I am being a bitch aren't I?(18 Posts)
I'm pregnant and will be going on mat leave in February. I'll only get SMP so money is going to be a bit tight (I'm on 30K at the moment working full time).
Dh has had a difficult (to put it mildly) career path. To summarise, he's a research scientist but took a long time to submit his PhD thesis and has been on a shitty salary for a long time. He's now in a particularly tricky situation since his contract runs out in December and his boss can only offer him 2-3 months extensions on the same salary. He doesn't want to leave the lab because he has work to publish which he'll lose if he leaves, so it does make some sense to stay I suppose.... I've blamed him in the past for not publishing anything. He loves doing lab work and is excellent at it, but he doesn't like to sit at a desk to do the writting. Also he got involved in lots of projects at the same time so he has a lot started but not much finished. It's all changed now and he is working very very hard, but we are in a really bad situation....
Basically, we can't live on SMP plus his salary, and I can't help feeling very resentful of the fact that my mat leave is going to be hard and I'll probably be going back to work sooner than I wanted.
I feel like I should be able to rely on dh to support me during this time... He's never done it before - I'm very independent, never relied on him for anything, would never be a SAHM, always worked full time. I feel like a deserve to be supported through my mat leave....
I know IABU - we have the money we have and we have to find a way of living with it,. but my unhappyness is coming through and dh is really upset for feeling that I don't respect him or his work....
Go ahead - tell me I'm horrible....
that's not in any way bitchy.
BUT... you should question why you feel resentful towards him for earning a low wage.
sounds like there's an underlying issue about your different expectations.
perhaps you could focus on reaching some kind of compromise? ie him focussing on publishing his work and you looking into going back part time instead?
Well, if "doing the writing" is part of his job, he may have to buck up if he wants to stay employable!
Also, is starting a lot but not finishing much acceptable in his line of work?
Many of us have aspects to our jobs that aren´t as enjoyable as others!
you're not being a bitch
you are concerned, rightly, about how you will all manage financially on a massivley reduced salary
i imagine your DH has always been like this and earned a small amount, but now you are having a baby, your fears and worries are crystallised
he has to understand that you will soon be a family of three and there will be little money, but there will still be bills, mortgage etc to pay, food and clothes to buy etc
have you sat down with him and looked at a budget together, do you thikn that would make him understand ?
it is all very well him not wanting to do XYZ .but you have to have a plan to ensure you are all able to keep a roof over your heads
I think that understandably you're worried about the future. But can I ask whether there is another job that your DH can do which will make more money? Because it seems to me that if he has a job at the moment - even a poorly paid research job - he's in a better position than if he has nothing. And if he gets publications hopefully he'll get a better and more secure job soon.
Start saving now. You don't need any where near as much stuff as some people would have you believe when you have a baby and John Lewis and places do a baby gift list (like a wedding list that can help) for family and friends who will want to get you a gift.
You'll find you spend less when on mat leave too as there's less booze, foreign holidays and new clothes because your shape will be changing all the time and you'll only get dressed to leave the house.
It doesn't sound like you discussed this before deciding to have a child, so YABU to expect him to be in a different situation to the one he was quite happily plodding along in.
He is focussing on publishing his work now. He is working really hard - but things are going to be diffcult for a while until it all works out. Those who work in science know how long it takes to publish, get grants, find new positions etc. It's also amazingly cruel for those who haven't had a typical carrer path, like submitting a thesis late or being a certain age without publications.
The thing is, we've always had a life standard based on both of us being professionals on a certain level, if it makes sense... We've graduated, did PhDs, and I suppose just assume we'll have the same life as everyone else around us, all our friends and colleagues, if that makes sense.
I also resent that his salary is so beneath him, so much less than all his colleagues, with half the talent and inteligence....
We already have a dd so we'll be a family of four. I know we don't need much - we already have everything other than blue clothes! But the money will just not be enough.
I can't ask him to stop his job now because all his work would go down the drain - he wouldn't be able to publish it. He's been feeling really low for the last 2 years for the situation he's found himself in, he's definitely not happily plodding along.... I think I just resent we now finding ourselves in this situation....
I'm not making any sense am I?
