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SAHM and realising it was a bad decision

(31 Posts)
eridanus Sun 18-Mar-18 03:23:58

i have been with mu husband 15 years, married 10, 3dc - 8, 5 and 3. I had always worked up until the birth of DC1. I quit during maternity leave as the job I had been in for 5 years had given me a paycut of 17% in the year leading up to DC1’s birth (due to the recession 2008/09 and company having issues - all staff got this paycut). This paycut meant that I was on less money per year than when I had started in 2004. We agreed I would stop working and be a SAHM.

Then his career started to take off. Between 2009 to now, his wages have tripled and he has achieved a directorship with piles of benefits with a major multinational company. He received a large living wiIl last year also. Meanwhile we had 2 more kids, I retrained and now have another degree and masters. in a new field but after 9 years out of work and I feel I am not that interesting a person, I am extremely nervous to do interviews in a completely new field. Extremely nervous. I am trying to build up to it, but then he says to me tonight,- sure you have no idea what stress I am under (I agreed) and sure I look at you and I just know you are never going to work again or are happy to slide by on my wages.

I want to work again, I don’t care what money he has banked, but this has hit me badly. I have been looking and applied for jobs and have applied for a ‘bridging’ course that would give me a good opportunity - 9-10 years out of the workforce it’s not easy. The point of my AIBU is I kind of think that we have a family of 5 and he has just said I am like a child dependent on him. So if the shit hits the fan, he is covered with all his perks and the kids are too but I am on my own here because I am ‘living off him’.

I have kind of decided he is correct, maybe not in the manner he has put it, but I am a fifth wheel, just reliant on him and now I think I should just go but unfortunately I have to ask him to release cash for a deposit on a flat. I don’t know how I got to this point, I thought we had decided together and I have been looking for the right opportunity. I din’t realise all this time that he saw me as a bill. Any advice?

sofato5miles Sun 18-Mar-18 03:36:54

There is a lot of talk about money but what you are really talking about is the state of your relationship. Do you feel that it is getting to the point of divorce?

The issue is not you staying at home but how you feel your husband views you. Please try to be more confident and value yourself. Is it your husband who makes you feel without worth or you?

You can change this. I work, though 'officially' I do not need to. I only started full time when our youngest was 6 and eldest 12.

If you are thinking divorce, can you pay to see a solicitor about what you are entitled to?

ADarkandStormyKnight Sun 18-Mar-18 04:03:39

Well done on your degree and masters. That's a huge achievement.

It sounds like you have lost confidence in yourself and he isn't helping with those comments.

Do you think he is basically supportive of you going back to work? Or would he prefer you to be at home? Have you discussed how you returning to work might impact on how you live (eg childcare)?

Another question (sorry!). Do you get the opportunity to do stuff you like such as following your interests or volunteering? Is he supportive of that?

Cricrichan Sun 18-Mar-18 04:09:04

I just wrote a long reply but it's gone! Short version is that he's only been able to.progress because you've done everything with his kids and home and he's been able to concentrate on his career. I was a sahm for 10 years and though I'd lost confidence in myself once I went back and started doing it (did some refresher workshops) I was just as effective as pre kids but with extra skills that I'd acquired through my years of being a mum. And I found that it was bloody easy especially the times that work.took me away and my family looked after my kids.

He may not appreciate it because he's never had to do it, but you're a team and when you go back to work, make sure that he does 50 percent of organising kids and home and don't you dare do it all.

And if you do decide to split, he'll get a massive wake up call at having to do his fair share of child rearing as well as work but you'll find it a doddle. See a solicitor and they'll tell you that you're entitled to at least 50 percent of his assets, he'll have to.provide a house for you and pay you spousalmaintenance and child maintenance which is your 'salary' for all the work you've done for 10 years.

Coyoacan Sun 18-Mar-18 04:37:30

It is a shame that he made you feel surplus to requirements. My dd and dgd live with me and it is hard between the two of us adults to juggle our commitments around looking after dgd, and there is only one of her. Your husband would definitely not have been able to advance so far in his work without you being there to take on most of the childcare and housework.

Good luck with the job-hunting.

