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SAHM feeling a bit useless/belittled(87 Posts)
Apologies for length.
Hi, am looking for advice about things I can do to resolve/improve our situation. I will pre emptively say that I know we are materially v v lucky and I appreciate this. I just would like to make the relationship side better.
Been with DH 10 years, married 5, 2 DC, 4yDD & 7moDS. Rented house in London.
We both went to Cambridge, he came out with a 1st in maths, me with a 2.1 in history When we met, post Uni, we were both jobless but I'd had, and left, a fairly well paid consulting job whereas he was looking to enter banking.
10 years on he is on a v v good wage. I have has a fairly chequered career having had several different jobs which I've not stuck out. Retrained as a therapist, then had DC1 as planned, and then, after 18 months of trying DC2. DH works fairly long hours and is away anroad fairly often. I am in charge of house stuff, making him packed lunch, dinner and children. DD attends nursery 3 short days a week. I am meant to be in charge of savings too.
I'd always wanted to be a mum. Pretty much sum total of my ambitions, both of us had SAHMs but mine is now breadwinner and my dad retired. His Ma never went back and has probably suffered a bit for that (in terms of esteem and stimulation I would guess).
DH has always planned to leave after 10-12 years. He'd never had the Dream of banking, tho' has enjoyed the intellectual challenge etc.. He is a keen tax payer(!), mentors kids etc., we tithe his base salary. In short he is, honestly, not a tosser in an environment where most of his colleagues are to some degree.
He is frustrated that I am not working, and especially that I did not work when we were trying for DC2 (I kept thinking that the next cycle would be The One, etc.).
We are saving money so that he can leave his job, we can buy a house without a mortgage and he can go back to Uni. Again, I know this is exceptionally lucky. Plan is that then we will both work, I think I'll try to do therapy stuff in evenings but maybe look to be a teaching assistant or something. If we have DC3 then I'll probably stay at home until they are 3 or 4. Unless DH can fit it around his work/study.
I have not been good at managing savings. In fact I don't think I've been v good value as a SAHM. Children happy and fed, washing (so much washing, done) but house chaotic (and this is with cleaner), helper twice a week for 3 hours to help with bedtime, but our paperwork etc. us still disorganised. Lots of his colleagues have v v glam wives and I am not..
He is a brilliant dad, really involved and imaginative. Other people's kids look him out at parties and in the park. He'd be a brilliant nursery worker if we could afford for him to do that! So he is good at his job and good with the kids.
All came to a head last night when I made a comment about a friend whose child had starred school and before I could even finish the sentence he snapped "you'd just get a job if that were you", obviously this is something that he is v stressed about. But it feels every time I say anything he is looking to score a point or criticise me (eg if I say how proud I am of thr DC or something, so I end up hedging my comments or self censoring). We dont get much time together anyway, our sex life is dead after TTC misery and the incredible never sleeping baby. He comes home and often still works over dinner time. Or watches sport on the iPad, I'll mumsnet or grocery order etc. next to him
So...and if you have managed to read this far thank you, what can I do?
We used to be v good at talking through everything and being kind to each other. I feel belittled and I think he feels unsupported. We both believe in marriage being forever and getting through stuff but would prefer not to be looking at 60 years of misery ahead of us.
T I A!
If I was you I would put dc2 in a sling, drop dc1 at nursery then hand out flyers through peoples doors, ring people, set up on the net etc. This kind of role is easier to set up when your at home. Its mind over matter with tiredness if you want your business to work. Good luck.
Thank you! Yes, buying a house is our very next priority- which is a nice "chore" to have.
It is amazing re: London house prices. Guess they just aren't printing any more land.
Feeling alot happier at the prospect of being a team and working together rather than feeling like I was being attacked and he feeling I was being unsupportive.
Will definitely keep an eye on our communication from now on. Was scary how quickly it slid downhill. Very grateful we seem to have pulled it back for now. Thank you for even remembering.
Hiya OP, I read your thread first time round but didn't have time to comment.
I identified with you through shared educational background and my husband also works in the city. I'm really glad to hear everything's coming together.
The only thing I would add is that, if you're not you're already looking, you need to get on the property ladder ASAP, convert that rent to mortgage. I'm sure you're aware that the London property bubble is growing, our house has increased 15% in value in one year. I would make that your next priority.
Good luck with everything.
Just to say THANK YOU again for the really, really helpful advice, experiences and sympathy!
DH and I finally had a chat at Christmas when he said that he had felt very abandoned in terms of hating his job and not having any practical support from me. It really helped that I had this thread and had clarified my ideas and could say that I agreed we had fallen down on communication.
Turns out that he had forgotten how debilitating lack of sleep was and when I pointed out that he was usually having a full night (we were sleeping separately then) he understood more why I had been so utterly un dynamic.
