Skip to content
 
If you can read this, either the style sheet didn't load or you have an older browser that doesn't support style sheets. Try clearing your browser cache and refreshing the page.

(Slate)   "Is it selfish to admit that I don't want my wife to be a stay-at-home mom?"   (slate.com) divider line
    More: Interesting, 2007 singles, Want, Childbirth, Need, Infant, Husband, Deadmau5, had kids  
•       •       •

364 clicks; posted to Discussion » on 10 Mar 2021 at 11:55 AM (8 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



30 Comments     (+0 »)
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest
 
2021-03-10 9:47:00 AM  
"She earns about the same as I do, and while we could make ends meet on my income alone, it would impact our ability to save, and we'd need to give up one of our cars and cut way back on "extras" that make life more enjoyable "


A great big "GFY" from me. You're basically a 1-percenter biatching about the details now. Maybe she'll want to go back to work in a year, or maybe not at all.

If your wife's "lack of perceived ambition" is the biggest change in your life right now, you've got some very First Worldy Problems and need to take stock of all the other good things you have going on.
 
2021-03-10 9:56:56 AM  
Women marry men hoping they will change and they won't.

Men marry women hoping they won't change and they do.
 
2021-03-10 10:00:59 AM  

NikolaiFarkoff: "She earns about the same as I do, and while we could make ends meet on my income alone, it would impact our ability to save, and we'd need to give up one of our cars and cut way back on "extras" that make life more enjoyable "


A great big "GFY" from me. You're basically a 1-percenter biatching about the details now. Maybe she'll want to go back to work in a year, or maybe not at all.

If your wife's "lack of perceived ambition" is the biggest change in your life right now, you've got some very First Worldy Problems and need to take stock of all the other good things you have going on.


1%ers aren't worried about giving up cars or cutting back. This is a pretty real, common conundrum faced by plenty of people, not just "rich people."

If a couple earns $60,000 each in middle America (not NYC or Palo Alto), that $120k affords a pretty decent, but not decadent, lifestyle. Cutting it in half is certainly workable, but does, in fact, alter the couple's lifestyle. Add the expenses of a child and life can feel radically different.

The questions being asked are fair questions, and not at all uncommon. If a couple decides to have a child, with the plan that both parents will return to work after the birth, it is a real financial adjustment to cut income in half after the fact. That doesn't mean the stay at home spouse is wrong or is doing something selfish, but substantial alterations in finances are something to think carefully about.
 
2021-03-10 10:05:55 AM  
Consider staying home if you have more than one kid.. child care is expensive as fark.

One of my coworkers pumped out 4 kids in rapid succession so she would only have a 5 year disruption to her career. Her entire salary would be spent on child care and she would rather be with her kids in that case.
 
2021-03-10 10:16:42 AM  
Yes you are.

If you can afford to have one parent stay home and raise the kids then farking do it. My mom was able to and it's made all the difference. Of course we could have used the money if she worked but I wouldn't trade it.

Think about your kids you selfish muppet!!
 
2021-03-10 10:24:39 AM  

Tr0mBoNe: Consider staying home if you have more than one kid.. child care is expensive as fark.

One of my coworkers pumped out 4 kids in rapid succession so she would only have a 5 year disruption to her career. Her entire salary would be spent on child care and she would rather be with her kids in that case.


Depending on the career field, however, the gap might never be made up. Even if most of your net pay is spent on daycare and the like, "losing your place in line" has a larger long-term cost. If people know that going in, fine (especially if they really value being there as much as possible during their early years), but that's the sort of thing that can often be overlooked.

When we lived in Hong Kong my wife stayed home since she was on a dependent visa (so an employer would have to sponsor her) and it's tough to find jobs in her field there unless you are fluent in Cantonese. But we knew that going into it, and accepted that it would set her back a bit. We totally lucked out, however... when we came back she was able to find a job right away, and at about the same level as what she would have been doing without the hiatus. I have no idea how the stars managed to line up on that one, but we definitely benefitted from her employer's desperation to fill that job ASAP.
 
2021-03-10 11:02:31 AM  

BretMavrik: Tr0mBoNe: Consider staying home if you have more than one kid.. child care is expensive as fark.

