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to disagree with DH and that I DO make a valuable contribution?

(98 Posts)
notarealgrownup Mon 09-Dec-13 21:07:00

DH has really knocked me sideways today.
We were chatting about one of his friends wives who has just been promoted to something pretty high up in the NHS, a position that pays about £50,000 pa. He then asked me when I was going to get a "proper job". I was gutted.
Been married for 12 years, 3 DCs and have always been a SAHM. Since youngest started school I have been working from home running a shop on EBAY. I have never had what you could call a career, just moved through various low paid jobs since leaving school. So when I became pregnant with DC1 we both agreed that it made sense for me to be a SAHM.
DH is self employed, and charges £30 per hour ( sometimes more depending on the job), and never works more than 30 hours per week through choice as this leaves him plenty of time to follow his hobbies.
My income is much lower (obviously), but it pays for food, clothing, fuel, xmas and birthday presents, etc. I do not contribute to the mortgage or gas/electric (the proper stuff as DH calls it) as I don't bring in enough.
I chose to work from home in order to be there in the morning and after school for the DCs. Also to not have to find childcare during the school holidays, as DH would expect me to pay for this and not contribute himself.
I realise I will never be able to earn as much as DH, but he seems to see what I do contribute (along with looking after the house, etc) as "not a proper /adult occupation". As though its merely a bit of a hobby.
Sorry for rambling, but just trying to explain as much as possible.

purrtrillpadpadpad Tue 10-Dec-13 09:14:06

I don't understand why this thread is focusing on what the Op does. The fact is, as beautifully described by TalkativeJim, she contributes 80% of everything required to ensure the survival of the family. I don't think I'm overestimating that. The point is that she is being horrendously undermined and treated like staff by her DH, who, if we are going to focus on who does what here, works practically part time and spends the rest of his time on his hobbies.

Op, I hope that you are alright. I think perhaps this thread should come to a close now, or be moved to Relationships if the Op needs further discussion. I'm sure if anyone fancies sitting down and splitting hairs they can start a thread entirely for that purpose.

Abrahamlincolnsghost Tue 10-Dec-13 08:06:07

Milkybar I know she has a job but she says herself she doesn't have a career!!

IMO careers are a bit overvalued after all you work to live, you don't live to work.

Many career mums on here would give thier eye teeth to have a work from home job and see more of thier kids. I am not saying that is the easy option, working and being a parent is hard whatever way you do it!

antimatter Tue 10-Dec-13 08:03:41

Talkative - great post and very easy way to look at family responsibilities.
I shall use it in the future in similar conversations.

purrtrillpadpadpad Tue 10-Dec-13 07:39:01

Talkative, superb. Just superb.

sandgrown Tue 10-Dec-13 07:24:27

Nearthewindmill .you were lucky to have the time and motivation to train for a fantastic job. Jobs that pay £50,000 like hen' s teeth in my area. The poster is already been made to feel inadequate by her husband's attitude so let's give her some support for doing a great job smile

LindyHemming Tue 10-Dec-13 07:01:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

milkybar I agree with custardo. Re-read her post.

In fact, re-read the whole thread if you think anyone said her eBay business was a hobby.

custardo Tue 10-Dec-13 01:09:33

milkybarbuttons, you completely missed my point if that was your response. please re-read

Bogeyface Tue 10-Dec-13 01:06:01


Brilliant post. I particularly love the Tokens concept.

TalkativeJim Tue 10-Dec-13 01:03:17

But he isn't putting a roof over your heads.

In terms of the working of the machine that is your family unit, he is a net drain.

Imagine it in terms of 'energy tokens'. Each hour is an energy token. He works x hours and his tokens get translated into mortgage/bills paid. That's it.

He doesn't work full time. The tokens for each hour not worked aren't fed into the family in terms of cooking, shopping, cleaning, childcare, but are spent on himself. This arguably 'costs' 'Team Family' more - how many times have you overspent on a ready meal/not been able to meal plan, as there hasn't been time to shop etc. in advance??- if he was contributing to this side of things, he would be 'paying in' more, and the whole machine would run far better -it always does when there is more than one pair of hands doing the juggling.

You on the other hand 'pay in' all your tokens, and multi-task so that your tokens go further (e.g. While you are childcaring, you also run your eBay business).

And all that domestic drudgery. It must be satisfying to look down on it. Lazy, non-useful twats lucky enough to have a pay packet usually do. But without it-nothing can be. In that sense it's far far more 'specialised' and therefore important than wage-earning. If he dropped dead tomorrow, you would mobilise to fill that gap (as you already partially do - you already earn money). He however sounds as if he would be more or less unable to diversify to fill your (many) roles. And I think he would get a very unpleasant shock to discover how little of your pile of tokens he could buy in with his only asset - his 'great' salary.