And I did show him this thread just to show that I had been thinking about us and what might be going wrong. And that I did appreciate him but felt a bit lost.
Anyway, baby now sleeping, his job now interesting and challenging (still wants out but not desperate) and I feel totally different. I think I thought the sad, flat, woolly headed person I was was my permanent self. I've now gone back to my normal self ten months after baby.
I'm starting to get my head down and do both decluttering and some professional development stuff. He has said that he is in no rush for me to work now as long as we have an understanding that I will work as soon as it is practical and that we are a team- not just that the earning burden falls on him.
He's also started an OU course as a refresher- and is v relieved that he is finding it super easy. I've found a friend of a friend who has taken the exact route he is thinking of and who can advise.
So, nothing earth shattering, but good progress towards happiness long term and alot lot happier short term. And just really grateful to people for taking the time to help when I was feeling befuddled and sad and desperately worried,
One last point: with an Oxbridge degree your DH does not need to go back to Uni to retrain to be a teacher. He can apply straight away for jobs in top public schools teaching with his first in maths - schools are always looking for maths teachers and would fight over him. It will be a complete no-brainer if he is also keen on sport (although being able to take on say, Chess Club, could well compensate). Those jobs come with a house, long holidays and reasonable pay. You might well also find you got free schooling for your children. It can be a lovely life. A (much younger) acquaintance of mine has done exactly this and just gained a job with one of the top 3 schools in the country with no teaching qualifications. Your DH can apply BEFORE giving up his banking job and so you will not have to worry about the money.
PS please don't anyone derail the thread with discussion about teachers needing to be trained. I am just telling it like it is.
To give the op an idea of how much money she is wasting on rent, I have a buy to let flat in London, tiny, 1 bed place under 30 sq metres, which I rent for 4x the amount I pay in mortgage for my own 4 bed detached in 1/4 acre 20 mins away.
You might think you are setting yourselves apart from other bankers but your attitude to money is the same in fact it is worse in the fact you won't even buy a place for a family home because you might loose money when you come to sell.
I think your DH needs some decent careers advice. Unless he wants to be an academic I'm not sure what he's going back to uni to achieve. And are you over-stating how unemployable an ex banker is? A random MA won't make him any more employable. He has a good maths degree, that's pretty rare and attractive. Does he just miss studying? Does he see that as more virtuous than being a banker? It seems like you're actively resisting anything that smacks of being a banker type. Wasting rent on a family home in London when you could buy but won't for very risk-averse reasons is notable. It's like you're actively setting yourselves apart from his colleagues who will buy a home with their bonus.
I think you're being too hard on yourself with a seven month old. Most people would still be on mat leave at this stage. But not working while TTC is odd, even my friends who have most overtly set out to marry someone rich enough to be a SAHM have acknowledged they needed to work while TTCing.
I can under stand where op is coming from. With the exception of my not having any qualifications I had a 7 month old and a 3 year old, my oh works away a lot, and we live in London. We have had a similar conversation as op.
Oh said I should get a job as he should not have to shoulder the burden of bringing in all the money for the household. We had a very quick discussion which went along the lines of:-
I would get a job. But then he could not share delivery or collection of children to childminder as he left for work at 6.30am and didn't get back before 7.30pm and if I worked in London I would be on the same hours. He worked away a lot, he couldn't share house hold stuff like shopping, cleaning, laundry gardening, DIY or childcare as when he got in from work he was too tired as he had been at work all day and the final point was that unless I found a job on more than £45k per year he would have to come up with more money to cover child minder, nursery fees and my travel expenses just to have the same household income.
One thing I think you should do op is make an appointment with your Dr for a blood test, just to make sure you are not anaemic or have a vitamin or mineral deficiency. I know I sometimes feel like everything gets on top of me and that's when I know I need to take my iron tablets.
You appear to have both been floating rudderless with a plan that is no more than a vague discussion. He said he wanted to stay in his job for 10 years then move on to Uni and then do something more worthy. But in those 10 years you never set down roots as you were frightened you would not be able to make a quick get away which doesn't square with the 10 year plan. Even now you talk that there could be redundancies sometime in the future. I presume this is another reason to not want to get a mortgage and set down roots in your own home which I think would invigorate you and make you feel a lot more settled. The whole thing sounds confusing. Are you sure about the redundancy thing. Even if your oh took redundancy he would get a large pay off and he could always look for another job.
