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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.

PessaryPam Thu 03-Jan-13 10:24:16

Claim support and let the bastard quit his job then. At least he will get some payback.

Bonsoir Mon 17-Dec-12 17:26:58

No I don't think happy marriages turn sour. I know all about mid-life crises and, frankly, the marriages that don't survive them were not "happy".

blueshoes Mon 17-Dec-12 17:24:58

Bonsoir, I disagree that the biggest predictor of a happy marriage is having grown up in one.

Having grown up with parents in a stalemate gave me a highly tuned twat radar. My siblings also made very good marriage choices. I very quickly got rid of boyfriends who did not make the cut. I agree with letsmake that it was my friends whose parents had secure marriages that could not see an arsehole staring them in the face.

But the point is that even happy marriages can turn sour when, amongst other things, mid life crisis strikes. Often one spouse (usually the woman) is taken by surprise when she discovers her husband having an affair, an affair he embarked on even whilst in an ostensibly happy marriage ... just read any number of threads in the 'relationship' section.

sieglinde Mon 17-Dec-12 17:18:31

carpet, so sorry to hear all this; really sad for you. Hope you find something else to do.

carpetsw33per Mon 17-Dec-12 14:03:10

This thread is very timely for me.

Just getting divorced now after 20 years. Was SAHM and then did part-time charity work while children were young.

When we had dc, we earned the same. Now DH earns 3 x my salary. Been divorcing for over a year. Spent 10k in solicitors' fees. No nearer to a solution. We have 50% residency so he won't pay maintenance. We wouldn't let me stay in the house - and it was too big for me to afford on my salary - so I left.

I'm in a two bed flat with two older children. I've received nothing from him. I can't see it ever ending well. I've just been served a redundancy notice from my charity job. He is sitting pretty in a massive house with his consultancy earnings going into untraceable accounts.

We are not honest with women about how vulnerable they are!!!

Bonsoir Mon 17-Dec-12 10:56:28

Alternatives to parental care vary wildly between countries and, indeed, across different parts of the same country. The institutional (regulated) model has been gaining a lot of ground in the UK in recent years, with ever more regulation of childminders and registration of nannies etc.

sieglinde Mon 17-Dec-12 10:43:37

LMC, I think we are in agreement - the 70s were not the brightest moment for the UK smile Where's the salt, incidentally?

But yes, my point is that they work best as a pair... And Bonsoir, totally agree about institutions. But there are many other options for WOHMs.

Bonsoir Mon 17-Dec-12 10:32:59

I know lots of Swedish mothers here in Paris as the Swedish church and Swedish school are in my neighbourhood. There is universal relief among them at no longer having to participate in the Swedish system and they are either SAHMs or very high fliers - in Sweden, the only option is to occupy the middle ground, career-wise.

Letsmakecookies Mon 17-Dec-12 10:31:51

Sieg bah humbug! I think the poem is so fabulously 70/80s and darkly amusing with a pinch of salt. But I do like your Mitchell version too, thank you. Both are very true and similarly dysfunctional.

Letsmakecookies Mon 17-Dec-12 10:27:35

Bonsoir - I like your maxim!

Interesting, someone must have studied the effects of institutionalisation on children. In other countries, say Scandinavia all children are in full time nursery by 1 years old (after maternity leave finishes), it is really unusual to be a sahm.

sieglinde Mon 17-Dec-12 10:25:49

I like my own autocorrect - Larking for Larkin. Never was anyone less like a lark, or less larky... Grim old bugger. Did I mention the paedophilia and sadism, btw?

sieglinde Mon 17-Dec-12 10:24:31

I hate the Larkin poem, tbh. So smug, so certain, so smartarse. Larking pretty much exemplifies everything I hate about Britain, including the rabid Thatcherism.

Adrian Mitchell wrote this:

They tuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to but they do.
They give you all the quilts they have
And add some pillows just for you.

True too. Is being tucked up the same as being fucked up, as Mitchell implies? It can be.

Bonsoir Mon 17-Dec-12 10:22:31

I'm not that pessimistic smile. I live by the maxim "Don't do anything for your children that they can reasonably do for themselves" and I definitely create the opportunities for them to see the world on their own (ie without parents around). I find the idea of children spending the vast majority of their days in an institution (nursery/crèche/school/playscheme) absolutely horrific and one of the most dysfunctional situations that could arise.

Letsmakecookies Mon 17-Dec-12 10:17:44

Bonsoir a very good question. I think it depends to what degree. I think that too much parental guiding all decisions and too little independence in children actually can cause quite a difficulty when the children become adults. It makes real life hard to understand and cope with, and standing on your own feet harder. I suppose the dysfunctionality comes in part from not allowing your children to have boundaries, as by default if you are sheltering them you are over-controlling and often not teaching them expression of feelings.

