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To be a sahm if we aren't married?

(259 Posts)
NotReadyForThisX2 Thu 14-Mar-19 16:50:44

More would I be really I suppose and I think I would be but Dp thinks otherwise.

Unexpectedly pregnant with a seconds Dc, Ds is only five months. We've vaguely discussed a few options but Dp keeps coming back to me staying home until they both or at least Ds start school.
We could afford it and it could in fact be the cheaper option compared to childcare X2 and getting a cleaner in or outsourcing ironing or something to ease the pressure.

I'm actually loving being home with Ds a lot more than I thought I would and Dp does pull his weight, he's not suggesting it to get out of any cleaning/childcare etc.

But we aren't married and I don't want to get married now I'm pregnant or because I'm pregnant. We are planning on doing so though and Dp would do it as soon as possible if I wanted.

I don't need to decide anything just yet, but I'm still on maternity leave and if I'm wanting to go back after the second one. I'm thinking it will be better to go back from this leave earlier and I'll need to tell work as soon as possible.

My career's not one that's particularly hard to get back on track, but I do enjoy it and wasn't planning on staying home. But I want to stay off for the year with Ds and the thought of juggling work with two under two is quite daunting.
The easy solution seems to be stay home for the next few years.
I'd be stupid to give up work without the protection of marriage though, wouldn't I? Or maybe stupid to even with marriage, I don't know!

NotReadyForThisX2 Sat 16-Mar-19 14:27:05

It would be harder for me than him @LannieDuck. I'm more likely to have meetings etc that I'd have to cancel. He's ok with it, his work are quite good like that and he can do some work from home. Only time he definitely couldn't would be if he was working away from home, which is obviously fair enough.

LannieDuck Sat 16-Mar-19 14:16:04

That sound like quite a good compromise. You going PT (if work allows) so you can be there for the kids half the week, but on the days you're in work your job takes precedence over his. So if one of the kids is ill on those days, he has to step up. How does he feel about that?

Depending on your actual jobs, it might be hard to enforce if(/when?) he goes off the idea. Esp if he's the higher earner. It'll probably happen the first time the kids' illness clashes with a meeting. But at some point you have to trust him as your partner.

Getting him involved in the kids' routine early will definitely help - dropping them off, packing bags etc. So it's not all defaulting to you.

NotReadyForThisX2 Sat 16-Mar-19 13:37:36

Thank you @N0rdicStar and @FuckertyBoo. It's quite complicated this working parent business.
It was good talking to Dp as he's worried too and I know it sounds horrible but that made me feel a bit better. He's seemed so much more excited about the baby in general so it was nice to know he's worried too. And although he did suggest me staying home and said if it's something I do want we'd make it work, it's not something he actually wants. He was worrying about being the only one working and how that could change our relationship too.

I've told him that if I'm only working 21/2 days though, that I'm already taking the hit to my career and I don't think it's fair if I'm only in half a week to not be there 100%. So he's going to have to step up on those days and be the one responsible for getting Dc to his mums or nursery and all the little stuff, packing bags etc. And he'll have to deal with it if they're sick or anything.

Ohyesiam Sat 16-Mar-19 11:07:07

Have only read the initial post.
I was a sham unmarried, it was no biggie, I trusted my partner, so it never felt like a problem.

The kids are teens now and we are actually getting married next year, to celebrate us.

NotReadyForThisX2 Sat 16-Mar-19 11:05:54

Also I do get what @LannieDuck says about the responsibility falling to me.

I'm not sure how we can avoid me taking the lead in all things baby for the short while. Not to say Dp doesn't pull his weight he does and he knows I'll say something if I don't think he is and he knows better than to presume I'll do anything or everything.

I make sure I get time out, gym, friends etc and do so more than he does generally.
But pregnancy, maternity leave and breastfeeding so mean I'm here more for the babies than him. I think/hope it will even out as Dp's excited for when they get bigger and can do more activities. I know if they do any sports etc he'll want to get quite involved, where as I can't think of anything worse than standing watching football/rugby matches, certainly wouldn't want to coach or he'll out. And he'll be the one doing, learning to ride a bike and swim, he already takes Ds swimming once a week, I hate swimming.

N0rdicStar Sat 16-Mar-19 11:04:21

Sounds ideal, always good to plan. Glad it’s all sorted.

FuckertyBoo Sat 16-Mar-19 11:01:08

I think you’re doing the right thing op. Good luck with the pregnancy and new baby! Hope you get the wedding you and your dp want at the time you want too flowers

NotReadyForThisX2 Sat 16-Mar-19 10:48:48

Thank you for the responses. I'm not, not listening to advice as I've said a few times. But I won't change my mind on the wedding. It's booked for next year and that's when it will happen.