I might be way off the mark here but are you sure your oh is really committed to family life. I am not saying he doesn't love you and the children and I am not saying he is doing and saying things on purpose, he might not realise the effect of his actions but the fact that he wants to return to being a full time student when he is in his 30's with a wife and 2 kids. What age would he be when he left full-time education and what job would he be after when he leaves Uni? Would he be too old to get a job? I am not being funny here but worthy jobs are usually done by younger people without families as there pay is rubbish. He appears to want his freedom from grown up stuff like providing a settled family home that he doesn't want to make a quick get away from. He also wants to move to a place that would mean your business would struggle. So he is only thinking of what he wants to do not what is good for the family. So you would be expected to work in a job that would probably not suit you, you would have to pay for childcare and you would still be responsible for everything else whilst he is a full-time student.
Most men and women I know in your oh's position do their courses at home in the evenings and weekends. One friend has just done her Doctrate whilst working full time with 4 kids her oh is a house husband.
Another did an MBA in 9 months and another completed all his insurance exams, normal time expected to complete the exams 5 1/2years. He did it in 18 months. All have SAHM/Ds.
It is all well and good doing something worthy but he needs to start looking at his life as a family and start by doing something worthy for them first. Not as a single guy with a wife and kids.
Also meant to say that this book is meant to be good.
Good luck OP. I do hate on Mumsnet, when someone has a bit of money behind them, that people think it is OK to take a pop. Empathy and insight bypass Annie?
Thank you very very much for all your input, especially the personal experiences, really helpful.
I do take it all on board and I think I am going to duck out now. I think continuing to brood upon/self justify/self flagellate here starts to be a bit self indulgent and probably won't achieve much more now.
I will take it all away and have a think and set some, realistic, goals and have some long chats with DH. May report back with progress in a while but more for my own sake tbh.
If you only have 2 kids and help I do think its strange you cant get your business or house together?
Can I just say that I have been there and I sympathise - My dh travelled a lot when the children were small and he also had a lack of respect for what I did all day. Can I recommend an illuminating book - What Mothers Do by Naomi Stadlen - as a therapist you'll probably find it fascinating. The house looked like a bombsite when the kids were small but with time we've managed to get their clutter confined to their rooms now, they are 11 and 13. I left a well paid pm role in telecomms after my firstborn, as I could not see how that job would be compatible with the kind of family life I wanted. I spent 5 years at home but joined vrs charity initiatives (stayed clear of the lady who lunches type of volunteering and did stuff that really made a difference by what I was doing rather than what I was raising). I still have resentment over the fact that what I did was never recognised - but in the interests of a harmonious house have just given up on trying to receive any acknowledgement of my contribution. ymmv but this is what I have had to do, I'm not saying you should do anything - just sharing my experience.
Anyway I have successfully found a job/niche that provides me with the work/life balance and job satisfaction that works for me. I am a Student Support Officer in a local FE college, working full time term time only less two final weeks in the summer so I get eight weeks instead of six, which for us is perfect (Mum gets a little holiday, time to sort things out before the big holidays begin) I knew that what I wanted was something with school holidays but not in a classroom or teaching. And I found it, also that I wanted to work with people, I had been a volunteer working with that age group 16-19's for ten years before I had children so I was already familiar with their issues (the don't change, guys ) I don't bring home a huge amount of money but it pays for the food shopping, with two boys that is not insignificant. We have two counsellors at our college and I know several friends who work as uni counsellors. You sound like you have a passion for therapy, perhaps a part time salaried position where you can plan the childcare might be a solution? I know that schools, colleges and universities are increasingly providing these services. I looked at my voluntary work as job experience (as I needed it) and CV enhancement for when I returned to work as I was planning to do- which certainly helped with the motivation.
The only other thing I can say with any certainty is that children grow and change and the solution that works for you family at any one particular time will change as they grow, so staying flexible is key imhop.
It sounds like the therapy will work well once your DH is in a different job and can be around in the evenings for the children. You also need to remember that your youngest isn't a year old yet, and not sleeping properly I'd imagine. It wasn't until mine was a year old that I really got my mind back again from the hazy sleep fog of broken nights. If the plan is to do bits of therapy now, then get more work once your youngest is one, that would be a good one.
How a couple organises family life/work/childcare is up to them. If the decision for you to be a SAHM was a joint one but his feelings have changed and he is now becoming resentful and making little digs about you not working, you have to discuss it and agree a plan. If you have a young baby and you want a third dc and you have no career, I don't see how you can realistically do any meaningful work. What about planning to work when the children are in full-time school?
monty27 is that helpful to the OP? We all have different strengths and challenges. You are good at cleaning. Well done.
OP concentrate on the more constructive posts. I was just like you - I found housework and young child care mortifyingly dull and tiring. I am not surprised you are tired if you are night weaning and still bf. Don't beat yourself up. Working will wait if and when you want to. perfectstorm gives good advice.