TamaraDrankMyMilk Sun 18-Mar-18 07:31:46

Dh and I have a great relationship and I have been a SAHM for 13 years, DC are now 15 and 12. I worked for a while after Ds1 was born but a relocation due to Dh's job meant I had to leave it.

Dh has always earned more money than me but my role as primary caregiver meant he could build his career, stay later if needed, no pick up from nursery like he used to do when I worked too and we shared the responsibility.

The point of this is to tell you that occasionally I feel that maybe volunteering isn't enough for me and maybe I want to earn some money of my own.

If we ever talk about this the honest conversation is that Dh appreciates everything I do (he tells me daily) from everything I do with and for the children but also all the housework stuff, shopping, cleaning, cooking etc etc. The mental load of keeping the diary, organising, buying new clothes for the children and the looking after them in the school holidays.

He has been really honest and says he loves life the way it is.

I think your Dh is undermining you because he wants things to remain as they are. His main responsibility is work. Yours is the house and the children. He doesn't want to come home and cook dinner or collect children from school at 3.15 or from childcare before 6pm. His life is good and you are rocking the boat. Maybe an honest talk about that.

If you separate he could easily say he isn't able to have the children because he is too busy etc, he wouldn't end up spending quality time with them. He would delegate that to you. I have seen it with several friends.

Does your Dh spend time with the children now? Does he make sure he is home before their bedtime to see them?

C0untDucku1a Sun 18-Mar-18 07:39:52

Dont assume the children will be looked after financially if you divorced. His attitude is awful and men like that would happily see their children go without than provide adequate snd reasonable maintenance.

Have a comversation with him anout the logistics of a new job if you got it. Drop offs, pick ups, sick children, parents evening. Housework- break all the jobs down that need doing, gardening, food shopping, packed lunches, making evening meal, bathing children, doing homework, putting them to bed.

Get as specific as you can. See how he reacts.

NeverTwerkNaked Sun 18-Mar-18 07:42:37

Don’t be nervous of applying for jobs/ feel you aren’t interesting.
I’ve just employed someone (in a skilled professional role) who had taken 7 years out. It didn’t concern me in the slightest. Her intelligence and enthusiasm were clear and she has been a real asset to the team.

rocketgirl22 Sun 18-Mar-18 07:43:01

I have been SAHP for 12 years and see it is a complete privilege to have had the opportunity to raise my children.

We work as a team. We are both 'working' and supporting each other to keep the life we share, and we both have equal access to both money and decisions.

You have been living in the same arrangement for a long time, at what point did you feel like a 5th wheel?

I feel like the heart of my family not a 5th wheel, I feel loved, appreciated and valued and so should you. An honest conversation needs to happen as to why this has suddenly happened.

You are entitled to half or more of everything, so you haven't wasted your life, you can invest the money into an independent new life, with your education and qualifications it won't be long before you are able to earn a decent salary again.

IF that is what you want.

BillywilliamV Sun 18-Mar-18 07:49:12

If youre dithering and procrastinating because you're nervous he may just be exasperated about that. Bridging courses etc are all very well but they do sort of put off the actual evil of applying for a job. Doesnt excuse his behaviour but bit more understandable.

Changedname3456 Sun 18-Mar-18 08:04:15

I think there may be a bit more to how he’s feeling than OP has put across here, possibly because she’s not actually asked him what he’s thinking.

It is great that OP has taken post grad qualifications (and it’s bloody good going with 5 kids!) but presumably that cost the family money, and for what? If all he sees is the OP procrastinating and not applying for jobs then he’s likely to be a bit pee’d off - in much the same way I’m sure she’d be annoyed with him if the roles were reversed.

TalkFastThinkSlow Sun 18-Mar-18 08:10:13

I think he has been extraordinarily tactless.

However, I do agree with Changed. Why are you applying for bridging courses? Thats just delaying the inevitable, unless it's 100% relevant for your new career and will give your CV a significant boost? I would say with this many years out of the workforce, you should be applying for anything and everything. You need some recent work experience , even if it's just to prove you can be reliable and hold down a job.