And finally -his attitude. We've talked so far in terms of energy gained and lost, but we all know that being a family is so much more than that. As a team, we achieve more. Especially if we know our team members are rooting for us and will be there cheering us on to greater things, picking up slack when we need it - for the good of the team.

But he's a rotten apple at the core. Out for himself. Won't be a cog in the larger wheel of a more successful family where non-external-wage jobs are shared so that both workers can maximise tokens. So again - a drain. The wheel will stay small, the family will be less successful as a whole, because he isn't a good team player.

I'd love to take the two of you, give you both 2 children to care for and £50k, and fast forward five years. I'd happily bet the same amount on you beating him into a bag of hamsters in terms of finance, stability, happiness, success.

Now tell us why you're bothering with him again?

MilkyBarButtons Tue 10-Dec-13 01:01:41

abrahamlincolnsghost and custardo she has a bloody job. She is running her own business, it works around her life and allows her to cover all childcare. She is doing bloody well to be running at a profit and she is not the one who needs a wake up call. If she wasn't doing all childcare etc. by herself she could be earning a great amount.

The attitudes on this thread is the same as I get in RL. Refusal to see my successful and very profitable jewellery business as anything more than a hobby.

Silverdaisy Tue 10-Dec-13 00:57:50

He seems very impressed with his friends wife who is extremely well career wise.

However if he himself only works 30hrs a week - that doesn't come across as particularly high achieving.

Does he want you to do even more work so he can do less?

It sounds like your dp has time to spare with the children. Some of the main earners would love to take less time at the office to be with the kids.

wordyBird Tue 10-Dec-13 00:45:43

You are being undermined, and treated as the paid help. Except you're not being paid for the help; and if you were an employee and not a wife, you would have more rights, better money, and better working conditions.

When you say you pay for food and clothing, etc, do you mean all of it? Because I'm struggling to see what your husband contributes, at all, to your family. To HIS family.

Moreover, this....

"Also to not have to find childcare during the school holidays, as DH would expect me to pay for this and not contribute himself. " truly awful.

Bogeyface Tue 10-Dec-13 00:42:18

I have been thinking about this and I realised that I have always assumed that everything would be split. I dont recall a time, even when I was in an abusive relationship, that I didnt just assume that both would do their fair share. That might explain the abuse, clearly he didnt see it that way!

Perhaps thats how I was brought up, although probably not as my father was bog useless when we were kids, far better now though. I have never asked "Do you mind taking the bins out?" and dont get me started on the "Do you mind doing X ^for me^" so implying it is my job and he is doing me a favour! I cook, I do not do the dishes. I dont care who does them, or how they get done, bring in a dishwashing company if you like but I am not doing them!

Perhaps you need to channel your inner teenager notareal and start yelling "ITS NOT FAIIIIIRRR!!!!"

MilkyBarButtons Tue 10-Dec-13 00:41:50

Running an ebay business at a profit is not easy in this day and age. You can't be earning a bad amount on what you pay for and when you consider your planning round the children and covering all holiday childcare you're doing an amazing job. Based on that I'd say you had good business acumen.

His £900 a week ain't all that when you consider lack of job security, holiday pay, sick pay and employers conts. I bet you could match it and more if it was all you had to do.

I'd tell him it is over and you're going 50/50 with the children. Remind him that this won't mean a 50/50 split on the assets as you've spent 11 years supporting his career whilst yours took a back seat. Watch him backpedal furiously and then dump the selfish twat anyway.

custardo Tue 10-Dec-13 00:30:05

you do not need to earn as much as him to have a voice or power within the relationship.

I agree with abraham. You need to tell him that you have applied for X job (whether you have or not.. lets say tesco) you will be working 8-2pm (inc 30 min break) 3 days a week you will be earning nat min wage £6.31 for 5.5 hours

You will earn around £100 pw ( not sure you will pay much tax)

then say

ok, so you will need to make sure they are showered, the breakfast pack lunches, ensure all homework is done and in the bag, get uniform ready and take them to school on Monday, wednesday and thursday. I can pick them up.

Of course I can still make the evening meal. On the days i work, the childcare needs to be shared, ofcourse the rest will need to be split 3 days a week. I propose you clean the bathroom the days that i work and i will clean the kitchen and living area, I will put the kids to bed, but if there are any waking in the night episodes we will need to take turns. I will keep the stairs and the front garden tidy, you need to sort out the recycling, take the bins out and kep the back garden tidy

You can ofcourse look after yourself, so equity really presumes that you do your own washing and ironing. and as you are in a more senior position, it will probably be easier for you self employed and everything, so take days off for school issues ( such as the kids being sick, or school trip finishing earlier etc) that's ok dear isn't it?

