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AIBU to think that both husband and wife can make good money, do fulfilling work and take part in family life

(142 Posts)
CalpolOnToast Fri 01-Jan-16 16:08:43

We are both self-employed.

My husband thinks that to bring in very good money as a family you need one partner working all the time and the other to be a SAHP or very flexible. He is willing to be the SAHP.

I think that it ought to be possible for us both to work part time, probably in our own business, and earn the same as one of us would but still have a decent amount of time with DS.

DH says he's never heard of anyone doing it and that I'm dreaming.

Has anyone reading this run a family business, earnt lots of money (Xenia type money grin) and had time to spend with their children?

alltouchedout Fri 01-Jan-16 16:12:53

I don't think it's possible for most families, no.

slightlyglitterpaned Fri 01-Jan-16 16:20:37

DP and I both work 4 days, which gives us time with DS. We don't earn Xenia type money, but we earn more together than either of us would individually working full-time++ IYSWIM, and there's a lot of comfortable space under "Xenia" level earnings.

AutumnLeavesArePretty Fri 01-Jan-16 16:21:46

I don't think you need a SAHP to have a decent job and family time at all.

Lots of families both work full time and have plenty of time at home, some work around each other or do four compressed days each.

I think its the best model for children to grow up in, both sexes then see it as the norm to work and run a house rather than men work and women don't.

As for earning as much as Xenia by being SE as a couple, I'd imagine it would have to be a very successful business indeed and depends on what you class as part time hours.

whatdoesittake48 Fri 01-Jan-16 16:22:07

We don't earn lots but both work as self employed and both totally flexible. I work from home so take on most of the household tasks but still have fulfilling work.
My h and I both attend alk school events together and share the parenting duties fairly.
It works but the money is not fantastic. Neither can commit to the long hours needed to build our businesses. But family life came first.
Our income is around 40k shared . We survive without benefits and with lots of time with our kids. We saw the sacrifice as worth it.

browneyedgirl1974 Fri 01-Jan-16 16:25:36

I think you are right op. Plus both of your earning is far more tax efficient than one worker and a sahp.

Hulababy Fri 01-Jan-16 16:29:47

I think it is hard for both parents to be high fliers and high earners and for them both to be involved with day to day family life. I think week days at least would need to involve wrap around care for children, with some arrangements in place for times when that care isn't open.

Dh is the high earner in our family. He does long hours though not horrendous but still not home til gone 7pm, and that's no commute involved.

In order for him to have been able to pursue the promotions etc we needed someone to be there to pick up the lions share of childcare and have some flexibility. Luckily I wanted to be that person - I was able to and wanted to go part time and have flexibility on when I work.

Dh can and does take time off for holidays and will cover Dd's sickness etc and now she's older I work ft again (though not in same job and on a lesser salary, etc and still term time). Dh does spend all weekends with us and usually still did morning school run on his way to work. And was always home for a late dinner with me and Dd; but we couldn't have both been working longer hours - childcare when she was younger stopped at 6pm

NewLife4Me Fri 01-Jan-16 16:34:55

I think it depends on your business.
The high wages aside I do pt work in the business and dh works ft and some, in fact he rarely takes a break as his work is his life. grin

However, I'm not relied upon and can leave the work I do at any time I wish, so not the same really.

I gave my career up when we had dc as it would have been too hard for us both to have continued in the same industry. I didn't want to do anything else so was a sahm.

I think you could manage pt and him ft, why not?
What's the business, can you say?
Or if not can you describe the hours.

Clarella Fri 01-Jan-16 16:34:58

I think it depend on the amount of other support you have - nearby family who could help out in an emergency or just give some rest bite.

Being a parent is far harder than I ever thought! And working part time plus being a full time mum has been an enormous transition for us both.

I know some who do manage, just. It's not easy though and their marriage must be rock solid.

mamadoc Fri 01-Jan-16 16:35:47

Hmm. Should be possible in theory but it's not been my experience.

Most jobs where you earn a lot of money (and many where you don't) require long hours, flexibility and travel none of which are easily combined with caring for DC. I am the main wage earner in my family and I would bite DHs hand off if he offered to be SAHP and did it well. I am very jealous of my male colleagues who have it all taken care of and never have to negotiate childcare for a conference or late meeting or spend their weekends shopping, cooking and cleaning. Unfortunately DH wants to work and he is not great at domestic stuff so we both try to work 4 days a week spread over 5 to do pick ups and we bicker about whose engagement gets priority and who is looking after sick DC.

I suspect life is easier with one SAHP. It should still work with 2 part time workers but it is harder and there's a lot of potential for the woman to come off with the worst of both worlds. Xenia had a SAHP didn't she and felt quite bitter about the huge payout he got when they divorced if I recall correctly?

Clarella Fri 01-Jan-16 16:36:16

Respite. - I'm so tired due to being a parent of a small boy who has been thrown by the festive season!

boscros1 Fri 01-Jan-16 16:40:28

DH and I both have decent incomes and we work FT, him SE and me employed. We could both work PT and still earn a pretty good wage, so YANBU. It's perfectly possible if u have a successful business or have a good career.

It's just not a common scenario as men seem to be the higher earners a lot of the time, and women's are more likely to be SAHP, while very little men seem to work part time as a choice. Doesn't mean it's not possible!

worriedmum100 Fri 01-Jan-16 16:41:44

We've managed to achieve a really good balance. I work 3 days, one from home, DP full-time but 2 days from home (the same days that I commute in) so one of us is always "at home" and able to drop DS off at school. He goes to an after school club on the days I work but only for an hour or two usually collect him around 5.30 and I'm around to pick up from school on my two non-working days. On the days DP commutes in he's nearly always back for bath time. We're not self employed but in professional reasonably well paid jobs (public sector lawyers). Joint income more than enough to be comfortable but definitely not Xenia territory. Not having the long hours required by the private sector was key for us in making it work and we were both prepared to take the financial hit that working in the public sector entailed as we both prefer to work in the public sector anyway. We don't need to bring work home at weekends so lots of family time. I would say we parent 50/50 but I do slightly more round the house as I'm part time.

