Opinions please...regarding SAHM's

perkladdJune 26, 2006

Hi there,

I have been a SAHM for the last 16 years. Although I did take part time work sometimes, usually when we needed to bring in extra money. I also took care of my mom for a couple of years as she was dying of cancer, which was a lot on top of caring for my kids at the time. I always thought (and still do) that I was making the right choice for myself and my children. The business that we started when we were first married kind of took off and my husband did not have a set schedule also, so that was hard to work around. A lot of times I couldn't even count on him to watch the kids, as he would "forget" to get home, or make me late to work.

Anyway, my husband has always thrown this is my face, (that I never had a career, or was the breadwinner). Our marriage right now is coming to an end, and when I hear this it just angers me to no end.

His view(s) are/were that:

1) He makes the money so he decides where it will go.

2) He makes the money, therefore he works harder than a SAHM

3) Since I'm not out in the "real world" I am not an equal partner.

4) He makes the money so he can come and go as he pleaes.

This is the way it has been since day one. Anything and everything that he ever bought for me, or the kids he feels he has done us a big favor. He even went so far as to say that myslef and my kids should feel grateful that we live in this house, that HE pays for. Granted, he has had every expensive toy known to man! Brand new corvette, Harley's, boats, trips to Vegas. But for me and the kids it has always been like pulling teeth just to get him to spring for a family vacation.

I am majorly venting I guess. Please post your thoughts, I'd really like to know if all men feel this way or anybody else has been in this situation. Many Thanks

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Your husband's views, as you describe them, are obnoxious as well as wrong. By "wrong", I mean just that -- legally as well as morally. Once you file, he'll get the education of his life from his own attorney. If he didn't understand "partnership" before, he will then. Next time he pops, tell him 1/2 his Harley and Corvette belong to you. It'll make him nuts.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2006 at 12:35AM
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I agree with asolo. this man needs an awakening!
You have worked hard for all these years and everything is 1/2 yours,including the business. Stick to your guns and get a great lawyer.
I wish you luck.
Karen L

    Bookmark   June 27, 2006 at 10:23AM
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When I hear stuff like this, it makes me thankful that my DH and I are in in the lower middle class (below the poverty line after his child support). It's funny...the more people have the harder it seems to be.

I'm a SAHM, and will be for at least the next 8 years, (then I may or may not start some p/t work during school hours). Because finances are tight for us, it's understood that the mortgage and CS get paid first, the bills next (and if we can't pat the bills, the fun but unnecessary extras (like satelite or the net) get cut off) and after all the expenses are taken care of, if there's money left over it's saved. All the major purchases are discussed and agreed upon. It may be tight...but it sure saves on fighting.

I have found the adjustment to SAHM hard in some respects (like not getting a regular paycheck and having "my" money) and I do feel sometimes like DH thinks he works WAY harder than me (sometimes he does, sometimes he doesn't), but I also have to recognize that staying at home is a priviledge too.

I don't know your situation...from what you say, it sounds like you have a 'comfortable' lifestyle...I've seen (Wife Swap/etc.) where the really wealthy families seem a lot unhappier than the poorer families. There seems to be this wierd sense of entitlement when there's extra money floating around (whether the man is saying "my money" and "I'll spend it how I please" or the woman is saying "me time" and still spending it, sometimes just as fast, only on less dramatic things (gym memberships/spa trips/clothes/jewelry/hair/etc. as opposed to a new Corvette or Harley) Perhaps this doesn't apply to your situation...perhaps he's 'just a jerk'. It's sad though, because at 16 years SAHM, you likely still have kid(s) at home, who will pay the biggest price if/when you split.

They say a good man is hard to find, not hard to keep. They need to know they're loved and appreciated, they need food in their bellies and a warm bed, and they need to know that their kids are being taken care of. Maybe there's something that you could do to make the situation better, maybe you're already doing it all. I don't know.

