DH went on paternity leave, the main response was simply that it hadn't occurred to most couples that the man would go off. For whatever reason, most people just roll with the status quo. Some because they considered it and that's what worked for them, and some because they didn't consider it at all so just went with the norm.

FWIW it was really really good to have done. DH and DS built a really strong bond, and now we're both at work again (4 days each) I really do feel like DH is a partner in every sense in terms of housework and sharing the load because we both have a complete understanding of what's required to be done. Before he went on paternity leave, that wasn't the case.

Of course some people have that anyway, but for us, it really helped.

PenelopeLane Fri 29-Mar-13 00:39:30

louisa agreed with the 4 days each point. Another bonus is we get one-on-one time with DS each week, and both look forward to it.

BlingLoving Fri 29-Mar-13 07:32:23

Op - I think you are over thinking slightly. If you do go back at 6 weeks and your dp becomes a sahp, he will have to muddle through. Any discrimination or discomfort men feel seems to vary according to who the man is and where you are. My dh finds that while he doesn't do play dates etc, because he's so much more "visible", he gets lots of people chatting to him and he's struck up casualnrelationships with certain women he sees at play groups or whatever.

As a career person myself, my one comment re the six week thing is that even if you are not bf, you may find the nights difficult. If you can afford it, you may need to hire help at night. Dh is amazing but, like most men I know, just isn't as sensitive to ds crying as I am. So will getup, but I have to wake him and it means that at that age, I really struggled with sleep still so would not have been able to go back to work without more night help.

Yama Fri 29-Mar-13 07:52:58

Dh and I were both brought up by working parents. We both work and have never considered sahping. We earn roughly the same amount.

Susandeath Fri 29-Mar-13 08:28:59

When I was pregnant with my first dc I was going to be the full time worker, and my DH was going to be the sahd. I earned more than him and had a good career in I.T. At six months pregnant I broke down in tears and said that I couldn't do it, I wanted to be at home with my baby. Ten years later, I have three dc, and have retrained as a childminder. Best decision I ever made. Yes money has been tight, but I enjoy being with my children, and wouldn't want it any other way. Not everyone has the choice though, my friend had to go back to work when her dc was 3 months.

My DH would be happy to stay at home.

We can't do it that way because he earns considerably more than me and my wage would not support us.

This is true for loads of families.

BTW, there are men ay baby groups here, they tend to split shifts with their partners. No one thinks it's weird. This is a bog standard small town too.

bakingaddict Fri 29-Mar-13 08:50:33

I think it's down to your chosen career and earning potential. Whoever has the greater earning potential and job satisfaction will be disadvantaged by taking a few years away from their profession.

As I have neither, work in the NHS and it's hellish at the moment, i'm more than happy to work part time and spend time with the kids although i'm sure DH would love to spend a few days at home too but I kick his arse out to work every day

rustybusty Fri 29-Mar-13 08:55:22

There are always men at baby groups, surestart cafe, doing nursery drop offs, and on the parent advisory boards here to. Most people here are dual income households.

NumericalMum Fri 29-Mar-13 09:00:59

Thewi the problem is that men shouldn't earn more than most women. In my line of work you rarely see a female over 35. It is so frustrating to have no role models as all the women looked at the prospects of trying to balance a demanding career and childcare and instead decided that, despite probably having higher future earning power if you take one of two years out for maternity leave you end up earning less than a partner with te same qualifications etc. Hugely frustrating and while I am now probably not too much disadvantaged after taking a maternity leave of 9 months 5 years on I certainly struggled for ages to get noticed as people assumed I would be off on my next maternity leave soon. I would love another child one day but unless I can get my DH to agree to splitting leave etc I am not sure I could do the rebuilding all over again myself.

Toasttoppers Fri 29-Mar-13 09:28:07

We both work in roles that are very much historically male and female gender based roles. Therefore we unfortunately have the pay differential as well.

He earns approx twice what I do. His industry is still dominated by men, where I work all the staff in similar roles are women.

HazleNutt Fri 29-Mar-13 09:36:16

DH will be a SAHD and I'll go back after 3-4 months. And even though we are not even parents yet (7 months pg), we are already considered bad parents - I'm the "Why have kids anyway if you don't want to raise them" and he is "Stop leeching off your poor wife, get a proper job to support your family!".

With attitudes like this, no wonder most people take the easier option and conform to the expectations.

I agree entirely numerical. I worked in a very female industry and the pay rises for going up the ladder were pathetic. An extra 10p an hour not unusual. it is not like that in more typically male industries like DHs.

Unfortunately you've got to deal with where you are now the best you can.

I think there are a lot of structural factors.

