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Don't give up work to be a SAHM unless

(937 Posts)
akaemmafrost Tue 27-Nov-12 20:18:01

You have a HEFTY private income or can work from home.

I gave up work, usual reasons, wages would barely cover childcare, WE wanted kids to be at home with a parent.

Fast forward. I now have two dc, the father of my dc cheated on me, physically, emotionally and financially abused me.

One of my dc has SN and cannot attend school for the moment.

I've been out of work for 10 years now, I have no profession. In 6 years time our child support will stop as will most of our benefits. I will near fifty having not worked at all for 18 years.

My future is shit. Utterly grey and bleak. All I have to look forward to is a state pension. While my ex earns a fortune, travels the world and has new relationships.

This is reality for me. So think long and hard about giving up work to stay at home because no matter how shit your job is it's preferable to my future don't you think?

And it was all decided for me by a man who decided he hated me and didn't want to be married anymore and a child being diagnosed with significant SN.

It's that simple.

Doesn't he give you maintenance money??
Really feel for you I'm a sahm and I can't wait to get back to work

akaemmafrost Tue 27-Nov-12 20:21:03

Oh and I feel driven to post this tonight as my ex has informed this evening that despite him promising to support me in the future because of the sacrifices I have made for our dc (I have made ALL of them, him none), tonight he tells me I am lazy and he owes me nothing and I am on my own.

<gets in time machine>

Oh that is awful! I get what you are saying but I'm not going to go and get a job, just in case my husband leaves me, your position is awful, But it is rare.

akaemmafrost Tue 27-Nov-12 20:22:21

He gives me child support but obviously this will stop when dc reach a certain age. No spousal support as I daren't claim it as he will quit his job. He says he will pay for his dc but never for me.

Oh that is awful! I get what you are saying but I'm not going to go and get a job, just in case my husband leaves me, your position is awful, But it is rare.

peasepudding Tue 27-Nov-12 20:22:59

That is tough. I think women still have no idea what having kids can do to their financial security. sad

peasepudding Tue 27-Nov-12 20:23:46

X poste. What a bastard

akaemmafrost Tue 27-Nov-12 20:25:19

Oh I never realised for one second what far reaching affects this would have. I wasn't professional but I had a good, well paid, enjoyable secure job. Where I live with current experience I would never be unemployed. I literally cannot see a decent future for me and dc.

ggirl Tue 27-Nov-12 20:25:34

It is a big risk relying on someone else for your financial security.
I gave up work for a good number of yrs and really regret it. My earning potential is about 50% what it could be.
I am advsing my dd to be financially independent despite having children.

emsyj Tue 27-Nov-12 20:26:01

"I get what you are saying but I'm not going to go and get a job, just in case my husband leaves me, your position is awful, But it is rare."

Is it? This is exactly what happened to my DMum, and exactly why I won't be following her and giving up my job.

Genuine question about whether it is rare, by the way - I don't feel like it is because I have seen this happen first hand, but maybe it is... Suppose there may be more women who stay in unfulfilling relationships because the alternative is quite crap. Perhaps?

Your exhusband is a twat. Not all husbands are twats. Some people are twats. My DH may yet turn out to be one too, I know thats a possibility.

But just because I'm the one career-less, that doesn't mean he doesnt make any sacrifices. He works himself into the ground in a shit job, does all the overtime he can and comes home to care for me and the DSs. So at least for the moment, he isnt a twat.

akaemmafrost Tue 27-Nov-12 20:28:39

Suppose there may be more women who stay in unfulfilling relationships because the alternative is quite crap. Perhaps?

Yes, I certainly did. He was practically cheating in front of my face before I finally threw him out.

I was not wrong about how crap it would be and how bleak my future would be but some things cannot be tolerated.

ggirl Tue 27-Nov-12 20:28:52

I have seen this happen to more women the older I get .

akaemmafrost Tue 27-Nov-12 20:30:58

Ok your dh's are not twats. How about ill health or worse? There's more that can happen than your dh being a twat.

It's VERY dangerous for there to be only one earner in a family, I never realised quite how dangerous till just now.

PepeLePew Tue 27-Nov-12 20:31:45

Hear hear, Emma.

I don't think your position is that rare. I nearly gave up my job - thank heavens I didn't or I would be in the same position as you. My good friend did and is now worrying about her future, getting back into work, what she will do when child maintenance payments stop. I know at least four other women of various ages in the same position.

I never dreamed my ex would walk out. Knowing I could support us made a dire situation a bit more palatable.

My dds will learn to make sure they can always support themselves financially, and never to rely on someone else. Life has a habit of throwing up nasty surprises.

peasepudding Tue 27-Nov-12 20:32:31

I am 41. Youngest dc is 2 and oldest 6. Both terrible sleepers. I have clung onto my job for dear life. I would never give up what little financial security I have - the job I am doing pays half what i earned pre dc, but the thought of trying to get back into work when dc2 goes to school is too much. I will be 44.

I was brought up in a single parent family though was always sure about this.

coldcupoftea Tue 27-Nov-12 20:32:48

Oh gosh that is awful sad

I know your son has SN, but is there no way you can retrain, even just a part time distance learning course or OU? What type of work did you do before?

I really sympathise, my mum was a SAHM for 15 years then she and my dad divorced, he left her with nothing and she became a single mum on benefits. She was an amazing mum, but I know it ground her down and she felt very bitter about it. She was disabled too, which made things more difficult- employers used it as yet another excuse not to employ her.

Good luck OP.

hamtastrophe Tue 27-Nov-12 20:33:19

I have to agree with you OP. I took voluntary redundancy with the full support of my wonderful DH as we decided that this was best for our family. I was in a well paid job with part time hours that had been negotiated after maternity leave.

18 months later (and after the birth of our 3rd child) he left me as he suddenly developed a taste for shagging women half his age.

I cannot get back into my old industry as a part timer, no way, they only ever advertise full time posts.

I am now a single mum of 3, living on benefits. I would never have dreamt that this would be the outcome of my life when I took VR.

I will definitely advise my DD to never give up her financial independence.

Sorry you are in this situation.

peasepudding Tue 27-Nov-12 20:33:21

Sorry, meant so was always sure that women should be financially independent

baublesandbaileys Tue 27-Nov-12 20:33:23

"your position is awful, But it is rare."

no it's not, the OPs story sadly sounds pretty familiar to me, not me personally, but its not an uncommon theme amongst people I've known (particularly when there's a child with SNs involved sad)

There are so many potential ways for relying on another person to earn can go wrong - the earner can die, be dismissed, be arrested, become disabled, or of course bog off!

ItsOkayItsJustMyBreath Tue 27-Nov-12 20:33:30

I'm stuck in a similar position akaemma except at least ex OH has the decency to pay a proper amount to ensure ds and I are okay. I am still umming and erring over getting back together after he cheated 3 times but it's very early days, I only threw him out 3 weeks ago. The future scares me, I am re-training so that I can hopefully work from home as soon as ds is in nursery.

kiwidreamer Tue 27-Nov-12 20:33:52

Oh that is shit, really shit, what an arsehole. I know its probably not a realistic option but is there a way to give him primary custody, I know emotionally you probably wouldn't ever do that but some way to get him to really see the work his two children entail might help him de-arsehole?

I do know what you mean in some ways, I left a very very good paying job to be at home with our children, five years on I would never be employed at that level off the bat and would have to work my way up again from a fairly low wage and some days I do feel very vulnerable for my future should the worst case scenario happen and my marriage fall apart... no indications whatsoever of that happening now but that is no guarantee is it sad

My SIL was ranting about her partners ex wife and maintenance etc etc and I had to say hang on, they made decisions together as a family that saw her leave the workplace and give up her financial independence and then the husband decided he didn't want to be married to her anymore and she is screwed. That could very very easily be me one day and it is scary.

HoleyGhost Tue 27-Nov-12 20:34:26

It is not rare, people change and different problems can have similar results (psychotic episodes, other ill health, redundancy, death).

OP - I don't know where you live or what your experience is, but is it worth renewing contact with old colleagues? Also, temping sucks but could give you some up to date experience.

akaemmafrost Tue 27-Nov-12 20:35:03

I am doing OU, it's my age that's the main thing against me. I can't retrain as I am ds's carer. I am trying to turn it to my advantage though, maybe teaching children with SN could be a possibility in the future. I certainly have the experience, but again I just can't commit to anything because of ds's needs.

LynetteScavo Tue 27-Nov-12 20:35:08

But just having a job is not enough, you need to have a job which pays enough for you to be able to cover all bills.

SIL, a single parent of one child had stop working as her DD's SN meant should wouldn't be able to attend school for long periods of time, so I can see how easily it can happen.

For me, being a SAHM for a few years was a risk worth taking.

Hassled Tue 27-Nov-12 20:37:22

Hindsight is a wonderful thing - I worked through having oldest 3 DCs, and then with DC4 decided to take some time out. It was a lot of time out - I'm back now but again earning probably 50% of where I'd have been without that gap. I don't regret it - I loved that time at home and it benefitted all the kids - but would I do it again? Probably not. So much of my financial future is wholly dependant on the continuation of my happy marriage - and that's always going to be a gamble - you can never absolutely predict a relationship. I found that out with my first marriage.

emma - you've had a hell of a shit time and I'm sorry. How long has SN DC been out of school for? Can you see it being resolved - is there anywhere suitable for him/her on the horizon?

wordfactory Tue 27-Nov-12 20:38:00

Sorry to hear this OP.

I know quite a few women who have been left in very difficult positions through their DH's illness/redundancy and as a lawyer I met hundreds if not thousands of women going throuygh divorces.

Women with children are extremely vulnerable.

nailak Tue 27-Nov-12 20:39:08

alternatively you can be a sahm, carry on doing charity work, volunteer work, studying, training etc so you are still employable?

Many people who work for charities started off as volunteers etc, took all the training on offer, also if you volunteer at school, childrens centre etc they may allow you to join them in their staff training sessions etc,

you can always study part time, distance learning, local council adult learning centres with creche etc.

akaemmafrost Tue 27-Nov-12 20:39:25

Oh and on top of that he left me in £1000's of debt, which he won't help with and tells me I am stupid to pay, I should just f*ck it all off like he does. Only, I have to live here and deal with the debt collectors, bailiffs and the like.

akaemmafrost Tue 27-Nov-12 20:41:19

Hassled he's been out a year and so, so happy, confident, not self harming anymore, no more aggression, learning happily at his own pace. It was the right decision but at a massive price.

My mum was 45, two failed marriages and two children behind her, she's had a very successful career post having my children and siblings. I know it's not easy and she was a SAHM but I know that you can recover yourself and your financial independence. You need to evaluate your skills and your role as a mother of a child with SEN- there's increasing need of people with experience in that area.

I am doing a degree while being a SAHM, I will and am employable if my DH fucks off.

Are the debts in your name?

Imsosorryalan Tue 27-Nov-12 20:48:00

Sorry, I'm going to go against the grain here. Being a SAHM has been the best thing I ever did. Personally for the amount of time I have been able to spend with and give my children and also for them.
I'm very sorry you're in this position op. what a shit place to be however, everyone is different and generalising doesn't help soon to be SAHM or women planning to be a SAHM.
If you are unable to work or retrain when you're ready surely that is down to government policies making it harder for women to get back to work.

akaemmafrost Tue 27-Nov-12 20:48:25

Some of them, others in both.

Imsosorryalan Tue 27-Nov-12 20:48:48

Hmm not sure if I can paste an active link via my ipad sorry!hmm

Imsosorryalan Tue 27-Nov-12 20:49:29

Oh forgot to add, I am now working after a short spell of volunteer work

Hassled Tue 27-Nov-12 20:50:17

Very glad he sounds so happy - you may have had the misfortune to marry a wanker, but you're clearly doing a damn good job at this parenting malarkey.

The more you tell us, the more I think you should get yourself pronto to a good solicitor. Spousal support isn't necessarily optional, is it? The quitting job threat - well, if he did carry it out (bloody unlikely) at least he'd be on an equal footing with you and there would be some justice.

akaemmafrost Tue 27-Nov-12 20:53:30

Actually he has a job where he could quit and be employed on a consultancy basis ie self employed and then I'd never see a penny or so he says. I know it sounds like I am being defeatist but I do think he has it all sewn up.

scurryfunge Tue 27-Nov-12 20:54:35

Staying at home and delaying a career is fine if you are confident that is what is best for your family. I have to have the security of maintaining my career and do not want to rely on another person financially. I do not need to work but choose to because of the security and independence it achieves. I would be screwed if I was not working and my DH decided to leave ( married 21 years).

Graceparkhill Tue 27-Nov-12 20:56:19

I agree you need sound legal advice especially about his debts and the consequences for you.

Other thing I wanted to say is please don't give up hope.

You never know what's around the corner and it may be that good things will happen.

It sounds like you have been through an awful lot but at least now you have piece of mind. You are not old BTW. Life expectancy now for a woman is

approaching 80 so you have lots of good years ahead !
Good luck

DialsMavis Tue 27-Nov-12 20:58:56

Totally agree Aka, I split from ex after being SAHM & ended up on benefits, used the time (& financial
Assistance) to go to Uni. I have just graduated and am now job hunting. I am now in a new relationship with another DC. DP cannot understand why I am insistent that I will work for nothing (due to childcare bills, although they will be split between us, out household income will not improve when if I ever get a job) , which will in turn lessen his prospects at work as he will have to be available for drop offs and pick ups, time off when DC sick etc.

I love him dearly and he is a wonderful man, whom I trust implicitly. But I will NEVER allow myself and DC to be in that position of vulnerability again.

baublesandbaileys Tue 27-Nov-12 20:59:20

its really not as easy as doing a bit of studying and volunteering, then you'll be fine, lots of graduates who are doing lots of unpaid work are finding that even with all that it's taking a year or two to move onto being paid, and then its often at a very low starting wage!

Its IMO naiive to think that a bit of helping out somewhere and a bit of pt study = easily to find a job that pays enough to actually go to work as soon as you want/need to get back into work again

There really is no comparison with being IN recent well paid work

Hollygolightley Tue 27-Nov-12 21:01:41

I agree with your message about how dangerous it can be to give up your job and be a SAHM. in an ideal world it would be lovely if we could all give up work and be SAHM and create boden children live in Laura ashley houses with cath kids ton accessories but you are then entirely dependant on someone else financially and this can seriously limit your finances in the future if your relationship breaks down. Or you are stuck in a miserable relationship because you can't afford to leave. Trying to be a part time mother and maintain a decent career is the difficult option.
I hope you see some way out of feeling like you are now as it must be desperate for you and I hope you have some support around you from family or friends.

cutegorilla Tue 27-Nov-12 21:01:46

I don't think you need to not be a SAHM. I think you just need to have back up plans.

I'm very sorry you have ended up in this situation. It's awful to put your trust in someone and be so badly let down.

OwedToAutumn Tue 27-Nov-12 21:05:35

I know a man who threatened that he would give up his job, so his XW wouldn't get any money, and the judge said he would take it all out of capital, as he would have intentionally have made himself unemployed.

Also, if he were freelance, wouldn't his earnings be verified by HMRC? If they were to do an investigation of his affairs (gosh, how would they find out?) they would look at his lifestyle, and ask him to justify how he could afford it. They don't just look at accounts, bank statements etc., they are cleverer than that.

I'm sorry to hear that Emma. He sounds like a massive twat.

I feel in these discussions there's an assumption there that sahm have given up good work To stay at home. in my case, somehow, i never reached my umm career potential and the decision to stay home rather than do a crappy job was an easier one.

I agree with you tho on financial independence. I hope to get some back soon.

We do have ill health to deal with though - mine.
I know that what you are dealing with is shit, and I hate that anyone has to deal with it, but you saying that noone should be a sahm doesnt seem any different to me to that thread on aibu asking why have children if you're going to "palm them off".
I chose to be a sahm. However, I've been diagnosed with a myriad of problems since having DS2 that would have prevented me returning to my job anyway (I quit after they refused flexible working after DS1), so have little choice but to be "just" a sahm now.
So thanks for the warning that my DH might leave me, but for now I'll just have to stick with praying that he doesnt realise how shit it is to be a carer for your mentally and physically ill wife when his friends are off living the life of riley.

FunBagFreddie Tue 27-Nov-12 21:07:58

I tend to agree with you OP. You just can't rely on a man like that, otherwise you're in a very vulnerable position.

I know its not easy to find a job, but at least I am trying to improve my employability while my DC is still a baby, with a view to working in the future. Currently, if i went back to work, my husband would have to top up my wages to pay for childcare- because I do not have a degree and can't access the better paid jobs.

What do I and others in my situation do now then? Cause I'm fucked either way.

I think the fear in many couples runs both ways. My DH also fears that I will run off and restrict access to the kids. (his fears are unfounded!) everyone is vulnerable.

I do agree with the general point tho.

HippyHappyHoppy Tue 27-Nov-12 21:13:45

Being a SAHM is a risk I'm willing to take. The benefits for us at the moment outweigh the possible risk.

For all those that say don't be a SAHM you are sacrificing your independence there is a SAHM saying it was a good choice and suited her family.

Its horses for courses and the luck of the draw regarding where your DH is on the twat-ometer.

MissCellania Tue 27-Nov-12 21:14:51

Really shit for you, but there is no need to generalise to us all. I can be a SAHM because I'm not married to a man who would cheat on me, leave me, and financially abuse me. Also I control the cash anyway.

Missc, I doubt anyone starts married life thinking their partner would do that.

baublesandbaileys Tue 27-Nov-12 21:16:41

I dunno, but people who say "its fine so long as you stay employable by doing a bit of volunteering etc" will get a shock

Since having DS I've got a degree, done loads of volunteering, and DO work PT in the lower ranks and am still struggle to get any of the decent jobs out there

I meet SAHMs regularly who have over inflated ideas about their "transferrable skills" from being a SAHM and helping out at the odd children's centres groups or school trip! it's bollocks because almost every other SAHM, and lots of the PT working mums too, do helping out at school so it's nothing special on your CV at all
(FWIW my volunteering is much more specialised than that but still not led on to a proper paid career yet)

baublesandbaileys Tue 27-Nov-12 21:17:45

"I can be a SAHM because I'm not married to a man who would cheat on me, leave me, and financially abuse me"
cause everyone who gets cheated on/left knew it would happen???

LadyIsabellaWrotham Tue 27-Nov-12 21:18:52

So sorry OP.
I went through a stage of saying pretty much this on every single "shall I quit my job?" thread. If you do, then you are putting all the family's eggs in one basket, and even the best husbands die, get sick or are made redundant (rather more palatable advice than the more statistically likely scenario of running off to Bangkok with a twenty-something OW).

Yes some women have no real choice, and some have no careers worth preserving, but if you do, you need to think very seriously about your long-term risks.

skandi1 Tue 27-Nov-12 21:19:00

Crap. You are all scaring me!!

I gave up my career and six figure job to be a sahm. Now have two DC (both pre school) and rely completely on DH.

Between this thread and the thread on MN earlier today about money and whether you share fully with your DH, I am suddenly feeling very exposed.

Not only have my pension lapsed over the last four years but my old career is a no go with young DC due to hours and travel involved. No family around to help either. So career has gone and with it future earnings potential and therefore pension prospects.

So it has just dawned on me that if DH didn't come home tonight having left me any reason, I am completely and utterly screwed in every way and not just short term but for the rest of my natural. And all because I took 4 years out to have two children. Oh crap. It hasn't really crossed my mind until today. Guess I won't get much sleep tonight.

emsyj Tue 27-Nov-12 21:20:13

Your DH doesn't have to be a cheating/lying twat etc, he could just become too ill to work/too ill to do the job that currently pays the bills, he could die, you could yourself change as life moves forward and find that you don't love him any more and want to move on.

Nobody knows what life is going to throw at them. It makes sense to be as prepared as you can be, whether by keeping a job/career going, buying appropriate insurance policies, saving some funds where possible and generally not playing the ostrich.

Well I'll tell you what. Us SAHMs are fucked either way. Made out to have no employable skills and our husbands could leave us any minute.

Nice. What do you suggest we do to resolve our majorly huge fuck-up of being home with our children?

SolidGoldYESBROKEMYSPACEBAR Tue 27-Nov-12 21:22:06

It would be better if caring for children was recognised as the valuable work it is, and (for instance) child benefit was increased considerably for a parent-at-home. As it is, society still operates on the assumption that women are domestic servants in exchange for their keep; the whole industrial economy depends on women's unpaid work.