One of my coworkers pumped out 4 kids in rapid succession so she would only have a 5 year disruption to her career. Her entire salary would be spent on child care and she would rather be with her kids in that case.

Depending on the career field, however, the gap might never be made up. Even if most of your net pay is spent on daycare and the like, "losing your place in line" has a larger long-term cost. If people know that going in, fine (especially if they really value being there as much as possible during their early years), but that's the sort of thing that can often be overlooked.

When we lived in Hong Kong my wife stayed home since she was on a dependent visa (so an employer would have to sponsor her) and it's tough to find jobs in her field there unless you are fluent in Cantonese. But we knew that going into it, and accepted that it would set her back a bit. We totally lucked out, however... when we came back she was able to find a job right away, and at about the same level as what she would have been doing without the hiatus. I have no idea how the stars managed to line up on that one, but we definitely benefitted from her employer's desperation to fill that job ASAP.


In our case, we treat our employees well. She was guaranteed her old spot back as a fallback but started working on shifting to project management from software during her leave. The company gave her many study courses and she started doing part time remote when her last kid was old enough. By the time she came back it was to a nice raise and promotion, which is good because she's a smart one and it would suck to lose a senior dev with lots of experience. The key was that she started having kids in her 30s after she built up a good network and seniority.

One of my other friends outright quit because she wants to raise a bunch of kids and use the time to change careers from the soulless world of insurance to something less awful. She's looking in to underwater basket weaving.
 
2021-03-10 11:19:16 AM  
him: 'I gently asked her if she thought her change in attitude could be related to a possible mental health issue or postpartum depression, but she didn't take that well.

I can just imagine.
protip: Implying that only mental illness would cause a woman to want to take care of her baby?... That will not win you points anywhere.

/ also, that letter is written like there's no risk re: kid going to daycare in the midst of an on-going pandemic - was this letter sent to Slate in 2019?
 
2021-03-10 12:30:49 PM  
Your the husband your the father (I guess) suck it up
 
2021-03-10 12:50:45 PM  
She'll be begging to go back to work outside the home by the time that kid's four.
 
2021-03-10 1:02:28 PM  
I gently asked her if she thought her change in attitude could be related to a possible mental health issue or postpartum depression, but she didn't take that well.

Ha-ha, you fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders! The most famous of which is "Never get involved in a land war in Asia," but only slightly less well known is this: Never go in against your wife when her mental health is the topic of discussion!

She says she only cares about our daughter and that's where all her energy needs to go right now,

A valid opinion.

and that if I love her, I will let her do this.

That's manipulative bullshiat.

I do love my wife, and I'm not interested in divorce, but I'm seeing a whole new side of her that I just don't like or admire. What should I do?

You have two basic options: Come to an agreement (including "agree to disagree") or divorce. This doesn't mean one of you is right or wrong - both opinions are valid, neither is right or wrong, they're just different. What does matter is whether the one who has to give in will develop a deep resentment of the other. If you can't work it out, your marriage is farked.  So since you say you're not interested in divorce, you need to work this out - seek a neutral third party (a trained professional, definitely not a friend or family member) if needed.

PS, it's a bit late now, but you know what would have prevented this issue? Yep, that's right: butt stuff.
 
2021-03-10 1:09:19 PM  
I understand her qualms.

As a stay-at-home dad, I constantly hear complaints from my wife having to operate as the main earner in the family, how she didn't want to marry a 40+ man who has no ambition, and also says things like "when will you get a real job".

I also run a home business that brings in just under $100k a year.

Am I to believe her issues are hers and not mine, or should I be looking at it from the gender role position?
 
2021-03-10 1:23:15 PM  
It's not selfish at all. Such decisions impact both partners and therefore should be made by both partners, not unilaterally imposed by one. The letter clearly states that there was a plan and that plan involved both parents working. Plans change, but they change with the input and agreement of both partners. Dropping out of the workforce doesn't just disrupt income in the moment, it decreases future income and employability, particularly with professionals. Depending on the wife's chosen career and the length of time she spends on the mommy train, she may be permanently relegated to entry level employment when she returns to the workforce. If mom just wants to spend an additional year at home that one thing, but if she wants to wait until the child starts school, or high school (both common markers for stay at home parents) and then return to work that's going to have a lot of long term impact on the family's finances.