We're lucky that we both really like our work and have great employers though.

Ragwort Fri 01-Jan-16 16:45:14

Surely it will depend entirely on what sort of business you are running - if you have a product/service that it is very easily marketable, something everybody wants/needs to buy and it's not much effort to produce then yes, it would be possible - but I would love to know what sort of business it is grin.

Although I might question why it is so important that you want to earn Xenia type income, perfectly possible to have a successful work/life balance on a much more 'average' income smile If that sort of money is so important to you - then how important is the rest of your life? confused

Atenco Fri 01-Jan-16 16:47:36

I think it really depends what your work is, how possible it is to work part-time and earn enough. I'm self-employed but find that I end up working every hour that available for months on end, then suddenly have a slump with lots of free time and anxiety about the slump.

I find it peculiar the sexism of some of the comments above. Despite you saying that your husband is interested in being the SAHP, people are recommending that you go pt and your husband ft. So sad

mouldycheesefan Fri 01-Jan-16 16:51:03

I think tHe key question is whEther your particular business can generate the levels of income you aspire to.

Duckdeamon Fri 01-Jan-16 16:51:15

It's difficult. Where DH and I work it's hard to compete for good work/promotion etc with the people who work FT++ . Lots of couples we know have one person (99% of the time it's the man) working mega hours and earning a lot but seeing little of DC and one at home. That model isn't for everyone.

Some people don't want to be the sole or main earner - eg because of the pressure or because in the event of a break-up you'd likely get limited time with DC and pay spousal maintenance!

BackforGood Fri 01-Jan-16 16:52:21

As others have said, it's going to totally depend on what your business is.
We have friends where she is a mobile hairdresser and he is an electrician - both self employed and it works really well for them being able to work around each other, and make appointments / keep diaries clear to suit circumstances (plus, as she often has people come to their house, she can manage whilst the dc are at home, once they are past the baby stage).
However - this doesn't bring in Xenia type earnings grin
So - it's going to depend on how flexible your businesses are, how much of it involves home working and how much needs to be out of the home, how much involves visiting clients, etc, etc.

Karanka Fri 01-Jan-16 16:56:13

It depends on how old your children are, and other circumstances such as having a decent family/friends network. But I think with young children it's hellishly difficult.

I work ft, and DW works pt - we could do with two ft incomes but one DC is still preschool and there's not much in the way of childcare available to us in the local area. I tried working compressed hours for a while but it affected my health through exhaustion, which led to depression so I had to give it up.

Given the choice I would love to be a SAHP, but I am the higher earner so we don't have much option.

mamadoc Fri 01-Jan-16 16:58:14

Yes, I noticed that too. People should play to their strengths whatever sex they are.

If I gave up work to be a SAHP and DH worked more intensively he still would not make lots of money because he isn't great at making money. He is good at what he does but not ruthless, driven or ambitious enough to monetise it. He would do even more lovely, high quality, award winning work but we would starve. I think he realises this and is glad not to have the strain of earning all the money for the household whereas I actually wouldn't mind. As I'm salaried if I work more I get paid more plus I have promotion prospects. Why do people assume the woman should quit/ go pt?

Sallycinnamum Fri 01-Jan-16 16:58:37

I work four days a week and DH full time although we both work from home one day a week each.

We earn around £70k combined and could earn more if we progressed up the career ladder but neither of us want to sacrifice the reasonable work/life balance we have now for longer hours and more stress.

We have a nanny though which costs an arm and a leg and has made all the difference in enabling me to go back to work.

I do know very high earning and high flying couples who work full time and have very well adjusted and happy children.

boscros1 Fri 01-Jan-16 16:59:05

Agree with backforgood the type of SE jobs you have make a big difference. I know quite a lot of couples where the man is SE with trade and the woman is a hairdresser/beautician, the women work PT and it would be possible for the men to do the same if they wanted to.

Geraniumred Fri 01-Jan-16 16:59:29

It depends where you live, what you do and how much other support you have. My DB and SIL have had very successful careers and brought up one child without much family support. They nanny shared and had someone to do cleaning and ironing and were super organised. But both were employed by companies who were very family friendly.

Duckdeamon Fri 01-Jan-16 17:02:23

It also depends what fields people work in. Those choices are often made well before DC. I'm in the public sector and have the same level of responsibility, challenge etc as DH but earn less and have limited scope to progress.

It'd a shame that careers info for young (or indeed any age!) people rarely outlines data on number of jobs (and trends to see if it's a rising or fading type of job), earnings, conditions and locations!

OublietteBravo Fri 01-Jan-16 17:02:38

Both DH and I work FT (and always have). We each earn a similar amount (joint income before deductions is ~£135,000 - so not quite Xenia level, but respectable).

We don't have any family within 100 miles of where we live, so it had involved a lot of juggling. The key is to find good wrap-around childcare.

For us, this currently means that both our DC are privately educated. It wasn't possible to achieve the same balance using the local state schools (believe me we tried, it was very, very stressful).

I get home about 18:00, and DH usually gets in between 18:30 and 19:00, so the DC (now 11 and 9) have us around in the evenings.

There are other things you may need to make it work. We have a cleaner, and I consider this essential. I'm currently looking into whether we can outsource the lion share of the household admin to a virtual PA.

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