I wouldn't advise any woman to become a SAHM if it can be avoided. Part time work, work you can do from home, an Avon round or something - always hang on to a bit of independence. Because it's far too easy, when you are the SAHM and your male partner is earning money, for him to start considering himself your boss/owner as he is 'keeping' you, and therefore you must obey and placate him.

AnyFuckingDude Tue 27-Nov-12 21:23:30

aka, I completely agree with you and am often to be found advising women to hold onto their careers

relying on a man is a risk, a calculated risk

you may think you know him...but no person knows another 100%. To think that you would never get shafted is naive and dangerous (although I hope those women never learn the hard way, like you did)

there is no SAHM-bashing here, btw. It's a worthwhile thing to do, of course it is...but only if you are protected from the whims of a man who can dump you like yesterday's chip wrapper any time he feels like it (and him saying he won't, or you convincing yourself he won't on scant evidence is not enough guarantee, IMO)

too many women stay in awful relationships because they are trapped financially... you only have to look at the Relationships board to know this is commonplace

a bastard like your ex may be rarer, OP (and he does sound like a grade one cunt), but there are degrees of how much shit you can be dropped in, through no fault of your own

you who think it will never happen to you.. think on

EllenJaneisstillnotmyname Tue 27-Nov-12 21:23:38

It's not so rare. I was a SAHM for 10 years, partially due to my DS2 having SN, then I've been working as a TA for the past 5 years to fit around school times, again because of my DS2. I was astonished when my H of 15 years and partner of 22 years left me last year for an OW. Never in a million years did I think that would ever happen. I trusted him completely. Now he's being a shit, no spousal maintenance, just the legal minimum child maintenance. When I gave up work to look after our DC, I earned the same as him, now I earn 10 less.

It was the right decision at the time, my DS2 needed me and we were going to be married forever.

SizzleSazz Tue 27-Nov-12 21:23:47

I was made redundant from a professional (family friendly hmm firm) when DD2 was 18 months. I managed to get some well paid freelance work, but that dried up a year ago.
I have been battling to get back into work since. I think i may have a job offer (hours and wages being discussed) and i am mightily relieved. This last year of no income of my own has been horrid, despite us getting by ok just on DH's wages.
I will have to take a pay cut, but hopefully not too much. Any more time out and I do think my career (and earning potential) would be stuffed.

Good luck to you OP, I hope something works out for you and your family. x

BitchyHen Tue 27-Nov-12 21:24:16

I think my giving up work altered the balance of power in my marriage. Yes xh was a bully and would have shown his true colours anyway, but once I gave up work he started to feel that I wasn't pulling my weight anymore. This led him to lose respect for me and eventually to his affair and our marriage breakdown.

I'm not saying this is inevitable for SAHMs but it is more common than many people seem to think. I am a lone parent, at the moment I get by as my income is topped up by tax credits and is getting easier to work as my DCs get older.

However my job is part time and I will not be able to progress any further without re-training so am thinking seriously about what I will need to do to be able to feed and house myself once the dc leave school and tax credits stop.

blisterpack Tue 27-Nov-12 21:25:02

You are right OP. I am a SAHM too, and it works well for us. I don't for a minute think that my DH will leave me or the kids and walk off leaving us to our own devices. I don't think he's that kind of person. I don't regret being a SAHM and being there for my children. But, I will still actively advise my daughters against it because you never know what life could throw at you.

ifso Tue 27-Nov-12 21:25:39

so many insecure voices on this thread

emsyj Tue 27-Nov-12 21:26:17

It's up to you to decide if you're happy with your life wewereherefirst - if you have made the right choices for you then there's no reason to care what anyone else thinks, surely?

However, if you think you may be financially vulnerable (and you may be, even if you have lots of skills and your husband never leaves you - see other risks mentioned above, and remember even those who are highly skilled and experienced are not finding it easy to get jobs in the current climate) then maybe take some steps to protect yourself.

Check whether you could get insurance to protect you if your DH became ill or died, maintain old work contacts and take steps to keep your skills up to date, save....

rhondajean Tue 27-Nov-12 21:26:24

I adore my DH and trust him with my life (which he has already saved) but I would never ever ever in a million years give up my financial independence for anyone or anything.

Apart from anything else, when he was made redundant three years ago, I was able to help him out by keeping things going financially while he is retraining and earning less.

I appreciate people think they are doing the right thing for their family and it won't happen to them, but if I had been a sahm we as a family would have been sunk three years ago. I doubt we would have been able to keep the house.

Add to that the risk of illness as mentioned above, and the possibility that even without your DH being a twat, your relationship might come to an end and while he would owe maintenance and hopefully pay unlike Akas, it's not going to be the same amount is it.

And of course no one thinks it will happen to them - you wouldn't give up your job if you did...

AnyFuckingDude Tue 27-Nov-12 21:26:57

This is not a SAHM bashing thread

emsyj Tue 27-Nov-12 21:27:23

"so many insecure voices on this thread"

Care to elaborate, ifso...? I don't understand.

HippyHappyHoppy Tue 27-Nov-12 21:27:24

We have protected ourselves as much as we can against poverty caused by illness and death with life insurance and critical illness insurance. If DH dies I will have the mortgage paid off and will also get a lump sum, it won't last forever but should see me through long enough to get on my feet a little bit.

If he cheats on me? Well, I take that risk but in the meantime we work hard at our marriage, take nothing for granted and tackle issues head on when we meet them because we both know that our family unit is important to us. But, yes, it is a risk.

HoleyGhost Tue 27-Nov-12 21:27:27

I am also ' not married to a man who would cheat on me, leave me, and financially abuse me.'

But he is a very different man to the one he was 10 years ago and in 10 years' time will have changed more. As will I.

Viviennemary Tue 27-Nov-12 21:28:07

Nobody can predict the future. We can only make decisions on what we think is the best thing for ourselves and our children. I'm sorry you feel the future is bleak but there are flexible courses you could do from home if that is what you would like to do. I had a job for years and years that I mostly hated and found really stressful but did it to get a better standard of living. Did I do the right thing. Who knows.

BeauNeidel Tue 27-Nov-12 21:28:14

YANBU (although I know this is chat).

My mum is in a very similar position right now, although sadly her children were already all grown up when she split with dad. Having spent the previous 30-odd years on child rearing, and only having a handful of part time jobs, she now faces an old age where she has to work longer for less and live in a horrible area, while my dad yucks it up working only every other month, and holidaying the months in between despite being 'skint' all the time.

EllenJaneisstillnotmyname Tue 27-Nov-12 21:30:08

ifso I wasn't the least bit insecure. I would go as far as to say I was even quite smug that our relationship was so much better than some of my friends'. Didn't stop him leaving me.

MissCellania Tue 27-Nov-12 21:30:49

Not sure why I got the answers I did, since thats not what I said. hmm OP is saying none of us should stop working in case we get cheated and cheated on. It's not something that would happen in my relationship, sure it's possible though unlikely he could cheat, he doesn't care about money and I control the accounts anyway. So yes, I can be quite sure, thanks.
As for not starting off a marriage thinking this could happen, the signs that a man is a prick are usually there, they just get ignored for love. But I'm nearly twenty years in, so I think I can judge by now.

All I'm saying is you can't generalise, you can't say anyone could end up there, because most men wouldn't do that, so most of their wives can be SAHM if they so choose and feel safe.

baublesandbaileys Tue 27-Nov-12 21:31:53

"But he is a very different man to the one he was 10 years ago and in 10 years' time will have changed more. As will I"

I agree, my DH is in some ways unrecognisable from the man he was 10 years ago, as I am very changed in many ways by the last decade. We still love each other and see our future together but nobody really knows!

ifso Tue 27-Nov-12 21:32:17

just insecure voices EmsyJ, not certain of anything, of relationships, of role as mother, as employee, as partner..i hope not all women are really so unsteady in their thinking about life, that the rug could be pulled under at any time etc. Es it is a reality for many, sadly, yes it is. But can we not stand strong, and be self assured of at least our choices in marriage, in work, in having kids?

why bother marrying or having kids at all then, if the message is, dont trust a man, especially not your husband as he could change etc etc

what is going on?

baublesandbaileys Tue 27-Nov-12 21:34:04

"But I'm nearly twenty years in, so I think I can judge by now.

All I'm saying is you can't generalise, you can't say anyone could end up there"

^ these two sentances contradict themselves, as you can't say who WON'T end up there either, and no I don't think there is a number of years beyond which you are no longer at risk

akaemma I read one of your posts back in the summer about 'leave the bastard'; and actually how hard it is.

I have such a vivid memory of reading it and knowing I did have to leave. Not because he was in fact a bastard; but because every second I stayed I was prolonging the inevitable. 4 days later he moved out.

I never thought my marriage would come to this. He was one of the good guys. He wasn't abusive or actually a bastard. We just didn't get on - and he had a rather unhealthy porno habit.

I know if I had given up my work to be a SAHM I would have stayed with him. I wouldn't have had so many choices. My best friend did choose the SAHM route and it has gone a bit tits up - although ironically she is doing OK at milking her STBXH....

But the balance of power is very different.

It isn't plain sailing giving up a marriage; but I know even if he decided not to pay his CSA of £240 pcm for 2 kids, actually I'd be OK.

So going back to work before either of them could sit up or were weaned was worth it. The DCs know no different, and I am happy and independent.

I actually only work PT, I'd massively struggle with FT, but I'm still glad I can support myself and 2 DCS without anyone else.

Thank goodness - as I never saw that coming.

ifso Tue 27-Nov-12 21:35:23

I'm a work at home SAHM, while we have life insurance which will pay out ten times DH 6 figure salary in any event - divorce/death etc etc And i will 'go out to work', get on that public transport once youngest is a little bit older

but in the meantime, I choose not to be weak and allow such scaremongering to waver my choices in raising our DCs so childcare is not a big stress now, as I am here to cover that side of homelife for their benefit, and for a relaxed homelife for all of us. working well so far. Dont be scared, that's all I'm saying really

emsyj Tue 27-Nov-12 21:35:34

The OP said on page 1: "Ok your dh's are not twats. How about ill health or worse? There's more that can happen than your dh being a twat.

It's VERY dangerous for there to be only one earner in a family, I never realised quite how dangerous till just now."

I don't think the OP was saying that everyone is at risk of a cheating partner - only that it is risky to give up financial independence and also for a household to drop to a single income.

baublesandbaileys Tue 27-Nov-12 21:36:08

"i hope not all women are really so unsteady in their thinking about life, "

not unsteady at all, proactive I'd say.

ifso you could apply all of the same to people who make wills, take out insurance, have savings etc. Its all the same thing, doing what you can to know that you and your family have as much security as possible

MissCellania Tue 27-Nov-12 21:36:40

They don't contradict at all. Of course you can say who won't end up there. Those of us holding the purse strings won't end up there, will we?

Anyway, no need to derail the OP's thread with bickering.

EllenJaneisstillnotmyname Tue 27-Nov-12 21:39:09

I've never heard of an insurance policy that pays out in the event of divorce! That would be open to abuse, surely? My STBEX H's large insurance policy will pay me the legal minimum maintenence he's agreed, if he dies, and the rest will bypass me and be left to the DC.

Viviennemary Tue 27-Nov-12 21:39:13

Hmm I do agree that nobody knows what is round the corner. No matter how secure you feel things can still go wrong. This isn't scaremongering it is a fact of life. And I think perhaps women should be aware of the possibility of financial insecurity if their partners do decide to leave. But you can't base your whole life on what if this happens or that happens.

Katy1368 Tue 27-Nov-12 21:40:27

Completely agree with you OP. My mum was a teacher and basically the main earner when I was bought up - My dad is lovely but a dreamy "artist" type who never earned much. Without her working steadily at a secure job god knows where we would have been.

I have said to my mum several times since DD was born that I will impress on her the importance of earning her own money and NEVER NEVER being financially dependent on a man. I really think it is important, it is almost always the woman who is left to hold the kids when relationships break down. I am seeing it a lot among my friends at the moment. I know that if DP left I could always financially support myself and DD and god am I so glad of that.

Meglet Tue 27-Nov-12 21:41:39

I have to agree OP.

I was able to juggle part time NMW shop work and 2 days a week admin after I had my DC's.

When XP turned into an abusive asshole I was working and just about manage on my own.

It's bloody hard doing it on my own but I think I would have been screwed if I had given up work.

However there is the bigger problem of why it is so hard for women to return to work after having DC's. There should be more flexible working for both parents and dads (and employers) willing to change their working hours and also be the ones to take a day off to care for a sick child.

baublesandbaileys Tue 27-Nov-12 21:42:23

making a will in my 20s didn't mean I was wandering around in fear that I would die young

dito insurance

dito wanting to maximise my earing potential, it doesn't mean I feel insecure in my marriage and am trembling about all the "what ifs" all the time!

HippyHappyHoppy Tue 27-Nov-12 21:42:36

No, I've never heard of a policy that pays out on divorce either. If it had been an option I would have chosen it, we got cover for death and critical illness. The only thing we really aren't covered for is a long term debilitating illness that means DH couldn't work but that isn't a critical illness or death so the policies won't pay out. Again, its a risk we are taking knowingly.

Emsyj, it is up to me to protect myself therefore I care to listen to voices of experience, and as a SAHM, I'm backed into a corner.
We will be getting private insurance out, he has it through work as well as his workplaces charity.

I have no real work contacts as the sector I worked in has seen a lot of redundancies also, we have been relocated a way from where we lived when I worked and tbh , I was very young when DC1 came along.

I have savings that would pay the mortgage for a year if the worst came to the worst.

We are protected if my husband would die, his job is one with a risk of work-related death so that has to be sorted.

I am NOT naive enough to think my H wouldn't cheat, going back to work for me at the moment isn't feasible either, so this thread has made me feel cornered.

MissMogwi Tue 27-Nov-12 21:42:52

I totally agree with you OP. I will never rely on a man again after my EXP left me in a similar position. I'd been at home with the DC, same as others, as childcare was too expensive. When I did return to work, he left me shortly after for OW.

I returned to work and I'm now in the final year of my degree. I have been skint at times, many times actually, while he was off on his jollies and the like.

It's not rare at all, in my experience.

elastamum Tue 27-Nov-12 21:43:28

I gave up my senior well paid job to support my H building our own company when the DC were babies. 6 years later he left us. In a matter of weeks I went from having a very comfortable life to unemployed, on my own with 2 small DC and no income. I was very very lucky in that eventually I managed to bluff my way back in to my original career and a few yrs on we are doing OK.

BUT just getting a job as a LP isnt easy.(eventually I put my wedding rings back on and pretended to be married until I got offered a job in my industry by someone who didnt know me all that well). I now have a lovely new partner but would never ever give up my independance for any man again

ifso Tue 27-Nov-12 21:43:37

does it mean we have to tell our DD's to make more careful choices before choosing her life partner then? ismt that the real problem here? surely there are plenty of decent DH's out there who, shock horror, took their wedding vows and meant them for life, married with the intention of it being worth working at, etc etc Are we saying that we are living with men who we arent sure of? who we dont trust? because the choice of partner is the real issue here, and choosing whether to make that relationship a 50/50 one for life is the biggest decision ever

caramelwaffle Tue 27-Nov-12 21:43:49

emma (Op) I agree with you and what SolidGold had to say makes a lot of sense.

MissMogwi Tue 27-Nov-12 21:45:20

*Sorry missed out that I had to leave my job when he left due to the evening/night hours and having a one year old and a four year old. He wouldn't have the children so I had no choice.

Never again.

caramelwaffle Tue 27-Nov-12 21:45:25

"AnyFuckingDude Tue 27-Nov-12 21:23:30

you who think it will never happen to you.. think on"


baublesandbaileys Tue 27-Nov-12 21:46:28

no ifso, mental/physical health can strike down the best of DHs, and policies that sound generous soon get swallowed up with houseing adaptations and carers etc

that's not the answer, obviously its important that people choose healthy relationships, but it doesn't negate the need for financial security

rhondajean Tue 27-Nov-12 21:47:35

You can get divorce insurance btw. But it seems to only cover the cost of the divorce.


MrsFogi Tue 27-Nov-12 21:47:44

OP I'm awfully sorry to hear about your situation - I hope that brighter days will be around the corner.
On the flip side I know a number of women who have bust a gut to keep their careers on track after having children (worked all hours, done all the housework when getting home etc) with dhs who have jobs but are not the main breadwinners (yet don't pull their weight at home either for the dcs or the housework). These women have then been ditched by their dhs and now find themselves paying maintenance for their ex-dhs who have got custody of the children (as on paper it has looked as though they were in the support role whereas the reality was that, for the most part they were home smoking dope/watching tv and doing nothing for the dcs).

YouBrokeMySmoulder Tue 27-Nov-12 21:48:39

I kept my pt job on for exactly this reason and even though I am now married I could support myself and the dc if I had to. The advice goes double if you are unamrried and have a child with someone as you wont be left with anything.

Its not that rare and why should my dc suffer for my mistakes?

If i was a sahm I would have my dh paying into a savings account in my name in case I needed it.

<has Gone with the Wind moment> I was brought up in poverty and I will do everything possible for that mot to be the case for my dc. Laugh and flame all you like.

ifso - It isn't the choice of partner....

It's the fact that the person you marry on that day won't stay exactly the same... along with everything else...

You'll change

The economy will change

Children grow

Houses need changing (sometimes)

Relatives die

Someone becomes ill

Someone becomes disabled.

I was convinced DH was a good guy - Jesus our families had known each other for years

No-one knew about his porn habit though hmm

baublesandbaileys Tue 27-Nov-12 21:50:08

and a trauma can really change someone's personality too

livingfortoday Tue 27-Nov-12 21:50:15

Someone told me when I was pregnant with ds to always keep your finger in, as I was established as a teacher. I did go ack full time. DH got promoted we moved it got manic and took its toll on marriage.

I was on my own for 6 months.

We sorted it all out I now have had dd and I am a sahm. During the three years I have been away from teaching I have briefly run my own little business but have and still am studying for a second degree with OU.

Being on my own gave mea big shock as to how it is and the reality of facing an uncertain future. BUT I always knew I could go out and get supply work and still could now, but this is specific to teaching I suppose, it pays alright but not secure.

I do feel vulnerable but would spring into action if needed. I have come across several people who have been left with far less and struggle.

OP - it sounds like you need to get some clear and better legal advice. You can get a claim against his pension plan. Don't let him scare you with his threats re consultancy work, you have a sound case for spousal re caring for your child. My friend has just been awarded this her children are 16 and 17, this will continue and is weighed up against other aspects of settlement, re capital.

I'm glad you are doing OU course its good to have something for you.

So in a way OP is right unless you don't mind jumping back in or trying to. I know I've took salary cuts it I'm happy with what I have in return.

I also, having been hurt and in that vulnerable situation, think you should have your running away money as some call it.

You should always keep part of yourself independent, the rest of me I give over fully terms of commitment. I know some would say oh there are trust/ commitment issues that's. It respecting your vows etc. no its being realistic, until you've been there rock bottom, chest pains, the utter horror of what it means for your child....

emsyj Tue 27-Nov-12 21:50:46

"Are we saying that we are living with men who we arent sure of? who we dont trust? because the choice of partner is the real issue here, and choosing whether to make that relationship a 50/50 one for life is the biggest decision ever"

I think the prospect of a partner cheating/behaving in a way that is intolerable to the other/leaving to find themselves/meeting someone else and leaving for them etc is just one way in which a family's financial circumstances can be unexpectedly and dramatically affected. I trust my DH 101%, but he is not immortal or immune to health problems. We have a happy marriage, and I am with him through choice - long may it stay that way.

ifso Tue 27-Nov-12 21:51:12

without telling you all of our financial set up, we have a solid backup plan for any of us and the dcs, dont worry. And as for returning to work, yes, i will get there too, once the youngest is more sorted, but that is our priority during their younger years, and then I will be going into work again, with varied skills and a solid degree. I refuse to be scaremongered into thinking SAHP isnt a valid choice because of all e things that could possibly happen. Plenty of things can happen to a working parent on their way to work, whether they work or not, things can and do happen to people who are financially contributing to a household. Then what?