The wife also needs to protect her own interests. What if the unexpected happens and the husband dies, or becomes unemployable, and the family needs to rely on her income for support? Her decision to stay at home now may make her vulnerable in the future. My wife's aunt was a stay at home mom who left a career in the early 70s to raise her kids. She was 50 when her husband died in a car accident. While insurance paid off most of the mortgage and other outstanding debts she was forced to return to the workforce after 25 years. Had she stayed in her former profession she would have had an income of ~$80,000/year and been comfortable. As it was her experience and credentials were outdated and of no value so now she's pushing 75 and still working for a shade over minimum wage just to get by.
 
2021-03-10 1:30:21 PM  
If it can be done, staying home with  a baby in a pandemic seems reasonable. Once the kid is 2 or so and would benefit from the socialization, revisit the options.
 
2021-03-10 1:32:36 PM  

Tyrosine: The wife also needs to protect her own interests. What if the unexpected happens and the husband dies, or becomes unemployable, and the family needs to rely on her income for support? Her decision to stay at home now may make her vulnerable in the future.


This happened to me. I went back to school for a year (living off social security survivor benefits) to refresh my skills and went back to work.  It's do-able.
 
2021-03-10 2:58:45 PM  

NikolaiFarkoff: "She earns about the same as I do, and while we could make ends meet on my income alone, it would impact our ability to save, and we'd need to give up one of our cars and cut way back on "extras" that make life more enjoyable "


A great big "GFY" from me. You're basically a 1-percenter biatching about the details now. Maybe she'll want to go back to work in a year, or maybe not at all.

If your wife's "lack of perceived ambition" is the biggest change in your life right now, you've got some very First Worldy Problems and need to take stock of all the other good things you have going on.


One thing spouses should do is talk to each other. Another thing they should do is arrive at decisions together, without any guilt-tripping or bullying. In something like this (the wife wanting to be a SAHM) too many of these decisions are made by fiat after the kid is born. A guy who doesn't want his wife to just quit working is viewed through the old-fashioned 1950's lens of being mean to his wife, and cruel to the child, for not wanting to be sole breadwinner. This is not the case, unless it was decided beforehand.

My wife was a stay at home mommy for years, until the last kid was in school full-time. We arrived at this decision before there was a pregnancy because we were adults and talked through the various pros/cons with each other. We laid out expectations, and the perceived limitations, of the various things we could do if we had children. Because we did this beforehand, we knew she was going to be going to school for her Masters degree and had to budget for that as well. However when the last kid was in school full-time, it was back to work. No muss, no fuss, no haranguing. Then I went to graduate school for a while for my Masters.

You have to talk life changing events through, preferably before they happen whenever possible. Making these decisions by fiat, especially after the fact, without any real discussion, inevitably leads to extreme damage to the relationship. You're basically putting yourself above the other, that your needs/wants/desires are more important than your partner's feelings. That's a key ingredient in the recipe for a divorce.

So yeah, unless this was predetermined, she should seriously reconsider this fiat choice. She's basically telling her hubby, "F*ck what your opinion is, mine is more important/valid." That's selfish as f**k.
 
2021-03-10 3:46:12 PM  
When we had kids, I was making LESS than the cost of daycare so I became a stay-at-home dad.
If I continued to work, it would have been solely to PAY for daycare.
I had ambitions.  I also CHOSE to have children.
 
2021-03-10 4:04:01 PM  

drewsfarkthrowaway: I understand her qualms.

As a stay-at-home dad, I constantly hear complaints from my wife having to operate as the main earner in the family, how she didn't want to marry a 40+ man who has no ambition, and also says things like "when will you get a real job".

I also run a home business that brings in just under $100k a year.

Am I to believe her issues are hers and not mine, or should I be looking at it from the gender role position?


nice your home business brings in $100K annually but what matters is how much goes to overhead and how much is income. anyway, your wife sounds like a real biatch. you chose poorly and now you live in a hell you created. and you're a full time babysitter as well. enjoy that removable penis your wife bought you for Christmas.
 
