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Not sure how I can earn what DH suggests upon return to work

(237 Posts)
HowcanIearnthis Fri 03-Feb-17 10:15:10

Apologies in advance for the length of this - trying not to drip feed.

DH is a high earner and has worked very hard for his whole adult life. About a year ago, I became a SAHP, but prior to that I had worked similar hours to DH. I am slightly younger than DH, so had not worked these hours for as many years. In addition, my profession is a bit lower paid than that of DH and frankly, he was unusually successful in his profession, whereas, whilst competent, I wasn't exceptionally successful in mine. As a result of his career success, we have had a comfortable lifestyle, paid off our mortgage and whilst we don't spend excessively (both of us being from quite frugal, sensible backgrounds), we have been extremely fortunate in that we haven't had particular money worries. I know that we are very, very lucky.

When I became a SAHP, this was a joint decision, although a contributory factor was my mental health and the impact on it of a horribly stressful job. Even today, one year on, I quite often find myself in tears and sweating at 3am about the situation I left. We decided that it would be best for all of us if I were to be a SAHP until all of our DC started school. We are now expecting DC2. DH says he still feels that it is best for all of us if I continue to be a SAHP for now. I was happy with this until very recently, having taken steps to protect my own financial position etc. DH's job is very demanding and it is true that I don't think he could do it if I were doing my old job and unable to be the "default" parent, as I am now. We live in an area with very little childcare provision and my returning to work would realistically mean DD being in childcare from 7 am to 7pm every day, which I would prefer to avoid if possible.

However, DH now says that when the DC start school (so in 5 years or so), we need to share the financial responsibility for our family down the middle. So far, so reasonable - I was very much intending to go back to work. We have worked out a budget as to what income we will need to meet our outgoings. However, what this means in practice is that from his high earning position, he will only need to work 1 day/week. Even when I manage to get back into the workplace, it will mean me having to work 5 days/week, because I will have disadvantaged myself so much in career terms. I feel that my being at home has directly contributed to this situation - increasing his earning potential massively and reducing my own - and that it would be fair to take account of this. I pointed out that if I made a unilateral decision that I was only going to "work" in looking after the DC 1 day a week from now on, he'd have serious difficulties. I feel that it would be fairer to, for example, work three days a week each, if such roles could be found. He says that he has worked hard for many years and deserves a break. I feel that I could say the same, but I have a (shared) responsibility to look after our kids financially and emotionally. Being at home with small children isn't a holiday and I feel that it's not fair for me to do all the years of wiping snot, night feeds and chasing poo around the bath and then for him to want to swap and be the SAHP once they're both in school and he can read his book on the sofa.

I'm also a bit upset because we have always had shared responsibilities and finances. He's an amazing father and he worships the ground DD walks on - he's not some sort of absent parent and I would never, ever have said that he was someone who shirked responsibility or was looking for a free ride on the domestic front. We are a family - we have always mucked in together. That's what families do, isn't it?!

AIBU?

ImperialBlether Fri 03-Feb-17 10:19:15

He sounds horrible! So he wants you to do all the donkey work now, then just when things get a bit easier, he'll take over and you go back to work full time?

I wouldn't be up for that. Both full time, fine, if responsibilities are shared. Both part-time would be fine, too, but not the way he's suggesting. And if he can't see that's really unfair, then you have a huge problem with him.

ShowMePotatoSalad Fri 03-Feb-17 10:19:47

Why does he think that being a SAHP is a break? Does he not value your contribution to your family life?

I work part time so I see both sides, and the days I am at home with my son are much more physically demanding and tiring than the day I am at work. At least when I'm at work I can have a break for a few minutes and I am not responsible for the physical and emotional care of another human being for the entirety of the day. (Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love and cherish being with and looking after my son, but it's hard work too).

Some jobs are very demanding and maybe are harder than being at home with kids. However the problem is that he doesn't seem to value what you're doing very much. I think it's unrealistic and unfair to "demand" you go and earn a certain amount. He has no clue how hard it is to go back to work after being off for so long - often people are starting at the bottom of the ladder again.

Why doesn't he do night feeds now? Just because he goes out to work doesn't mean you're responsible for all the childcare, round the clock. It sounds very unevenly split and very unfair on you at the moment.

ShowMePotatoSalad Fri 03-Feb-17 10:20:13

Sorry that should say days* I am at work, not day.

