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Don't give up work to be a SAHM unless

(937 Posts)
akaemmafrost Tue 27-Nov-12 20:18:01

You have a HEFTY private income or can work from home.

I gave up work, usual reasons, wages would barely cover childcare, WE wanted kids to be at home with a parent.

Fast forward. I now have two dc, the father of my dc cheated on me, physically, emotionally and financially abused me.

One of my dc has SN and cannot attend school for the moment.

I've been out of work for 10 years now, I have no profession. In 6 years time our child support will stop as will most of our benefits. I will near fifty having not worked at all for 18 years.

My future is shit. Utterly grey and bleak. All I have to look forward to is a state pension. While my ex earns a fortune, travels the world and has new relationships.

This is reality for me. So think long and hard about giving up work to stay at home because no matter how shit your job is it's preferable to my future don't you think?

And it was all decided for me by a man who decided he hated me and didn't want to be married anymore and a child being diagnosed with significant SN.

It's that simple.

Thisisaeuphemism Tue 27-Nov-12 21:12:26

I think the fear in many couples runs both ways. My DH also fears that I will run off and restrict access to the kids. (his fears are unfounded!) everyone is vulnerable.

I do agree with the general point tho.

HippyHappyHoppy Tue 27-Nov-12 21:13:45

Being a SAHM is a risk I'm willing to take. The benefits for us at the moment outweigh the possible risk.

For all those that say don't be a SAHM you are sacrificing your independence there is a SAHM saying it was a good choice and suited her family.

Its horses for courses and the luck of the draw regarding where your DH is on the twat-ometer.

MissCellania Tue 27-Nov-12 21:14:51

Really shit for you, but there is no need to generalise to us all. I can be a SAHM because I'm not married to a man who would cheat on me, leave me, and financially abuse me. Also I control the cash anyway.

Thisisaeuphemism Tue 27-Nov-12 21:16:40

Missc, I doubt anyone starts married life thinking their partner would do that.

baublesandbaileys Tue 27-Nov-12 21:16:41

I dunno, but people who say "its fine so long as you stay employable by doing a bit of volunteering etc" will get a shock

Since having DS I've got a degree, done loads of volunteering, and DO work PT in the lower ranks and am still struggle to get any of the decent jobs out there

I meet SAHMs regularly who have over inflated ideas about their "transferrable skills" from being a SAHM and helping out at the odd children's centres groups or school trip! it's bollocks because almost every other SAHM, and lots of the PT working mums too, do helping out at school so it's nothing special on your CV at all
(FWIW my volunteering is much more specialised than that but still not led on to a proper paid career yet)

baublesandbaileys Tue 27-Nov-12 21:17:45

"I can be a SAHM because I'm not married to a man who would cheat on me, leave me, and financially abuse me"
cause everyone who gets cheated on/left knew it would happen???

LadyIsabellaWrotham Tue 27-Nov-12 21:18:52

So sorry OP.
I went through a stage of saying pretty much this on every single "shall I quit my job?" thread. If you do, then you are putting all the family's eggs in one basket, and even the best husbands die, get sick or are made redundant (rather more palatable advice than the more statistically likely scenario of running off to Bangkok with a twenty-something OW).

Yes some women have no real choice, and some have no careers worth preserving, but if you do, you need to think very seriously about your long-term risks.

skandi1 Tue 27-Nov-12 21:19:00

Crap. You are all scaring me!!

I gave up my career and six figure job to be a sahm. Now have two DC (both pre school) and rely completely on DH.

Between this thread and the thread on MN earlier today about money and whether you share fully with your DH, I am suddenly feeling very exposed.

Not only have my pension lapsed over the last four years but my old career is a no go with young DC due to hours and travel involved. No family around to help either. So career has gone and with it future earnings potential and therefore pension prospects.

