When you met your wife was she passionate about her work? Did she tell you that she wanted a family and a career? Was it exciting and interesting to talk with her about your individual and mutual goals?
Then, you had a child. She was just going to take a little time off until he or she was ready for daycare. Now, your child or children are enrolled in school full-time and your wife still hasn’t returned to the work force. All of the financial responsibility is on your shoulders and you’re wondering, “What happened to the fiercely independent career woman I married?”
You’re not the only one. This is a trap a lot of men fall into, not realizing it until it’s too late. There are primarily 2 kinds of women who comprise this phenomenon:
1) The Sucker-Maker. This woman never wanted to support herself. She played at working as a plan B, trying this and that, until plan A (that would be you) gave her a way out. Having a child was her reason to stop working. Conveniently, society applauds women who give up their careers to stay home with their children. She’s probably a loving parent, but she’s not over-involved like the Professional Mom, who will be described next. The telltale sign: Who goes to most of the parent-teacher meetings and soccer/baseball/lacrosse games because she needs a break? Does she go to your office when you need a break?
Her real goal has always been to have someone take care of her financial and material needs. Ironically, this is also the type of woman who complains bitterly about you working too much and not spending enough time with her or the kid(s). Just to get you off her back, she may take a very part-time job answering phones, being a “designer,” or volunteer work, but she has no real career aspirations beyond being a dilettante.
2) The Professional Mom. She really did mean to go back to work, but the kids have so many activities, they need her and maybe she’ll go back to work once they’re in college. Meanwhile, she’s a one-woman livery service, events coordinator and parent committee member to an over-scheduled child(ren).
When the kids finally go off to school, she doesn’t know what to do with herself or what happened to her marriage. Her sole identity is “Mom” and she spent the last 15+ years relating to her husband only as a co-parent and household administrator, not as a lover. If she re-enters the work force, she’s surprised to discover how much things have changed. Most women have a very tough adjustment period when they emerge from the cocoon of professional mommy-hood.
There are 3 basic excuses (or some variation) these women use to avoid returning to work. Familiarizing yourself with them may be useful in helping your wife stand on her own two feet again.
1) The Lie: “I just want to wait until he or she is in the first grade.” This morphs into, “I need to be there for her when she gets out of school,” or “Who will drive her to soccer practice/band practice/dance camp/swimming lessons/chess club/the mall/etc.?” or “Who will take care of the house?” She’ll create a laundry list of childcare responsibilities that prohibit her from working.
The Reality: Once the kids are in school full-time there is absolutely no reason for your wife not to return to work, especially if you only have one child. I truly believe that the over-scheduled child was created to give these women something to do other than work and to use as an excuse not to work. No child needs to be involved in so many activities that he requires around the clock chauffeur services. As for the very small percentage of moms out there with little prodigies on their hands, get involved with other parents and create a carpool system–it’s called effective time management and networking–something you should be modeling for your child anyway.
2) The Lie: “I can’t find good childcare” or “All the nannies I interviewed are crazy.” Obviously, I’m referring to families with economic means. Childcare isn’t cheap and some families truly don’t have the option of paid childcare. They have to stay home with the kids, which brings me to the topic of responsible planned parenting, but that’s for another blog.
The Reality: “It’s hard to find good childcare” is a cop out. Yes, it can be challenging, but good daycare programs, nannies, sitters, aux pairs, community centers and church groups exist. You just have to work at finding them.
3) The Lie: “There aren’t any jobs out there that will pay me for my level of education and experience.” Or, if you do manage to get her out the door and into an office, she begins to self-sabotage, “My boss and co-workers are mean.” “Customers and co-workers are disrespectful.” “My boss doesn’t recognize my talents.”
The Reality: “Ooooh…Work is hard. People are mean.” Being gainfully employed is stressful and requires coping with other people’s crap sometimes. That’s life. If it really is too rough out there for your delicate flower, then welcome to the wonderful world of telecommuting or she can create her own business.