Had a good talk last night with Dp though and honestly I think I've just been panicking about how we're going to cope with two and imagining leaving my tiny babies, probably a mix of the shock/stress and pregnancy hormones.
I've never wanted to be a SAHM before and talking it through we both agree it probably wouldn't be good for me, even if it's the easiest thing as a family. I think I'd get bored and resentful of Dp carrying on his career and Dp did say after he'd said it, he started to worry the same.
I've had a good read through the info/rights on mat leave and don't see how work can't let me have another years leave with this one, I just won't necessarily get paid, think I could get mat allowance though.
I'd also forgotten until a poster mentioned it that I'll have my annual leave too so that's a extra 31 days off.
So then it's just after I've finished my second mat leave and by then we'll be married. But we're thinking I try reduce to just 2 days or 21/2 job share, as I don't think they can refuse me the job share option. Hopefully his parents will have the Dc but we'll look at mornings in nursery for Ds, I felt that would be unfair one in nursery but not the other, but as Dp says he'll be two then so probably really benefit from some time with his peers. If we don't need to pay childcare x 2 for the whole time I'm at work (we can afford to if need be and his parents can't manage). Then we'll get a cleaner and maybe Ds in nursery one of the mornings I'm off to reduce the pressure of two and give me some time with baby and Dp and my mums half day she'll have baby so I can have some one on one time with Ds.

I know it probably seems silly planning it out now, when we don't know how things will go exactly. But I feel better and more positive thinking it's possible now and will work!

Quartz2208 Sat 16-Mar-19 10:16:40

OP being married makes a surprisingly large difference in terms of legal stuff
It seems here the problem is that you want a wedding you need to get over that I think and accept that the best thing for your family is to be married

lozster Sat 16-Mar-19 10:13:12

TimTims - yes,
I thought the same when I read that post. Copied and pasted above for convenience. Marriage is the red herring here. The OP has already said she gets this and will be looking for other solutions.

lozster Sat 16-Mar-19 10:10:53

LannieDuck

The risk is more insidious than that, OP. And might be why the replies on this thread are so cautious.

By being a SAHM in the early years, you set yourself up as the default parent. When you decide you're ready to go back to work, you'll be impacting on your DH's set-up in a negative way and he may be more resistant than he claims now. We've seen lots of threads on here where the DH has thrown barriers up to the SAHM going back to work - they couldn't possibly do any part of the school run, no - of course they can't take days off work when the child's ill, his job earns more and so can't be compromised in any way.

The SAHM ends up trying to flexi her return to work around all the childcare (and the household chores, because that's become her job too while she's been at home), massively compromising her ability to do a job and often ending up PT. And still doing all the housework because she has 'more time off than he does'. And of course the childcare mental load, because she's always done it and he doesn't see it.

I'm sure I could easily find 4 or 5 threads like that just from 2019 if Mumsnet had a better search function.

Timtims Sat 16-Mar-19 08:59:20

OP please re read the post @LannieDuck wrote at 07.56 yesterday.
It is very wise.

lozster Sat 16-Mar-19 08:59:18

Plane spotting - for the purposes of lump sum payments (death in service), anyone can change their pension ‘with an email’otherwise married people stuck in divorces that drag on for years would not have their wishes respected. Plus this is how ex’s can end up with pension benefits even if the pension holder has remarried as paper work hasn’t been updated. The issue there is keeping on top of named beneficiary.

Being married would give you a claim on pension as part of a financial settlement but this would be relative to the period you were married and a SAHM. OP isn’t married now and is intending to go back in, two years I think she said at one point so if she sticks to this, it’s a marginal issue. More pertinent is keeping her contributions to her own pension up to date. Op has already returned and is now saying she is looking for ways to reduce hours etc - this last point to the poster who claimed she ‘isn’t listening’. She has acknowledged that the bigger risk to her is in being a SAHM not on being married or not. As I’ve said upthread there are as many myths about the ‘protection’ of marriage as there are about ‘common law wife’.

Thelieswetelltoourselves Sat 16-Mar-19 08:19:21

Glad you are feeling more positive about your unexpected surprise. You don't need to make any huge decisions at mo though. You've had a challenging week. Try and get out and do family stuff and take the spotlight off decisions.

My advice though is.

Make a plan for your pension.I've just had a gap of Seven years. Four or years of that as unmarried sahm . State pension is fine - occupational pension rubbish.