While I agree that he'll be in for a rude awakening if you separate (and that his views, as you present them, are wrong), I'd like to encourage you to not adopt the 'take him to the cleaners' mentality. The more conflict there is the harder it will be on your kids. While a lawyer will help you get everything you're "entitled" to, they make their money off of breeding conflict...the more contested the case the more they pocket. If you part ways, see if you're husband is willing to reach an out of court settlement. Know your "rights" (usually 1/2 of everything) then think of what you actually need to get back on your feet. If you can get by with a little less, and avoid a lot of the conflict you'll end up in a better place. Take into consideration the emotional costs of an ugly divorce. What good is it, if you take him for all he's worth, but wind up bitter and angry? If you separate, you will still have to interact when your children graduate, marry, give you grandkids, all those Christmas's and birthdays...the less turmoil there is now, the easier it will be then.

It's easy to jump on the bandwagon and yell the "Women Unite" battlecry. There are many tactics (some in very poor taste) that can be used to gain the upperhand in court, but from my experience, the women who have gone that route, have ended up unhappier than they were while they were still married. Pitiful, bitter, miserable women. Don't do that to yourself.

Just my $0.02
Kind thoughts

    Bookmark   June 27, 2006 at 12:25PM
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Well like I stated in my earlier posts, it has been this way from day one. As things got better financially for us, it has stayed the same. Except now, instead of having to ask-beg-explain for money for children's school clothes and supplies, it's asking him to at least pay for community college for my oldest. I did take the initiative to start a college fund for both of the girl's college tuition a while ago, but it will in no way will cover all of the costs. These are not his step-kids, these are OUR children. Our daughter has ended up in tears because he basically tells her he doesn't have the money. He enjoys having her plead to him too.
He drives a 50k vette, a 45k truck (but he really doesn't like it), a boat, motorcycles, goes out two plus nights a week to play poker, lunches out, golfs, our home is 7,000 sq ft. on an acre of which we owe a mortgage of 1/5 of it's value. When he told me recently that we should feel "grateful" for living here that just about sealed it for me.
Me...I do drive a nice car, it was under 30k. I have spent money (after the usual beg/plead scenario) on some furniture, and believe me, I sought out the deals and didn't buy anything extravagant or high end. The property that we built on had to have landscaping done, and that too, I had to beg/plead for and am still hearing about it.
This isn't about taking him to the cleaners. I just want out. On top of all of the other forms of control and abuse he has put me through I guess this is the last straw. Now that it is coming to light that he can't even see the need for my daughter to get an education, and wants to make her do hoops for him. It makes me sick how anybody can be this selfish to their own children. He feels like he is "special" amd deserves the best of everything, a spotless house, hot meals on the table, doesn't want any responsibilities to take care/maintain the house. In fact, I get yelled at becasue we have to pay the guy to come and mow the grass, but DH won't do it. I was mowing it last year until the beater lawnmower wouldn't start anymore. It is totally embarassing to have to ask the neighbors to come and start the lawnmower or fill up the tires with air, because Mr. Wonderful is too important to do that icky chore. I might add that he is a total PIG.
That's when I hear how lazy I am for being a SAHM, and how if I wasn't I could afford tuition, etc.
He is really put out to even buy our daughter a graduation gift ($300), or have a party for her. And she is a good kid, get's good grades, works her but off at her jobs, and doesn't get into trouble.
Living under these circumstances day in and day out is killing me. I don't have acces to any funds, he has to know exactly what I spend and the reciepts for it and if I spend anything other than that money I am "stealing from him", so he says. I am saving whatever I can, and selling crap on ebay to get the funds together to pay for an attorney.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2006 at 1:33PM
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Well, in the end it usually boils to down to some variation of: "Is this how I want to spend the rest of my life?"

Nobody is taken to any cleaners in long-term marriages such as yours. Those days are gone. Both parties declare their assets and the court drops the axe somewhere near the middle. Both parties think they got screwed but both get on with their lives. It's not even complicated -- unless the parties and/or attornies decide to get into a p....ng contest. Do control your emotions. Once you've made the decision, the rest is "just business."

