Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

SAHM feeling a bit useless/belittled

(87 Posts)
caramelgirl Fri 22-Nov-13 10:13:03

Apologies for length.
Hi, am looking for advice about things I can do to resolve/improve our situation. I will pre emptively say that I know we are materially v v lucky and I appreciate this. I just would like to make the relationship side better.
Been with DH 10 years, married 5, 2 DC, 4yDD & 7moDS. Rented house in London.
We both went to Cambridge, he came out with a 1st in maths, me with a 2.1 in history When we met, post Uni, we were both jobless but I'd had, and left, a fairly well paid consulting job whereas he was looking to enter banking.
10 years on he is on a v v good wage. I have has a fairly chequered career having had several different jobs which I've not stuck out. Retrained as a therapist, then had DC1 as planned, and then, after 18 months of trying DC2. DH works fairly long hours and is away anroad fairly often. I am in charge of house stuff, making him packed lunch, dinner and children. DD attends nursery 3 short days a week. I am meant to be in charge of savings too.
I'd always wanted to be a mum. Pretty much sum total of my ambitions, both of us had SAHMs but mine is now breadwinner and my dad retired. His Ma never went back and has probably suffered a bit for that (in terms of esteem and stimulation I would guess).
DH has always planned to leave after 10-12 years. He'd never had the Dream of banking, tho' has enjoyed the intellectual challenge etc.. He is a keen tax payer(!), mentors kids etc., we tithe his base salary. In short he is, honestly, not a tosser in an environment where most of his colleagues are to some degree.
He is frustrated that I am not working, and especially that I did not work when we were trying for DC2 (I kept thinking that the next cycle would be The One, etc.).
We are saving money so that he can leave his job, we can buy a house without a mortgage and he can go back to Uni. Again, I know this is exceptionally lucky. Plan is that then we will both work, I think I'll try to do therapy stuff in evenings but maybe look to be a teaching assistant or something. If we have DC3 then I'll probably stay at home until they are 3 or 4. Unless DH can fit it around his work/study.
I have not been good at managing savings. In fact I don't think I've been v good value as a SAHM. Children happy and fed, washing (so much washing, done) but house chaotic (and this is with cleaner), helper twice a week for 3 hours to help with bedtime, but our paperwork etc. us still disorganised. Lots of his colleagues have v v glam wives and I am not..
He is a brilliant dad, really involved and imaginative. Other people's kids look him out at parties and in the park. He'd be a brilliant nursery worker if we could afford for him to do that! So he is good at his job and good with the kids.
All came to a head last night when I made a comment about a friend whose child had starred school and before I could even finish the sentence he snapped "you'd just get a job if that were you", obviously this is something that he is v stressed about. But it feels every time I say anything he is looking to score a point or criticise me (eg if I say how proud I am of thr DC or something, so I end up hedging my comments or self censoring). We dont get much time together anyway, our sex life is dead after TTC misery and the incredible never sleeping baby. He comes home and often still works over dinner time. Or watches sport on the iPad, I'll mumsnet or grocery order etc. next to him

So...and if you have managed to read this far thank you, what can I do?
We used to be v good at talking through everything and being kind to each other. I feel belittled and I think he feels unsupported. We both believe in marriage being forever and getting through stuff but would prefer not to be looking at 60 years of misery ahead of us.
T I A!

annieorangutan Sun 24-Nov-13 10:41:15

If you only have 2 kids and help I do think its strange you cant get your business or house together?

caramelgirl Sun 24-Nov-13 14:41:52

Thank you very very much for all your input, especially the personal experiences, really helpful.
I do take it all on board and I think I am going to duck out now. I think continuing to brood upon/self justify/self flagellate here starts to be a bit self indulgent and probably won't achieve much more now.
I will take it all away and have a think and set some, realistic, goals and have some long chats with DH. May report back with progress in a while but more for my own sake tbh.
Thank you

Hogwash Sun 24-Nov-13 20:30:19

Good luck OP. I do hate on Mumsnet, when someone has a bit of money behind them, that people think it is OK to take a pop. Empathy and insight bypass Annie?