So it has just dawned on me that if DH didn't come home tonight having left me any reason, I am completely and utterly screwed in every way and not just short term but for the rest of my natural. And all because I took 4 years out to have two children. Oh crap. It hasn't really crossed my mind until today. Guess I won't get much sleep tonight.

emsyj Tue 27-Nov-12 21:20:13

Your DH doesn't have to be a cheating/lying twat etc, he could just become too ill to work/too ill to do the job that currently pays the bills, he could die, you could yourself change as life moves forward and find that you don't love him any more and want to move on.

Nobody knows what life is going to throw at them. It makes sense to be as prepared as you can be, whether by keeping a job/career going, buying appropriate insurance policies, saving some funds where possible and generally not playing the ostrich.

wewereherefirst Tue 27-Nov-12 21:20:48

Well I'll tell you what. Us SAHMs are fucked either way. Made out to have no employable skills and our husbands could leave us any minute.

Nice. What do you suggest we do to resolve our majorly huge fuck-up of being home with our children?

SolidGoldYESBROKEMYSPACEBAR Tue 27-Nov-12 21:22:06

It would be better if caring for children was recognised as the valuable work it is, and (for instance) child benefit was increased considerably for a parent-at-home. As it is, society still operates on the assumption that women are domestic servants in exchange for their keep; the whole industrial economy depends on women's unpaid work.

I wouldn't advise any woman to become a SAHM if it can be avoided. Part time work, work you can do from home, an Avon round or something - always hang on to a bit of independence. Because it's far too easy, when you are the SAHM and your male partner is earning money, for him to start considering himself your boss/owner as he is 'keeping' you, and therefore you must obey and placate him.

AnyFuckingDude Tue 27-Nov-12 21:23:30

aka, I completely agree with you and am often to be found advising women to hold onto their careers

relying on a man is a risk, a calculated risk

you may think you know him...but no person knows another 100%. To think that you would never get shafted is naive and dangerous (although I hope those women never learn the hard way, like you did)

there is no SAHM-bashing here, btw. It's a worthwhile thing to do, of course it is...but only if you are protected from the whims of a man who can dump you like yesterday's chip wrapper any time he feels like it (and him saying he won't, or you convincing yourself he won't on scant evidence is not enough guarantee, IMO)

too many women stay in awful relationships because they are trapped financially... you only have to look at the Relationships board to know this is commonplace

a bastard like your ex may be rarer, OP (and he does sound like a grade one cunt), but there are degrees of how much shit you can be dropped in, through no fault of your own

you who think it will never happen to you.. think on

EllenJaneisstillnotmyname Tue 27-Nov-12 21:23:38

It's not so rare. I was a SAHM for 10 years, partially due to my DS2 having SN, then I've been working as a TA for the past 5 years to fit around school times, again because of my DS2. I was astonished when my H of 15 years and partner of 22 years left me last year for an OW. Never in a million years did I think that would ever happen. I trusted him completely. Now he's being a shit, no spousal maintenance, just the legal minimum child maintenance. When I gave up work to look after our DC, I earned the same as him, now I earn 10 less.

It was the right decision at the time, my DS2 needed me and we were going to be married forever.

SizzleSazz Tue 27-Nov-12 21:23:47

I was made redundant from a professional (family friendly hmm firm) when DD2 was 18 months. I managed to get some well paid freelance work, but that dried up a year ago.
I have been battling to get back into work since. I think i may have a job offer (hours and wages being discussed) and i am mightily relieved. This last year of no income of my own has been horrid, despite us getting by ok just on DH's wages.
I will have to take a pay cut, but hopefully not too much. Any more time out and I do think my career (and earning potential) would be stuffed.

Good luck to you OP, I hope something works out for you and your family. x

BitchyHen Tue 27-Nov-12 21:24:16

I think my giving up work altered the balance of power in my marriage. Yes xh was a bully and would have shown his true colours anyway, but once I gave up work he started to feel that I wasn't pulling my weight anymore. This led him to lose respect for me and eventually to his affair and our marriage breakdown.