But to choose to raise my kids in this way for a few short years is something my DH and I feel works well for us right now, with the financial backup we have put in place for this time.

elastamum Tue 27-Nov-12 21:51:37

It is rather smug (and slightly delusional) to put misfortune down to just people making poor life choices

There is loads of really depressing research about the vulnerability of middle class single income familes. If you look at people who end up filing for bankruptcy, they usually have at least one, sometimes two, of death, divorce, ill health or redundancy in their history. It can happen to pretty much anyone

BigusBumus Tue 27-Nov-12 21:55:02

If he pays maintenance for his kids, why should he pay for you? I never understand that. You're not his child.

baublesandbaileys Tue 27-Nov-12 21:55:19

ifso if you have substantial financial back ups in your name then you ARE doing what people are suggesting, if SAHMs have investment rental properties in their names or substantial savings in their names etc and ARE looking after their own independant financial security then that counts as much as employability

ifso Tue 27-Nov-12 21:55:39

insecure times, insecure thinking, insecurity everywhere it seems. madness.

turkeyboots Tue 27-Nov-12 21:56:08

My mum ended up age 55 in a similar position. As has a significant proportion of her friends.

OP you have my sympathies and best wishes as is a shit position to be in. Always having a back up plan is a good idea for everyone.

Ok I have lived through one of the alternative reasons for not giving up work.

When I was 5mo pg with dc4 having been a SAHM for years DH suddenly got pains in his stomach. 2 YEARS later after one misdiagnosis after another they removed his appendix and he recovered. In the meantime DH lost his job and we had to rely on state benefits and massive handouts from PIL. We were incredibly fortunate that they were in a position to help.

Insurance wouldn't pay out due to a lack of definite diagnosis and we would have been homeless if not for PILs help. Had I not been a SAHM for years before I could have returned to to work easily and helped financially. The work I did before was fairly well paid but when I applied for many many roles I was told that my skills were out of date.

Unusual situation I know but it can happen to anyone.

emsyj Tue 27-Nov-12 21:58:50

I don't think anyone is scaremongering, ifso - if you have taken steps to protect yourself and your family then that's great, I think the point of this thread was that there are lots of people out there who just never think about the possibility that life could change until it happens.

ifso Tue 27-Nov-12 21:59:05

yes baubles, there's an investment property, there are savings, etc etc but I also am looking forward to getting back 'out there'!! Getting dressed up, going out to work, feeling purposeful, on paper anyhow and getting paid for it is a massive ego boost. Where my kids are concerned, We just needed these few years while they are small for one of us to be at home with them. It's working well for us, homelife is calm and relaxed, I'm grateful to be doing this - for now.

Katy1368 Tue 27-Nov-12 21:59:12

Not madness at all ifso in fact the opposite I think - rational proactivity IMO.

ifso Tue 27-Nov-12 21:59:41

agree EmsyJ

ggirl Tue 27-Nov-12 21:59:53

something needs to be done about the astronomical cost of childcare

akaemmafrost Tue 27-Nov-12 22:01:17

bigusbumus because I cannot and never will be able to earn as I take full responsibility for caring for OUR child and I am unable to work and better my own position. The home education was especially instigated by him.

I can't believe that some posters think this is a SAHM bashing thread. In no way at all is that true. It's a warning from the position I am in as a direct result of choosing to be one.

Also I am not saying that all husbands could cheat, not at all, but life is a fragile thing and there's an awful lot of things that can bring the status quo crashing to it's knees.

There was no malice in this thread at all, just lashing out in pure desperation I suppose.

ifso - you're doing exactly what the OP is suggesting. Stay at Home, but have a back up plan. I think you're actually arguing the same point.

Meglet Tue 27-Nov-12 22:02:34

I will be drumming it into my DD that she shouldn't stop working when she has children.

As I will be drumming it into DS that he should be sharing parenting and not expect his parter to stop work if they have children.

(The DC's are 6 + 4 at the moment).

ifso Tue 27-Nov-12 22:02:40

it's ok Akaemmafrost, it's ok

The same thing happened to my mum too and I'd never give up my financial independence because of it.

akaemmafrost Tue 27-Nov-12 22:03:26

curiosity I hope that you remember my post for the right reasons and that it was helpful. It's nice to know you remembered it and it had an impact anyway.

motherinferior Tue 27-Nov-12 22:04:30

Another one saying don't assume volunteering is the same as being in the job market. 'Many people who work for charities started off as volunteers etc, took all the training on offer' - no they didn't. Most people who work for charities started off applying for paid jobs, and got through some pretty tough interviews to get where they are now.

There's also a major lack of EYFS places in my area. Most childcare providers here have closed waiting lists, not helpful for sahms who want to be employed...

Tryharder Tue 27-Nov-12 22:07:18

BIGUSBUMUS, of course the OP's DH should provide for the OP financially. She should be entitled to the marital home and to a proportion of his salary and pension. Why should she be left unable to work and on benefits while he has a life of Riley? The ease with which some people but usually men can walk away from all their responsibilities beggars belief. Where is his fucking loyalty?

HippyHappyHoppy Tue 27-Nov-12 22:08:46

It is as simple as personal choice, we all weigh up the risks and benefits based on our own personal circumstances and make the best judgement call we can.

My best friend from high school and I had DC at the same time. Her parents divorced when we were in primary school and her dad went back to his native country, leaving her mum unable to get a penny out of him. For her, keeping her financial independence is all important and she works FT in a stressful job which has a negative effect on her marriage. If anything, them both working FT stressful jobs increases the chances that they will split and she will be left with the DC on her own, it is already on the cards. But, she feels safe in the knowledge that she can manage the bills with or without her DH and that is important to her.

On the flipside, I am a SAHM and she thinks I'm mad. But my mum was dead of a hereditary disease by 35, that gives me only a few years before I outlive her.
Whilst my friends focus is financial independence, mine is quality family time because god knows when it will be snatched away.
Being a SAHM gives us a relaxed homelife, DH doesn't need to balance work and childcare pick-ups, I don't have to tread the fine line of work-family balance, though we would be better off financially if I was working so there are sacrifices.

We both have made the right decision for us, its just that those decisions aren't the same.

AdoraJingleBells Tue 27-Nov-12 22:09:06

So sorry you're in this shit position OP

I'm also one who gave up work, to follow OH across the globe as well as have DCs. I'm 44, and when I was growing up not many women worked, at least not in good jobs with real earning power. I left school at 16 with a few crap CSE's and haven't worked for 12 years. I am already impressing on my DDs how hugely important it is to be financially independant, even though I trust my OH and haven't had a reason to think he might leave. But you never know what will happen in the future.

OP has a valid point. Many women leave themselves financially vulnerable when they decide to SAH. I work some erratic and long shifts, however I do it as I know should DH leave me, I can still keep a roof over mine and dds heads.

I don't for one second think he will, but accept it is a possibility and that pretty much noone knows they are going to be cheated on.

baublesandbaileys Tue 27-Nov-12 22:11:20

"If he pays maintenance for his kids, why should he pay for you? I never understand that. You're not his child"

sometimes couples make informal agreements, like that the woman will support the man builiding up his buisness with the long term plan of him supporting her back once it's established.. then he gets his buisness up and running, leaves, and she never gets her thing supported in return IYKWIM. I think it would be fair for her to get some of the benefits of his sucxess which she contributed to and which was agreed

SizzleSazz Tue 27-Nov-12 22:49:50

ifsoTue 27-Nov-12 21:55:39

'insecure times, insecure thinking, insecurity everywhere it seems. madness.'

It's not madness for those families who don't have family incomes in excess of £100k hmm

whiteandyelloworchid Tue 27-Nov-12 22:59:35

i feel sorry for you op, but it won't help to go round telling other people what they should do

AnyFuckingDude Tue 27-Nov-12 23:02:04

I don't think aka was telling anyone what to do, but she was hoping that someone might learn from her experiences I guess

akaemmafrost Tue 27-Nov-12 23:07:24

Thanks AFD. Not telling anyone what to do. Describing my own experience after a particularly brutal run in with my care free ex.

nailak Tue 27-Nov-12 23:08:46

"its really not as easy as doing a bit of studying and volunteering, then you'll be fine, lots of graduates who are doing lots of unpaid work are finding that even with all that it's taking a year or two to move onto being paid, and then its often at a very low starting wage! "

my experience is through voluntary activities which I would have not expected paid positions through, such as maternity committees etc I have been offered temporary paid employment, in region of £10 an hour, and other activities such as organising community events have demonstrated to me how I could make a business out of such things, so I wouldnt knock this kind of work. Others have found jobs as breast feeding councillors etc after volunteering, I know one mum who rang the number for teaching kids to read in schools, ended up doing a volunteering qualification which led to paid employment for her in security etc. I am not sying it is easy. I am saying it is possible.

AnyFuckingDude Tue 27-Nov-12 23:09:08

There is currently an absolutely awful example in "chat" of someone getting scammed by someone she thought loved her

AnyFuckingDude Tue 27-Nov-12 23:09:47

Sorry, it's in Relationships, not chat

takataka Tue 27-Nov-12 23:11:43

my financial security enabled me to leave a marriage that was killing me.
I really don't know if I would still be here if I was financially dependant on my husband

OP i really feel for you. Its a cliche I know, but you really dont know what is round the corner. Have you spoken to Gingerbread and SPAN? I know they can help get you back into an employable state....

namechangecity Tue 27-Nov-12 23:16:02

"Between this thread and the thread on MN earlier today about money and whether you share fully with your DH, I am suddenly feeling very exposed. "

Can someone please link to the earlier thread today? Thanks.

SparkyDuchess Tue 27-Nov-12 23:18:42

I didn't see aka as telling people what to do, more as sharing her experience as a warning of how things can change.

I have never been wholly financially dependent on DH despite a very happy 20 year marriage, because it's always mattered to me that I stay with DH because I want to, not because I have to - I'm unusual amongst my friends in that I've never felt trapped because of finances.

My lovely DH has cancer at the ripe old age of 52. No idea what the next year will bring - I'm as sure as I can be that i won't be worrying about paying bills if the worst happens, and it means that DH doesn't have to worry about how DS and I will feed ourselves if he's no longer here.

AnyFuckingDude Tue 27-Nov-12 23:23:32

Sorry to hear that, Sparky

SparkyDuchess Tue 27-Nov-12 23:37:45

Thanks, AF, It is what it is. It sucks, but we might get lucky. I love that DH doesn't have to fret about the boy and I coping financially if it doesn't come good - I'm well able to look after us. It's just another reason why I think all women should retain some sort of earning power if at all possible - you really don't know what's coming.

Sorry, OP, I didn't mean to take your thread off at a tangent - I know it's sort of relevant but not really.

SparkyDuchess Tue 27-Nov-12 23:39:05

Oh, and what's with the 'dude' thing - related to TSC presumably, where do I sign up?

AnyFuckingDude Tue 27-Nov-12 23:49:11

have pm'ed you, sparky

rotavirusrita Wed 28-Nov-12 00:05:06

sorry I havent read the whole thread becaue m falling asleep but i was really touched by the sadness in your OP.

It touched a nerve for me. My Mum quit work in her early 20's to be a SAHM. at 40 she was divorced on benefits and working cleaning jobs to pay bills ( despite being bright and articulate). my dad turned out to be a twat.

My mums mum afetr seeing what happened to her daughter instilled in us financial indepence. My Gran is a really strong woman....... she was widowed in her 40's , and feels the family would have been destitute had she not "kept her hand in" in nursing when her family were small.

Women should remember that even if they dont marry someone who is a waste of space things like sudden deaths/ redundancy/ illlness can happen and if you can you should preserve some financial independence

CabbageLeaves Wed 28-Nov-12 00:05:57

Horrible situation emma sad. Your advice is good but not everyone will feel it fits their situation.

I did maintain my career throughout children.... Bloody hard work. Worth it now though because I have an ex like yours. Won't pay and will make himself deliberately unemployed if I chase him (has done)

It's all very well saying HMRC etc to chase down his affairs... CSA are not interested...just more work for them. Society needs to take a harder look at how it makes both parents culpable for bringing up their children.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 28-Nov-12 00:11:31

Think you're quite right to post your warning OP because it's well-known that Domestic Abuse (emotional, financial, violent, verbal, sexual) most commonly begins after the arrival of the first child. If a woman has made herself financially dependent at precisely the same time then any relationship problems are compounded. It is unfortunately not rare at all for women to end up trapped in a miserable relationship with options limited due to lack of finances. Marriage fails 1 in 3 times and at least offers a little protection, division of assets etc but those in the unrecorded number of informal partnerships that break down each year have nothing at all.

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Wed 28-Nov-12 00:33:04

I was just about to Gibson chat posting about sudden fears I have relating to this whole issue. My DC are 4 and 1, still happily married but as you all say you don't know what's round the corner. My industry is very badly paid anyway and now that we've moved to the USA and my visa doesn't allow me to work at all, I'm suddenly even more aware of my very vulnerable position - probably because before now I'd always had something coming in that was mine, and now I have nothing at all.

So sorry for you OP, and really fucking kicking myself for not making myself financially independent even though there is nothing sinister on the knowable horizon

SolidGoldYESBROKEMYSPACEBAR Wed 28-Nov-12 00:53:10

Don't forget that women are still massively socialised to believe in 'love' and 'The One' as the focus for their lives. We're given the idea that finding The Man will make everything fall into place, and we are generally encouraged to overlook dodgy behaviour in a man and to 'love him better'.

Yes, of course there are nice men who make excellent husbands and fathers, so there's no need to work yourselves up into a frenzy of 'Waa, bawww, Not My Nigel.' Because Your Nigel might not leave you but he could drop dead, or be made redundant and be unable to find another job.

caramelwaffle Wed 28-Nov-12 00:57:28

Absolutely SG

Thumbwitch Wed 28-Nov-12 01:10:28

Given how many threads crop up in Relationships of husbands cheating on their wives and leaving after ~20y of marriage, I think your warning is apt, Emma - and agree that there are other ways to lose your husband than splitting up of course! I made DH get life insurance because he was driving around so much, after Trinity's DH was killed in a car accident. Doesn't mean I'm hoping to cash in, just that things can change in the blink of an eye and preparation for that possibility is sensible!

I am a SAHM but I have back-up as well; in a few years I will be mortgage free on a house that is in another country and in my name solely. I can't imagine now that DH would even attempt to take that off me; especially as he also has a large amount of money in a fund from the sale of a house he made a few years back, before we got married. I think they'd cancel each other out.

I also have the ability to return to my self-employment job whenever I'm ready - would have been next year if I hadn't just had DS2, now I'll wait a little longer but it's not something that will become obsolete/dated, I can pick it up whenever I want to.

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Wed 28-Nov-12 01:14:35

We have at least made provision should anything happen to either of us, house would be paid off and we'd get a lump sum (which isn't huge but would see me/him and DC through a few years)......I can't imagine him ever cheating on me but there is more than one way for a relationship to disintegrate and I'd be fucked

monsterchild Wed 28-Nov-12 01:18:32

My DH and I also have a contingency plan if things go wrong. And I'll never stop working, because this exact thing happened to my DM(before she met my DF) and it was drilled into me and my sister that under no circumstance should we ever be financially dependent on a partner. She made sure we both understood finances before we ever went to university and it's been a good thing for both of us.

sameslime Wed 28-Nov-12 02:44:47

I was a sahm for 11 years and then got divorced. In our settlement it turned out that I got far more support than if I'd worked. I got the main family home, spousal maintenance, child maintenance, school fees, plus a lump sum including a share of his pension. The law recognised my sacrifice for the family and the support I'd given to exH in helping with his career, and that it meant I had less earning power.
I'm glad I had the time I did with the dc when they were young, especially since they're at boarding school/university now (with exH paying full fees). ExH has life assurance and critical illness insurance, which was always in place through the marriage too, and we had enough savings to cope pretty well with redundancy. It surprises me how few families consider this as an essential.

I always kept up some activity when I was a sahm - mostly studying and voluntary work. So I've been able to re-enter the job market fairly easily despite years outside the job market, and the maintenance kept us going while I re-trained to do a PhD. All the jobs I've had since returning have been through contacts - personal friends or through relatives (I've never written a CV or filled out an application form since I got married), so I haven't had to deal with a lot of the prejudice employers have about sahms.

differentnameforthis Wed 28-Nov-12 03:27:19

cause everyone who gets cheated on/left knew it would happen???

Of course not, baublesandbaileys but this thread is treading on thin ice generalising that every SAHM is going to cheated on & left in the lurch. I trust my dh implicitly & have no reason (right now, at the 19yr point) to suspect he would cheat on me. If he does, well we will tackle that if it happens.

For the time being I will be at home with my children. My youngest starts school soon, at which point we will discuss our financial situation & I will probably look for work.

It is very damaging to assume & generalise that all men will cheat just because some do.

CabbageLeaves Wed 28-Nov-12 07:25:00

OPs point is about making yourself financially independent in case of divorce. I don't think it's suggesting that everyone will get cheated on and left in the lurch? It's a personal account of a bad life choice.

However what are the statistics for divorce nowadays...

The were 3 children who's parents were married in my DD's class (selective very naice school) when we were uni hunting. I think marking down all those families as careless, made poor life choices, didn't commit to marriage or any other excuse to minimise the horrible idea that divorce happens... Is a tiny bit defensive.

If you feel financially secure in your marriage that's great. If you feel financially secure even if DH is absent from the scene/unable to work that's far better. You don't have to question how strong you think your marriage is. It's not a sign of a marital flaw to consider this issue. (no more than arranging car insurance is a sign you are a bad driver) It's only advice and advice I'd give my DDs.

CabbageLeaves Wed 28-Nov-12 07:27:29

It is very damaging to assume & generalise that all men will cheat just because some do.. I have to ask if you are so secure why is it very damaging

It's probably far more damaging to leave yourself vulnerable to life's twists and turns. Considering what if cant be that damaging surely?

nulgirl Wed 28-Nov-12 08:24:19

I will be advising my daughter to never be financially dependent on a partner. My dh who has always adored me has had a complete breakdown over the past few years to the point where he had to quit work and return to his home country. . If I hadn't been working then my children would have lost their home and stability as well as their father. He's back now and seems much better but I will always work to ensure that no matter what happens with him, the kids and I will be secure.

tumbletumble Wed 28-Nov-12 08:26:54

OP, I am really sorry for the shitty situation your ex has left you in and wish you good luck for the future.

I haven't read the whole thread so sorry if this point has already been made. I don't see why your current situation is significantly affected by your choice to be a SAHM? Surely even if you'd been a WOHM when your DC were small, you'd have given up your job by now if your DS can't go to school and you are responsible for his education? OK you'd have had more recent experience in the workplace, but you still wouldn't be in a position where you could look for a job?

akaemmafrost Wed 28-Nov-12 08:55:08

I suppose I am talking about the 8 years of misery and being financially abused that went before also when ds WAS in school. Of being financially dependant on someone who didn't want you to be. Also had I not given up my job different choices would have been made, perhaps care of dc would have been shared more equally. Perhaps my ex wouldn't have looked down on me so completely, read SGB's posts. In any case way I'd still have 10 years current experience under my belt even if I did have to give up my job now, i would have a pension, feel more relevant, not be so cut off from everything.

flippinada Wed 28-Nov-12 09:05:25

I don't read this as aka saying men are awful, don't trust them, rather - make sure you can take care of yourself and your DC should the worst happen.

As others have pointed out the 'worst' doesn't necessarily mean your husband/partner leaving you, it could be redundancy/illness/accident.

My mother dinned into me that you should be financially independent and I think she's absolutely right. I shudder to think what would have happened if I'd been a SAHM and reliant on my ex for money.

VodkaJelly Wed 28-Nov-12 09:08:20

I agree with every word you have said OP. I never had a career and when I got married and had babies I followed my husband round the country when he got new positions in his work. I would do abit of bar work or shop work to supplement our income.

When we divorced I went onto benefits for a few months then got a part time job. I met DP shortly after and became pregnant again. When DC3 was born I went back to work in Asda, working evenings and weekends. After about 3 years DP walked out on me and I was about to become the one thing I never wanted to be - a single mother on benefits. I couldnt work evenings anymore as he used to do the childcare whilst I worked.

DP and I got back together (he was gone for about a week) and it gave me the kick up the arse I needed. I went back to college to train for another profession (whilst still working at Asda) then as soon as I qualified I went back into full time work. It was hard going as my youngest DC was in full time nursery care.

