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In thinking DD is too young to give up work to stay at home

(488 Posts)
MrsJenB Sun 21-Apr-19 00:33:11

Firstly to make it clear this is not being anti SAHM in fact I've been an SAHM since DD was born which she's saying makes me a hypocrite!

Bit of background DD is 24 and graduated from uni summer 2017. In her 1st year she met a man who was then in 3rd year and has been with him since, they got married in August. DD is now pregnant and has said she intends to give up work and not go back and they want to have a family of 3/4 kids going forward. Income isn't a problem for her as our son in law is a bit of a high flyer and in a high paying industry where he's already earning a lot and his earning potential is very high. DD is very junior in a very different kind of industry.

AIBU to still be a bit uncomfortable with her deciding to stop work at her age? She says I wouldn't be saying anything if she was 5 years older but they're ready so what's the difference. I get the feeling this is coming from son in law a bit though from some of what she's said such as him saying there's no point her working when his salary is mainly what they live on anyway and that hers doesn't make any difference anyway. That might well be true but smells a bit of calling it pocket money. DH isn't 100% on board but isn't really concerned either saying it's good she's passionate about being a mum and wanting a family. I think she's in for a bit of a shock when she realises it's more sleepless nights, changing stinky nappies and having to deal with all the responsibility all day especially with son in law working long hours and probably longer as his career progresses so not there a lot for support, not some "yummy mummy" lifestyle some of her social media posts make me think she expects. I don't think she realises how isolating it could be and how demanding even though I've told her and she says she knows. I think my DH doesn't realise either as he always worked quite long hours which maybe is why he isn't as concerned. And none of DD's friends are likely to have kids right now either so it could be even more of a challenge for her. Of course I'll support her whatever but AIBU to be worried and want her to think a bit more about the decisions?

llizzie Thu 25-Apr-19 22:53:05

Your daughter does not have to spend all her time raising the family. She can extend her knowledge at Open University and night school to keep up with current affairs and job opportunities. So few married mothers have that opportunity.

She may find that while the children are very small they are happy to be minded. It is when they are teenagers they need someone to be at home to greet them after school.

Only by experience can you DD know which way is best. She will learn infinitely more about raising children if she actually does that than reading about it.

FrazzledCareerWoman Wed 24-Apr-19 19:34:50

Oh and with dc2 it's had minimal impact as my DH has shared the leave and I am already proven in my workplace / industry for many years now.
This is the advantage of waiting and building a career first. If I wanted to go part time I have that option - I wouldn't if I wasn't already this far up the ladder.

FrazzledCareerWoman Wed 24-Apr-19 19:31:31

I have done both
18yo first baby
32yo second baby

In between I built my career. I deliberately waited until last year (career well established) to have dc2 even though been with now DH for 9 years now, as I did not want to "screw myself at both ends" as it were...

There are pros and cons to both. Having to compete with junior graduates with no responsibilities while I had to do nursery/school pick up was HARD. But I had been at uni while Dc1 was tiny and that was v flexible and I got to spend lots of time with her.
Usually it's the wrong man at that age though there are no guarantees at any age as we all know!

I was able to build career after DC1 due to the fact that
I had specialised STEM degree that enabled me to be paid a decent salary even as a recent graduate
I had a partner who shared the pick ups / drop offs and didn't have a more demanding career than mine
3. I only had 1 child

outs self

speakout Wed 24-Apr-19 07:05:12


I agree- and thet's the bottom line.

None of us are "life experts", and just because someone is a mother doesn't not automatically make them an expert.

We all have different paths- no matter what age we have children or whether we have them at all can lead to a great life path, a disatrous one or somewhere in between.
What works for one doesn't work for another. We are all different, with different motivations, ideas, and plans for life.

fluorescentorange Wed 24-Apr-19 06:48:29


I have no doubt what your saying is true, but every person is different and there are probably other 33 year old FTM’s who are struggling and other 18 year old FTM’s who are loving it.
The thing is here is that the OP is trying to have some say in her adult child’s life, albeit anonymously on SM but it is inherently wrong to have such a need to control another persons choices in life because they aren’t how you would play it.

amandacarnet Wed 24-Apr-19 05:05:08

I actually wish I had had kids young. It would have been much easier.
So I don't see any issue with that, it is her financial dependence and subsequent vulnerability that would worry me much more.