Abrahamlincolnsghost Tue 10-Dec-13 00:14:40

OP i haven't read the whole thread but it seems that you need to do is look at a few job adverts and write down what support you would need for that job. Then sit down and discuss it with him eg. He would need to get Dc out in morning, collect from childminder or whatever. Also look realistically at how much better off you would be after tax, childcare, cleaner etc

Maybe you are being slightly hard on him in that he sees someones elses wife earning £50K and was a bit jealous.

If however you think in a few years time you will sorry you didn't have a career then this might be the wake up call you needed. I have a career ( albeit part-time) and 4 Dc but its heavy going at times.

Bogeyface Tue 10-Dec-13 00:06:29

Not no, he isnt going to give up his easy ride without a fight, and maybe not even then.

I would suggest a 2 pronged attack. Spend a while working out what your ideal outcome would be for you assuming he will be out of the picture (either literally or figuratively given that he does fuck all anyway). And plan for that. Maybe it is growing your business, or starting another eBay shop alongside the one you have....whatever it is, work towards that. This is Plan B.

Once you have worked that out, work out what would be the ideal outcome for you and him together (as much as can). Presumably it would be you pulling up the financial slack while he pulls up the house/childcare slack as a PP put it. This is Plan A.

Then approach him with Plan A and see how that goes. Try to think in advance what his objections will be (his hobby, his job, his earnings etc) so you can see them off. If he agrees then give it say 6 months to see if actions match words, if they dont then carry on with Plan B. If he kicks off straight away and refuses to help, compromise etc then straight onto plan B.

Incidentally, you might like to tell him that I read this to H earlier and he said "How is he not fucking ashamed of himself that he cant wash his own fucking socks?!" he was genuinely gobsmacked! If you let it be known to his friends and family that he is that useless, I rather suspect he would not be happy as he knows just how shit he is, he is just hoping you dont.

Writerwannabe83 Tue 10-Dec-13 00:02:34

This thread is so sad - and only reinforces why I will never make the choice to be a FT SAHM. It amazes me how some men can have such outdated attitudes!! You deserve so much better OP and deep down you know that. It isn't easy though, making changes to your life, especially after so long, but I think for the sake of your sanity and self worth you need to put a stop to this! I really hope you find a solution, please don't let your husband knock your confidence or make you feel like you don't do anything worthwhile x

TheDoctrineOfSanta Mon 09-Dec-13 23:58:51

I've said it before and I'll say it again, sadly.

Why does he get a hobby and you don't? Why does he get spare time and you don't? Why does he get spare money and you don't? Why does he get to berate you for not earning as much money but you don't get to berate him for not parenting fully?

Why, in short, does he think he is more important than you?

antimatter Mon 09-Dec-13 23:55:57

he will try to make feel you stupid for suggesting any changes because he will be worst off

his hobbies and easy life will go, but then he had a nice lifestyle for years - time to grow up :D

attheendoftheday Mon 09-Dec-13 23:45:22

He is being a cock.

It's not unreasonable if he wants to renegotiate your arrangement, but if he would like you to work longer hours (assuming you agree) he would need to do half the housework, half the childcare and pay half any formal childcare needed. He might need to arrange flexible working to do this, and would have to take half the sick days off too. I bet he hasn't thought this through.

notarealgrownup Mon 09-Dec-13 23:35:37

I totally agree. He has made me feel "privileged " by putting a roof over our heads.
And I really do need to change things somehow as he isn't going to rock his easy life is he?

Pobblewhohasnotoes Mon 09-Dec-13 23:23:11

He earns good money but somehow thinks this entitles him to do fuck all else?

OP, it's not good.

notmyproblem Mon 09-Dec-13 23:20:46

Op, you came on here asking for advice. It's a near unanimous YANBU. But now you're close to defending your H and already creating a list of reasons why you can't make your life better.

I'll tell you one thing. He knows EXACTLY what he's doing when he doesn't lift a finger around the house. That comment about people thinking he doesn't lift a finger? It came from the truth, and he knows it. He knows what a good deal he has going, he knows how to manipulate you and put you down to get what he wants, keep your ego small and insecure and make sure you do exactly what he wants all the time, every time.

Stand up for yourself. Start looking at your situation from an arm's-length. If your daughter was involved with a useless partner like this, low self-esteem, controlled and trapped in a relationship where she had little to no money of her own, 3 kids to look after and no help from her H apart from paying the mortgage... what would you tell her?

You're 49. That means probably another 30 years of living like this. Why would you want to spend half your life pandering to some excuse for a man like your H? Start getting angry and start making plans to change things. For you, for your kids. He can either change and come along for the ride, or stay like he is and get left behind. Either way, your future is bright. But you need to take the first steps. Stop arguing for your own limitations and start thinking about how you're going to fix this.

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