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To want DH to quit work and become a SAHD?

(26 Posts)
pitchforksdown Mon 06-Jun-11 12:01:24

Name changing for this as I know I will probably get a kicking, but am also interested to see what others think.

Quick potted history.

2 x DCs
DH works full time earning just under 17kpa
I work full time earning 40kpa
DC1 is at school and does before and after school club for £10 per day.
DC2 is at nursery at £38.50 per day.
By the time we've paid for holiday activities and the like for DC1 our childcare bill for the year comes to around £12,500pa.

He hates his job, my job is stressful and involves long hours. We're out of the house from 7am and don't get back until 6pm when we rush around to get the children settled and to bed. My job sometimes involves travel so I can't always get home on time to pick the children up and our life is one long battle of stress and tension.

When he's off work, life is much better. The children are happier, he is happier. I am happier and even the house is vaguely tidy and everyone gets to eat together. We COULD survive on my salary as that is what we are basically doing now as the childcare bill is so horrendous. We couldn't survive on his salary as it wouldn't cover the mortgage and bills that we have, so there isn't the option for me to quit or go part time.

I've asked him if he will quit work and be a SAHD, but he says no way as he wants to work and doesn't want to be stuck at home all day doing childcare, even though he admits its better when he does. I've asked if he'd consider changing his job and going part time somewhere, so he wouldn't be at home all week, but he won't entertain that idea anyway.

We're all so bloody miserable at the moment its untrue. He admits he hates his job and has said that he would like to walk away from it all, but still says that he would rather be miserable than stay at home with the children.

AIBU to think he's being unreasonable?

Allinabinbag Mon 06-Jun-11 12:05:33

It doesn't matter how reasonable you are, if he doesn't want to stay home, then he doesn't want to stay home. I don't think you should force him (and how anyway?)

Plus, I know from experience that it is as hard or harder for dads to re-enter the workplace after SAH duties, especially if the job market is as it is right now. I would suggest him looking for another job as the solution, as a resentful partner is going to make life horrible for all of you.

EvelynBakerLang Mon 06-Jun-11 12:07:07

I know why you think you'll get a kicking... I can see exactly why you want him to quit. I even think he's being a tiny bit unreasonable (in not considering it properly, mostly). But if he doesn't want to do it, you shouldn't lean on him. Imagine: in 5 years time, both kids will be in school. Your DH will not have worked and may find it hard to get back into his job/field. You need to think of his work as an investment in him as a person and in your family. If he doesn't want to quit, does he want to find a new job? Quitting (almost certainly) isn't the answer.

BabyDubsEverywhere Mon 06-Jun-11 12:08:07

Yanbu to want this as it would fix all problems on the surface, but if he doesnt want to he would soon get pissy with you for it...you would just be swapping problems for problems in my eyes.

However with that said, personally i do feel that everyone in a family should do what they can to make 'the family' as happy as possible...that maybe putting your own career on hold for a while, even if its not what you want personally.....<BabyDubs looks at own life smile >

EvelynBakerLang Mon 06-Jun-11 12:08:08

x-posted with Allinabinbag

pitchforksdown Mon 06-Jun-11 12:12:07

Babydubs - I'd happily put my career on hold, but its not possible. We'd looked into whether we could sell up and move somewhere smaller so I could work part time, but we're in negative equity on the house, so we're stuck with it until we've paid off more of the mortgage.

Maybe that's partly behind my frustration as he could do what I can't, but won't IYSWIM.

I know I can't pressure him - its just when everything is so fraught, its frustrating that he won't even consider it.

fgaaagh Mon 06-Jun-11 12:19:39

Well there must be something driving him into the "no". You can't force him to do something he doesn't want to do.

But certain things make me interested in your post.

You say he's unhappy at work. Is he genuinely unhappy, or is it a "love to hate it" sort of thing? My dad moaned about his job every day of his working life, but now that he can't do it any more it's surprising to see how upset he gets.