    Bookmark   June 27, 2006 at 4:00PM
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Don't allow him to control and abuse you to the point that you are doubting your decision about being a SAHM all these years. You shouldn't even be questioning it or need any validation. Who cares what he thinks or says...

I'd just laugh at him next time he brings up his 'he did all the work in family' lines and say "Well, I guess if that's really true then we all know who was really the intelligent one in the relationship". (Implying that you got a lot of the money even though you didn't do anything---but don't actually say that--he'll use it against you...just imply it laughing). Use his absurd lines and comments against him don't take them to heart yourself. DO NOT let him think his comments are getting to you. He is only trying to abuse you even more so don't let him. Laugh at him or ignore him totally.

As for you kid's education... Many college kids nowadays have to take out loans. It's just a given that parents can't always afford college for all thier kids. The kids should easily be able to take out loans, or may even be able to get part time jobs to help pay. It would be nice to have your EX help pay, but it won't be the end of the world of he doesn't.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2006 at 6:37PM
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Strongly disagree with carla35. This is no time for confrontational behavior or speech. If you are, in fact, divorcing the task at hand is efficiency, not ego gratification. I encourage you to AVOID the oh-so-typical contest of verbal and behavioral attempts at pay-back cleverness so many foolish people engage in. If you want to verbally unload 16 years of aggravation and tell him off, please do wait until the deed is done and the court has signed off. If you don't, you'll very likely pay net-triple for every single word. Rather, I would encourage poise and dignity and aplomb. That will enable the process to move more quickly and with a likely better result for you. Your children, both attorneys and the judge will observe this. It will work to your benefit that way as well as keeping your head clear and focused.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2006 at 10:30PM
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I was not suggesting she get into a verbal war. I think it may help her personally if she laughs at him instead of letting him know he gets to her.

And, yes, asolo, your ideas are great if she only had a day or two left to deal with him. But, I have a feeling there is still some time to go, and that she is obviosuly not able to let his remarks slide or else she wouldn't have posted this. It's easy to say that you 'encourage poise and dignity and aplomb' (whatever that is LOL). But, this is life, and if it feels like someone is hitting you with a baseball bat, you are going to respond. This is not a two sided (who gets to keep the fine china) type of argument. And, this would not be "ego gratification" as you put it on her part; it would be trying to stop someone from verbally abusing you -- a lot different, IMHO.

She's taking his absurd comments to heart (as do many emotionally abused woman after spending years with these demeaning, controlling men). So, I don't think it would be foolish if she's able to laugh at him with a line or two to try to shut him up for the future. His continuing attacks on her about the subject are probably already taking up too much time and may lead her to feel guilty and give up more than she should (which he may just be counting on).

I can only hope that when she is away from him for long enough she will be able to see things more clearly and be able to let his comments role off her back when she has to deal with him because of the kids.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2006 at 12:45AM
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aplomb = noun; self confidence or assurance especially when in a demanding situation.

Was thinking that after 16 years she's likely managing the verbal situation as she has seen fit and its at least become predictable by now. My advice pedicated on assumption that there's little/nothing to be gained by giving her antagonist something new to react to. I see no help in that even if there is more time to run, which there probably is. I only see escalation of an already bad situation if she chooses new methods of verbal engagement. And her children will get to see it, too, probably. Certainly I could be mistaken. I understand your point of view. Suspect many would agree with it.

Of course joint counseling could always be considered but that, like almost everything else, takes two. Her description of the situation seems beyond that hope to me. Appears to me she's already considering her exit stategy. I could be mistaken in that, also.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2006 at 1:41PM
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First of all, NO, not all men feel that whoever makes the most money "wins." Your man is a controlling creep; most men are not. Most men would realize the value of having the children raised properly.

I think it would be fun to talley up your jobs and present him with a bill. Let's see, 16 years of full-time live-in nanny, maid, chef, and who knows what else. I'd bet that comes to a tidy sum of cash.