VladmirsPoutine Fri 03-Feb-17 10:20:53

Tell him that's not going to fucking happen. Yanbu - you've done the majority of child rearing which has facilitated his career progression and then he expects you to basically magic yourself a high-paying career.
What does he say when you tell him it's just not feasible. It's one thing to want to return to work once the dc are in school - but there needs to be a degree of realism about what taking 5/6 years out of the world of work can do.

AnyFucker Fri 03-Feb-17 10:22:08

Wow

OhhBetty Fri 03-Feb-17 10:22:17

He sounds awful! I'm a carer and my job is physically and emotionally demanding. However, I still find it easier than looking after my toddler!! It doesn't sound like he values you at all which for me would be a deal breaker.

mrsmalcolmreynolds Fri 03-Feb-17 10:24:14

I think there are two separate but related issues here. If he feels that he will need to ease back on work in a few years and that is affordable and workable for you as a family at that point then that's fair enough.

However, him saying that this necessitates equal earnings from you both and implying that you should work FT because you will have had a break whilst a SAHM is VU. He seems to equate worth only with paid work and to believe that worth is measured only in £ - very odd. I say this as by far the bigger earner in our household, by a factor of 4 or 5.

Morphene Fri 03-Feb-17 10:26:18

Making an equal contribution ought to be on the hours you work, not on whatever arbitrary pay scale our fucked up capitalist society happens to append to the work you happen to be qualified for.

I don't work harder than the person who cleans my office, I just happen to get paid about 5 times what they do.

Women get paid 10% less than men in the same jobs....so what if you flip it around and everyone agreed to pay the women the same as the men but they had to work 10% longer hours for it, do you think your DH would agree with that?

I don't think he is being an arsehole per se, maybe he just hasn't thought of it in those terms.

I would simply counter that you have no problem working a 37 hour week to help provide for the family, but point out that you aren't in control of the going rate for the work you are able to do.

AnyFucker Fri 03-Feb-17 10:26:29

Divorce him now, take half the assets (at least) and cut out the next few years of misery where it slowly dawns on you what a twat he is

You might as well. He already views you as an indentured servant that will have to prove her worth once the baby years are over

ElphabaTheGreen Fri 03-Feb-17 10:27:10

What sphere of reality does he inhabit that he thinks you can just step back into a high-paying role after a 5+ year break? confused

Also...you're pregnant with DC2. Two children is not twice the work of one. It's four or five times the work. If your MH couldn't cope with a FT job and no children, you will not survive a FT job and two children having not even acclimatised with one.

Plenty will comment on what an arsey suggestion stepping into being a SAHP is once it gets easy, so I'll let others do the talking on that.

I'm sorry, but his plan is batshit crazy.

MoMandaS Fri 03-Feb-17 10:28:16

If you were to divorce (not saying that's on the cards!), the courts would take the view that, as you say, being the children's full-time carer has put your employment prospects and earning potential at a disadvantage, so the split in the finances would have to reflect that. You are a partnership and you work equally hard and that is what it will be fair to continue doing. I think you should suggest he takes a week's holiday and does all the childcare while you research the job market, brush up your CV, maybe go on a course, anything to get you out of the house so he gets the full childcare experience. Then discuss it again.

FlyingElbows Fri 03-Feb-17 10:29:02

What AF said!!

Op you are married to a twat. When you're married you are a "we" not two "me"s. I feel irrationally angry on your behalf.

NoSquirrels Fri 03-Feb-17 10:29:38

What he is proposing is mad.

And extremely unfair.

I see you are pregnant with DC2. I would be telling him that if that's really his considered opinion, I will be looking for a new full-time job as soon as is practical after the birth of DC2 & he'd need to be equally responsible for childcare arrangements, domestic work, night wakings, illnesses and household organisation. 50 fucking 50 down the line.

(In practice I would feel the same as you about leaving the DC in childcare that long & realities of a new full time role, but I would certainly threaten it with the intent to go through with it if he didn't consider properly what he's saying.)

He is not seeing your partnership as equal, yet he wants you to be "equal" in earning in 5 years. I assume he's an intelligent man, so can see how ridiculous this plan is?