I'm not saying this is inevitable for SAHMs but it is more common than many people seem to think. I am a lone parent, at the moment I get by as my income is topped up by tax credits and is getting easier to work as my DCs get older.

However my job is part time and I will not be able to progress any further without re-training so am thinking seriously about what I will need to do to be able to feed and house myself once the dc leave school and tax credits stop.

blisterpack Tue 27-Nov-12 21:25:02

You are right OP. I am a SAHM too, and it works well for us. I don't for a minute think that my DH will leave me or the kids and walk off leaving us to our own devices. I don't think he's that kind of person. I don't regret being a SAHM and being there for my children. But, I will still actively advise my daughters against it because you never know what life could throw at you.

ifso Tue 27-Nov-12 21:25:39

so many insecure voices on this thread

emsyj Tue 27-Nov-12 21:26:17

It's up to you to decide if you're happy with your life wewereherefirst - if you have made the right choices for you then there's no reason to care what anyone else thinks, surely?

However, if you think you may be financially vulnerable (and you may be, even if you have lots of skills and your husband never leaves you - see other risks mentioned above, and remember even those who are highly skilled and experienced are not finding it easy to get jobs in the current climate) then maybe take some steps to protect yourself.

Check whether you could get insurance to protect you if your DH became ill or died, maintain old work contacts and take steps to keep your skills up to date, save....

rhondajean Tue 27-Nov-12 21:26:24

I adore my DH and trust him with my life (which he has already saved) but I would never ever ever in a million years give up my financial independence for anyone or anything.

Apart from anything else, when he was made redundant three years ago, I was able to help him out by keeping things going financially while he is retraining and earning less.

I appreciate people think they are doing the right thing for their family and it won't happen to them, but if I had been a sahm we as a family would have been sunk three years ago. I doubt we would have been able to keep the house.

Add to that the risk of illness as mentioned above, and the possibility that even without your DH being a twat, your relationship might come to an end and while he would owe maintenance and hopefully pay unlike Akas, it's not going to be the same amount is it.

And of course no one thinks it will happen to them - you wouldn't give up your job if you did...

AnyFuckingDude Tue 27-Nov-12 21:26:57

This is not a SAHM bashing thread

emsyj Tue 27-Nov-12 21:27:23

"so many insecure voices on this thread"

Care to elaborate, ifso...? I don't understand.

HippyHappyHoppy Tue 27-Nov-12 21:27:24

We have protected ourselves as much as we can against poverty caused by illness and death with life insurance and critical illness insurance. If DH dies I will have the mortgage paid off and will also get a lump sum, it won't last forever but should see me through long enough to get on my feet a little bit.

If he cheats on me? Well, I take that risk but in the meantime we work hard at our marriage, take nothing for granted and tackle issues head on when we meet them because we both know that our family unit is important to us. But, yes, it is a risk.

HoleyGhost Tue 27-Nov-12 21:27:27

I am also ' not married to a man who would cheat on me, leave me, and financially abuse me.'

But he is a very different man to the one he was 10 years ago and in 10 years' time will have changed more. As will I.

Viviennemary Tue 27-Nov-12 21:28:07

Nobody can predict the future. We can only make decisions on what we think is the best thing for ourselves and our children. I'm sorry you feel the future is bleak but there are flexible courses you could do from home if that is what you would like to do. I had a job for years and years that I mostly hated and found really stressful but did it to get a better standard of living. Did I do the right thing. Who knows.

BeauNeidel Tue 27-Nov-12 21:28:14

YANBU (although I know this is chat).

My mum is in a very similar position right now, although sadly her children were already all grown up when she split with dad. Having spent the previous 30-odd years on child rearing, and only having a handful of part time jobs, she now faces an old age where she has to work longer for less and live in a horrible area, while my dad yucks it up working only every other month, and holidaying the months in between despite being 'skint' all the time.

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