Now fast forward 10 years, we both work for the same company, we are paid well and I am in the pension scheme. Even if DP walked out on me again I would survive financially as I can afford to. Even if I was made redundant I would look for another job asap.

I am due to have DC4 next month and there is no way on earth i would quit work to be a SAHM, (nothing wrong with people who choose that, but I wouldnt want to be out of the work place for years as I know how hard it is to get back into paid work), I will keep working and paying into my pension. It also means I dont have to ask DP for money and I dont have to put up with any of his shit like I did before when he was the main wage earner.

Any advice I give to young girls I know or in the work place is always the same - never ever be financially dependent on someone else, if you take time off to have kids then try to get back in to work or keep your skills current so if the worst does happen you can try and get back in to work asap.

Quite depressing really.

flippinada Wed 28-Nov-12 09:12:02

By the way SGB is right in saying that abuse can escalate considerably or even start when a woman is pregnant (did in my case). This is because the abuser knows that he had you where he wants you - ie dependent on him.

Put financial dependence into the mix and it gets a whole lot worse.

camdancer Wed 28-Nov-12 09:13:54

Just another warning - don't rely on critical illness cover. It is well known that the insurance companies will do anything to weasel out of paying. My Mum had a series of what were probably mini-strokes. She was in hospital for a few weeks and had to give up work because of the lasting damage she has. Trouble is that because the doctors didn't have a definite diagnosis the insurance company wouldn't pay out. And her story is not uncommon. They won't pay for certain cancers, or until the cancer is at a certain stage. The list of things they will pay out for is tiny and they will fight it as much as they can.

OwlLady Wed 28-Nov-12 09:18:39

akaemmafrost sad I am really sorry your ex is being such a wanker.

I have a daughter with severe disabilities and I like you, are her main carer. In a way a lot of the same choice for other women doesn't apply because that child needs you significantly more than a child who is neuro typical (or well if they are chronically ill) Me and my husband up until recently have both worked around her needs and issues but the withdrawal of respite to a massive degree has left us at crisis point and I have had to give up my job. I think there are two issues here and I think one of the main issues is why are carers not supported enough to work? Local authorities are legally obliged to support carers in work in the carers act, why and how do they get away with not doing this?

Your life isn't over though sad but I can really understand how bleak things must look. I am in a happy marriage at the moment and I still worry for the future because of my daughter.

Badvocsanta Wed 28-Nov-12 09:18:55

Interesting thread.
I am a sahm and have been for a decade now. My ds2 starts school next year. And ds1 will be stair middle school.
I am trying to get back into the workplace (I do voluntary work but emplyer seems to consider this worthwhile sadly) and its getting pretty depressing...
I am being turned down for Saturday jobs fgs!
Jobs I could do standing in my head...and all because I have no recent employment history.
Not sure what to do re this situation...retrain? What as? How will I pay for it?
Dh took in a new role at work which means more foreign travel so that has also affected what sort of jobs I can apply for.

flippinada Wed 28-Nov-12 09:22:40

Sorry I see it was cogito who made the point about abuse and pregnancy. Apologies!

OwlLady Wed 28-Nov-12 09:22:43

I also think Fathers should be held financially responsible for children who will need significant care post 19. There have been changes in policy regarding children who are in further education post 19 so it seems a bit weird that no provision has been made for children who are significantly ill or significantly disabled whose Mothers will always have to care for them, as your case akaemmafrost. Obviously this scenario can be reversed if the Father is the main carer and the Mother the main earner.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 28-Nov-12 09:25:52

"It is very damaging to assume & generalise that all men will cheat just because some do"

I don't think that's the point of the discussion. The point is that financial independence should not be given up lightly by women but thought about long and hard. It's not simply because of the prospect of cheating but a more serious matter of women maintaining control of heir own lives at all stages. Few men give everything up to become reliant upon a woman and we never question why that is.

mumnosbest Wed 28-Nov-12 09:36:02

I agree even in the best relationship you need to consider a contingency plan. Dhs do get ill, grow apart or even die as well as being cheating pigs It's also important for your own self esteem to feel like you're equal and doing simething for you.

op maybe you could get some legal advice. It doesn't sound like xdh is doing all he should. Also why can't ds go to school? There's plenty of SN provision available. Do you want/get any respite?

Chandon Wed 28-Nov-12 09:39:11

I get your point OP.

This has hapened to two friends of mine, so maybe not that rare after all.

I am a sahm, but can and do work part time from home ( translator, boring but it is something) and I own a little flat, which is in my name and the rent comes into my account. I would find it hard to be a completely dependent sahm otherwise, and yes, I trust my husband, but shit happens and we do not know what is around the corner.

In your shoes, I would get spousal support from your XH! He says he will quit his job, and never work again? How is he going to lve then? Also, if he DOES quit his job, you would be no worse off, right?

Do not let him hold you over a barrel, fight for what is rightfully yours! he owes you partbof his salary and part of his pension, find yur fighting spirit and go go go!

ByTheWay1 Wed 28-Nov-12 09:39:47

Husbands can give up on a marriage - but not on their kids - there should be something legally in place (or you need to make it so) that makes him take responsibility for his children - TIME wise as well as financially - if he has the kids half the week - OR IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR CHILDCARE for half the week - then you can work part time at least.

I would be more of a bitch in your situation - make him take responsibility for his kids so you can work.....

akaemmafrost Wed 28-Nov-12 09:41:58

Exactly cogito. I posted about MY personal situation, which giving up my job to have children directly contributed to. That's just me. My ex H looked down on me and became abusive almost from the moment I left work. It's the reason he can justify treating me as he does because I am "just a lazy c*nt, that never worked a day in her life!" full time for 16 years with never a break before WE decided I should give up work to be at home with dc. But again this is just MY situation I describe whereas what I am trying to say overall is that life can turn to rat shit in a heart beat for many different reasons.

Fwiw I have a hardworking, faithful father who loves my Mum very much. I have a hardworking faithful BIL who loves his wife very much. I know there are good men, I think people are totally misunderstanding what I am trying to say if they think this is a man bashing/all your husbands will cheat thread.

What I am saying is don't make you and your family vulnerable by putting all your eggs in one basket. I have seen the repercussions of my choice in my own life and many times here on MN.

OwlLady Wed 28-Nov-12 09:42:58

Also why can't ds go to school? There's plenty of SN provision available. Do you want/get any respite?

mumsnobest, I know you mean well but do you know how patronising that reads? There isn't adequate or appropriate schooling in county for all children with significant and severe disabilities, that is half the problem and respite hmm confused have you any idea how difficult it is to get, especially now callmedave 'i will look after those parents with children with severe disabilities' got in?

akaemmafrost Wed 28-Nov-12 09:46:07

Thanks owlady I was trying to word a response but you did it perfectly for me smile.

akaemmafrost Wed 28-Nov-12 09:46:23


whistlestopcafe Wed 28-Nov-12 09:50:43

Another thing a lot of women don't consider (me included) is the difficulty of securing a mortgage if they have given up full time work in favour of flexible part time work.

I'm self-employed and my earnings are sporadic, it suits our family circumstances right now because I'm there for the school runs and we aren't having to shell out for a full time childcare place.

If dh and I were to split-up I would receive 60% of the equity in our home, enough for a sizeable deposit. However mortgage providers would not touch me with a bargepole, my equity would be more than £16k thereby disqualifying me from receiving housing benefit. I would spend the equity on private renting which would be gone within 2 years leaving me without the security of owning my own home. Dh on the other hand could use his 40% equity share to put down as a decent deposit on a swanky apartment or terraced house and in years to come would have enough money to supplement his pension pot as he pays off his mortgage.

We aren't about to split up but this is something that is at the back of my mind. I think society puts so much pressure on women to be at home or work part time but nobody warns women about the financial implications of giving up work or choosing to work more flexibly.

I think that when couples get married or register their child's birth it should be compulsory to draw up a contract setting out their separation terms, it might focus the mind and get people to consider the impact of working part time or not working at all. After all marriage/parenting is supposed to be a partnership. Romance doesn't last forever.

CremeEggThief Wed 28-Nov-12 09:53:01

I agree, Emma. I was left for an O.W. in June, after 15 years with STBXH, in an area we moved to three years ago, far away from family and friends, and with no job. A year before he left me, he went off to work in London at very short notice and with a view that we would join him at some point. So for a whole year, I couldn't apply for jobs, as I didn't know where I'd be living or for how long.

I would have thought I would cheat on him before he'd cheat on me, that's how sure I felt of him. Sadly, I was wrong.

I have been out of work just under two years and my DS is 10, so I am hopeful things will improve over time, but I know how it feels to think things will never get better, and I doubt my situation would feel as bleak if I had been in work. I also think it would have been far easier to work going through emotional turmoil, than go through emotional turmoil, with all of the extra stress of job hunting and the knowledge that the sole responsibility of emergency child care falls to me. Hope that makes sense.

TroublesomeEx Wed 28-Nov-12 10:02:54

I also married a man who would never cheat. Who has cut out friends who visited strip clubs because he was so disgusted by it. Who has no respect for men he works with who regularly and openly cheat on their wives/partners. He used to say that I'd be more likely to have an affair than him, I'd be more likely to have my head turned or meet someone else. It was the one thing I trusted him over beyond all else...

That was, of course, until he cheated...

Himalaya Wed 28-Nov-12 10:03:29

Sorry you are having such a shit time aka Emma. I hope you do manage to retrain and find your feet.

What you are saying needs to be reiterated and reiterated, so that women understand what they are giving up when they take long periods out of work to be a SAHM (and what their partners, even the lovely lovely ones are asking them to do).

The idea that you can easily get back into work after 5-10 years break is a myth.

TroublesomeEx Wed 28-Nov-12 10:03:57

cremeegg I now find myself in a very similar position.

iwantanafternoonnap Wed 28-Nov-12 10:07:29

Sorry not read all of the thread however, I have seen this happen OP which is why despite my (D)P wanting me to give up work to look after my DS I refused.

I wanted to be secure in the knowledge that I could look after myself and my DS. That I had my own pension. That I wouldn't get stuck in the benefits trap until too old to get a job.

I am still maazed at the number of women who give up their careers for men when a lot of them do fuck off at the first sign of someone not so stressed/moany about home life. Someone that bit more fun and free than the person that had THEIR children.

Needless to say mine fucked off leaving me to pay my mortgage of £900ish on my own and not wanting to see his DS.

However, I am more fortunate than you OP and I am sorry you are going through this. Your ex is an arse. I do hope life gets less bleak for you.

OwlLady Wed 28-Nov-12 10:07:30

I know FolkGirl, my Father was always 'disgusted' by other men that cheat, always took the moral high ground. Adultery was his middle name confused

TroublesomeEx Wed 28-Nov-12 10:11:32

Apparently, it's quite common Owl! Who knew?! (not me that's for sure).

CremeEggThief Wed 28-Nov-12 10:19:56

Sorry to hear that, Folkgirl sad.

Emma, I just wish I could say something that might make you feel better. I think you are doing an amazing job with your DC, from reading your other threads, and if anyone deserves a bit of good fortune, it's you. If even one peson reading this thread thinks about how to make better provision for their future, that's thanks to you.


HazleNutt Wed 28-Nov-12 10:37:05

"we all weigh up the risks and benefits based on our own personal circumstances"

that's exactly what OP is saying though - do we actually weigh all the risks and take appropriate steps to minimise them, before we take such decisions? According to this thread and many, many others in Relationships, this is generally not the case. Because my DH would never..and nothing could ever happen to him...and well surely I can simply get a job after 10 year gap on CV. All a bit optimistic statements.

caramelwaffle Wed 28-Nov-12 10:45:21

I think this is one of the most important threads I have read on MN.

iwantanafternoonnap Wed 28-Nov-12 10:56:57

I know one thing for sure I will in-still in my DS responsibilities and family values. I will also make sure that any woman he has children with have my support and make them aware of the need for financial independence despite how my DS treats them (hopefully he won't be like his father!).

He would get a bloody good whack around the head if he dared to treat anyone like his father has treated me!!

If its not too late for any of the women on this thread, please do go for the best solicitor you can and fight for half of the pension. My mum was awarded half my dad's pension a few months back before they finalised their divorce. It's such a relief to me knowing that she will be well looked after in her old age after all the sacrifices she made to raise her family in the way she thought was best.

It is important for all SAHP to consider these issues and I think this thread is a good wake up call for people.

DS is a SAHD and I am the main earner.
We have life cover so DH and the kids would be financially OK if I die. I have Critical Illness cover so if I am unable to work we would still have a reasonable income. We have a mortgage free property in joint names. We both have savings in our own names as well as some in a joint account. DH is not as financially literate as I am (comes from a developing country where things like Life Assurance are not the norm) so I have put most of the protections in place.

DH is starting his own business but he has a skill (licence to drive double decker buses) which means that he could always find work because bus companies are constantly recruiting in London.

I am not planning for us splitting up, however, my Mum died in her early 50's so I know how things can change. I don't think DH really appreciates how vulnerable his position could be had I not taken these steps.

frantic51 Wed 28-Nov-12 11:32:44

Just to add my support to OP. Not SAHM bashing (I did it) Not man bashing (I have plenty of friends and relatives with wonderful Hs) BUT...

People change. When I met and married my Ex he was wonderful! How was I to know that as soon as I had DC and became financially dependant upon him he would turn into a controlling bastard and develop a drink problem, defraud the company he worked for and lose his job? He took a self employed position in another country, lost that income through incompetence and wound up at home, drinking himself silly and feeling sorry for himself for nearly two years while I worked full time and spent all the money I'd saved over the years keeping the family going. hmm

It turned out he had never paid his tax bill and so he ended up going bankrupt. He started his own business and I left work to work full time alongside him (I mean, how stupid could I get?) and then, just as the company seemed to be turning the corner to becoming successful, he tried to get me to sign over the whole company (it had been started with me as the shareholder owing to the bankruptcy) Our agreement, as I understood it at the time, had been that I would hand over half, "our" shares when he came out of his bankruptcy, so I had the temerity to consult a solicitor about it. He found out and, "that was that", he left me and, eventually divorced me. He ran the company down (he was the brain behind it, I just used to do all the admin and could never have run the whole thing alone as I didn't have the specialist knowledge, skill or the years experience with all the contacts it brings, in that sector).

Fast forward three years during which I cared for my mother who is now, sadly dead, and moved house and spent nearly two years trying to get a job; I am still financially dependent on Ex and, at 52 with no work experience in the last 8 years other than working with/for Ex and suffering from RA and MN problems, it's looking increasingly likely that that situation won't change. The DCs are all either in FE or sixth form and applying for FE (DD2) so I am looking at having to move in the summer to a much smaller property where it will be impossible to have all three DC to stay at any one time. Despite the fact that we are very close and the DC still want to spend holidays together. It sucks, it really does and if you're young enough and healthy enough to prevent yourself falling into this kind of situation, I would urge you to consider making your own career/earning potential a major priority in your life.

whistlestopcafe Wed 28-Nov-12 11:39:57

It's also not just about the man running off. The women could decide that she no longer wants to be in the marriage/ relationship but could be faced with a choice of poverty or spending the rest of her days in an unfulfilling relationship.

whistlestopcafe Wed 28-Nov-12 11:40:14

Woman not women.

FeuDeSnowyRussie Wed 28-Nov-12 11:50:54

OP, thank you for starting this thread. I'm sorry you're having such a shit time. I will probably be starting a family in the next few years, and although I've always said that I want to continue with my career, I've always had in the back of my head this thought: "Hmm, DH earns more than me, he has great prospects and could support us all if I decide I want to be a SAHM..." But actually, that thought really takes our marriage and his work for granted, and ignores the fact that I have good prospects myself if I continue working.

mumnosbest Wed 28-Nov-12 11:59:31

owl and op. Didn't mean to patronise at all. I've been a SN and PMLD teacher for years and wondered if there were specific reasons why ds couldn't go to school. Op you don"t sound like you're getting the support you and ds deserve from your xdh or authorities. That's all I meant.

akaemmafrost Wed 28-Nov-12 12:05:16

I actually feel really good that this thread has made some people think. I wish I would have known all this before I gave up work. I said this to my Mum today and she said the usual "well your wage would only just have covered childcare, what's the point?" so I explained the info given often here on MN.

1. The childcare should be paid equally from each parents wage. Not all of you, the mothers wage.

2. You will lose all career progression and for those of you who say well my job was rubbish any way. You wouldn't have stayed there would you? You'd have moved on and up and been able to as you had a solid work history and references behind you.

Eg. My first job was a weekend job in a newsagent and gift shop, obviously that is NOT the job I left to have children. I was a medical secretary, highly experienced and working towards an AMSPAR qual, which meant I would have walked into any medical secretary job. I live in London there is a lot of opportunity here for medical secretaries and in private practice it is extremely well paid.

3. I would have had an NHS pension.

My Mum just said "oh, you're right, I've never thought of it that way". Who does? I certainly didn't.

I am finding the responses on here really interesting in-between reading for my ICMA for the OU, due tomorrow! Really need to get my head down to it actually.

crookedcrock Wed 28-Nov-12 12:07:42

Sorry to hear about your situation op, it's shit. I think that most people (usually women) who give up a career temporarily while the children are young/babies do so because they feel it is best for their babies. In my case that was my thinking. I didn't want my babies in childcare for 9/10 hours a day while I worked. It is risky but it is a calculated risk for many women.
As soon as mine got a little older I went back to my profession part-time and in a few more years I will be full time again.
Re advice for my daughter, I would advise her to establish a career and try to take time out to be with her babies if/when they arrive. It is possible to do. Financial security is very important as is financial independence but being a carer to young babies while they develop is critically important imo.

akaemmafrost Wed 28-Nov-12 12:10:08

mumnosbest ds simply can't cope in a mainstream environment, he attended an ASD unit attached to a mainstream school for just over a week. He was being restrained daily and coming home with bruises and abrasions all over his face and body from this. The placement ended with a teacher holding him face down on a desk and repeatedly banging his face off it. He was a 8 year old little boy. The investigation found there to be no case to answer. The investigation in which they did not even speak to me or ds. I don't know where we can go from here. There us no other provision, we've tried everything. If you've any experience or ideas you could share with me I'd be very grateful smile.

Mosman Wed 28-Nov-12 12:11:18

This has happened to at least 4 of my friends and I have been forced to be the breadwinner after my H decided he didn't want to be "corporate" anymore, so now I'm still doing 100% of the housework, kids etc and have to earn 50% of the household income too.
My advice is don't bloody bother with men at all, then you'll not be disappointed.

akaemmafrost Wed 28-Nov-12 12:12:07

Re advice for my daughter, I would advise her to establish a career and try to take time out to be with her babies if/when they arrive. It is possible to do. Financial security is very important as is financial independence but being a carer to young babies while they develop is critically important imo

Agree wholeheartedly with this.

akaemmafrost Wed 28-Nov-12 12:13:04

grin mosman I agree, there's a few good ones out there but they've all been long snapped up.

DuelingFanjo Wed 28-Nov-12 12:15:30

my DH told me recently that if we had another (second) child I would 'have to give up work' because the childcare fees would basically take up most of my ages. Erm, no ... they would take up part of both our wages and IMO (for me personally) I would rather continue to do the job I enjoy and suffer slight financial hardship for a short while than end up with no job and having to try and find a new one when the kids are in school.

each to their own though. You can't really live your life based on what might happen or what has happened to people you know.

crookedcrock Wed 28-Nov-12 12:18:40


Mosman Wed 28-Nov-12 12:19:21

I know a good few men that are indeed lovely and many of my friends dare them, have children with them and very sensibly rely on them for nothing it genuinely seems to work out better that way.

Mosman Wed 28-Nov-12 12:20:01

Date them not dare them although maybe they do that too

Pinkforever Wed 28-Nov-12 12:35:55

You really need to go and see a better solicitor if you believe his threats about giving up his job-like hell he will!! were you married to this man? I only ask as you mentioned debt-my mum was left in a similar position after her dp left her. Actually being employed worked against her as she had the money to pay them-surely if you are unemployed then you should tell the debt collectors to go fuck themselves?....

Chandon Wed 28-Nov-12 12:39:54

My mum was a sahm for 20 years or so. At the time the house (paid off) was in her name, and my dad would have the car and his job!