The UK (until recent changes) had very long maternity leave, but almost no paternity leave, in contrast to other countries that have parental leave that can be shared however you want. I think in Germany you actually get an extra month if you do split it!

So it's the mum who had to stay home for 9 months, and then naturally it seems the discussion comes up of whether her salary (not joint salary) covers childcare, and only then does it make sense to go back to work.

Then there is the fact that many people these days want to have their DC close together, so a woman at the end of maternity leave may think, why go back if I'm just going to be pregnant again within a year.

Chunderella Fri 29-Mar-13 10:16:21

It's multifactoral, got to be. Biology is part of the reason, but not all. Squeakytoy's post is a good overview, but only of half of it.

Obviously, mothers need to take more recovery time after birth. However, I think probably most women are fit for work again by about 2-3 months afterwards. I'll be corrected if I'm wrong, but that was about average amongst the new mums I know. Obviously there's the odd Xenia, who's doing stuff the day afterwards, and of course there are some women who never recover their health afterwards. But the actual time off needed at the end of pregnancy and after the birth to recover doesn't explain the difference in numbers.

Equally, it's not about bf either. That plays a part, but the vast majority don't bf past a couple of months max. I also seem to recall reading on here that bf mums are more likely than average to go back to work. If that's true, not only does bf not explain why there are so few SAHDs compared to SAHMs, it actually means a woman is less likely to SAH. So while women need a certain amount of time off due to physical and woman specific factors like birth, recovery and bf, most of us take more maternity leave than we need simply to do those things. And few of us are still bf or recovering from birth by the end of the maximum ML period.

However, most women do need a certain amount of time off, and the current laws mean that either we take the first 6 months or they don't get taken at all. No transfer til before then. And by that time, you've possibly arsed up your career by taking ML anyway- let's be honest, it happens. Time spent on ML often counts for much more than it should do in career terms. I understand that if eg you've worked 12 years and 18 months of that was ML, you have 18 months less experience than the person, probably male, who started at the same time as you and has never taken anything other than annual leave. Fine. But all too often, the time you've taken off is magnified. Instead of being seen as 18 months less experienced than your colleague, you're seen as having about half his value. This isn't universal, of course. but it happens enough that some couples might think it more sensible to ensure that at least one career is kept pristine.

Chunderella Fri 29-Mar-13 10:18:40

Maybe 3 months afterwards, actually. I remember thinking when I was about 10 weeks post partum that I could probably be in a workplace safely again if I wanted (I didn't).

Timetoask Fri 29-Mar-13 10:18:50

I felts stronger urge than DH to be with my babies. He wouldn't do the job half as well as I do (by his own addition).
I like the traditional family setup and don't feel like an inferior human being just because my DH works and I currently don't.

Timetoask Fri 29-Mar-13 10:21:02

Sorry for typos!

RumbleGreen Fri 29-Mar-13 10:24:59

Well one is that many women partner up with men who earn more than they do. So when that conversation about who should stay home happens it's naturally going to be the lower earner.

Wishihadabs Fri 29-Mar-13 12:02:27

Just wrote epic post which was eaten !

Wanted to say that DH SAH for about 2 years when the dcs were 3&5. Worked really well for us.

I had been pt/on mat leave/ period of not earning for about 5 years by then. It was great to go ft and really get my teeth stuck in to my career again.

You would need to ask him but DH having been working ft throughout, enjoyed the slower pace of domesticity and spending more time with the dcs. He was especially fond of getting the health visitor round to his perfectly tidy house.

After 2 years when dd was going to school he started his own busisness. This was 2 1/2 years ago and I have now cut my hours back and we share childcare 50/50 (both at school).

Although this arrangement suits us well now, I do miss having a wifeblush

extremepie Fri 29-Mar-13 12:40:15

I went back to work when DS1 was about 4 months old - and that was 2 months after having an accident where I cracked my pelvis!

DH didn't earn more than me (about the same at the time but I can now earn more)so it didn't make much difference financially but to be honest, I wanted to go back to work. I find I become very depressed when I am at home full time and DH doesn't so it made more sense for him to SAH.

When DS2 was born a year later, I went back to work full time and studied at college part time while DH was a full time SAHD to 2 sons under 2!

We both found it hard but I honestly think it worked for us - I don't think I am very good as a SAHM.

-DH will be a SAHD and I'll go back after 3-4 months. And even though we are not even parents yet (7 months pg), we are already considered bad parents - I'm the "Why have kids anyway if you don't want to raise them" and he is "Stop leeching off your poor wife, get a proper job to support your family!".