OutOntheTilez Wed 24-Apr-19 02:41:38

I had my first child at 33 and I wouldn’t have done it any other way. When I was in my early twenties, I knew nothing! I began earning money babysitting at age 14, though (this included a three-month old), and it taught me two things:

1.That earning my own money was fun and liberating.

2. That I wanted nothing to do with children until I was much, much, MUCH older. Babysitting = Best. Birth control. Ever.

Consequently I went to college, worked hard, met interesting people, traveled to different countries, and learned to speak another language. By the time I was married and had my first child, I was very financially stable (because I worked young and learned how to budget and save my money), so there were no financial issues. And because I did things other than plop down and have babies fresh out of college, I have never, ever felt as though I missed out on anything or that having children has held me back in any way.

Compare that to my 18-year-old classmate who, one week after high school graduation many years ago, walked down the marriage aisle with the “love of her life.” Years later she was leaving her kids at home most nights, hanging out in bars drinking, and trying to meet men.

I am NOT saying this will happen to the OP’s DD. A mature 24-year-old college graduate is not an 18-year-old with a high school diploma. But, in my honest opinion here, the longer you can wait to settle down, the better.

Sockworkshop Tue 23-Apr-19 19:14:01

Why on earth would you advise someone to have DC first and then develop a career ?
Way way harder to get up the career ladder/train with several DC to consider

AlexaShutUp Tue 23-Apr-19 15:17:44

Well, good luck with your return to work Pa1oma, I hope it goes well. 🙂

Pa1oma Tue 23-Apr-19 15:12:00

Yes Alexa, I can understand that’s and I think in your situation I might feel the same.
However, DH has always said if I’m ok to be at home, then he prefers that because it simplifies life. For instance, our DC are all in different schools and their respective Easter breaks have been staggered / overlapping this year which has meant one if more of them has been home for a month. Also, one is revising for GCSEs so I’ve been able to support that. When DH travels, which he does a fair bit, he doesn’t have to factor in how it might affect my work commitments. I guess it’s just less juggling all round. Having said this, I will be returning to flexible work in the next year or so (at the age of 43) - so I’ll see how that pans out!

AlexaShutUp Tue 23-Apr-19 14:43:17

It can feel like swimming against a tsunami though sometimes. For instance, DH always earned a lot more than me. We always had shared finances, but my contribution was maybe 10% into that, so fairly negligible.

Yeah, I get that, and I understand why some couples might choose to prioritise one career and have the other person managing stuff at home. That's a perfectly valid arrangement if it suits the individuals involved and they have protected themselves against any potential risks.

My DH contributes approximately 15% of our family income. Not very much, but to me, it isn't at all negligible. Psychologically, that contribution means a lot to me, because it means that the responsibility of providing for our family is shared. If something happened to me, we could survive on DH's salary if we had to. Sure, we'd have to cut back, but we could get by. Also, it sounds petty, but I think I would resent it if he had much more leisure time than I did, which would almost certainly be the case with dc at school. Somehow, both of us working feels more "fair". However, I get that others are happy with a different division of labour and that's fair enough.

Bellasorellaa Tue 23-Apr-19 14:22:04

she will get bored, i had two years out of work and it made me depressed was horrible

Pa1oma Tue 23-Apr-19 14:21:57

Yes I agree Alexa about assumptions.

It can feel like swimming against a tsunami though sometimes. For instance, DH always earned a lot more than me. We always had shared finances, but my contribution was maybe 10% into that, so fairly negligible.

FrazzledCareerWoman Tue 23-Apr-19 14:21:20

@AlexaShutUp totally agree

AlexaShutUp Tue 23-Apr-19 14:15:44

I should add that it isn't just about gender, either. I earn about five times what my DH earns. I would never think that this entitles me to dictate that he should stop working and look after the house/dc, because it would not be my place to tell him how to live his life. Nor would I be happy if he unilaterally decided to quit work and stay at home, expecting me to support him, because I have no interest in being the sole breadwinner.

It has to be a mutual decision.