There was no reason for her not to trust my dad, it is just how things were, and are done, in my home country:

You make very realistic plans for what would happen in case of divorce, draw that up in a contract, then go and relax and enjoy your marriage and your life.

Those of you who claim the women on this thread are insecure, or are in a sad relationship not to blindly trust their Dh and the future, I would like to ask:

Why does the woman have to do all the trusting? Why not put all assets into sahm name, and then let the DH do the trusting bit?

TroublesomeEx Wed 28-Nov-12 12:49:44

Interesting point Chandon.

Perhaps it's because the men don't want to make themselves vulnerable!

akaemmafrost Wed 28-Nov-12 12:51:29

I think it's the same old thing, society favours men. It's that simple.

autumnlights12 Wed 28-Nov-12 12:52:03

not all men are bastards. Most men are decent, honest, hardworking,
And unlike working Mums, most married stay at home Mum's get a far larger slice of the pie in a divorce.
I've friends who are both sahm's and wohm's and the sahm's were left much better off financially following divorce because they were awarded much larger financial settlements(family home and 60/70% of equity) to reflect the sacrifice they made. The financially independent working Mums- in both cases I know of, the family home was sold and split 50/50 and they're in much smaller houses now, one rented cos she couldn't afford a mortgage on her own despite a large deposit.
Anyone who is married or in a longterm relationship, whether working or not, relies on their partner. And will struggle if that relationship ends. But sahm's do get more in divorce settlements, (if there's anything to have that is!)

caramelwaffle Wed 28-Nov-12 12:53:54

Very good point Chandon

Chandon Wed 28-Nov-12 12:54:45

We have not even spoken of the risk a sahm takes if she is not married to her partner. For now (for now!) you are right that courts will still award a married sahm a fair share.


Mosman Wed 28-Nov-12 12:57:49

They don't have to be bastards to be bloody hopeless grin

autumnlights12 Wed 28-Nov-12 13:01:54

yet another sahm bashing thread. Please get the facts right though.
If a woman has children and has worked continually throughout the marriage she is no more likely to be in a better position financially than a woman who has stayed at home with her children. Because the sahm will always get a bigger share of the equity/family home to reflect that. It's not as cut and dried as you pretend, so please get the facts right

Pagwatch Wed 28-Nov-12 13:06:50

Chandon -exactly

If a relationship is filled with trust and mutual respect then conversations about financial arrangements are easy.

When DH and I started discussing my being a sahm for a couple of years he raised things like - lets set up an account for you, let's put x in your name, let's transfer your pension here and top it up while you are not working.

I am no financial genius but why anyone gives up their income and then leaves everything down to trust seems baffling - like not taking out insurance.

I think a relationship that does not encourage pragmatic financial discussions seems far more precarious to me than ones where these matters are out in the open.

The fact that I knew that DH was fierce about the fact that I would not be made financially vulnerable by being a sahm made me more confident in our marriage, not less so.

Pagwatch Wed 28-Nov-12 13:07:35

It's not a sahm bashing thread.

mumnosbest Wed 28-Nov-12 13:08:07

aka that sounds terrible angry sad
Its hard to advise without knowing your ds or local schools. It certainly sounds like this setting wasn't right for your ds or any child I would go back to the school resist the urge to bang teachers head on a desk and ask for support n finding a more suitable school. Maybe start a thread in education. There are some very knowledgable mums and teachers on MN. Maybe one will know your area.

TunipTheVegedude Wed 28-Nov-12 13:09:15

'2. You will lose all career progression and for those of you who say well my job was rubbish any way. You wouldn't have stayed there would you? You'd have moved on and up and been able to as you had a solid work history and references behind you. '

It's not as simple as that IME. If you factor in discrimination against mothers in the workplace, or, in some cases, performance actually slipping due to exhaustion (can be hard to do an intellectually demanding job when you've been up many times in the night) or time off work with sick children, you often start to see the good references and employability evaporate even if you're still in the workplace. Or, you get bullied at work after having kids, you start to take time off sick with stress as a result - again, no-one else will want to employ you.

I don't think there is an ideal solution. Sometimes the job you once loved and were good at can become unbearable. It's not as simple as 'suck up the childcare costs that are higher than your earnings for a year or two and then everything will be fine.'

autumnlights12 Wed 28-Nov-12 13:09:17

and yes, there are loads of 'my cheating bastard' threads in relationships.
Of course there are.
The nature of life is that people speak up loudly when things go tits up and remain quiet and modest about their happiness, overall.
How many women are going to post on an 'I love my husband, he is rather wonderful' forum? None, that's how many. Because nobody likes a smug bastar

akaemmafrost Wed 28-Nov-12 13:12:21

It is in no way a SAHM bashing thread. I AM a SAHM.

Pagwatch Wed 28-Nov-12 13:12:39

It isn't about whether your husband is lovely or a cheat or whether you can tell.

It is about protecting yourself and making a rational decision rather than compromising our financial future.

My DH is the SAHP and the advice to protect yourself financially (as I have done for DH) applies to SAHP of either sex.

Its not bashing the concept of being a SAHP's to say make sure you are financially protected, its common sense.

Pagwatch Wed 28-Nov-12 13:13:43

I am quite irritated by the attempts to make this sahm bashing or about adultery tbh.

autumnlights12 Wed 28-Nov-12 13:15:00

I've seen so many of these threads, with a dangerous lack of real facts, presented to women as absolute truths of life. I think we all need to read carefully on the interweb and take it with a large pinch of salt. In reality, as long as they're married, sahm's will get a bigger settlement to reflect their sacrifice and financial situation. To create the impression that working gives you lifelong immunity to financial struggle is wrong.

baublesandbaileys Wed 28-Nov-12 13:15:05

"if there's anything to have that is!"
well exactly! many SAHMs are in rented properties or have little or no equity to get 60 or 70% of! yet one man supporting one household leaves them confortable enough

what If you get divorced after renting?

If there IS a load of equity and savings and owned properties then there IS a cushion if things go wrong, but I think this thread is more about people in one income relationships who are ticking over as things are financially NOW, but don't have any fall back if that one income vanished tomorrow. That covers all sorts of things, having a second earner, insurance, savings, equity etc etc

its not SAHM bashing at all! isn't it the opposite to say that they SHOULD be getting savings in their own names and pensions in their names etc... and a toe in their industry if possible - that's the opposite of SAHM bashing! SAHM bashing would be saying that SAHMs should be happy with a bit of pocket money and leave the future to the mens

akaemmafrost Wed 28-Nov-12 13:17:19

autumnlight this thread is The Real Facts of my life.

I can guarantee you've never seen a thread like this because it's my reality, my life and it's happening to me.

There is NOTHING to get in my situation so your summary of Real Facts are not real for me and many others who have told their story on this thread.

A bigger settlement of what? If you live in rented accommodation and your DP has run up debts then you might end up with a bigger settlement of diddly squat!

Its not just about what happens if you split, what if your partner dies or becomes too ill to work?

I think is about more than that though, its about fairness and equality about recognising that the partner who stays home has made sacrifices and taking risks for the benefit of the family as a whole. Remember I am the breadwinner and DH is the SAHP - I can see that he has possibly lost opportunities because he has stayed home and that I have directly benefitted in my career because he is at home. He should be financially secure and also financially independent of me, just because I earn the money doesn't mean I get the rights over it.

ShotgunNotDoingThePans Wed 28-Nov-12 13:23:19

This thread has really made me think and feel a bit sick.
We have joint property, joint accounts except for those in my name for tax purposes (academic at the moment, but there have been times we've joked about me running off to Barbados).

There is something I'm hoping to re-train in, but any work I get from that will have minimal impact on the expenses for a family with three teenagers, all likely to be at university in the next few years.

My main fear as we get older is lack of illness insurance - for either of us. I see it as just as vital for there to be funds to meet my needs should I fall ill, as for DH - he'd have to give up work in that scenario.

I hope things get better for you, op.

Chandon Wed 28-Nov-12 13:25:30

Autumn, that is a valid point and an interestomg, if confusing one. I think ypu are probably right. But that goes for married sahms only, any unmaried sahm would be better off working, I imagine.

As to this being a sahm bashing thread, as a Sahm I am quite sensitive about that and have not felt a sahm bashing vibe at all, think you are wrong there.

In a way it is a sahm empowering thread.

flippinada Wed 28-Nov-12 13:26:16

This is not in any way a SAHM bashing thread autumnlights.

I do think people are quite naive about the lengths some men will go to avoid paying money to their ex. Mine, for example, left his high paying consultancy job and set up on his own to avoid payment.

I also have a friend whose doctor ex has gone part time and 'moonlights' to get extra money, without declaring this to the csa.

Another friend whose ex just stopped working (csa will deduct minimal amount from benefits - £5 per week)....

OwlLady Wed 28-Nov-12 13:26:20

mumnosbest, even with appropriate schooling one parent (sometimes two) will still find it difficult to work around caring duties though, but I assume as a pmld teacher you will have seen this already sad

akaemmafrost, was it the LA who found nothing wrong? Surely a child having his head repeatedly banged off the table is abuse, a child protection issue and should be reported to the police? sn or not. I do not know what you can do reference schooling though, but the lA has a legal obligation to ensure a child with special educational needs is in the correct educational setting - whether it exists in county is another matter though entirely. Have you tried parent partnership or similar for advice? Also, I am suprised Xenia hasn't appeared yet but I would ask her for advice as to whether you can get something in a settlement that will mean maintenance is carried on when your son becomes an adult because as you know you will have to look after him into your old age

flippinada Wed 28-Nov-12 13:27:50

X posts with just about everybody else I see!

OwlLady Wed 28-Nov-12 13:28:42

I didn't read this as a sahm bashing thread either. The same thing happened to my Mum akaemmafrost, she was a carer for a very ill child and my Dad was McTosser of Tossland and she apparently did 'nothing', never worked etc. It was all part of the abuse that carried on after he finally went. Women do need to protect themselves. I do think that Carers are often the most vulnerable to this kind of financial and emotional abuse, though I have no facts to base that on confused

baublesandbaileys Wed 28-Nov-12 13:31:35

"I do think people are quite naive about the lengths some men will go to avoid paying money to their ex"

this is a v extreme and rare example and very very few men would go to these lengths but
- in my home town there was a tramp who was an ex millionnaire, he deliberately lost everything before the divorce so "the god digging bitch didn't get any of it". She tried to stop him by getting him declared insane so he couldn't access the money to chuck it away, but he was declared sane

another one
- I lived in a block of flats once where one of the flats went on fire TWICE. The back story? was owned as an investment by a married couple, they were separated, in the divorce she was due to get it (think it might have been hers before they got together and moved in together somewhere else IYKWIM, and she kept it on and rented it out), the "D"H gave the keys out to local piss heads/druggies so it turned into an unsellable squat!

baublesandbaileys Wed 28-Nov-12 13:32:55

gold digging not god digging

ShotgunNotDoingThePans Wed 28-Nov-12 13:33:21

Op, as regards the maintenance: have you tried CAB? They can't give legal advice but might be able to refer you for a free session with a family solicitor, or suggest a good one.
Maybe you've been down the legal route, but I can't imagine the divorce agreement terms are written in blood - circumstances change and the law can allow for this.
A poster called I think Olgaga is very helpful on relationship breakdown matters.

baublesandbaileys Wed 28-Nov-12 13:33:58

and he literally lived on the streets rather than support her, he used to be a v high earner with a massive house and flashy lifestyle!

I was lucky in that when I split with my first husband, we split the equity 50/50. He got just about everything else but I got the one thing that mattered to me.

After that lucky escape I swore to myself I would never be in the position of financial vulnerability and if DH upped and left tomorrow I would be okay. It would be a financial struggle but not completely disastrous.

I will tell DD that it is important that she retains her financial independence too. I suspect a lot of women do stay in crappy relationships because of the fear of financial hardship, and I don't want her ever to be in that position. She will also need to protect the assets that she takes into any relationship too. Money makes even the nicest of people do very strange things.

TunipTheVegedude Wed 28-Nov-12 13:34:36

I'm a SAHM too and not feeling bashed by this thread. It is a salutary reminder of the importance of keeping a grip on the finances.

Pagwatch Wed 28-Nov-12 13:35:55

I remember reading a few years ago that when a couple have a child diagnosed with a serious disability the chances of their marriage/relationship surviving plummets.

I know the most difficult time in our 25 year relationship was post diagnosis. The strain created by DS2s severe difficulties was immense. But disability/illness is another thing people assume only happens to others.

akaemmafrost Wed 28-Nov-12 13:36:02

I've been told categorically that if I try to get spousal support, he will quit his job and go self employed on a consultancy basis. His company is based in another part of the world (not Europe). I believe he would do this, he hates me that much. He pays child support and I daren't risk it tbh.

JugglingWithPossibilities Wed 28-Nov-12 13:43:12

This looks interesting - back later ....

Bundlejoycosysweet Wed 28-Nov-12 13:43:48

So sorry OP that you have had such a crappy time. I agree that in an ideal world a woman should not give up financial independence but in reality it is sometimes so hard to get it right.

I have 3 DC and have kept working part time but I took redundancy after DS2 and went freelance to keep flexibility but the money comes in such drips and drabs and paying for child care for two pre school kids is such a drain. Sometimes I wish I had had the foresight to start my career in a 'proper' job rather than being a creative (sorry that sounds soooo wanky but not sure how else to describe it!)

Anyway my point is the government should be making far more of an effort to make employers take on more part time or flexible hour workers so it gives women more of an opportunity in the workplace, as it seems once you are out then the chance of getting a good part time job are very very slim.

OwlLady Wed 28-Nov-12 13:46:39

Pagwatch, it certainly seems the case. At my daughters special schools (she has been to 3) a lot of the Mums are coping on their own. I know of three men who are coping alone as well, so it isn't just Mums

JugglingWithPossibilities Wed 28-Nov-12 13:47:43

Yes, in my experience P/T workers often don't get a fair deal and aren't treated seriously. Opportunities for P/T often not there either unless they know you well and don't want to lose you.

Chandon Wed 28-Nov-12 13:52:17

I feel tempted to advise you to call his bluff, though I won't as I do not know the situation.

But if being a consultant would be so easy to set up....why hasn't he done so already? And if he does, and does not pay and pretends to be poor, is there really no recourse for the sahp? Surely men must claim poverty all the time? Surey he could not claim poverty whilst living the high life???

TheSecondComing Wed 28-Nov-12 13:52:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TroublesomeEx Wed 28-Nov-12 13:59:05

Chandon, my ex could also work as a consultant. He'd potentially earn a lot more than he currently does as an employee, but it wouldn't be quite as secure and would involve travelling around the country to where the work is (he knows a number of people who work for consultancies and has been invited to join them but hasn't because of having a family to provide for).

I suspect that for someone who only sees his children alternate weekends and once a week now anyway, the prospect of working away but earning a lot more and declaring a lot less would seem more appealing to him than it did when he was a reliable and responsible family man.

Obviously i don't know whether he'd do it or not, but it's an option that he could take now that he could also have taken before but had more incentive not to before.

wordfactory Wed 28-Nov-12 14:25:01

This is absolutely not a SAHM bashing thread and ayone viewing it as such is probably looking out to be offended. Nor is it scaremongering. It is simply highlighting a huge issue for women. Pretending that SAH isn't risky is both untrue and unfair. Drawing attention to ways in which women can minimise that risk is something we should all do.

Badvocsanta Wed 28-Nov-12 14:30:54

This isn't a sahm bashing thread IMO and I am one.
Although I dint see much advice for sahps like me who
A) are very restricted in what hours they can do due to childcare needs and
B) what jobs I could get after 10 years out of the job market....I just applied for a hospital switchboard position 7 hours per week on a Saturday and I got rejected - even though I used to work at that hospital before I had ds2 and have all the relevant experience etc.
It seems to me like my only options are retail or care work...nothing wrong with either but did them years ago as a student and don't really want to do them again!

Charbon Wed 28-Nov-12 14:36:58

Thank you so much for starting this thread Emma.

Like others, I don't see this thread as anything other than a salutary warning to women that sacrificing their financial independence is an enormous risk. I agree wholeheartedly with Chandon that the reason men-as-a-group don't take similar risks is because they are socialised not to have blind faith that a partner or society will take care of them financially, if the worst happens.

It's absolutely not rare for people and circumstances to change. Relationships are also healthier when both parties know that they are staying together because they actually want the relationship and the other person - not because poverty would strike if they left.

autumnlights12 Wed 28-Nov-12 14:37:19

hard not to see it as such when the same old posters come out of the woodwork time after time axes need grinding I guess

OwlLady Wed 28-Nov-12 14:37:20

Let's not forget that retail and care work are extremely physically demanding jobs too

Narked Wed 28-Nov-12 14:42:46

This isn't SAHM bashing, it's reality. If you rely on the income of your DP/DH and the relationship breaks down you will find it a lot easier to cope financially if you have current work experience and you've been involved with the finances.

There are threads on here every week about people whose exes aren't paying child support or are paying when they feel like it or are paying what they think is a suitable amount and threatening to quit/go off the books if taken to the CSA. There are threads about exes working but declaring much lower income to avois paying child support. And that's child support. Money for their DCs, not spousal support.

There are also threads about women who don't have joint accounts with their DPs/DHs. Threads by women who basically saved up so they could pay 50% of the bills whilst they were on maternity leave because they were expected to keep up their contribution even though their DP/DH earns 3x more than them. Threads where women still get given 'housekeeping'. What do you think would happen if those women split up with those men??? Would they suddenly become generous?

It's bloody difficult to get work in the current economy. Even part time, unskilled jobs have dozens of applicants, and why would they hire someone over 21 when they can hire a 17 or 18 year old and pay them less?

Look at the divorce rate. And the huge % of unmarried couples have an even higher break up rate. It's not 'bashing' to say protect your financial future.

AnyFuckingDude Wed 28-Nov-12 14:44:43

axes on both sides though, autumn wink

Shodan Wed 28-Nov-12 14:50:13

I don't see it as a SAHM-bashing thread either.

In fact, it echoes some of the thoughts I have always had and worried about.

I am on my second marriage- my first was a nightmare, XH forever walking out of jobs/gambling money away/spending freely, with me taking whatever jobs I could to cover the inevitable shortfall (waitressing/cleaning/debt-collecting) so never a chance to build a career. After the divorce I had nothing from XH, so one comfort is that at least I know I've been thee, got the t-shirt and survived.

DH is a lovely man, generous, kind, moral. But I have read too many stories on MN to know that it isn't always the tossers that cheat. I think I know him as well as anyone can know anyone else- but I don't know him inside out. That is an impossibility. And yes, he might not cheat- but he has already been in one life-threatening accident in his life- it could happen again. Or he might be completely turned inside-out by a death, or serious illness.

Like PPs, we have financial cover in place for many eventualities. But I am still without my own source of financial independence, and this concerns me. What if I change my mind about him in years to come? I don't want to stay married to someone I no longer love simply because I'm afraid of being destitute, any more than I would want him to stay with someone who doesn't love him properly.

All I can do, I think, is start to consider some retraining or working from home. I've been out of the workplace for so long (and had no real skills needed in the jobs I did do) that I hardly know where to start- but at least I know that I have to start. That, at least, is an improvement on how I was 20 years ago.

ShotgunNotDoingThePans Wed 28-Nov-12 14:52:35

I haven't noticed any axe-grinding - nor the 'same old' posters.
I agree that this is a timely thread and might make a lot of people stop and think.

Narked Wed 28-Nov-12 14:55:50

The easiest way to deal with it is preventatively ie not to end up with a gap of 6 years + in work history. I think it's important for women to remember that, when they are looking at working with small DC, whether it's currently financially worthwhile to work eg 12 hours a week is not the only consideration. They may only break even after childcare, but it's an investment in their financial future. After all, separation is only one possible cause for concern when you rely on one salary. Ill health, disability or death could leave you needing to be the main earner again.

tholeon Wed 28-Nov-12 15:00:22

All interesting stuff. I trust my dh but were he to go bananas it would be interesting to know what I - two young kids, long term marriage, I gave up a medium ranking career to be a sahm to look after the kids and support his career - would be entitled to. I also had an inheritance which went straight into joint assets. Hmmm..

autumnlights12 Wed 28-Nov-12 15:05:23

tholeon, if you have savings, investments and equity in your property, you'd get a greater share than your dh. You'd stay in family home till kids are 18 and get about 70% of the equity. Not so if you're financially independent.