Hogwash Sun 24-Nov-13 20:36:45

Also meant to say that this book is meant to be good.

MILLYMOLLYMANDYMAX Mon 25-Nov-13 10:03:50

I can under stand where op is coming from. With the exception of my not having any qualifications I had a 7 month old and a 3 year old, my oh works away a lot, and we live in London. We have had a similar conversation as op.
Oh said I should get a job as he should not have to shoulder the burden of bringing in all the money for the household. We had a very quick discussion which went along the lines of:-
I would get a job. But then he could not share delivery or collection of children to childminder as he left for work at 6.30am and didn't get back before 7.30pm and if I worked in London I would be on the same hours. He worked away a lot, he couldn't share house hold stuff like shopping, cleaning, laundry gardening, DIY or childcare as when he got in from work he was too tired as he had been at work all day and the final point was that unless I found a job on more than £45k per year he would have to come up with more money to cover child minder, nursery fees and my travel expenses just to have the same household income.

One thing I think you should do op is make an appointment with your Dr for a blood test, just to make sure you are not anaemic or have a vitamin or mineral deficiency. I know I sometimes feel like everything gets on top of me and that's when I know I need to take my iron tablets.
You appear to have both been floating rudderless with a plan that is no more than a vague discussion. He said he wanted to stay in his job for 10 years then move on to Uni and then do something more worthy. But in those 10 years you never set down roots as you were frightened you would not be able to make a quick get away which doesn't square with the 10 year plan. Even now you talk that there could be redundancies sometime in the future. I presume this is another reason to not want to get a mortgage and set down roots in your own home which I think would invigorate you and make you feel a lot more settled. The whole thing sounds confusing. Are you sure about the redundancy thing. Even if your oh took redundancy he would get a large pay off and he could always look for another job.

I might be way off the mark here but are you sure your oh is really committed to family life. I am not saying he doesn't love you and the children and I am not saying he is doing and saying things on purpose, he might not realise the effect of his actions but the fact that he wants to return to being a full time student when he is in his 30's with a wife and 2 kids. What age would he be when he left full-time education and what job would he be after when he leaves Uni? Would he be too old to get a job? I am not being funny here but worthy jobs are usually done by younger people without families as there pay is rubbish. He appears to want his freedom from grown up stuff like providing a settled family home that he doesn't want to make a quick get away from. He also wants to move to a place that would mean your business would struggle. So he is only thinking of what he wants to do not what is good for the family. So you would be expected to work in a job that would probably not suit you, you would have to pay for childcare and you would still be responsible for everything else whilst he is a full-time student.
Most men and women I know in your oh's position do their courses at home in the evenings and weekends. One friend has just done her Doctrate whilst working full time with 4 kids her oh is a house husband.
Another did an MBA in 9 months and another completed all his insurance exams, normal time expected to complete the exams 5 1/2years. He did it in 18 months. All have SAHM/Ds.
It is all well and good doing something worthy but he needs to start looking at his life as a family and start by doing something worthy for them first. Not as a single guy with a wife and kids.

ALittleStranger Mon 25-Nov-13 10:15:18

I think your DH needs some decent careers advice. Unless he wants to be an academic I'm not sure what he's going back to uni to achieve. And are you over-stating how unemployable an ex banker is? A random MA won't make him any more employable. He has a good maths degree, that's pretty rare and attractive. Does he just miss studying? Does he see that as more virtuous than being a banker? It seems like you're actively resisting anything that smacks of being a banker type. Wasting rent on a family home in London when you could buy but won't for very risk-averse reasons is notable. It's like you're actively setting yourselves apart from his colleagues who will buy a home with their bonus.

I think you're being too hard on yourself with a seven month old. Most people would still be on mat leave at this stage. But not working while TTC is odd, even my friends who have most overtly set out to marry someone rich enough to be a SAHM have acknowledged they needed to work while TTCing.