AlexaShutUp Tue 23-Apr-19 14:09:39

Pa1oma, I think you have misunderstood me. By "default", I do not mean a gold standard towards which everyone should be striving. Frankly, I don't really care how couples choose to organise the workload between themselves, as long as the arrangement works for both parties.

My point was merely that, regardless of gender, nobody has an inherent right either to stay at home with their kids or to prioritise their career. These discussions are often framed in terms of choices for women, but I believe that men should have the same choices, and that the fairest starting point for any negotiation should be that both adults share an equal responsibility to earn money, do housework and look after any children.

If two people choose to split the balance of that work differently, for whatever reason - personal preference, differences in earning potential, religious or cultural belief etc - then that's absolutely fine, as long as they are both happy with the arrangement.

What I don't find acceptable is the assumption that the woman will have primary responsibility for the kids and/or the housework, or indeed the assumption that the man should support the family financially. Sadly, I know many men and women who are deeply unhappy with the way in which these roles are split in their households, and I think these assumptions are largely to blame.

Raaaaaah Tue 23-Apr-19 14:01:31

Do you think your daughter would be determined enough to adjust the balance if she decided she wanted to go back to her job post children?

In theory I don’t think it is the wrong thing to do if SIL would help facilitate her return to work further down the line. My Mum became SAHM after only a couple of years working having had a really good education and being well qualified. She then retrained when we were all teenagers and subsequently is still enjoying her second career now whilst my Dad is languishing in retirement.

SignOnTheWindow Tue 23-Apr-19 13:52:51


You say you're not quite sure why you're questioning it, but I think this bit from your original post says a lot:

him saying there's no point her working when his salary is mainly what they live on anyway and that hers doesn't make any difference anyway. That might well be true but smells a bit of calling it pocket money.

It seems to me as if your unease is not so much linked to your DD's age, but is more about your son-in-law's attitude and what sort of impact that attitude will have on your DD's experience as a SAHM.

I'd be uneasy about that too.

Billben Tue 23-Apr-19 13:51:06

I’m with you OP. Sorry, haven’t got time to read all 19 pages of the thread but YANBU.

Pa1oma Tue 23-Apr-19 13:51:02

No I completely accept your point Alexa, I just don’t think you can assume anything to be “default” in the first place. Or that people should necessarily be striving for a prescribed relationship model.

I think that “default” as you describe it only really works if you are a couple who earn roughly comparable salaries and work defined hours.

If your DH earns over breakfast what you earn in a year, then your default is obviously different. Different context for decisions.

Or if your DH is away in the forces or for some other reason for months a year, then your default may be different.

Or if you’re from another cultural background your default may be different.

Si yes, people will work out what suits them, but everyone is coming from such unique circumstances to begin with and people don’t always assume equality means doing everything 50/50 and that this should, by default, be the “gold standard” either.

FrazzledCareerWoman Tue 23-Apr-19 13:50:32

@NewAccount270219 we did SPL and most of the weird reactions have been from the men in my industry / workplace (they turn pale imagining the career impact...). But I've also had women ask questions about why we did it (there must have been some reason I was "forced" to go back to work "early" hmm)
It's been brilliant for all of us and I'm now up for promotion as well. It certainly helped to share the time off.

cushioncovers Tue 23-Apr-19 13:46:59

Op she has watched you be a sahm Maybe she wants the same for her family?

AlexaShutUp Tue 23-Apr-19 13:33:36

But some couples just don’t fit into that neat box and frankly, they’re just not interested, in which case there can’t really be any “should” about it.

Then presumably, those couples will negotiate and mutually agree a suitable alternative, exactly as I suggested.

Perhaps you missed my point?

NewAccount270219 Tue 23-Apr-19 12:42:27

Why did you cut off the second part of her post where she said that other arrangements are fine by mutual negotiation and agreement, Paloma?

Pa1oma Tue 23-Apr-19 12:33:25

“ I think the default position should be that both partners work and contribute financially while sharing childcare and housework equally”

Alexa, well that’s the official MN line that gets pushed on here ad infinitum. But some couples just don’t fit into that neat box and frankly, they’re just not interested, in which case there can’t really be any “should” about it.

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