Of course, it wouldn't do any good.

Just let the marriage end and find yourself happiness.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2006 at 5:07PM
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Believe just a few weeks ago in some national publication somebody tallied up the supposed monetary value of SAHM's. Seem to recall the number was something above $100,000.00 per year.

I wouldn't be too concerned about that. If you want out, the number will be 1/2 plus child support at the least. Likely more, based on your descripton.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2006 at 4:34PM
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It reminds me of a cartoon I saw years ago, an outraged husband coming home to find the house dirty and in a mess and his wife relaxing in a recliner with a book and glass of something cool and music on the radio. He says, "WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING ALL DAY?" and she answers, "Exactly what you always claim I have been doing."

Some men don't give a second thought to the fact that SAHMs are on the job or on call all the time, from when they get up to when they go to bed, whereas a man can come home and relax, if he is so minded. If you got a job and matched his working hours, it is certain that he would still not want to divide up the household chores equally, would he? He has a rotten attitude, but now that the marriage is ending, I would say it is time for you to be cool, both for your own sake and that of the children. You lose nothing by acting dignified and calm, and your husband will soon learn the cost of his attitude and actions.

And a big NO, not all men are like him. In our house, both when I am working and when I am not, we always try to show appreciation for each other's efforts and do not begrudge each other any reasonable use of our money. I have the impression that most of our friends' marriages are that way, too. Your husband doesn't have a clue, but if you were not doing all the housework and child caring, he wouldn't be able to go out and make all "his" money, to begin with.

I hope things will work out all right for you and the children.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2006 at 4:58PM
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You have a car,you have job skills...why don't you start a cleaning business?Sounds like your daughters are old enough to handle Mom working.Actually,there are a couple of business's where you can book the account from your telephone and hire others to do the work.House or office cleaning is one,window washing is another.Earn decent money,hire someone to spotlessly clean your house,and decide what to do with your future once you have financial parity with hubby.BTW,when chidren pay their own college,education is not taken for granted.If you buy her education,no telling how many years it will take.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2006 at 10:22AM
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Hi perkladd

I am sypathetic to your situation. I think a lot of people have given good advice, for you to think about. It is wonderful that you can vent your frustrations on this forum and know that people care about you, from all over the world.

I would say to you that maintain your dignity.

Make "I" statements.

Become fit, exercise, so you can be "armed" to tackle what is ahead of you, with a clear head, and concise goals.

Eat a healthy diet.

Make a clear decision about what you are going to do, and stick to your goal. Seek help and guidance.

I am a SAHM and have been for 20 years (!!). My hubbie has always been supportive, but I have very low self esteem, and I think people tend to look down upon SAHM. I feel I have missed out on a career, and am now quite resentful of the fact that my daughter has educational opportunities that I have missed out on....but...I must get on and make something of my life, I think this is my problem to deal with. I try to count my blessings, and focus on the good things.

All the best to you, sorry I am not more helpful.

Hugs from Oz.


I wish you all the best, I think you are unfairly treated, the world is out there for you to do something for yourself.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2006 at 8:32PM
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First, I have been a career woman and a SAHM. Both are hard work. The SAHM job is harder, and I have respect for it, The career I found myself working with men just like perkladd's husband, and they took the fun out of the career because there always seem to be "one" in every office I worked at, and they were such jerks. Both are worthy of respect, for different reasons.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2006 at 6:41PM
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A lot of my friends are SAHMs and I think every single one has said that at some point their husband gave them flack for "not working". One of the most annoying things is when the dh comes homes and expects to be waited on - I hear this a lot.

I chose to continue working part-time after dd was born. I needed the breathing space, adult company, and my own $$. I did stay home for the first 6 months, and as far as I'm concerned, being a SAHM is the toughest job there is.

I don't expect your husband will ever understand what it is like to be on call 24/7. Just get through it. Best of luck to you - Amy

    Bookmark   July 9, 2006 at 10:02PM
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