But all families are dysfunctional in one way or another, if you agree with people like John Bradshaw, since dysfunctional behaviour is learned and passed on, unless you actively try and identify and get rid of it.

I think a child who lives in a family with protective, caring parents is happier than one who's dad drinks to excess and shouts at mum, who in turn lives in a codependent bubble. These children often end up in dysfunctional relationships as adults too, and find it just as hard to cope with real life.

So what is a happy childhood?

I think it all can be summarised by Philip Larkin:

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another’s throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don’t have any kids yourself.

Bonsoir Mon 17-Dec-12 09:58:40

Do you think sheltered upbringings are happy ones? I don't usually think they are - sheltering your children is a form of denial, which is dysfunctional and usually unhappy, though that unhappiness is often not allowed any form of real expression. I agree that sheltered upbringings generally result in some unpleasant surprises in adulthood for those who have not been brought up to deal with the realities of life.

sieglinde Mon 17-Dec-12 09:47:58

All sympathy, OP. I think your words are very timely. I always tell my dd this; don't EVER rely on someone else to provide for you. So much can go wrong, so many things. I say this though I have been happily married for 26 years. My dh has never been unemployed, but he was almost made redundant in 2008, and I have never forgotten it. Anyway, I am the main wageearner.

OP, I wonder if you should give up, though? I totally get where you are coming from, but maybe there is some hope, something you can do?

Retrain in a trade? Online learning? There is def. online accountancy stuff about, and then you can work from home by setting a low, competitive rate for local businesses? Or copy-editing from home? Or tutoring?

Letsmakecookies Mon 17-Dec-12 09:44:51

Bonsoir that might be the case, that a predictor of a happy family is having grown up in one.

However, I have met many people who grew up in very happy, sheltered families - what happened then is that when they ended up in dysfunctional marriages, they didn't have the experience to cope with their partners bad behaviour or to see through the lies. In a way projecting their parents happy marriage and their own happy upbringing, sheltered them from fully understanding/accepting what was going on in their current relationship and knowing how to deal with it.

Offred Mon 17-Dec-12 09:37:40

*dis-incentivises even

Offred Mon 17-Dec-12 09:35:24

I don't think it is my grasp of economics that is tenuous. Universal benefits are cheaper and more effective at tackling inequality. When benefits are means tested much of the money goes on admin, error, fraud and bureaucracy, it also creates stigma which disincentives claiming by those who need it. If you looked at the data on public spending it tells you that, universalism has also been studied. Why do you keep making it so personal blueshoes. The fact is universal benefits cost less and work better.

Bonsoir Mon 17-Dec-12 09:31:36

I disagree - and there is lots of research to prove it! The biggest predictor of a happy family is having grown up in one, and modelling that same happy, trusting and kind family is one of the most important things we can do for our children.

blueshoes Mon 17-Dec-12 09:22:05

"breadwinner dying, becoming disabled, losing a job ..." Just to clarify, a happy marriage is not insurance against any of these happening.
But of course you can buy actual physical insurance against all of these eventualities. Shame there is no effective insurance you can buy against being left by your breadwinner life partner.

blueshoes Mon 17-Dec-12 09:19:06

Unfortunately, growing up with parents in a happy marriage is no insurance to a life partner deciding to trade up their aging model for a younger one or just being a dick. The risks are still there. Plus there is no insurance against a breadwinner dying, becoming disabled, losing a job ...

Bonsoir Mon 17-Dec-12 09:10:21

Almost inevitably, whether mothers prioritise their personal financial independence or their home life and children's upbringing is coloured by their own experiences in childhood. Women who grew up with happy, trusting parents who were kind to one another are much less likely to prioritise an insurance policy in case their partner leaves them.

blueshoes Mon 17-Dec-12 08:39:12

impty, I do think your plan in the New Year is a good one.

My parents just celebrated their 48th wedding anniversary. But the way was not smooth. When I was growing up, my mother had no option but to stick to her sterile marriage for the sake of her children despite my father's many infidelities. My father was a provider but not much of a husband.

She drilled into her daughters never to be dependent on a man, a message my sister and I got loud and clear.

For me, it acts as a counterweight to allow me to stand up to my dh if, god forbid, he did anything that was threatening to me or my children. My prime role as a mother is to protect my children whilst they are still dependent on me. I cannot do that effectively if I am beholden to a male to support me financially.

blueshoes Mon 17-Dec-12 08:32:57

Gosh Offred, your grasp of economics is tenuous at best.

Who is paying for your 'universal benefits' if you think women should be entitled to be paid to stay at home to mind their own children and that keeping women in work doesn't even claw back enough over that woman's lifetime to pay for her way.

You are indeed living in lala land.

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