Does your DH feel that you don't value his contribution? I.e. have you emphasised it from a "the kids would love it and you'd be less stressed" angle, or did you come at this with a "you earn barely more than the childcare anyway, so it's logical for you to quit"?

Is there other motives here.. e.g. financial risk? Would he worry about his lack of NI contributions or pension? That's easy to fix, if he's concerned about that part -and sensible if he is worring about that too. Just make sure that things would be divided equally and he'd have his own disposable income/pension/NI contributions paid.

Finally... is it possible that he's just a bit of a dinosaur and he is having problems seeing you as a capable breadwinner? I.e. if the roles were reversed, would he feel any different at asking you to stop working for your £17k? Does he see it as a "man's job" to work fulltime, whilst thinking that as a woman you have the choice to work or stay home (even though you don't, probably, if you're brining in 70% of the income!).

Oh, one more thing - is he worried about perception? In a family of manly men, perhaps he's worried about his perception. Or amongst friends, etc. What is the context of his relatives and friend relationships?

7to25 Mon 06-Jun-11 12:24:02

Why would you want a resentful caret for your children?

squishysquashy Mon 06-Jun-11 12:26:47

Has he made use of the 13 weeks parental leave rights yet? Maybe you could persuade him to try staying at home for 6 weeks or so (4 weeks parental leave plus annual leave?) and see how it goes. During that time try to find other SAHDs for him to meet up with. Also if you can afford it keep littlest one in nursery one day a week so he has a day to do his own thing.

Are there any home business ideas/skills he has? Maybe if there was something suitable he could start small with a view to building a business by the time little one starts school?

worraliberty Mon 06-Jun-11 12:30:03

Are your children out of the house from 7am to 6pm too?

If so, are they happy? Perhaps the answer to that may be a dealbreaker for your DH?

Bonsoir Mon 06-Jun-11 12:30:29

I think your DH needs to look for a better paid job.

fgaaagh Mon 06-Jun-11 12:32:14

Actually, worraliberty, you've raised a very good point.

OP appears very stressed, she says that it's quite a chaotic setup - is this reflected in the DCs?

What is their attitude towards both parents being out of the house for such a long time?

didldidi Mon 06-Jun-11 12:42:24

He's told the op why he doesn't want to - he said he would rather be miserable than at home with the kids!

redskyatnight Mon 06-Jun-11 12:44:04

If your DH hates his job, is he actively looking for another one (full time)?
Your current financial situation will get better as your DC2 gets older - and gets early years funding and later starts school

BabyDubsEverywhere Mon 06-Jun-11 12:56:02

Pitchfork, so sorry, i really didnt phrase that well, i was actually refering to your DH, as he earns less, etc. In our case i am your DH, i would only be able to earn half my DHs wage, therefore my career has to take a step back. Its not forever, just until they are at school fulltime. Sorry for causing misunderstanding smile

eurochick Mon 06-Jun-11 13:08:18

YANBU to want it because it sounds like it would make complete sense for your family, but there is nothing you can do to force him if he doesn't want to.

Nuttychic Mon 06-Jun-11 13:16:52

I understand the logic BUT YABU if your DH doesnt want to be a SAHD for whatever reason, you should respect his views. If it was me and my DH was telling me that me working wasnt worth it and I should give it up as his salary will support us, I would tell him to bugger off!

If he was earning more then what would you do about the kids? Nothing, they would continue to go to nursery as they are now and nobody would be questioning. This means if the woman earns less then she should automatically look at being a SAHM? Even if thats not what she wants?

pitchforksdown Mon 06-Jun-11 13:20:44

No worries, babydubs.

To answer some of the other points...

The DCs are not happy - well certainly the oldest one isn't. The routine is that we get up at 6, rush to get everyone ready and out of the house. DH drops DC2 at nursery and I drop DC1 at before school club. At the end of the day, if I am not travelling, I rush out of work at 5, pick DC2 up then DC1 and then fight through rush hour getting home at 6, by which time they are tired, grumpy and often still hungry. DC2 is non-verbal, but clings to me like a limpet when I'm around, which I don't actually mind as our time is limited. DC1 has some <ahem> "challenging" behaviour.