AnyFuckingDude Wed 28-Nov-12 15:05:54

When my children were young, I guess it wouldn't have been financially viable for me to work and childcare to be taken out of mine and DH's combined earnings

Personally, though, I was happy to take a fiscal hit for a few years to hold onto my career and accept the nursery was taking a substantial chunk of my hard-earned income

then it got even harder when the kids went to school for a few more years, with the stress of covering school holidays every 6 weeks ago (until a blessed before/after school/holiday club opened)

now the kids are in high school etc, it's an awful lot easier, no child care costs to find and I remain in my well-paying job at the level I was before or higher...we all win

I saw it as a necessary sacrifice, and one I would do again to retain my financial independence not simply as an insurance policy against my DH fucking off with a younger model as I have never had many worries on that score (so far)

EllenJaneisstillnotmyname Wed 28-Nov-12 15:05:56

My inheritance I split 5 ways, for the 3 DC and my stbexH and me. I've ended up with none of it. The DC have kept their shares, and stbexH has had all the savings. I suppose I've had more of the equity in the house in return, but that doesn't feel like real money... sad

AnyFuckingDude Wed 28-Nov-12 15:06:41

6 weeks or so

I utterly love and adore my DH.

He is my best friend has always been there for me, has never let me down, ever.

He would love me to be a SAHM and take life easier.

And for all the reasons stated above I will NEVER stop working.

I love him dearly but I can't control the future.

DD will be exactly the same as me.

Narked Wed 28-Nov-12 15:10:45

That's the thing Tholeon. It's something people don't want to think about. No-one wants to be wondering, 'If my DP/H fecked off with someone else how would I cope financially.' Or. 'How would we cope if DP/H couldn't work for 18 months.' Or, 'What if they died?' It's like the number of people who haven't sorted out wills, which could cause huge problems - particularly for unmarried couples with DC and those with DC from previous relationships. Who wants to think about something awful happening?

akaemmafrost just wanted to say thanks for this thread and am really sorry at the way events have unfolded in your life. But your experience and this thread has given me a good kick up the backside.

I am currently pg with 1st dc and looking to give up work when the baby comes. I am freelance/self employed and very aware that there is no part-time job to return to (either in freelance or employed capacity because its a 'consultant' type of role that is never available part-time)

I only ever had a vague idea that when our hoped for family of 2 children is complete that I would look into some retraining so I could find part-time work as they grow older, but I have decided I needed to be a bit more proactive now before I leave the workplace. Hence a phonecall today to get the ball rolling, and I will remember this thread and make sure I use the time between now and DC1 being born to try and give myself some better options. (There is a vague chance I could be a 'trainer' in the area I specialise in, and that's what I need to pursue)

Narked Wed 28-Nov-12 15:16:35

You don't automatically get to stay in the family home until the DC are 18 do you?

You are making things out to be a lot more certain and safer for a SAHP than they may be.
For example will they get 70% of the equity if the property was partly paid for out of assets that their partners brought into the relationship either from the sale of a previously owned property or an inheritance?

Ciske Wed 28-Nov-12 15:21:15

Even if you want to be a SAHM, there are things you can do to protect yourself (and the family) against the risks of a single earner household:

* Life Insurance/Critical Illness Protection (and that includes for the SAHP, because the earner, if left behind, will have considerable childcare bills to worry about if the other partner dies)
* Shared savings
* Wills if not married
* Retirement planning that involves both of you (doesn't have to be a pension)

My advice to SAHMs would be to get themselves off to a financial advisor with their partner, and make sure both sides are secure and protected.

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Wed 28-Nov-12 15:23:05

me too - DC2 just turned 1, I'm about to turn 30 so I think all this is a bit timely for me. My massive problem is twofold...I work in an industry where most people are woefully underpaid, a lot of peers are STILL working for free or peanuts, subsidising this career choice by temping, bar work etc. And we currently live in the US, my visa is a spousal visa which doesn't allow me to work at all.

So for now I just have to keep my hand in by continuing to work for free when I can (not so easy now we live far away from family and friends who helped out with the childcare), hoping that either it will help when we return home, or that a visa/greencard comes through...

Charbon Wed 28-Nov-12 15:25:27

autumn when my friends sold their properties when the children left home, the division was nearer to 50-50 regarding investments and equity, so I'm not sure where you are getting 70% from. Having money tied up in a property that won't be sold for years is of no use in any case when a woman needs money straight away. Not everyone has property or investments. Fewer young couples are now able to buy houses and make investments at a time when the labour market has never been as challenging for people without skills, qualifications and continuous work experience.

Narked Wed 28-Nov-12 15:26:41

Does your visa allow unpaid work Girl? Volunteer work that would fill a gap on your CV, and could be linked with your area of work?

Badvocsanta Wed 28-Nov-12 15:26:48

You can protect yourself to some extent...
Dh and I both have life cover/critical illness cover.
Dh has a pension.
We have no savings sadly but do have a joint account with about £50 in it sad
I need to sort a pension but its a low priority ATM. Need to re look at it in the new year...

Badvocsanta Wed 28-Nov-12 15:27:21

Oh, and we have up to date wills too...

autumnlights12 Wed 28-Nov-12 15:27:40

they must have had very shoddy solicitors then Charbon as that is not the norm.

Charbon Wed 28-Nov-12 15:36:14

I think you might be surprised autumn at how many things are changing regarding division of assets. 50-50 seems to have become much more of a norm in recent years and part of the reason for this is that pension pots have been eroded and are no longer the bargaining chip that they were in exchange for one partner retaining the greater share of equity in a house sale.

Can you back up your 70% comment? You seem very certain when things are decided on a case by case basis.

Bobloblaw Wed 28-Nov-12 15:40:22

I posted earlier along similar lines, I'm only 26 but because of dd's disabilities I have no future prospects. It's so incredibly depressing knowing that I have no way of ever doing anything with my life other than look after my dd, and as much as I love her it is pretty soul destroying.

two years ago, I got married. I had been very happy plodding along with dp, sahm to three kids. Then I woke up and realised I had few rights in that position.

It was thanks to threads like this, that I realised just how vulnerable I was. It's important to remind people/mothers of the implications of their decisions.

autumnlights12 Wed 28-Nov-12 16:03:11

It is certainly true that in most straightforward cases, a stay at home mother who isn't working will be awarded more. I've seen this happen three times amongst friends and my husbands friend, who specialises in family law, says that this is the most usual outcome.

autumnlights12 Wed 28-Nov-12 16:06:24

Fact is, if you get divorced, you'll be worse off whatever your working status. That's why many people end up better off on benefits. Depressing but true. How many of us married women could pay the mortgage bills and food shop on our own with no help from a partner? Not very many.

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Wed 28-Nov-12 16:15:30

Narked only if I"m not taking awy a paid job from an American, it's very restrictive...and of course the trouble with volunteering is how do we pay for the incurred childcare costs?

Narked Wed 28-Nov-12 16:21:29

Somewhere with creche facilities or child friendly? A museum? An education based thing eg children's music group? Or something that requires your DH to look after the DC whilst you work eg a Saturday morning thing? Or some Christian based charity. They like DC grin.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 28-Nov-12 16:21:47

"I think we all need to read carefully on the interweb and take it with a large pinch of salt. In reality, as long as they're married, sahm's will get a bigger settlement to reflect their sacrifice and financial situation. "

What 'pinch of salt'?... the stats are that 1 in 3 marriages end in divorce, an unknown number of informal partnerships finish every year, and there are a lot of very unhappy, dependent women in marriages that really ought to come to an end.... only they stick around because they have too much to lose financially.

And 'as long as you're married' is no guarantee of anything. Settlements for wealthier couples can get reduced to nil if exH's opt to drag things out so that it all goes on lawyers' fees or if they hide their assets as others have mentioned. Settlements for average couples are often a few thousand equity in a home or a bit of child support - a long way from the steady income that provides security.

Anything in life has to be treated on the basis of 'hope for the best, expect the worst'.... even marriage.

flippinada Wed 28-Nov-12 16:21:54

Autumnlights, you seem to be intent on having an argument nobody started.

Plus you're implying that divorced/separated sahms have it made financially. That may be true in some circles but the reality for many women is very different.

NapaCab Wed 28-Nov-12 16:22:18

Good post, OP. When you're a SAHM, you're putting your future financial security in the hands of another person, which is kind of infantilizing. You're in the same position as a child in a family who has no control over their financial welfare.

I say that as a SAHM myself but an accidental one. My DH got a good job abroad so I took (kind of) voluntary redundancy in my job and moved with him. I have no visa to work here so am SAHM to DS (1) but it's only been for a year so far. It's not something I ever thought I would do and while my DH is a very good person and very generous, it feels scary to think that our entire financial wellbeing hinges on him.

I'm taking OU-type courses and trying to get into freelance writing and editing to make sure I keep my profile up and build a network of contacts so I can get back into work in the next couple of years, either when I get permanent residency here and can work or through moving back home. It's not a situation I would want to be in long-term. From my experience though, women who make it work and get their careers back are the ones who keep in touch with networks and build new ones while being SAHMs. It's possible to get back into work from what I see but you have to be determined! It must be incredibly hard if you have DC with SN - society just doesn't offer enough support in that situation. Unless you have family who can help, it's impossible.

flippinada Wed 28-Nov-12 16:23:23

I said many, I actually mean most.

autumnlights12 Wed 28-Nov-12 16:26:02

Since when did having a different opinion translate to 'determined to have an argument?''

Procrastinating Wed 28-Nov-12 16:26:22

It is thanks to threads like these that I stayed in work a few years ago rather than becoming A SAHM. When I had my third child I asked on MN whether I should give up work because it all seemed impossible.
I have found it very difficult to cope with work and babies, but this reminds me why I do it.
Good luck to you emma, there is hope.

autumnlights12 Wed 28-Nov-12 16:29:02

Bottom line is this: divorce is expensive for everyone, whether male or female. 2 out of three marriages stay together. It's not all doom and gloom.

Thistledew Wed 28-Nov-12 16:29:30

It's not just a question of your husband leaving you/ becoming ill/ dying etc. My parents are nearly 40 years married. My mum is likely to survive my dad by 20 years or so, and despite the fact that they live comfortably on his pension now, mum will be reduced to a state pension when he dies, as his pension entitlement will not pass to her. An investment they made to try to compensate for this disappeared through no fault of their own.

FeuDeSnowyRussie Wed 28-Nov-12 16:38:24

I don't think this is an "all doom and gloom" thread though autumn. It is sad, but there is so much positive, practical, realistic advice on here. I already knew most of the arguments for why you should make an effort to remain financially independent if possible, but, for me anyway, the stories* on this thread really bring home the reality of it and genuinely make me feel more ambitious for myself and want to plan even more carefully for my family's future.

*Sorry, 'stories' sounds wrong when it's your real lives we are talking about, but I couldn't think of a better word.

flippinada Wed 28-Nov-12 16:39:08

That's somewhat disingenuous, autumn. Anyway, I'm not interested in arguing.

Here's what op is saying, in a nutshell "women should make sure they are financially independent and carefully consider the implications of giving up work to look after their children".

I would confidently challenge anyone who disagrees with that statement to come up some rational arguments as to why.

akaemmafrost Wed 28-Nov-12 16:39:30

autumnlights well firstly you said this was a SAHM bashing thread, which it quite categorically isn't. That was denied so you mentioned "usual suspects" etc. Then you argued that married SAHM are always better off anyway on divorce which from the many accounts on this thread is clearly not the case. It seems only a specific few fall into that position, when that was pointed out to you, you didn't acknowledge that where there are few assets the SAHM comes off considerably worse. Just pushed, again your own point. You do seem rather argumentative to me and deliberately misunderstanding the thread. Not discussing at all.

amicissimma Wed 28-Nov-12 16:40:42

The problem is that we all rely on someone for our financial support.

I have two friends who lost their jobs suddenly (not paid for the last month) when their employer's business went bust. One of them was in a very specialised area and never found a job at the same level.

Another friend whose own business went bust leaving her with all sorts of financial problems and having to start again in a new area. Another whose business went bust, business partner sold all the assets then committed suicide, leaving my friend (main breadwinner, late 40s) with no job, no savings, no pension, no employment record.

I also know a couple in their 80s who are still paying off several hundred pounds a month of debt run up in their failed business. They live in a really unsuitable and virtually unsellable house and rely on their familiy to survive.

flippinada Wed 28-Nov-12 16:41:56

*with some rational arguments, I meant to say.

autumnlights12 Wed 28-Nov-12 16:42:34

if someone disagrees with you, they're argumentative are they? Lol!

akaemmafrost Wed 28-Nov-12 16:44:23

No, but you're not acknowledging any of the accurate points being made, just determined to be right and pushing your own points that have been shown not to be the general rule that you stated they were. I would call that argumentative, yes.

CabbageLeaves Wed 28-Nov-12 16:45:13

I've seen so many of these threads, with a dangerous lack of real facts, presented to women as absolute truths of life. I think we all need to read carefully on the interweb and take it with a large pinch of salt. In reality, as long as they're married, sahm's will get a bigger settlement to reflect their sacrifice and financial situation. To create the impression that working gives you lifelong immunity to financial struggle is wrong.

To tell people that being married and not working will ensure they get a bigger slice is also wrong and misses other points. The point is your married SAHP is dependant totally on their spouse. If spouse works hard they win. If when marriage is going tits up the spouse starts drinking/gambling/gives up work etc. ....loses business etc you go down with them. It happens. Bit late in the day to suddenly start looking to rectify it all

TSC and OP all make observations about ex threatening and going bankrupt to avoid CSA. This is exactly what happened to me.

My ex was always going to put the DC first (he told everyone this so he must have meant it). He always worked. We had a long marriage... 22 yrs. I never thought I'd be a single mum... I'd have read threads like this and not related to the OP. My DH was not like them...

On our divorce he paid maintenance for 2 months then stopped. When CSA finally caught up with him he told me he would go bankrupt unless I stopped them pursuing him. I didn't. He did.

Now had I been a SAHM I would have been able to enjoy going bankrupt with him because he had frittered away a huge sum of money and created massive debt. Fortunately I'd maintained a good career...

CabbageLeaves Wed 28-Nov-12 16:47:03

How many of us married women could pay the mortgage bills and food shop on our own with no help from a partner? Not very many.

I can

ATourchOfInsanity Wed 28-Nov-12 16:48:00

Duelling but surely you have to make choices based on what has happened to people you know, or the possibility of what might happen? How else does anyone make a decision about most things? Moving house/schooling/job change, all of these you make a balanced choice over. Many people don't seem to think too far ahead when it comes to kids, and women are especially too trusting of their partners, IME. Thinking the of the worst case scenario doesn't make it happen, it just prepares you for the worst.

OP I hope you find more to keep you happy and this is a recent split. It can be hard to keep your head up, but keep going. You sound like a fab mum.

SolidGoldYESBROKEMYSPACEBAR Wed 28-Nov-12 16:49:51

Of course, things can go wrong in your life even if you are working and building a career: you could get ill/injured to the point you are unable to work, your job (and practically every job you are capable of doing) could be rendered obsolete when you are a bit old to retrain - and even if you do retrain, employers want younger people... It still doesn't make it a good idea to put yourself totally in the hands of your partner just because you love him, and because he's the Man, and you have been brought up on the idea that The Man is what you need. While society still sees the Perfect Family as one with The Man at the head of it and the Wife'n'Kids in the background, life is going to remain harder for women. Men are not socialised to expect to make sacrifices for their children; they're told to expect their wives to take care of all that.

Of course, the one thing that would really help would be very cheap childcare that was available 24/7

And no, hard-of-thinking misogynists, that wouldn't mean selfish career bitches never seeing their own kids. it would mean that mothers could take on evening jobs while their kids are sleeping in the care of a responsible adult. For example.

Himalaya Wed 28-Nov-12 16:51:49

To create the impression that working gives you lifelong immunity to financial struggle is wrong.

Whoever thinks that?

Maintaining your employability is a heck of a good idea though, certainly it can't do your long term financial prospects any harm.

SolidGoldYESBROKEMYSPACEBAR Wed 28-Nov-12 16:53:34

Autumn, while you're grinding your Men are Wonderful axe, you're completely missing the point that anyone's hardworking, decent, loyal husband can die, get sick, or be made redundant and that's the other good reason for holding on to as much financial independence as you can when you become a mother.

flippinada Wed 28-Nov-12 16:53:53

Oh yes cabbageleaves me too.

If I relied on my ex, I'd be up the proverbial creek minus a paddle.

Chandon Wed 28-Nov-12 16:56:58

Did not think I would ever say this, but where is Xenia when you need her?

Probably busy working, I guess...

CabbageLeaves Wed 28-Nov-12 16:59:43

It's quite amazing that there is a post suggesting men should shoulder all the financial burden yet women couldn't? This is 2012

Anyway getting past that amazingly sexist defeatist old fashioned drivel.... Regardless of gender, regardless of parenthood, regardless of job.... No one knows what is around the corner. Making yourself reliant on another person is an incredibly big gamble

Sadly too many men and women lose when a hopeful attitude to married finances doesn't give them what they hoped for. Some sort of insurance is good - doesn't have to be employment. Just has to be income.

autumnlights12 Wed 28-Nov-12 17:02:35

Yes solid gold, I'm aware of that. Because I lived it. My Dad died when I was at primary school and left three kids and my mum who was a sahm. This was the 1980's and there was no life insurance. She downsized. We had less. We got through it. I'm not sure how her working would've helped any. Except having lost a Father, we'd have then not seen very much of her. So please don't patronise me and assume I'm some naive person who thinks all men are wonderful and immortal.

wannaBe Wed 28-Nov-12 17:04:50

IMO this doesn't just apply to people who might end up in a divorce situation.

About a year ago I posted a thread on here about sahms who give up work to have a baby and who then find themselves unemployable five, ten years down the line when the kids are at school and employers are looking for relevant experience rather than experience of ten years ago.

Regardless of financial independence there comes a point when most sahms will reconsider needing to go back to work for instance and then finding themselves in a position where they're unable to do so.

I gave up work ten years ago in order to have ds. I started looking for work when we moved here but the reality is that we are in a current employment situation where there are just not enough jobs around for the numbers of unemployed. I did a course and am now in a position where i am starting out with my own business. However in the meantime me and dh have split up and are getting divorced. Fortunately he is being financially fair and I will be ok, but I am still in a position now where I am aiming to seek financial independence ASAP...

akaemmafrost Wed 28-Nov-12 17:05:10

So why do you keep pushing an argument that has been shown to not be the general rule? Also you tried to discredit my thread by telling other posters to take it with a big pinch of salt. I don't see where you're coming from if not the all men are great angle.

DuelingFanjo Wed 28-Nov-12 17:05:33

"How many of us married women could pay the mortgage bills and food shop on our own with no help from a partner? Not very many"

I would struggle but I would manage it, just. I would have to get rid of a few things (tv package/high speed broadband) and use less gas/electricity etc but I could probably manage it. Wouldn't be much left over though, I guess I would rely heavily on tax-credits and other benefits.

Plenty of people live their lives as single people (maybe with some kids) and don't have a problem affording it. Some of us would have to have to make cuts and sacrifices I am sure, and others are probably earning a much higher than average wage so would find it easy.

As I am the working parent rather than DH obviously I can shoulder all the bills because I already do!

We do have income from investments which could with a bit of juggling allow DH to manage even if I hadn't protected my contribution to the family even if he didn't return to work. The children are school age so there is no reason why he couldn't do some part time work if I wasn't around (hopefully his business will fit that role in a few years anyway).

akaemmafrost Wed 28-Nov-12 17:08:36

That's a good point wannabe it's not just relevant to those who find themselves in the sh*t, but also generally anyone who once their kids are less dependent would like to make a career and life independent of their family. The cost of being a SAHM can be so incredibly high and that needs to be common knowledge so we can make informed decisions.

autumnlights12 Wed 28-Nov-12 17:11:56

I'm not trying to discredit your thread. I've pointed out that 2 out of 3 marriages work, so being a sahm doesn't necessarily entail years of worry about losing it all. I've opened yet another thread on Mumsnet which leaves me feeling like I've entered a parallel universe

akaemmafrost Wed 28-Nov-12 17:12:36

Actually one hopeful thing I remembered today is ds's previous Ed Psych. When I told her I was doing OU she told me that's how she got her degree. She's now got a great career, I would love to do what she does. May not be possible but at least it makes me determined to do the OU and do it well, because it could realistically lead to something.

akaemmafrost Wed 28-Nov-12 17:13:08

Yet you seem to be alone in feeling like that..........

wordfactory Wed 28-Nov-12 17:13:48

autumn please stop making assertions about the law vis a vis divorce.

