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AIBU to think that the power dynamics will shift when I become a SAHM???

(25 Posts)
BlairBass Mon 02-Feb-15 17:11:34

I fully expect to be roasted for this!!
But I am honestly looking for some personal experiences/anecdotes...
We've done all the maths and taken into account our preferences and decided that at the end of my maternity leave I will go back for minimum time (6 weeks to 3 months, not sure yet!) and then be a SAHM
All great for me - much prefer to be with my darling DD then slogging away 55hrs week in my job with emails all hours/calls with US/etc...
But here is my concern:
I'm going from being a (moderately successful) career girl bringing in decent income, having regular overseas work trips, events, etc. to being in charge of baby, dog, housework. Don't get me wrong - I KNOW that it is not easy, in terms of time it exceeds any job I know of! But it is 100% more enjoyable and can't compare to the stress/politics of my job.
My worry is that my husband will start to see me as less his "equal" and more "the little wife".
His salary will be the only one and I can't help but think that power=money to a certain extent and although logically we are both doing equally important jobs that in reality he will see his as so much more vital.

Has anyone felt like this?
How can I prepare for it? Combat it??

ApocalypseThen Mon 02-Feb-15 17:21:13

Money is power to a massive extent. If you agree to do this, you must insist on full access to joint money and to an untouchable amount set aside for your personal use.

I know it sounds lovely but protect yourself. You will become responsible for the household at all times if you do not negotiate equal leisure time and that will matter.

Please make sure you're personally and financially protected.

bigbluestars Mon 02-Feb-15 17:26:24

We had no shift in power, but my OH values having his children looked after at home.
We pool all money, we both have access to our joint account. My spending is never questioned.

jimmycrackcornbutidontcare Mon 02-Feb-15 17:26:48

He'll only see you like this if he is a certain type of man, a most detestable one. I'm at home with the DCs and my DH and I are equals. But then we always were. Only you can know if your DH has a tendency to bully and belittle. If he does I would not burn all my bridges at work. You can always retrain etc if you need to anyway.

LinesThatICouldntChange Mon 02-Feb-15 17:27:42

If its a genuinely two way decision, and he's happy to be sole earner and you're happy to give up your career, then I don't see why it should be an issue. Though I agree that you need to protect your financial position, continue to pay into your own pension etc

It wouldn't suit everyone, but if you and your DH are both in agreement and have thought through the long term implications too, then I can't see why it would be a problem

BlairBass Mon 02-Feb-15 17:30:12

Thank you everyone!
ApocalypseThen - you raise v good points re. clarifying finances and leisure time beforehand. I think we need to open a bottle of wine and negotiate discuss!
Partly psychological as I feel like I am really lucky (almost skiving) to be able to be a SAHM and am more than happy to skip overseas holidays, swanky meals and designer clothes for stay cations, pizza express and H&M!

NormHonal Mon 02-Feb-15 17:30:37

I agree with everything Apocalypse says.

Money, chores and leisure time are all key. Sit down with your OH and agreee about all of these things at the outset, write it down if needed, and then check in with each other and re-negotiate these every few months as circumstances change.

Watch out for sleepwalking into a situation where you can't go back to work if you change your mind, because DH's career takes off/takes over and you get "stuck" holding the fort on the home front. (Speaking from experience.)

PicaK Mon 02-Feb-15 17:31:07

It canbe done. My dh treats me with respect and values what I do. The difficulty was me learning to value what I do. There were times in the early days I would RAGE when he complemented me cos the house was tidy. I was in the frame of mind that a tidy house was not an achievement of any worth. He was more ahead of the game than me. In terms of realising it's bloody hard being at home with small children. It took me a long time to say thank you.
Sort your finances out so you both get the same amount of non quibble spending money and put the bills, food, mortgage, xmas, clothes etc money away. You do have to factor in his extra travel, lunch, buying coffee for colleagues money. But don't get into the asking for money trap.
Keep talking. Communication is everything.
Be aware of the financial implications of this.
It works beautifully for us though.