Do you need to keep your skills up for your registration? I lost mine in a vocational job as hadn't worked within last two years so couldn't register. I really wish I had done some agency work or voluntary work. Childcare was issue though and partner didn't realise impact on my career. Now I'm going to need to do some voluntary work on top of working full-time to be able to regain my registration.

I started studying in Sept again as brain needed it and recently returned to full time work. Job completely below my skill set but money good,close to home, predictable hours and relatively stress free (compared to what im qualified in!)

In the years that I became a stay at home I started to feel marginalized and unappreciated. Despite having the financial reins it wasn't my money. Yes DP earnt it for family and at first I think he liked being able to say he was supporting his family. However over time a few snide comments were made. Our relationship isn't in a great state and one too many digs later I thought fuck you and got a job. Im now earning slightly more than him. The equilibrium is being restored and he's doing more like an even split of housework and cooking. Suddenly he's a bit tired and hasn't even taken on some of the mental load (yetgrin)

It can work OP but go in with your eyes open and a plan to marry. I hadn't thought about bereavement benefits to be honest and if my relationship wasn't in such a bad state I would be doing a quickie down the registry office just to get that legal status. The reason we haven't married previously is because I wanted a small modest family wedding but our family income didn't even stretch to that. Now there's more money im not sure I even want to.

Basically what I'm saying is I'm coming out the other end what you're planning to go into. My break away lasted longer than I anticipated because of a very much wanted surprise 3rd baby who we had given up hope of ever having. Life is unpredictable. I don't regret my time at home with the children. I do however wish I found a way to keep a hand in career.

Sitdownstandup Sat 16-Mar-19 08:15:29

Also, comparisons to other people are not a sensible way to look at this. The issue OP needs to consider is how best to safeguard her position in her current circumstances, not whether there are married people with no security. There will be people who don't work who are better protected and richer than her, but that doesn't mean going back to work wouldn't benefit her.

Sitdownstandup Sat 16-Mar-19 08:11:49

Getting married when you are/will be the financially more vulnerable partner is like any other form of protection and insurance: you might very well not need it. Shit isn't guaranteed to hit the fan, and lots of people have done without it and been fine. You just don't get to know in advance whether you're going to be one of those people or not.

So really it's a question of how you feel about the risk and benefit. I do think it's sensible when pregnant with a second child to take a pragmatic view of this, rather than I can't bear the thought of losing my dream wedding. But then it is still possible to come to a good decision for not very wise reasons.

tangerine23 Sat 16-Mar-19 07:41:08

I would SAH if I were you. You are in a good relationship, you are named on the house and insurance, and your partner is on board. It will allow you to truly enjoy your children while they are small and you can always go back later like you said. That is a very close age gap and you are going to be busy!!! Good for you for being careful but I would say go for it!! smile

N0rdicStar Sat 16-Mar-19 07:37:00

It isn’t a one size fits all. Many marrieds have inadequate if any pension provision and would be screwed financially in many ways if they got divorced. Job prospects is the real security.

N0rdicStar Sat 16-Mar-19 07:24:06

No everybody hasn’t told her she’s making a daft decision. hmmIt’s 2 years and she has s good job she can return to. That gives her more security than many marrieds with no job.

Thesnobbymiddleclassone Sat 16-Mar-19 07:14:22

My mum was a sahm from 1993 until my youngest sister left school 8 years ago.

They werrnt married until 2007 so a lot of that was unmarried and it worked.

MsTSwift Sat 16-Mar-19 07:11:50

I loved my years at home with pre schoolers - once it’s gone it’s gone. Also once you have kids the wedding isn’t going to be textbook traditional romantic young couple white dress affair is it? The moments passed for that op

HelenLaBloodyAnnoyed Sat 16-Mar-19 07:09:30

Yes, I had access at the beginning. We were going to marry 'next year' too, until we didn't. I'm not saying this will happen to you, I'm advising you protect your children's futures by legally marrying, just in case. If it all stays fantastic for you then that's awesome and being married sooner will make no difference but if it doesn't, believe me it will make the world of difference.

fancynancyclancy Sat 16-Mar-19 07:04:56

I wouldn't have missed my babies growing for the world. You can still experience this & work though.

sighrollseyes Sat 16-Mar-19 06:59:49

You've asked if you are making a daft decision. Everyone has told you that you are.
But you don't want to hear it - keep making more excuses.
Stop replying everyone because OP has made their decision.

user1474894224 Sat 16-Mar-19 06:52:46

SAHM 11 years. Getting married this year. Life isn't all as bad as people on MN make out. I wouldn't have missed my babies growing for the world. I can't put a price on how special that was.

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