2021-03-10 4:29:09 PM  
It isn't selfish to want your spouse to return to work after having a kid as going from dual income no kids to one income and a kid is a huge life adjustment for anyone who still has to think about their income when paying bills, but the way the guy asks the question makes me think he's a bit of an asshole.
 
2021-03-10 4:59:02 PM  
I worked in a really nice day care for ten years.  If I ever had a kid, I would stay home even if it meant that I would be dirt poor.  When they hit first grade, then go back to work.

Those first five years are so important and go by so quickly.  Make the sacrifice if you can.  Money cannot buy back those years and the relationship with your child.

You will have a chance to make more money for the rest of your adult life.  The time you spend with kids in the beginning really helps form that bond later.  When I was working there, the kids would see me from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm.  Then go home, eat dinner, off to bed.  On weekends, most kids went to Grandparents, etc.  A lot of kids I took care of were more attached to me than their own parents.  Then suddenly, they turn 5 and never see me again.   How can that not damage a kid??
 
2021-03-10 4:59:19 PM  
ask her if she wants to give up most to all of her extras, any large scale home remodels, scale way back on retirement, saddle kiddo with student loan debt and have more frequent arguments and is prepared for money be the central issue in every argument they have going forward.

she'll say "no problem" but at least you can point back to that conversation when you have the money arguments.  it won't do you any good of course.

Whatever you do, don't have another kid until you have the money thing sorted out one way or another.  Even if she says she'll go back to work the odds she does are no better than 50/50 and if she does it'll almost certainly be for waaaaaaay less money so she can get a job that fits the kids' schedule.

TLDR - you are hosed.
 
2021-03-10 5:11:01 PM  

crzybtch: I worked in a really nice day care for ten years.  If I ever had a kid, I would stay home even if it meant that I would be dirt poor.  When they hit first grade, then go back to work.

Those first five years are so important and go by so quickly.  Make the sacrifice if you can.  Money cannot buy back those years and the relationship with your child.

You will have a chance to make more money for the rest of your adult life.  The time you spend with kids in the beginning really helps form that bond later.  When I was working there, the kids would see me from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm.  Then go home, eat dinner, off to bed.  On weekends, most kids went to Grandparents, etc.  A lot of kids I took care of were more attached to me than their own parents.  Then suddenly, they turn 5 and never see me again.   How can that not damage a kid??


Hardly any family can have a stay home parent until the kid goes off to college.  But staying home when they're tiny is a wonderful thing.
 
2021-03-10 5:21:33 PM  
Hardly any family can have a stay home parent until the kid goes off to college.

Before people went insane you didn't have to, since any regular kid is perfectly able to look after themselves by 6th grade.
 
2021-03-10 6:06:08 PM  
Look, everyone would like to stay home and goof off.  You can goof off a ton raising a kid if that's what you prioritize.  Maybe she just enjoys the fact that she doesn't have to do shiat anymore.  Feeding and changing a diaper once an hour is really not a hard job.  Get a jog stroller and walk/run to your heart's content.  Get a trailer for you bicycle and ride all over.  There's tons of free time to do whatever the hell you want staying home with a kid.

I fully understand that maybe she just has super-maternal feelings and wants to stay home.  Maybe she feels like if she's not there something will happen and the kid will die.  Maybe she's horrified at the thought of missing some first.

Talk to her and see if you can discern her real motives.
 
2021-03-10 6:31:33 PM  
My wife was, and due to Covid, still is. Our oldest is in HS, and it's been hell trying to get her motivated to get back out there. If I had one piece of advice for people getting ready to go down to one income, I'd tell them to not go full time off the clock. All the (mostly women) that I've worked with over the years who would work maybe 2 days a week somewhere, the balance with the kids, have made it much easier to rejoin the workforce full time when the time came.

/ yes, I realize not everyone's situation is the same
 
2021-03-10 6:43:45 PM  

NikolaiFarkoff: "She earns about the same as I do, and while we could make ends meet on my income alone, it would impact our ability to save, and we'd need to give up one of our cars and cut way back on "extras" that make life more enjoyable "


A great big "GFY" from me. You're basically a 1-percenter biatching about the details now. Maybe she'll want to go back to work in a year, or maybe not at all.