NeverTwerkNaked Sun 18-Mar-18 08:23:22

Putting myself in his shoes, it must be an immensely stressful job and the pressure of being the sole provider must feel immense at times. DP and I both earn aboht the same amount but I still sometimes feel overwhelmed by the responsibility. If he is aware of potential changes etc at work that mean his job is vulnerable that could also be behind the lashing out.

user1486956786 Sun 18-Mar-18 08:30:52

Does he say this often? Or just a one off?

blackeyes72 Sun 18-Mar-18 08:35:44

Good point about feeling vulnerable. I work as a director in a large multinational as does Dh and redundancy, being shoves aside or moved even abroad with a change of wind is unfortunately extremely common.

He was very blunt and sounds like he is exasperated, but I'd you have a good relationship it might be worth understanding why he is feeling this way.

Arapaima Sun 18-Mar-18 08:43:54

Hi OP, I wanted to post because I see some similarities in our situations.

When I had DC1, DH and I were earning almost exactly the same (as we are the same age and met at work). I became a SAHM - this was a joint decision - but always planned to return to work at some point.

We have three DC, with similar age gaps to yours, and by the time the youngest started school I had been out of work for nine years. I had a successful career before kids, and I did not realise beforehand how much my confidence would be affected by being out of the workplace for so long. Meanwhile DH had been promoted a couple of times and his salary had more than doubled during this period.

This was three and a half years ago. Then I found a job (in a different but related field to my pre-DC career) and I love it. I work shorter hours and earn a lot less than DH, but it’s a good, professional job that I find challenging and rewarding, and I still get to pick up the kids from school a couple of times a week. It’s a perfect balance for me.

I was so, so nervous when I first started, but if you were great at your job before then there’s absolutely no reason why you couldn’t be again. You just need to find the self confidence (not helped by your DH’s insensitive comments).

Go for it, OP! Don’t write yourself off. You can do it!!

FinallyHere Sun 18-Mar-18 09:04:39

* all this time that he saw me as a bill*

While in fact you have been contributing in a very major way, to the family. Have you worked out, just for your own satisfaction, how much he would have spent in childcare and housekeeping never mind the children in the first place? Not just so easy.... I would really encourage you to get a copy of The Lady, have a look at what a household staff would have cost him.

Not to counter his view (as you see it) but to boost your own self confidence, which sounds as if it really is at a low ebb. As a stranger reading your story I have no idea of the dynamics of your relationship, but I do know that the place to start is with how you feel about yourself. Again as a stranger, I read about your accomplishments, three lovely children, two degrees and a masters and yet what comes across is how little you seem to value these.

Your DH has at least been v v tactless, which isn't great, but instead of noticing that he has been horrible, and needs a wake up call, you seem to be internalising what might be his view of your low contribution (or might be an isolated, unwise, unkind comment).

Going back for a moment to your pay cut all those years ago, how do you feel about that. It was a (another) horrible thing to happen to you and it is no surprise that it might have seriously knocked your confidence in yourself, as an external party's view of your worth. Did you internalise that one to, do you at some level maybe got the idea that you were worth less, rather than really unfair, really bad experience in your life

Before you make any serious decisions about your life from here, please do some work on your own self esteem. What do you want, what do you need or yourself, what do you offer your DC, DH and the world. Knowing the questions can be helpful in order to start looking for answers from within yourself, rather than accepting the opinions of other people. Other people have less at state than you do, and may make careless remarks which, if taken as 'the truth', would be very hurtful.

Then have a look at your life and decide what you want, for your DC and yourself, from a position of strength in your own self esteem. You might find that DH just needs a nudge to make the sort of relationship you really want. Or you may start to make wider plans.

I am sure that i have seen ads on Facebook to support women return8ing to work after a career break. They will put all this much bette than I possibly can, and may be just the hand u you need now. All the very best...

Momo27 Sun 18-Mar-18 09:06:41

It sounds like he perhaps hasn’t said it in a tactful way, but the underlying message is that he feels very stressed, being sole earner is a massive responsibility. I wouldn’t want it. Sounds also like it was circumstances, the recession, which led to you stopping work and maybe if it wasn’t for that you’d have stayed in your career and you’d have a different balance in your lives now

Anyway, I think what he’s getting at is that you’ve done really well to get these qualifications but now is the time to put them to use. You’ve lost a lot of confidence out of the workplace and you need to find a way to stop procrastinating and get on with applying for jobs in your new sphere. As you’ve been studying, is there support from your university for interview preparation? Sounds like you’ve built the skills set, but just lack the confidence to get out there and put all that learning into practice.