As for DH's work, well...

He's never had a career. He has been a career temp "bit of this bit of that" person, which has left him now in his 40s with no career at all to speak of and a CV that is just a mass of short term employment doing anything from warehouse to office to data entry to driving to accounts. He hates his current job, but stays in it as it is better paid that other contracts that he could get. He has almost been in tears about it, which is why I am certain that he does hate it and why for the life of me I can't work out why he won't take a door that is opened to him.

Bonsoir - yes getting a better paid job would be brilliant, but its just not going to happen.

When we met and got together, it never bothered me that he did lots of different jobs as he was always working and I knew that I would always be able to support us. But with two DCs its just getting ridiculous.

When we met, 12 years ago, he was talking THEN about going back to college and retraining and he had all of these plans, but he has done nothing about it, in the same way that he is doing nothing about changing his job now. When we were first married, I would bring home the brochures from the local adult colleges doing the courses he wanted to do, but gave that up in the end as he didn't do anything with them. I've even offered - before the DCs arrived - to support him if he wanted to go to Uni or do some other career training, but he was happy just drifting along.

I am just so bloody frustrated that he won't do ANYTHING to change our current situation by getting a different job, training, looking after the DCs while at the same time going on about how unhappy he is in his job and how he is fed up of me being so stressed about work and the children.

Oh god, this is turning into an offloading session isn't it. sad

HobnobHeaven Mon 06-Jun-11 13:21:16

YANBU - I could have written this post too (except we've only one DS & are planning number 2). DH often works evenings/weekends, and we can go 5 days without seeing him.

On the rare days he has at home though (and last week he took DS out of nursery to sepnd time with him), he was knackered at the end of the day and conceded that childcare/domesticity is bloody hard work, and mentally not very challenging - however large the benefits to the family are. He'd rather stick it out at work, regardless of the financial downside, as he would go mad at home. My (male) cousin is a SAHD, and can find it really isolating at times, as most toddler groups are geared towards mothers, not fathers.

I feel your frustration though. On days that he is home my life is so much easier!

pitchforksdown Mon 06-Jun-11 13:25:52

Nuttychic - I am not saying that if someone earns less they should automatically stay at home. The fact that I am the main earner should give you a good idea about my thoughts on women in the work place.

Its not just about money. Its about quality of life.

BabyDubsEverywhere Mon 06-Jun-11 13:26:30

If your kids arent happy, and he has the ability to change that then i think he is a selfish arse! Sod the whole if he wouldnt be happy bollox, he should be putting his children first. Hes being a crap parent.

squishysquashy Mon 06-Jun-11 13:41:34

Is he depressed at all. Maybe he can't motivate himself to re-train because he's really down on himself. If he is could you try and work on getting him happier so that he isn't stuck in self pity mindset? Easier said than done.

worraliberty Mon 06-Jun-11 13:47:19

Totally agree with BabyDubs

He needs to start putting other people first...at least for a few years.

pitchforksdown Mon 06-Jun-11 13:57:52

squishy - if its depression stopping him then he's been depressed for the last 12 years.

That probably sounds very harsh but he still enjoys socialising and his hobbies and on the weekends he enjoys life. He sleeps well at night and has plenty of energy - which would suggest that there isn't an underlying problem other than he isn't motivated to change anything.

I just don't know how to get him motivated at all. It would probably help if he stopped smoking weed every evening and weekend once the children are in bed, but that's a whole other argument.

BabyDubsEverywhere Mon 06-Jun-11 14:14:40

''I just don't know how to get him motivated at all. It would probably help if he stopped smoking weed every evening and weekend once the children are in bed, but that's a whole other argument.''

Aha....Quite simply,he will not become motivated whilst on this stuff.

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