If your wife's "lack of perceived ambition" is the biggest change in your life right now, you've got some very First Worldy Problems and need to take stock of all the other good things you have going on.


I agree. If my wife wasn't happy and wanted this life I would let her. If she wanted to be a bus driver, dog catcher, bus-driving meth dealer, whatever, I would support her.
 
2021-03-10 6:55:22 PM  

crzybtch: I worked in a really nice day care for ten years.  If I ever had a kid, I would stay home even if it meant that I would be dirt poor.  When they hit first grade, then go back to work.

Those first five years are so important and go by so quickly.  Make the sacrifice if you can.  Money cannot buy back those years and the relationship with your child.

You will have a chance to make more money for the rest of your adult life.  The time you spend with kids in the beginning really helps form that bond later.  When I was working there, the kids would see me from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm.  Then go home, eat dinner, off to bed.  On weekends, most kids went to Grandparents, etc.  A lot of kids I took care of were more attached to me than their own parents.  Then suddenly, they turn 5 and never see me again.   How can that not damage a kid??


I thought that was gonna happen. My son was in day care from 8 weeks old. He can't remember who his daycare teachers were. They were with him every day 9-5pm. Doesn't know their names, didn't recognize them like a month after he changed classes. If you're in one of those like nanny daycares where the teacher stays with the same group of kids for years, that's another story.
 
2021-03-10 8:06:15 PM  

NikolaiFarkoff: "She earns about the same as I do, and while we could make ends meet on my income alone, it would impact our ability to save, and we'd need to give up one of our cars and cut way back on "extras" that make life more enjoyable "


A great big "GFY" from me. You're basically a 1-percenter biatching about the details now. Maybe she'll want to go back to work in a year, or maybe not at all.

If your wife's "lack of perceived ambition" is the biggest change in your life right now, you've got some very First Worldy Problems and need to take stock of all the other good things you have going on.


Marriage is a partnership and a contract. If one party unilaterally changes the terms you should expect people to be upset. Deciding that you want to drop half of your income every year is a massive deal. Changing your entire retirement timeframe and strategy is a big deal. unilaterally deciding on a change in lifestyle is a big deal. Deciding that one person should be forced to take on the stress of being the sole bread winner is a big deal. Being stuck working instead of splitting parenting time more directly and reducing the bonding time for the breadwinner is a big deal.

The point isn't that the mother can't stay at home if that's what they decide on together, but the idea that it's her decision and the letter writer should just suck it up and do what she wants to do is just as sexist as expecting the mom to stay at home even if she wanted to go back to work. It should be something that is decided together.
 
2021-03-10 9:42:54 PM  
The time to have this discussion is prior to kids being born, not when you're hoping she'll decide to go back to work later.  It's too late and you're farked.
 
2021-03-11 9:22:58 AM  

gadian: The time to have this discussion is prior to kids being born, not when you're hoping she'll decide to go back to work later.  It's too late and you're farked.


That's the thing - they did have that conversation. Now, one spouse would like to change the decision, while the other would like to stick with the plan.

Now here's the thing - it's not wrong to change the plan. They didn't swear a blood oath that they would never change their minds, and it would be stupid to refuse to consider taking a new path as circumstances change. The husband's preference and the wife's preference each have distinct advantages and disadvantages. Neither is wrong, but they have significant conflicts.

A possible middle ground is that, rather than quitting her job, the wife seeks part time employment (possibly even in her previous role - never hurts to ask if the company is willing to do that). Hopefully they've at least considered that.

That aside, there's one thing that still gets me about this:

"She says...that if I love her, I will let her do this."

That is an absolutely horrible thing to say to someone that should be a partner. It's essentially "You need to support whatever I want, regardless of your feelings, regardless of whether it's good or bad, or else you, and only you, are at fault for any resentment that follows." That's not a partnership, that's just farked up.
 
Displayed 30 of 30 comments

View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest

This thread is closed to new comments.

Continue Farking





On Twitter



  1. Links are submitted by members of the Fark community.

  2. When community members submit a link, they also write a custom headline for the story.

  3. Other Farkers comment on the links. This is the number of comments. Click here to read them.

  4. Click here to submit a link.