Unfortunately because he’s handled it badly, it comes across as all being about money. I doubt it’s as simple as your dh just seeing you as a ‘bill’- it’s probably more the case that anyone working at his level and raking in that sort of money is no doubt under a lot of pressure and doesn’t want to feel the responsibility of financing the family is all on him. He’ll have picked up on your plummeting confidence too, and the fact you feel you’ve become less interesting... that’s not good for you or for your relationship

chequeplease Sun 18-Mar-18 09:15:03

You're not a 5th wheel! You've raised both your children while he's been working, which is in its self a full time role. How dare he make you feel so reliant on him. Surely he's been just as reliant on you for looking after the children and all the other things you do when he's at work??
If you want to go back to work then do. I'm sure you'll be fine and are qualified enough through your education. But if you are happy staying at home with the children then do that and don't feel guilty about it. I'm sure your children have benefitted hugely with you being there all the time for them.
You and your DH are a team and if you aren't feeling like that anymore then you probably need to talk more about this.

Bluntness100 Sun 18-Mar-18 09:16:59

This seems a bit of an extreme reaction. You don't mention how your marriage is otherwise, simply as he's said this one thing you now wish to leave. Sure you can divorce him over it, take half and go, but what about your marriage other than this one conversation?

ThickSn0ww Sun 18-Mar-18 11:46:26

I have said this before, work is not just about money, it's social interaction, opportunities to progress, be involved in charity and volunteering, your employer may offer free courses and qualifications whilst working. All this should help your confidence. Perhaps, you could start with some local volunteering, so that you could put this on your CV. Your DH attitude is very dismissive.

greenberet Sun 18-Mar-18 14:04:18

Op I think there is more to this than you are saying - for this comment to have hit you so badly I think you have been doing the lions share of child/ house care for some time and as others have said found the time and mental aptitude to complete a degree and masters.

I think you have been picking up that your DH doesn't value your contribution for some time and his comment was the icing on the cake - he has put into words the signals he's been giving off - that you were picking up on and that is probably the root of your lack of confidence in yourself and your ability.

Due to your previous past work experience all your anxiety is being attributed to this which is completely understandable but I expect there may be some jealousy from your DH if you were to return to work.

Maybe he knows he is taking the piss - but whilst you are at home feeling shite about yourself he can get away with it - you get back to working build your professional side up and maybe you will realise you don't really need him anymore - that he contributes financially but little else _

I may be completely off here but to indicate that you want to leave I think things must already be going through your mind. Go and see a solicitor and get it in your mind what you are entitled to - this will reassure you and put a stop to his comments having any power over you.

If he's not contributing much in way of childcare get yourself out the house a couple of nights a week onto some self improvement course - his reaction to you wanting to do this will give you an idea of what he is really thinking - let him deal with the kids lock stock and barrel - these men have no idea about what it takes to bring up kids - no idea what women sacrifice for their kids and then have the Gaul to tell you you are a fifth wheel living off him - he needs his arse kicked whether this was a one off comment or not. flowers for you op - I recognise you are doing a great job x

TatianaLarina Sun 18-Mar-18 14:20:17

He is completely dependent on you to have his children and run his home for him - has he considered that? Your work at home has enabled his career.

I think you have achieved a huge amount in 9 years - 3 kids, degree + masters. Most people can only cope with one or the other.

I understand it’s daunting returning to work - but you will find your confidence returns quickly.

What else is going on in this relationship - there must be other reasons your confidence is so low? Why would you think you’re not interesting?

greenberet Sun 18-Mar-18 14:22:18

Just one question does he control all the money - you say you have to ask him to release cash for a deposit for flat?

TatianaLarina Sun 18-Mar-18 14:23:12

He also needs to deal with the fact that once you’re working he will need to step up at home and do much more. His life may actually become more stressful rather than less as you won’t be around so much.

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