Are your PhDs in the same subject (broadly speaking of course)?
Could you possibly give him a hand with writing some of his research up - when I was doing my PhD I often found it too overwhelming to start writing, and really didn't know where to begin.
So a kick up the bum, perhaps planning the outline together may help?
OK. Well regardless of what you feel, what do you want him to do. Is there anything that he can do to make things better? If not, what can you do, if anything?
I am sympathetic having been the main earner ever since DH and I have been together - and having had to take the minimum maternity leave - but I think that unless there is anything either of you can do you are going to have to take a deep breath and try to shed the resentment. I spent the first few years of my motherhood feeling quite angry that DH's income (and previous faffing about career-wise) meant that I had no choices about working. It did me no good.
OrmIrian - thanks for your post - you're spot on! I can't ask him to do anything now. If he quits his job at this stage because of money and me, I don't think we would be together for very long..... And I always think we'll be together forever!
It's good to hear from someone who's been in a similar situation - I know I just have to put my resentment aside and accept things as they are....
You're welcome. So glad you didn't think I was being harsh. But I've been there and I can honestly say it soured my life for a few years - yearning for something that couldn't be.
It's definitely worth trying to help him with the write-up to get things moving. I'm doing a Masters degree and if not for my DH's support (even though he works > 12hr days) I'd have lost all motivation a long time ago. He doesn't actually do any of the writing, but helps me with layout, planning and generally chivvies me along. It works, trust me.
I accept that you're pretty frustrated and IMO one the things guaranteed to cause resentment in any relationship are problems with money. Try however, to take the "what's the solution" approach rather than the "this is a problem" approach if you can.
Finally, if your DH feels unappreciated or disrespected (is this even a word?) by you (however inadvertent that might be on your part), then beware. Nothing stays the same for ever and when the situation changes (he starts earning what he deserves) he will probably begin to resent you. Good luck!
OP I understand. I think OrmIrian is right. You are in the situation, can't do much to change it other than what you are so you might as well make the best of it.
And I don't think you're a bitch btw. Just human, frustrated and wanting the best for your family.
I don't think you're being a bitch at all. You sound like you are shouldering a lot of your family's burdens and excusing your DP from his responsibilities. At the very least he should be able to let you rant and rave at the unfairness without going into a decline about it.
Could he get an extra part-time job so that you don't have to cut short your maternity leave? Or arrange a mortgage break so that you can live on his salary plus the SMP for that period?
Thanks everyone. Apologies for not posting earlier - I don't have a computer at home at the moment.
Thank you for saying I'm not a bitch! I did feel like one yesterday. We had a long talk and he's so insecure and touchy with the whole situation (this has been lasting for almsot 2 years now) that he takes everything I say as meaning I think he's worthless and uncapable of managing his career, etc.... I hate seeing him like that.... But I also hate being so misunderstood, so the discussion was a bit ugly...
As I said before, and as OrmIrian and others pointed out, I just have to accept what can't be changed, make the best of it and try to be as supportive as possible.
Too bad instinctively I'm not that nice a person and the wrong words just come out!!...
Thank you as well for the suggestions. We don't have a mortgage, we rent, so a mortgage break is not an option.
Dh has suggested a part-time job in the evenings, but I'm against it - last time I felt so lonely and unsupported during my amt leave - and he was coming home every evening, that I just can't imagine being alone all day and evening.... We'll try to find something that can be done from home and flexibly, that's the only thing that could work...
I agree with OrmIrian.
Would also add that I was always the main wage earner/ decision maker etc etc until I had a mini breakdown a couple of years ago. DH had until then been cruising and faffing about. Since my shock (mostly to me!) resignation, although in no way ideal, he has really taken over the role and is doing really well in his career now. I'm spending a couple of years at home before DS2 starts school. It's as if the shock made him realised how he had been undervaluing himself.
Not sure what I'm suggesting you take from this. Maybe being without money for a bit will spur him on.
On a practical note as you rent and you have 2 children, depending on your income you may be able to claim some housing benefit.Also you should get some tax credits. Go onto www.entitledto.com and you get a pretty accurate estimate of what you could receive.
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