Nolim Mon 02-Feb-15 17:33:13

Agree that expectations should be spoken clearly and dont be shy to speak up if there is an inbalance.

juniorcakeoff Mon 02-Feb-15 17:35:17

The question I always ask...what do you do if he leaves? How easily could you get back into work? How easily could he empty the joint accountCould you look for / ask for another role which allows you more time with DD? Also look long term - you may desperately want more time with her now but what happens when they are 2 and they've had five tantrums before you get to the end of the road? Finally - when you met and fell in love you were 2 independent people with outside interests and hobbies - you need to make sure you stay that way i.e. make sure the kids / home boring interior decorating do not become your only topic of conversation.

notonyourninny Mon 02-Feb-15 17:38:52

Make sure you have full access to joint account

Make sure dh realises there may be rare occassion you are too ill to dochildcare <glares at dh>

Panicmode1 Mon 02-Feb-15 17:41:29

Only if you let them...!

I agree with everything everyone has said - I gave up my career and six figure salary to be at home with my four children (and now dog!) and there are days when I think I was bonkers but they are fewer and further between the longer I have been away from an office.

I do miss having my financial independence but then I know DH values what I do tremendously...this weekend for example, he thought I looked a bit tired on Saturday morning - popped out to get a newspaper and when he got back, told me he'd booked me a morning at a spa and he was taking over the house for the rest of the I know that he appreciates what I do for him.

Finances are joint, and although I do most of the housework, at the weekends he will put washing on, do shopping etc. If I am doing clubs/classes etc he puts then into his diary and those are non negotiable and meetings get put into his diary around my commitments. Equally, he does a lot of training for tris/ironman competitions so we give each other leisure time to recharge our batteries.

But communication is key - do keep talking to each other. If it doesn't work, it's so easy to become resentful very fast. And I would second keeping your skills alive -I do some volunteering and have done some freelance work every now and then, just to keep my hand in and give me options should I need them later on.

GotToBeInItToWinIt Mon 02-Feb-15 17:44:46

I had a great career before deciding to be a SAHM, in fact I did the same job as DH (we met on a graduate scheme). I really don't think he sees me as the 'little woman' at home, because he's not a wanker! He respects what I do, just as I respect what he does. I do sometimes feel like my brain is going to mush though.

GotToBeInItToWinIt Mon 02-Feb-15 17:45:42

After 6 months of being a SAHM I'm not sure you'll still think you're 'skiving'...

wobblyweebles Mon 02-Feb-15 17:45:58

We haven't seen a power shift, but then DH would be fucked trying to arrange childcare without me around. He travels a lot, often at short notice. He'd have to hire a nanny to be able to cope.

WipsGlitter Mon 02-Feb-15 17:47:37

I agree with previous posters. I think you're mad to go back at all though - all that disruption/childcare wrangling. Is it worth it.

On the flip side I was very bored on mat leave, went a bit bonkers and was happy to go back. So maybe you're right not to burn your bridges!!

expatinscotland Mon 02-Feb-15 17:48:03

From your other thread, sounds like your spouse already regards you as a skivvy and you have taken on this role.

FATEdestiny Mon 02-Feb-15 17:49:15

As SAHM I look after our family finances - from the joint current account to joint savings and paying off chunks from the credit cards - I manage all of this.

Therefore there is no chance of loss of financial 'power'. In fact if anything I am the one who makes the financial decisions (like how much we have to spend in January sales etc).

I think the hardest change in marriage dynamics will come when the time arises that I have to return to work. DH going back to having to take equal responsibility for the home will be hardest. No plans to return to work for a long time yet though.

wobblyweebles Mon 02-Feb-15 17:58:13

FATEdestiny I agree. When I went back to work everyone said "Oh it'll be a huge change for you." Only MIL really appreciated that actually it would be a huge change for DH. It took him at least a year to really adjust. He'd say things like "The kids need to see the dentist soon" and I'd say "Yes they do."

duplodon Mon 02-Feb-15 18:00:56

Do yourself a favour. Write yourself a eulogy. Imagine what you would like people to remember your life as being about, remembering this is really what you would want your life to be about. If being an sahm fits in with that, proceed without doubt, but negotiate some practicalities. If not, see if there's a more creative solution to meeting current logistical needs in terms of providing care for your child/family and move towards that.