DCs don't disappear at 5 when they start school. And many mothers feel they are needed more when DCs are in teens, not to look after, more to be there for. So unless DH is keen to take on
properly more child responsibilities your work will always come second to DC's needs and won't be a high flying business, instead just your interest that you fit in around running the home imv. (which is not what I want for my DDs so am encouraging them to continue their careers --which I didn't and now regret--)
Fgs. Just that. If you're not working (and I did with two dcs in childcare during the day), the house was spotless, yes we did have a cleaner, but then I devoted my life to the dcs not my job as such. And nowhere near as well off as you.
I don't get why you can't get your shit together frankly. Your dh probably talks to people all day long whose lives are similar but in control.
Sorry if this sounds terse, but I really don't get it.
Cambridge have a really, really good careers service that offers lifelong guidance. You could go and talk to them and discuss your skills, experience etc and see what they suggest might be good areas for you? It might give you something to mull over/work towards in future, and a new set of eyes on what you have to offer can be enlightening. You could also set a deadline on starting up your own counselling service, or alternatively approach some local charities and see whether your skills might be a help to them? Dip your toes back in?
Being a good mother is more important than being a good housewife. I know women who are the other way around, and I know which will matter on their deathbeds. It's hard being a good mother. Keeping your temper, keeping positive on crappy days, being creative when all you want to do is plonk them in front of Cbeebies, modelling the behaviour you want to see when you want to scream and tell them to fuck off. Give yourself some credit.
I agree that couples counselling sounds a good idea. You have a good marriage underneath all the crap, so maybe decluttering that should be the priority? But I also think these stressors are normal when the babies are small. Everyone has them, pretty much. And SAHM in the early years is a confidence knock, too. It's not permanent if you make sure you keep a weather eye on future options, as far as I can see.
If you're a therapist surely the obvious answer is couples therapy?
Aargh, sorry, tired multiple postings. I mean if I had to earn money now, I would work. Not that I don't feel I should ever work. I am just aware that some of my friends haven't had an option and have gone back at 6 weeks pn, obviously my situation is a lot more self indulgent than that.
And yes. If I HAD to, I would work. But I don't feel that the imperative is there. I would rather save my energy at the moment for the children if I can. And then the CPD training I must do regularly too.
Tbh hogwash I do really like the therapy, and yes, it is something that should fit into evenings. That was my plan.
But I am just so so tired. I want to help clients and give a good consultation. I don't think I can deliver that atm. Recent ones have been fine but I think if I'd spent the time studying to get some state of the art, and to maintain professional memberships, I would have been better off. Why tired? Trying to night wean DC2 atm and he won't nap very much at all and never really has, (45 mins in the buggy on nursery run if I'm lucky generally), and he wants to be held ALL the time. So even eg doing one handed laundry, trying to tidy, do dishwasher all seem to suck up the day. Plus many bfs and weaning/wiping. The usual, I know and I am v v v glad of him, I want to spend time with him and DC1 (hence trying not to use too many nursery hours). But by the time dinner/bath/bedtime x2, scratch cook our dinner, try to make packed lunch, bathe then I am wrecked. I do stay up for dream feed but I am just so tired I don't feel I am delivering a v good service.
Tiredness I know, in theory- tho' don't believe at the moment(!)-, is temporary. Why didn't I build up my business in between the two DC? Because I had yet to launch it and it seemed silly to advertise etc. everywhere so I could practise intensively in the evenings for maybe 9 months (between DC1 being 1 and sleeping and being too pg to want to spend evenings working. I did have an interview for a national company delivering seminars in my area, but they were, justifiably, doubtful about my long term commitment and flexibility etc. around the family issues. Could I go up to Manchester at short notice? Realistically, no? What were my future plans...
So, in retrospect I would have worked in between the two DC. I did think that DH and I were in accord on the launch my business after all the DC were done. This may have been me, rather than him- I will ask.
Off to dream feed and then sleeeeep now. Thank you for your thoughts. Hope you have had a more exciting evening than us ( we companiably went through more bank statements. Was quite nice and productive tho')
Playing devil's advocate here: is being a therapist really doing it for you? I would have thought that it was one career that could fit well with a family if you can work from home or very locally in the evenings. I imagine that your charges are more than the £6.00/8.00ish an hour that Sitters charge for baby-sitting - yet something seems to be holding you back.
Ooh and idlevice from my sample of two (plural of anecdote being data etc. etc.), the two SAHMs with Oxbridge husband marriages seem v v happy on both sides with the status quo. So.. Oxbridge wives are more likely to feel glum headline. Possibly more work needs to be undertaken in this area....?!
And I do hope that you are feeling better soon, I think my misery was greatest when TTC DC2, I feel sad now, but nothing compared to then. Have a good weekend.
profplum thanks for insightful and interesting posts
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