You are clearly not a divorce lawyer and what you are saying is incorrect. There is no rule that a SAHM gets the house until the DC are 18. There is no rule to say she will get 70% thereafter.

You are making incorrect assumptions based on a few experiences rather than case law.

It is one thing to come on MN looking to be a professionally offended SAHM. That is just annoyoing and boring. But spouting utter rubbish about the law is damaging and potentially dangerous.

autumnlights12 Wed 28-Nov-12 17:15:32

On this thread perhaps. You watch. There'll be another one tomorrow or next week worded slightly differently with 30 pages of different responses. The spooky randomness of Mumsnet.

Charbon Wed 28-Nov-12 17:16:59

It's also disingenuous to claim that poverty affects men on divorce as much as it does women. As long as more women step out of the workforce to raise children, the cumulative sum of lost earnings and earning potential in an average working life greatly outstrips the cumulative sum of time-limited child/spousal maintenance or one-off asset settlements. It is an inescapably gendered issue.

The whole point of this is that it makes no sense to trust on luck when it comes to your financial survival. Living a life with a partner who will never get ill, disabled, encounter an accident or injury or a penchant for a different life is just down to luck and nothing else.

autumnlights12 Wed 28-Nov-12 17:17:44

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

Adversecamber Wed 28-Nov-12 17:19:49

OP I am so sorry you are going through this, my Mum she gave me the exact same advice when I was a very young girl because her first husband cheated on her when she was pg.

She said never rely on a man for money, never have to beg for money for sanitary towels. Sadly she was then widowed with two dd's still at home. She had six dc in total and three marriages, she always worked. Her final job was quite well paid and when she retired early at 58 due to ill health she got a really decent pension.

My career has taken a bit of a back seat and I work part time but I just wouldn't want to take myself right out of the work loop.

DH uncle left his wife, their third child had quite significant SN and it turned out the utter bastard had been having an affair for six years.

wordfactory Wed 28-Nov-12 17:20:38

charbon it is absolutely a gendered issue and considered that by almost everyone involved in divorce law and policy making.

The law tries its very best to rebalance for SAHMs but it can only work with what's on the table. You cannot magic money out of the air.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 28-Nov-12 17:22:50

"2 out of 3 marriages work"

How do you know all of those are actually working? The absence of a Decree Nisi does not mean happiness and equality. No-one knows what goes on behind closed doors.

This isn't a parallel universe, unfortunately, that's the point. Now you may not be able to identify with some of these stories. You may have a fantastic marriage to a kind, generous man and you may feel utterly secure in your choices, unconcerned with financial independence and good for you and anyone like you if that's the case. But there are a lot of unhappy women out there who feel they were sold a 1950s dream of staying home with children while their loving partner/husband provided funds and treated them with respect and something has gone wrong along the way - either maliciously or accidentally - and they now realise that they were premature in giving up so much.


You do know wordfactory is legally trained and so might have some expertise that you don't.

Just saying smile

wordfactory Wed 28-Nov-12 17:24:17

No autumn I did not patronise you.

I simply pointed out that you had tipped from merely ignorant and boring to damaging and dangerous. Just stating the facts.

Satating that women need to protect themselves against vulnerability is not an axe.

akaemmafrost Wed 28-Nov-12 17:24:47

My charming ex tells me that the law and benefits system are the main cause of marriages breaking down. As they make it too easy for the woman to leave a marriage hmm. According to him we should stick it out, marriage is for life blah blah blah Him being the person he is, holding this view makes me feel that the powers that be have got something right anyway. I've often wondered how these laws were decided and by whom.

Narked Wed 28-Nov-12 17:25:31

Thought not WordFactory. The family home is often sold isn't it.

autumnlights12 Wed 28-Nov-12 17:28:14

You haven't stated facts. You've stated an opinion. Don't confuse opinion with factual information.

The same happened to my mum. After following my dad all over the world she was left for a younger model and now faces a very bleak future. You can be sure that will never happen to me. Any woman who doesn't ensure she has a good pension and investments of her own to protect her future if she chooses to stay at home is an absolute fool.

wordfactory Wed 28-Nov-12 17:30:32

narked it depend son so many variable.

In an ideal world the children should be able to continue living in the family home. But in order to make that work the husband needs to be able to faciliatate the morgage on it and provide himself with somewhere else to live (suitable for the DC to stay).

Most times it's just not workable, particularly if the DC are young and the arrangement going to last a long time. The husband may simply not earn enough to run two homes.

Of course it would be much more doable if the wife earned somehting too. But the difficulty is her finding work if she has been out of the work place for long periods.

wordfactory Wed 28-Nov-12 17:31:55

autumn that what you have stated is ignorant and incorrect vis a vis the law is fact.

I will give it to you that fidning you boring is simply my opinion.

Narked Wed 28-Nov-12 17:33:25

That's what I thought was the case - how many people earn enough to service their current mortgage and pay for a second home for themselves that has at least 2 bedrooms + child support?

The statement that there is no rule that that the SAHP gets the house is a fact. There is no rule, it is an option not a requirement. It is an option that gets weighed in the balance by the judge depending on the individual circumstances of the case.

This is really really basic and important for people to understand -each case is decided on its own merits within the framework of options available to the judge - you cannot be absolutely certain of the outcome until the judge has ruled and no two cases will give absolutely identical results.

elastamum Wed 28-Nov-12 17:34:14

Ok, for those of you who want to argue whether becoming a single parent is a potential route to poverty, or something that happens to someone else here are some facts from gingerbread:

It is pretty depressing reading sad

•Just over a quarter (26 per cent) of households with dependent children are single parent families (1), and there are 2 million single parents in Britain today. (2) This figure has remained consistent since the mid-1990’s
•Less than 2 per cent of single parents are teenagers (3)
•The median age of single parents is 38.1 (4)
•Around half of single parents had their children within marriage – 49 per cent are separated from marriage, divorced or widowed (5)
•59.2 per cent of single parents are in work, up 14.5 percentage points since 1997 (6)
•The employment rate for single parents varies depending on the age of their youngest child. Once their children are 12 or over, single parents’ employment rate is similar to, or higher than, the employment rate for mothers in couples (71 per cent of single parents whose child is 11-15 are in work) (7)

Who are single parents?
•There are 3 million children living in a single parent household (23% per cent of all dependent children) (8)
•Around 8 per cent of single parents (186,000) are fathers (9)
•The average duration of single parenthood is around 5 years (10)
•Only 6.5 per cent of all births are registered alone, and 10 per cent are registered to two parents who live apart (11)
•Single fathers are more likely to be widowed than single mothers (12 per cent of single fathers are widowed, compared with 5 per cent of single mothers), and their children tend to be older (12)
•Just under half of couples divorcing in 2009 had at least one child aged under 16. Over a fifth (21 per cent) of the children in 2009 were under five and 63 per cent were under eleven (13)

The proportion of single parent families has increased since the 1970s, but it hasn’t changed much in the last ten years
•In 1971 just 8 per cent of families with children were single parent families (14)
•In 1998 24 per cent of families with children were single parent families (15)
•In 2011 26 per cent of families with children were single parent families (16)

Single parent families and poverty

•Children in single parent families have a much higher risk of living in poverty than children in couple families. Around four in every 10 (41 per cent) of children in single parent families are poor, compared to just over two in every 10 of children in couple families (17)
•Paid work is not a guaranteed route out of poverty for single parents; the poverty rate for single parent families where the parent works part time is 23 per cent, and 18 per cent where the parent works full time (18)
•The median weekly income for working single parent families doing 16 hours a week or more is £337, compared with £491 for couple families with one worker and £700 where both parents work (19)
•43 per cent of single parents are social housing tenants compared to 12 per cent of couples (20)
•71 per cent of all single parent renters receive housing benefit compared to 25 per cent of all couple renters (21)
•Single parent households are the most likely to be in arrears on one or more household bills, mortgage or nonmortgage borrowing commitment (31 per cent) (22)
•38 per cent of single parents said that money always runs out before the end of the week/month compared to 19 per cent of couples (23)
•63 per cent of single parents have no savings compared to 34 per cent of couples (24)

Work and childcare

•Where single parents are not working, this is often because there are health issues that make work difficult: 33 per cent of unemployed single parents have a disability or longstanding illness (25) and 34 per cent have a child with a disability (26)
•Over half of single parents are in work (59.2 per cent), up 14.5 percentage points since 1997. In the same period, the employment rate of mothers in couples has risen three percentage points to 71 per cent (27)
•Single parents rely heavily on informal childcare. Of those using childcare, 46 per cent said it was informal. (28) For single parents working 16 hours a week or more 34 per cent had a childcare arrangement with the child’s grandparents, and 17 per cent had an arrangement with their ex-partner (29)
•Working single parents paying for childcare are much more likely than working couples paying for childcare to find it difficult to meet childcare costs (32% compared to 22% of couples where one partner is in work, and 20% of couples where both work) (30)

Child maintenance

•Only two-fifths (38 per cent) of single parents receive maintenance from their child’s other parent (31)
•For all those with an agreement for child maintenance (both through the CSA and private arrangement) the median weekly amount received is £46 per family (32)
•The average amount of child maintenance liable to be paid through the CSA is currently £33.50 per week (£22.50 if all cases with a weekly assessment of zero are included in the average). (33) Among parents with care in receipt of income-related benefits, the average amount is £23 (excluding cases with a weekly assessment of zero) (34)
•Of single parents receiving child maintenance through the CSA, 40 per cent receive less than £10 per week, 38 per cent receive between £10 and £50 per week and 22 per cent receive more than £50 per week (35)

Narked Wed 28-Nov-12 17:35:43

'I will give it to you that finding you boring is simply my opinion'

You should charge for giving your opinion grin

autumnlights12 Wed 28-Nov-12 17:36:34

it's neither ignorant nor incorrect to state that in many or most divorce cases the sahm usually receives a larger cut of any equity. Just google it if you think I'm making it up.

wordfactory Wed 28-Nov-12 17:39:42

narked that is true.

The original case where the law changed and what a SAHM did was finally given its value was a landmark case. However the couple were millionaires.

It simply doesn't work well when there is not enough to go around.

Statistically, women post divorce find themselves much poorer. And still beholden to a man who they are now no longer commited to! This is one of the reasons for the original introduction of FTC.

And let's not get started on women post separation!

Narked Wed 28-Nov-12 17:40:04

Be careful not to trip up with all that back pedalling. You said SAHMs getting divorced would get to live in the family home until the youngest DC was 18.

wordfactory Wed 28-Nov-12 17:41:41

autumn yes women often do receive a larger cut of the equity...because the family home is sold!

wordfactory Wed 28-Nov-12 17:42:43

And who wants a cut of the equity?

If its not enough to buy a house outright, what will a SAHM do? How will she get a mortgage?

elastamum Wed 28-Nov-12 17:42:51

But you cant eat a house! We live in a walloping great house, which I took as part of my divorce settlement and couldnt sell (was on the market 3 yrs, not a single offer as no one wants an old drafty listed building next to a river in a recession).

Costs a fortune to heat and bits of it are falling down. If I didnt have my own income we would be completely knackered. As it is only I am completely knackered grin


OK lets assume for a minute that its correct that SAHP get a larger share of the equity. Are they really better off? The WOHP is happily earning away and paying some maintenance. The SAHP is surviving on that maintenance and the equity if it can be realised at all at the time i.e. equity in a house you can't sell doesn't put food on the table. Can't you see that even after an unequal divorce settlement the SAHP may be significantly worse off in income terms than the WOHP and may struggle to get a job to supplement their limited income?

Pagwatch Wed 28-Nov-12 17:43:47

I have been on loads of sahm vs wohm threads where there has been sahm bashing and wohm bashing.
And I even know wo some of the usual sahm bashes are.

To view this as a sahm bashing thread you must - to quote CJ Cregg - really want it

It is useful though.
At least the message is being repeated so often and with such clarity that only the determinedly stupid could walk away not recognising the basic message - that women must take as many steps as possible to gain some financial security.

wannaBe Wed 28-Nov-12 17:43:55

the statement that the mother gets to stay in the house until the children are eighteen is utter rubbish. We investigated this when me and dh decided to split up

In fact dh' solicitor told him this is becoming less and less prevalent.

elastamum Wed 28-Nov-12 17:45:04

And if you dont have proof of an income for over 3 yrs, you cant get a mortgage anyway

x post with quite a few people all pointing out that bricks and mortar whilst still in the form of bricks and mortar not cash are not edible and don't pay for new school shoes.

wordfactory Wed 28-Nov-12 17:50:29

wannabe it is getting far less prevalent.

Reasons include the fact that courts are relaising that unless the DH is on board then forcing him to facilitate a mortage when he doesn't want to results in repossessions. Better to sell at the best price.

Also even if the DH wants and can facilitate the mortgage the lender has to agree and they are not amenable at present.

Also, the courts realise that it simply isn't tenable for many DH's in the current climate.

Also, 50/50 residence is becoming more common so the DH can argue for a much bigger place...

takataka Wed 28-Nov-12 17:51:50

autumn i think you are only considering divorce where the man is a substantial earner. In such cases the SAHM may get a decent financial sum. But there are many many many cases where the husband is only just earning enough to support the family; so when divorce happens there isnt any money to support 2 seperate families...

TroublesomeEx Wed 28-Nov-12 17:54:22

God reading this is just making me wish I'd stayed single and childless and think that I will advise my children to remain single and childless sad

When my parents got divorced my dad was determined to "do right" by my mother, my brother and me. I don't think my mum realised just how well she did out of it tbh.

tomverlaine Wed 28-Nov-12 18:03:15

I do feel sorry for the OP and the other posters.
I have a slightly different view point. My DP is a SAHP but has given up a lot more of work than he needs to-he looks after DS part-time but could work the remainder of the time (he is self employed and much of his work is outside normal working hours)- he chooses to spend his spare time doing other stuff eg his hobbies;
Now although I am fine with this, I would have problems if a court was to believe that giving up work was something he had done at my request or for the family (if it came to a court)- while he thinks that is what they would say. So how do you prove whether something was a joint decision or not? does he need to prove that we have benefitted from his decision
i am trying to protect myself from having to support someone in a life of leisure for ever...

SolidGoldYESBROKEMYSPACEBAR Wed 28-Nov-12 18:04:51

And of course there are plenty of families where it's simply not feasible for one parent to remain at home, because the wage earner doesn't earn enough anyway. The whole housing boom did low earners no favours.

But nobody wants to go back to the days when men were paid more than women for doing identical work irregardless of personal circumstances on the grounds that men worked to support a wife'n'kids, and women worked because they wanted money for lipsticks and new hats.

QuickLookBusy Wed 28-Nov-12 18:07:09

This thread is very sad.

I'm a SAHM, and have been married for 23 years. I'm very lucky that if the worst did happen I would be ok. But I know that is rare and I don't want my Dds to ever be financially reliant on someone else.
But I now feel guilty that I haven't myself provided them with a very good role model. It's all very difficult because they see it all being ok with myself and Dh and probably think they will be ok too. I need to have some serious chats with them!

akaemmafrost Wed 28-Nov-12 18:12:17

"on the grounds that men worked to support a wife'n'kids, and women worked because they wanted money for lipsticks and new hats."

grin you always manage to get a smile out of me SGB. Painfully funny the above.

imogengladhart Wed 28-Nov-12 18:13:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JugglingWithPossibilities Wed 28-Nov-12 18:16:14

"The days when men were paid more than women .... on the grounds that men supported wife"n"kids, and women worked because they wanted money for lipsticks and new hats"

You know, I'm not so sure we've moved on so far or so thoroughly from that position after all SG.

wordfactory Wed 28-Nov-12 18:17:52

Quick - I don't think you've been a poor role mpddel at all! You've shown your children it can work. All you need to do is explain how you protected yourself rom risk.

wannaBe Wed 28-Nov-12 18:18:56

wordfactory yes exactly. all this "the wife can stay in the house until the dc are eighteen" is all very well, but only if the xh is on board with this idea, which, if the wife has had to go to court to facilitate this, he clearly isn't likely to be.

JugglingWithPossibilities Wed 28-Nov-12 18:20:23

And our DD's are a new generation. Maybe we did/ are doing the best we could in our generation but we can give them better advice than we had, and hopefully help them make even better choices than we did.

Onwards and upwards my friends !

wannaBe Wed 28-Nov-12 18:21:41

I dont think that being a sahm is being a bad role model at all. You stayed home with your children, I did, I wouldn't change anything now even if I could have looked into the future - the only thing I might have changed would be to have gone back to work sooner perhaps, and maybe then things would have been different anyway but who knows.

wannaBe Wed 28-Nov-12 18:23:45

"And our DD's are a new generation. Maybe we did/ are doing the best we could in our generation but we can give them better advice than we had, and hopefully help them make even better choices than we did." but I don't regret the choices I made. And I don't think that we should be raising a generation of women who should feel they shouldn't stay home with their children if that's what they want to do. The role of the sahm should never be underestimated either IMO. I stayed home because I wanted to. Because I didn't want to send my ds to a nursery and because financially we could afford it.

wordfactory Wed 28-Nov-12 18:25:37

Yes indeed juggling. My view has always been that knowledge is power. And I suspect e may see more and more SAHDs in the future which will cast this issue in a new light I think.

Spuddybean Wed 28-Nov-12 18:28:49

OP I am so sorry for your situation. This thread has brought up issues which have been playing on my mind. I have no career to speak of. I was made redundant 3 years ago and since then my earning has decreased till i was working in a crappy call centre for just above min wage. My few skills are not valued at the moment and i am hopeless at anything computer/database related. I have recently had a baby with DP (getting married in Jan to give me more security) and we have to move abroad for his work. So now i will not be able to work at all. Even if i could I can't rely on DP for any childcare as he works long hours and weekends.

The house is in dp's name as are all our savings - we have been buying shares with a substantial chunk of his wages as our savings/pension investment over the last 3 years. DP keeps saying to me i should retrain to make me more employable, but we have no spare cash to pay for courses and with a small baby and no help with childcare i don't know how i could fit it in.

I would have liked to wait till i had a better job before we had a baby but sadly at nearly 36 now, and in a dead end job with no prospect of progression, i felt it was now or never.

By the time my children go to school i will be unemployable.

So i am basically fucked if anything happened.

wentshopping Wed 28-Nov-12 18:33:18

Sad thread indeed. akaemma, I can really identify with you. I became a sahm when I was made redundant at the beginning of my maternity leave with dc1. We lived far from family so childcare costs meant I stayed at home while we had dc2 and 3. Dc3 was brain damaged at birth and has significant disabilities. We moved abroad with dh's job and my visa meant I could not work. We got green cards 3 years ago, and I retrained to work part-time from home as a non-sleeping dc3 with many hospital and therapy visits meant I could only work while dc were at school or in bed. Now we are divorcing, and yes I am being awarded the house. But the amount of child support H will be paying me means I cannot afford the mortgage. (There is no requirement to give spousal support here, so I will not be receiving any.) I cannot increase my working hours because of dc3's disabilities. I am not entitled to any benefits in the country I live in, as I am not a citizen. Dc3 will get some state benefits when 18, but not enough to pay for housing, food etc. I cannot return to the UK and claim disability benefits etc for dc3 as I would be breaking the law by removing the dc from their usual place of residence. And to make matters worse, 'd'h does not want me to move house (to something more affordable) as it would "disrupt the children". I will have some other assets in the settlement but I need to live off them for the rest of my life.

Pagwatch Wed 28-Nov-12 18:40:49

Yes, I agree with that wannabe.
The point I want to impress on my dc is that they must recognise that love is great, relationships are great but that ignoring practicalities and just hoping that love will make everyone behave well for ever more is bad. Really bad.
And to treat finances, wills and all that stuff as if it is unromantic or not necessary is a failure of communication and responsibility.