HowcanIearnthis Fri 03-Feb-17 10:33:23

I should also point out that he says that he doesn't see it as a trade off of "my time out" vs "his time out"; he says that he appreciates that what I am doing is hard and that he doesn't think he could do it. However, it does feel a bit that way in practice, inevitably. I also fully appreciate that if we had both been earning about what I was on before I resigned then we probably couldn't have afforded the luxury of my staying home. He has earned an unusual amount and has put us into a very fortunate position re: retirement, savings, etc. More so than I could have imagined when we were younger.

It may also be relevant (sorry - I was trying not to drip feed, I know) that DD is 3 right now so things are a bit easier. I'm not doing the night feeds etc at the moment. But obviously I will be again in a few months when DC2 arrives! Perhaps he sees us having fun together now that she's a bit older and spending days in the park etc while he goes to work and has forgotten that it took a loooong time to get us there. You know - literally to the park and metaphorically, to the point where we could have that sort of fun.

Glad you don't all think I'm being an unreasonable witch though.

NoSquirrels Fri 03-Feb-17 10:34:50

Or, indeed, what AF said.

If my DH had said this, divorce would probably have been on the cards. And he had his moments of arseholery when DC were babies, but nothing like that.

So cross for you, OP!

Snoopysimaginaryfriend Fri 03-Feb-17 10:35:54

If he can earn in one day what you earn in five I'd say to him 'that sounds great. You go part time, work one day a week and then you can look after the kids whilst I work five days a week'. He will soon realise how stupid his idea is.

OllyBJolly Fri 03-Feb-17 10:36:02

Some people just don't appreciate the impact a career break has on earning capability. My XH really thought I could walk into a Better paid job than the one I'd had 4 years before. In some ways it was flattering that he had such a high opinion of my value but not realistic. He was a very high earner and I do find that people on big salaries have little idea of what it's like for the rest of us.

In the end my return to work salary was around half my previous earnings. It probably took a good five years to get to where I had been, and that doesn't take childcare expenses into account (single parent by then and child support didn't cover childcare cost).

So I'd suggest a no holds barred discussion. Collect evidence if you think that would help - there is plenty of it out there on the gender pay gap and the impact of time out of the workplace.

AnyFucker Fri 03-Feb-17 10:36:18

Op doesn't sound cross at all

She sounds somewhat star struck sad

MrsBethel Fri 03-Feb-17 10:36:25

Your DH needs to realise that when you get married you put your partner's happiness and time on an equal footing to your own.
Rather than arbitrarily deciding you both need to contribute equal £££s, how about working out what arrangement will make you both happiest.

NarkyMcDinkyChops Fri 03-Feb-17 10:38:56

However, DH now says that when the DC start school (so in 5 years or so), we need to share the financial responsibility for our family down the middle. So far, so reasonable

But it ISN'T reasonable, you are starting from a faulty premise. How can you possibly earn the same as him when you have taken 5-7 years out to raise HIS children, you're younger than him anyway, and presumably still be the one taking the bulk of the responsibility for children even when they are at school?
It isn't possible, he's setting you up to fail before you've even started. And are you supposed to worry about this for the next 5 years? He's being an utter dick.

Ask him why he doesn't value everything you do and will be doing. He makes more than enough money for you all, you don;t even have a mortgage to pay. Why is your future earning power even being mentioned right now?

HowcanIearnthis Fri 03-Feb-17 10:40:47

That made my smirk, AF. Definitely not star struck, honestly - he has gone off to work with a bloody enormous flea in his ear this morning for saying such a ridiculously stupid thing.

I just wanted to check that I wasn't being a total cow, in retrospect. Bit late now if I was, I guess, but glad to know that you don't all think that was the case.

HowcanIearnthis Fri 03-Feb-17 10:41:07

Or "me", smirk, even. Sorry - so cross I can't type!

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Fri 03-Feb-17 10:42:22

Presumably he will do one day of work out of the home and then four days in the home? Or has he just forgotten about the children and you'll do that too? hmm

I don't think it's necessarily unreasonable to suggest changing your lifestyles but it is extremely unreasonable for him to make unilateral decisions, ignore the fact there are children in this equation and expect you to do more than your fair share.

What he is proposing is not a partnership. It's a coronation where you all provide for him, the king.

What a dick.

CupOfTeaAndAbiscuitPlease Fri 03-Feb-17 10:42:50

So.... he is going to do the school runs, assemblies, dress up days, admin in relation to school, packed lunches/organise school dinners, childcare school holidays, washing, ironing, cleaning...

When he becomes the SAHP and you return to work?

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