hettie Mon 02-Feb-15 18:39:36

Before I got pregnant when dh was trying to persuade me it would be a good idea I drew his attention to a scene in our local cafe..... It was a Sunday and a family of for with young children (under 5) were trying to have breakfast. Or rather mum was trying to have breakfast whilst wipeing hands, pouring drinks, handing out colouring books/cuddley toys, taking kids to the loo etc. Dad meanwhile was having a leisurely breakfast whilst occasionally engaging and/or reading the paper. It's a scene that I still see all too often. Once you take on childcare full time out is too often assumed that this is your role at all times. If you don't want that to happen then you need to have a full and frank conversation about how you deal with that. You also need to be clear about the financial implication of this. What would happen if you divorced in 10 years, can you get back to your career?

MothershipG Mon 02-Feb-15 18:43:18

I found the hardest thing for me was how much of my identity was apparently tied up my job - which came as a big surprise to me!

I wasn't especially career driven, it was just a job, but when I had to start describing myself as a housewife/SAHM it really stuck in throat! I hated it and felt people were more condescending to me (probably only my imagination) I found myself burbling about how I used to work in IT.

As I do all the household finances DH just pays everything, apart from some spends, straight into my account. It worked for us.

shushpenfold Mon 02-Feb-15 18:43:30

I have been fully employed and full time SAHM in approx equal measure whilst we've been married and there has never, at any time, been any suggestion or hint of a difference in the way my DH has treated me or money in relation to me. We have totally joint finances and I've pretty much managed them since we married. I think you're either married to a man who appreciates you (job or no job) or not.

Momagain1 Mon 02-Feb-15 18:44:30

You are rightly worried to feel you may be pushed into feeling you are the less powerful because he is the one earning. On the other hand, he can end up feeling that all anyone at home cares about is his paycheck. That you make all decisions, and only need him for the cash.

In 24 years, we have had every combination of who is at home, who is earning more, and where the money is kept: from separate accounts, division of bills, and allowances to one account, two debit cards and shared password. It depends on life at the time.

If you have always kept your money in separate pots and divided bill payments, this will be a big change. When we first combined expenses, (about 5 years into married life) here is what we did:

Paychecks direct deposited into joint account. Other amounts also deposited into joint, if/when it happens.
Transfer standing orders for electricity, mortgage, etc to joint account. (Watch very carefully the first month! Check daily!)
Standing order for personal allowances to existing individual accounts.
Standing orders for payments to retirement accounts and savings.
After all that, the rest of the funds in the joint account should be grocery, petrol, expenses relating to the kid(s) or family activities. If the ending balance is enough that it starts accumulating, move some to savings/consider raising that order.

You will need to agree what personal allowances are meant to cover.
It does get weird sorting out what is reasonably fair since you are living very different lives during the day, and you are doing things for/with the kids, not because you want that sort of fun. (I mean, . But then again, he doesnt really think of business lunches as fun. Like so many things, you both have to be generous.

Time and money both matter. You also need to decide on downtime for each of you, and for both of you. It is just as important as planning how cash will work. You both need to maintain your personal interests. And, date night. It really matters. Remember what I said about him feeling like a cash machine? He needs time to be himself, to be dad, to be your guy, just as much as you need time to not be mom.

And it all needs to be treated flexibly and adjusted regularly. Small changes at work, school, the grocery store can knock it out of balance.

BlairBass Mon 02-Feb-15 19:00:56

Thank you everyone - really great advice here!!
I agree expatinscotland that so far I have taken on too much of the responsibility - while still having my own money for personal treats/expenses - I think I just got caught up in the nesting joy of being at home with my DD. It's been 9 months and I can honestly say I enjoy it, while being realistic about the challenges ahead with toddlerhood and beyond! So I am sure I'm making the right decision for myself. I just need to think to the future now and put down some ground rules...
I'm also concerned (and this is SO superficial) that my grooming has somewhat... er... lapsed...
I'm often in a dressing gown over sweats when DH comes home because that's what I find easiest to wear for her dinner time and bath time!
I need to up my game for date nights and feel more like the old me again!

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