This stuff should be organised. We want more clear headedness and less crossing and fingers and hoping that when things get tough love will sort it all out.

baublesandbaileys Wed 28-Nov-12 18:43:04

"And to treat finances, wills and all that stuff as if it is unromantic or not necessary is a failure of communication and responsibility"

if you think about it logically, wills, insurances, setting up separate savings account etc IS romantic because you care about what happens to the other person even in your own absense/death, rather than just when you are there to benefit too IYKWIM

wordfactory Wed 28-Nov-12 18:55:54

You can never of course eradicate all risk. And I'm not sure we should want to anyway.

However, we can at least look at it. Assess it. Work out the major risk factors and protect against them as best we can. (accepting that nothing is 100% caste iron).

Doing otherwise is just plain daft.

naughtymummy Wed 28-Nov-12 19:13:31

I agree with wordfactory. DH was a SAHD for about 18m. He felt deeply uncomfortable about his lack of financial independence. I think if more men took on the nurturing role then attitudes would change as most men simply wouldn't tolerate being totally dependant.

JugglingWithPossibilities Wed 28-Nov-12 19:13:50

Hey Spuddybean - I'm not sure things are as bad for you as they seem are they ? You're 36 and have recently had a baby with your partner, you're getting married in January, and moving abroad for a while with DP's work.
You might have another child in the future ?
And you might very well have anther job and a whole other career as well !
Seems you may have taken that redundancy 3 years ago very hard ?
Perhaps you'll enjoy living abroad and get a new perspective on things ? smile

ShotgunNotDoingThePans Wed 28-Nov-12 19:16:22

Spuddybean, is there a reason your name can't be added to the mortgage/savings?

Frikadellen Wed 28-Nov-12 19:36:21

OP I am very sorry that this has happened to you

Another side however.

I had no job prospects I had not got brilliant grades at school. Left thinking I was stupid (in fact I am dyslexic) Just worked in dead end jobs with little chance of promotion of any sort. Then I met dh.. We married and had our 4 wonderful children. I have been a stay at home mother for 15 years now. In that time I have got A levels and a diploma and I have a job part time I can do. It is also a job I can further if I wish to.

Dh and I have also got a pension put aside for me and on for him mine is higher than his as he will get pensions from his work. His career has taken off and He is well aware he would not have been able to do that and had the family he has if I was not around to pull my part at home.

Our youngest is 9 I have expressed a interest into study further dh is fully behind me.

There is no way had i insisted upon staying in work (in the dead end jobs) we could have had the family we have or that I could have done any of the above.

I have a separate bank account dh doesn't. This was at His suggestion.

I agree you need to be careful. You need to not put all your eggs into the same basket. However being a SAHM can be a rewarding experience and it can for some of us be a way of furthering us to a point we are not able to do alone.

Spuddybean Wed 28-Nov-12 19:48:19

Juggling - well i suppose my point is i can only have another career if i retrain, but the money and time isn't there. So by the time our dc go to school if i do not, then i will be virtually unemployable. I already am suffering for my total ineptitude in IT. I have done 6 courses in excel and nothing sticks - it may as well be in another language. If DP left me i would be fucked.

Shotgun - no reason for the house i suppose we have never discussed it (he bought it before we met). He has an allocation to shares thru his work which he takes full advantage of. These are held at work for him so are in his name. But WE have made joint sacrifices for these shares, as we see them as a better investment than a pension. So altho we haven't 'struggled' i haven't had new shoes for a year, clothes from primark, ds's stuff from nct sales, shopping around for cheap groceries, etc. But if he were to leave me now it would look like he owned xthousand in shares and i had bugger all. We spent my 12k redundancy on house repairs as it made more sense than reducing share purchases iyswim.

JugglingWithPossibilities Wed 28-Nov-12 19:48:19

Great post Frikadellen - and well done to you.
Shows the variety of life - it's not one size fits all
Sounds like you chose a good 'un there too smile

JugglingWithPossibilities Wed 28-Nov-12 19:52:21

If you did retrain what would you like to do Spuddy ?
And it may all look much more do-able in a year or two when your baby has grown up a little smile

FrequentFlyerRandomDent Wed 28-Nov-12 20:13:04

Great thread. Thank you OP. I do hope better things come to you.

My dependence and the what-would-I-do-if... is a constant worry at the back of my mind and I sincerely hope nothing bad happens at least until my youngest is old enough for me to work when he is at school... and that I can find some work!

I 'decided' to quit my job to follow my DH. His job means being posted abroad/around on a reg basis. My job was not portable. Not all countries let UK visitors work. What to do? Never marry into the army/international corporation/overseas organisations?

In reality, the only way to get women to continue working would be sponsoring the cost of early years/childcare.

Reading about the fact that the cost of childcare should not come from the woman's salary only was a lightbulb moment. Thank you. I am afraid that I can think of at least a couple of female friends who have made that calcuation and stopped work. It is sad but it seemed like the only rational choice at the time for them too.

Spuddybean Wed 28-Nov-12 20:14:37

Juggling - well the plan is try for another baby when ds is 1 and then the 3rd when that baby is 1. Then retrain when they go to school.

if the money and time were no option i would love to become a counsellor/therapist of some kind. But that is a lot of psychology training and i'd have to start from scratch. dp feels sad that he loves his job so and i hate mine. he feels so fulfilled by his career and i just feel tearful at mine. it is so depressing.

Spuddybean Wed 28-Nov-12 20:20:08

and to those who say about childcare costs not coming out of just the woman's wages, but coming out of both. what difference does that make? it's the same amount of money. so as dp and i have a joint account, the same amount of money would come out and it would be exactly equal to what i earn. so it would equate to being 'all my wages', which would make me going to work in a dead end job of horror totally pointless.

FrequentFlyerRandomDent Wed 28-Nov-12 21:11:41

I sympathise about wanting out of a dead end job of horror.

It seems to me though when basing their thought process purely on the smaller-wage-pays-for-childcare model, then a couple will overlook the hidden cost of losing X years of private pension contributions, losing health insurance / training / other corporate schemes and the cost of simply losing a step on the career ladder.

JugglingWithPossibilities Wed 28-Nov-12 21:31:20

I do rather think the way you describe things Spuddy if DH enjoys his work and you don't enjoy yours, and you've just had a baby and both want two more in the next few years, and you're going to be living abroad with DH's work
.... well maybe be a SAHM for a few years and concentrate on that, then think about what you'd like to do when they're all at school and perhaps you're back in the UK.
I don't think things are as bleak as all that. It is possible to re-train and take a different career path in life ?
All the best to you, and everyone thinking over their options smile

AnyFuckingDude Wed 28-Nov-12 21:40:30

Where are xenia and scottishmummy on this thread ? smile

forehead Wed 28-Nov-12 21:45:50

I would NEVER give up my financial independence to be a SAHM.
I have told my young dds, that men respect you more when you earn your own money.

Spuddybean Wed 28-Nov-12 21:54:31

juggling - yes i think you are right. i don't think things are bleak at all, as long as dp keeps his job or doesn't leave me. it is the 'one decision away from destitution' that scares the bejesus out of me. i hate feeling out of control of my own destiny. and as much as i love dp, being divorced and having exh leave me for my best friend has made me realise how fragile these things are.

frequent - sadly no job i have had has ever had any of those things, and few of my female friends have those either. they are for those with careers rather than jobs i think.

JugglingWithPossibilities Wed 28-Nov-12 22:03:09

You said you're interested in counseling Spuddy (as am I) - well how about having a few counseling sessions to talk through the things that have come up here, including feeling scared at things being out of your control during this time of raising your young child/ children. Sounds like you are understandably very affected by the behaviour of your ex ? Hopefully your new partner is more trustworthy ?
Someone will come along and say we can't trust anyone 100% but you only live once, and I think you lose something precious if you live without trust.
There are no 100% guarantees in this life - life is a risky game to play smile

bellechristmas Wed 28-Nov-12 22:31:31

"How many of us married women could pay the mortgage bills and food shop on our own with no help from a partner? Not very many"

I could, I would probably downsize within a year and would certainly live with less but I could do it fairly easily. But then I watched my mother struggle badly when my father left and I vowed I'd never be in that position.

swizzles Wed 28-Nov-12 23:11:40

I grew up in a single parent family.

I'm now married with two kids. Husband works full time and can provide us with what we need, however, I would never have given up work. I work in the NHS, it's not massively well-paid but it's quite 'steady' and I've never been out of work.

When I graduated, several of my friends went into trendy careers in London. I never had their company cars or their private health insurance and they were paid more than me. Years later they are SAHMs who would love to work and find their opportunities limited because they couldn't work part time in their industries.

I work 21 hours per week. We will have spent £47k on childcare by the time DD2 starts school. The value of hanging onto my job is far greater, to me. I will advise my kids to get themselves a job which will always be needed. I will advise them to hang onto their jobs no matter what. We will always need teachers, doctors, lawyers, vets, accountants, physiotherapists. The list goes on - they might not be massively impressive jobs 'in the city' but you really can't put a price on that feeling in your heart that actually, probably, you could cope. Always have a plan.

Charbon Wed 28-Nov-12 23:54:01

It's worth questioning why more women than men are in those 'dead-end jobs' with low wages and poor career prospects that are easier to give up when children come along and makes the decision about who will be the SAHP or primary childcarer, a no-brainer. It's like a domino effect and it's gendered all the way through. Young women are no less qualified or intelligent on leaving education than young men and yet by the time decisions are made about having children, so often it is women who are in the lower-paying jobs and/or are expected to be primarily responsible for their care.

Charbon I also think you can add societal-expectation into the mix. My OH was quite shocked when he realised that, if anything happened to my parents, who are DD's primary carers when we're at work, he would be the one who would have to give up work as I earn more than him and have better prospects too. It hadn't actually crossed his mind that he would be the one who would have to give up work to be a SAHP, not because he's a sexist twunt, but because all of the societal norms around him suggest that the mum is the one who gives up work in such circumstances.

TunipTheVegedude Thu 29-Nov-12 10:40:50

What I always find depressing is how completely accepting people are about the fact that it is hard for women of a certain age to find work despite their having a huge number of skills and qualifications. There is almost certainly both sexism and ageism at play here, yet it is just taken for granted.
Whenever I read about employers moaning about how young people today can't write good English or do basic maths, I always think 'well you could try giving middle aged women a chance....'
Also the fact that it is generally agreed that a period of SAHMing is death to a CV and you should find a way of covering it up by saying you were doing voluntary work if you possibly can, suggests that everyone knows there is unfair prejudice against ex-SAHMs, but people, even women, just seem to feel that it is only to be expected and even that it is reasonable.
It's as if all the gains that have been made in convincing the world that women are capable in the workplace don't apply to women once they have taken time out.

pollycazalet Thu 29-Nov-12 10:47:34

Things do change. I am nearly 13 years into having children and over 20 years into a relationship with Dh and we've almost split up once and had other rocky patches. We're still together and happy but we're not the same people we were when we were in the baby phase or even five years ago. Having children and everything that involves changes your relationship completely - if you're lucky you change and grow together.

I have always worked and been the higher earner. Dh and I did a variety of arrangements when the children were younger which included each of us having a period at home and doing part time hours. We both have a great relationship with the kids and also know we are here because we want to be, not because we're unable to leave.

The women I know who are happiest at work are either those who kept a foot in the door with their careers when their kids were young, however small, and were able to step it back up as their children got older, or those whose family were lucky enough not to need a second wage and were able to use their time at home to rethink their careers and retrain. I know loads of women who had great careers and have gone back into the same field after a period at home at the level they were working at when they left university. Frustrating for them and a shocking waste of their skills and experience.

With seniority at work comes flexiblility and the ability to balance work and home and that is the lesson I would pass on to my daughter.

JugglingWithPossibilities Thu 29-Nov-12 10:59:54

So true Tunip - I often think what old-fashioned times we are living in. Hopefully our daughter's daughter's daughters will look back in a hundred or two hundred years just as we do now on how our great-grandmothers lived in Victorian times.

Wanttowrite Thu 29-Nov-12 11:01:58

I so agree with this - my dh has worked part time for the last 6 years after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease before he was 50 and within a year of that being made redundant from his full time job. I work full time hours but can work from home 2 days a week - work/life balance is not bad and we both still have some financial independence but I feel lucky to be able to say that (also worked very very hard for it!) This discussion is not about SAHM or WOHM it is about women's independence and that includes financial independence. We have insurance and have made wills so we are in the best position we are able to be in. Since his diagnosis having savings for a rainy day has been a big focus for us and this includes a short period where I took a career break when children were small and my mother unwell - we still were saving if only a small amount. Money gives you choices and helps to stop upsetting news from being devastating.

JugglingWithPossibilities Thu 29-Nov-12 11:03:38

For example it wasn't long ago that women teachers were paid less on marriage, and just a little earlier that they had to leave.
Nevertheless I was teaching before I had children right up to going on maternity leave, but I haven't yet worked in teaching since.

FeuDeSnowyRussie Thu 29-Nov-12 11:05:12

When I look at my group of university friends, who are all between 29-31 and just starting to have babies, I do feel optimistic that the status quo will gradually change. Out of four new families, 3 of the fathers are the SAHP, because the women are scientists or accountants who earn far more than their DH/DPs. And obviously I don't know exactly what goes on behind closed doors, but it doesn't seem to be the case that the woman does a 'second shift' when she gets home. These are geniunely hard-working, hands on SAHDs, and they are all keeping their hands in with their careers through p/t or freelance work.

This is obviously not a huge sample to go by though.

wordfactory Thu 29-Nov-12 11:16:18

feu certainly all the SAHDs I know are freelancing alongside. The expectation among them seems to be that this is both obvious and essential.

FeuDeSnowyRussie Thu 29-Nov-12 11:25:33

Yep, same with the ones I know wordfactory, except one, but he is very unusual in many ways, very arty, and would really rather try and live without money or possessions altogether. And of the couples I know who haven't had children yet (including me and my DH), the man is very willing to SAH for a period of time if that's what's practical for both partners' careers, but none of them want looking after the children to be their sole job in life (they all say they think it would be too boring.)

TunipTheVegedude Thu 29-Nov-12 11:28:57

I don't know any SAHDs.
Lots of dads do school runs etc, though, as they're in more flexible jobs. Definite progress there - when I was at school in the 70s my working mum (teacher, working over an hour away) never managed to convince school to call my dad rather than her if one of us was ill, even though he worked 10 mins away and could come in a jiffy.

Feu I really hope you're right to be optimistic, though I can't help remembering how optimistic I felt about it all 10 years ago - I think between 30 and 40 are the years when the shit tends to hit and the old-fashioned gender roles often get reverted to.

wordfactory Thu 29-Nov-12 11:30:41

tunip I know a lot of writers/editors/journos etc who often eran less than their wives, so it makes sense.

Plus a lot of them were already working from home a lot of the time anyway.

TunipTheVegedude Thu 29-Nov-12 11:31:10

and sorry to be cynical again, but a lot more men say they'd be willing to SAHP than actually do when it comes to the crunch. sad

wordfactory Thu 29-Nov-12 11:32:07

feu yes the Dads I know who do it have a different approach to the SAHMs that I know.

Partly it may be to do with their sex, but also to do with the industries they work in.

TunipTheVegedude Thu 29-Nov-12 11:34:04

Wordfactory, that does make sense. I know a lot of academic couples who started out equal but by the time there's been a maternity leave or two, the man is unaccountably several grades ahead of the dw (ie further ahead than you would expect just from the 6 months or a year she's taken out).
Ho hum.....

FeuDeSnowyRussie Thu 29-Nov-12 11:36:03

You could be right Tunip and it will be very interesting to watch how things go with these couples, especially once 2nd babies arrive.

TunipTheVegedude Thu 29-Nov-12 11:39:13

Here's hoping though, eh, Feu?! smile

Although as you say, we don't know what goes on behind closed doors, I have been on holiday with a lot of other families and there definitely is more equality in couples re chores than there used to be - I know far more couples who share fairly than ones where the man sits around expecting be waited on.

ISayHolmes Thu 29-Nov-12 11:40:18

Wanttowrite you make excellent points. I'm very sorry to hear about your husband. No one ever thinks they will get ill until they do- I certainly didn't, and while I'm still able to work I am in pain a great deal of the time. It can happen to anyone. I know that makes me sound like the boogieman, but it's true. It's just something that always seems to happen to other people, some distant friend or something you read about in an inspirational piece in the Guardian. Then suddenly it's your life.

Anyone who reads this: it's worth having an idea of what you would do if your OH or you became ill. A plan of some sort. You don't have to write down a thirty page research proposal on it but please, give it a little thought.

FeuDeSnowyRussie Thu 29-Nov-12 11:44:16

Yep Tunip, among my friends many a useless boyfriend was (eventually) dumped in our 20s for being useless wastes of space who do nothing around the house. Now pretty much all the men in the couples I know do the same work round the house (along with all the mental work of organizing life) as the woman. Except one, and they got divorced last summer, luckily before they had DCs.

FeuDeSnowyRussie Thu 29-Nov-12 11:47:03

I have to say though, I do think we have lower standards of housework and houseproudness than our mothers. Ahem.

JugglingWithPossibilities Thu 29-Nov-12 11:56:26

That's OK though isn't it, Feu ?
Perhaps women got a bit sick of being defined and judged by how tidy their house is - there is more to life !
If stuff is shared more equally perhaps we can re-discover some house proudness ?

FeuDeSnowyRussie Thu 29-Nov-12 11:59:41

It is absolutely, definitely okay Juggling!

Wanttowrite Thu 29-Nov-12 12:05:20

Thanks IsayHolmes - dd was only 3 when we got shock diagnosis and it really isn't that rare by the time you are 40+ I know lots of people living with illnesses of what kind or another, some more limiting than others. I never thought it would be us and think we are probably still living in a bit of denial at what future holds, however today is our wedding anniversary and all in all I'm happy.

notmydog Thu 29-Nov-12 14:56:22

I honestly hope MNHQ would consider moving this thread somewhere where it wouldn't disappear. So much food for thought. I have never stopped working, although I wished at the time I could stay at home and look after DD. We were not entitled to any government support at the time of DD's birth and we needed my wages as we bought a house just before I fell pregnant. At the time I was working in HR, steadily making progress and fairly happy in my job.

We left the UK to return 'home' because DH wanted to, it took him quite long to convince me. We started up a business together, which never really did well. I found another job in a totally unrelated industry. With hindsight I now know I should never have returned with him. I should not have left my career. We are pretty much financially fucked, our savings are depleted due to our failing business. Our relationship is fairly crap at the moment, if it wasn't for DD we would probably not be together anymore. And also, we need each other financially, I don't think we would be able to run two households on our current wages. DH is hoping to find work in the UK, we will be returning early next year. I'm 42 and I'm not sure what my future holds. Very scared indeed.

emsyj Thu 29-Nov-12 15:29:36

I've just nominated this for inclusion in 'Classics' notmydog.

Charbon Thu 29-Nov-12 15:32:55

I'd like to ask Emma to consider requesting its move to Relationships. That's the board where I think it will have most impact.

CabbageLeaves Thu 29-Nov-12 16:26:38

Agree re moving thread and how much food for thought is here. I would counter the idea that women are forced to stay at home by circumstances, societal expectation with the fact that I know several women who saw motherhood as a way to evade working in a job they didn't like.

Short sighted IMHO.

However a choice they made. I'd like to think this thread makes women make a more informed choice.

When struggling to juggle work and babies I was green with envy at their ladies who lunch lifestyle. Today I am very glad that circumstances forced me to maintain my career.

Issy Thu 29-Nov-12 16:34:36

DH and I had been together for 10 years when we got engaged. He was in the oil industry and I'd always assumed that I would abandon my career and follow him around to obscure parts of the world and raise our children. Shortly before our wedding, DH was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. All globe-trotting and SAHM plans were abandoned and we both continued our careers in London.

Twenty years later DH is wheelchair bound and medically retired, although he does still has a very enviable, part-time consultancy job. We went on to have two DDs, but because we knew the score way before they arrived, it didn't even occur to me to give up work. It's been tough at times but we are financially very stable, the DDs are fine and DH is in the position to do just enough work to keep him intellectually amused without getting over-tired.

We were sooo lucky. That early, early warning meant we could build our lives around the probability that DH wouldn't be able to continue to work. Had MS struck suddenly, when we were ten years out, with two children, in the back of beyond, with zero career prospects for me, we'd have been sunk. sad

Wanttowrite Thu 29-Nov-12 16:40:14