MILLYMOLLYMANDYMAX Mon 25-Nov-13 10:44:22

To give the op an idea of how much money she is wasting on rent, I have a buy to let flat in London, tiny, 1 bed place under 30 sq metres, which I rent for 4x the amount I pay in mortgage for my own 4 bed detached in 1/4 acre 20 mins away.

You might think you are setting yourselves apart from other bankers but your attitude to money is the same in fact it is worse in the fact you won't even buy a place for a family home because you might loose money when you come to sell.

ProfPlumSpeaking Mon 25-Nov-13 10:51:45

One last point: with an Oxbridge degree your DH does not need to go back to Uni to retrain to be a teacher. He can apply straight away for jobs in top public schools teaching with his first in maths - schools are always looking for maths teachers and would fight over him. It will be a complete no-brainer if he is also keen on sport (although being able to take on say, Chess Club, could well compensate). Those jobs come with a house, long holidays and reasonable pay. You might well also find you got free schooling for your children. It can be a lovely life. A (much younger) acquaintance of mine has done exactly this and just gained a job with one of the top 3 schools in the country with no teaching qualifications. Your DH can apply BEFORE giving up his banking job and so you will not have to worry about the money.

PS please don't anyone derail the thread with discussion about teachers needing to be trained. I am just telling it like it is.

caramelgirl Sat 15-Feb-14 18:42:40

Just to say THANK YOU again for the really, really helpful advice, experiences and sympathy!
DH and I finally had a chat at Christmas when he said that he had felt very abandoned in terms of hating his job and not having any practical support from me. It really helped that I had this thread and had clarified my ideas and could say that I agreed we had fallen down on communication.
Turns out that he had forgotten how debilitating lack of sleep was and when I pointed out that he was usually having a full night (we were sleeping separately then) he understood more why I had been so utterly un dynamic.
And I did show him this thread just to show that I had been thinking about us and what might be going wrong. And that I did appreciate him but felt a bit lost.
Anyway, baby now sleeping, his job now interesting and challenging (still wants out but not desperate) and I feel totally different. I think I thought the sad, flat, woolly headed person I was was my permanent self. I've now gone back to my normal self ten months after baby.
I'm starting to get my head down and do both decluttering and some professional development stuff. He has said that he is in no rush for me to work now as long as we have an understanding that I will work as soon as it is practical and that we are a team- not just that the earning burden falls on him.
He's also started an OU course as a refresher- and is v relieved that he is finding it super easy. I've found a friend of a friend who has taken the exact route he is thinking of and who can advise.
So, nothing earth shattering, but good progress towards happiness long term and alot lot happier short term. And just really grateful to people for taking the time to help when I was feeling befuddled and sad and desperately worried,
Thank you.

Twinklestein Sat 15-Feb-14 19:06:25

Hiya OP, I read your thread first time round but didn't have time to comment.

I identified with you through shared educational background and my husband also works in the city. I'm really glad to hear everything's coming together.

The only thing I would add is that, if you're not you're already looking, you need to get on the property ladder ASAP, convert that rent to mortgage. I'm sure you're aware that the London property bubble is growing, our house has increased 15% in value in one year. I would make that your next priority.

Good luck with everything.

caramelgirl Sat 15-Feb-14 21:14:23

Thank you! Yes, buying a house is our very next priority- which is a nice "chore" to have.
It is amazing re: London house prices. Guess they just aren't printing any more land.
Feeling alot happier at the prospect of being a team and working together rather than feeling like I was being attacked and he feeling I was being unsupportive.
Will definitely keep an eye on our communication from now on. Was scary how quickly it slid downhill. Very grateful we seem to have pulled it back for now. Thank you for even remembering.

oliviaoctopus Sun 16-Feb-14 07:17:58

If I was you I would put dc2 in a sling, drop dc1 at nursery then hand out flyers through peoples doors, ring people, set up on the net etc. This kind of role is easier to set up when your at home. Its mind over matter with tiredness if you want your business to work. Good luck.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now