With attitudes like this, no wonder most people take the easier option and conform to the expectations-

This was and is very true for us also. Lost count of the number of times we had to defend our decision for DH to SAH instead of me, even to 'professionals' like the HV (I did actually start a thread about that!) who asked if he 'felt like less of a man because he didn't work'.

Quite often people were rude, sexist and downright insulting about it to both of us!

There's been a lot of talk recently about whether or not SAHM are undervalued - I think they are to an extent but not as much as SAHD.

Also, what has been said upthread about Dads being 'left out' was very true for DH, he stopped going to our local toddler group because no one would talk to him, even when DS started going to nursery mums seemed to avoid him sad

One of DH's best friends is also a SAHD but he is a single parents so receives none of the same critisisms.

Because staying at home with little children 7 days a week is, bar several amazing seconds, pretty much like eating your own arm?

Wishihadabs Fri 29-Mar-13 12:59:42

Extremepie DH also found toddler groups difficult. Although he enjoyed swimming classes with dd.

Wishihadabs Fri 29-Mar-13 13:00:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

noidontwant2hearaboutyourdream Fri 29-Mar-13 13:15:27

DH is a SAHD. I went on maternity leave for a year, then went back to work. He is now having his turn. He really wanted this and was desperate to spend more time with DD. He loves it, he has lots of parent friends and goes on play dates. He never feels left out or unincluded. He organises the house and has dinner ready when I get home. I feel very lucky and am very happy with the arrangement. We might swap back if we have another child.

Most people never comment but his family are very traditional and think its strange. His mum thinks that children need their Mum more than their Dad, which obv is total nonsense! I think enjoying or being good at being the main carer has nothing to do with your sex. Women are not naturally better carers, men can do it as well if they want to.

INeedThatForkOff Fri 29-Mar-13 13:27:42

If DC is sick then he struggles to get work to allow him to stay home (they always say why can't your wife).

My employer expects leave for looking after unwell DCs to be split equally between me and DH. Unfortunately DH's employers don't see that he should do any of it angry

milkysmum Fri 29-Mar-13 13:34:30

My DH has a been a SAHD since just before Christmas looking after dd 4 and ds 18 mths. I upped my hours to full time as I have a higher paid job- not massivley paid- I'm a nurse! DH is a builder and we were finding that the flucuations in his earnings meant we were often paying out more for child care than he was able to earn in a month!

slightlysoupstained Fri 29-Mar-13 14:09:38

It'll be interesting to see what happens over the next 5-10 years now that parental leave can be shared, and with greater flexibility due soon. The 2 week statutory paid paternity leave was only introduced 10 years ago, but despite talk at the start about slow initial takeup, young male colleagues assume now that of course they'll be taking it and would be outraged if anyone suggested they shouldn't. That was pretty different 10-15 years ago. And we all assume that senior managers will take it too - I think my colleagues would all be a bit hmm if a senior exec didn't.

Not so many taking up the shared leave yet, but I think that will change gradually too, especially if couples realise they can potentially go over the 52 weeks if they share leave (separate entitlements):
www.out-law.com/en/topics/employment/family-friendly/what-employers-need-to-know-about-additional-paternity-leave/

About a third of my antenatal class are taking additional paternity leave - I suspect that having seen colleagues take leave will make more men start thinking about it.

ivanapoo Sat 30-Mar-13 23:25:37

I earn more than DH so he would be the SAHP but unfortunately we can't afford to pay anything but our mortgage out of just one salary so will both have to work. also while my son is wonderful now at 3 months old I imagine he'll be much harder work in 18 months

I am planning to return to work 3 days per week, and DH would like to do 4 - but his (big multinational) employer is reluctant. It's seemingly no problem for women he works with to go part-time after having children though. This is yet another barrier to more hands-on or flexible parenting for dads.

Wishihadabs Sun 31-Mar-13 09:21:10

Ivanpoo why not get DH to take the last 3 months of the parental leave ? Then you could return ft (as the higher earner). Also if women have returned to dp's company pt in similar roles, I think his employer could be guilty of sexual discrimination.

ivanapoo Mon 01-Apr-13 03:37:46

Wishihad yes we are planning for him to do this (but with me still working 3 days pw, we have money saved to allow us to do this... In theory!)

I agree it's discrimination but as flexible working is at the company's / manager's discretion it might be hard to prove? To my knowledge though NO men have been granted a shorter week there... But then we only know of one other man who requested it.

Wishihadabs Tue 02-Apr-13 08:26:13

I hope you have a wonderful maternity leave and lovely time while your DH is off. I hope his employers see sense. In the meantime don't discount going ft. There are loads of advantages if your DH can get pt hours. (More money, more leave and better career progression spring instantly to mind). Embittered pt worker here.

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