She can’t find a job that’s important enough for her? Guess what. Most people don’t start off at the top, especially not when you’ve been on extended mommy hiatus. You have to work your way back up. This is why there’s maternity leave. You’re out for a limited period of time, but your job is safe and waiting for you, so you can pick up where you left off. Also, if she really does have such an inflated sense of self-importance and entitlement, she’ll sabotage her interviews–forget about being hired.
What Can You Do?
If logic, reason and pleading don’t cut through these excuses or she comes up with new and improved ones, then you need to face it: Your wife simply doesn’t want to work. If she’s pushed into finding a job or you find one for her, she’ll most likely sabotage it or find reasons to quit.
Tomorrow I’ll post the follow-up to this blog, The Real Reason Your Wife Doesn’t Want to Work.
Want to Say Goodbye to Crazy? Buy it HERE.
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Shoveling bull by me.
Super Mom by Mandeye on flickr.
Marie Francis says
You write some wonderfully helpful stuff in your articles. I’ve learned a lot from them, and I thank you. However, the macho sarcasm in point # 3 above (“oooh, work is hard, people are mean” “your delicate flower”) is both demeaning and revealing, and not what I would have expected from a doctor with Psy.D. at the end of her name.
People have lots of reasons for telecommuting – take me. I’m in a wheelchair in an isolated location, and it’s absolutely the only way I can support myself. They also have lots of reasons for not feeling able to work. Some of them would require help and encouragement from a spouse, particularly in cases like post-partum depression: not easy kicking and putting down. (In one of your other articles, you call that “bullying”.)
Sneering at people is cheap. Creating and running a business from home takes a lot of hard work, self-discipline, dedication, creativity, more hard work, yet more hard work, proactivity and inventiveness. Especially when you can’t get out and network – all you have is four walls. It’s not for anyone’s “delicate flower”.
The next time you’d like to sneer at people who run online businesses and lump them in with lazy wives, please do your homework first.
Thank you for reading and leaving a comment. I appreciate it. I think there may be a misunderstanding regarding number 3. Post-partum depression is a serious psychiatric condition. I’d never demean or belittle anyone coping with it. In this post, I’m referring to women who are physically, intellectually, and, aside from their childish wish to be taken care of and a sense of entitlement, are perfectly capable of working outside their home or inside their home via telecommuting.
Also, I don’t sneer at people who run online businesses from home because I’m one of them. Working from home requires a high degree of self-discipline and creativity, as do most non-traditional work settings. I’m not sure where in my post you thought I was disparaging telecommuting. I’m a huge proponent of it.
Thanks again for bringing this up. It gives me the chance to clear up any confusion. I hope you’ll keep reading.
I went to your blog today because you posted a comment on Rose Cantine about bankers’ girlfriends. I saw your post on why wives don’t work and I must say it’s 100% accurate about a woman I know who was divorced by her husband because:
– after they had kids, she devoted no time or attention to him or the relationship
– she criticized him openly in front of the kids, humiliated him in front of other people
– she stopped being an interesting person (did not want to travel anymore, did not want to go out as much)
– she turned into a highly educated “bus driver” for the kids (she has advanced degrees), always ferrying them everywhere
– she complains all the time about how no one will hire her and her budding business is not getting traction because she’s too busy with the kids
– she complains about her ex-husband’s parenting style, complains he does not spend time with the kids, but when he offers to take some of the tasks, she criticizes him, or says no I’ll do it myself, you can’t do that
– she is a Helicopter Parent and won’t even leave them alone at home (the oldest is 12, next one is 10) because they’re “too small to be left alone”, then complains she can’t find a decent babysitter/day care center, then complains again that this is why she has to take care of them full time and can’t find a job.
Now they are divorced and he’s sending her $5000 a month (for child support, tax free to her of course) and she still complains. No matter what he does, she is unhappy, blames him for her miserable life and unfortunately, unloads all of her distress on the children. She is very manipulative and uses the kids to try to control him and indeed, throughout their marriage, that was the main issue: she was always trying to control him.
I liked your article but you don’t explain HOW someone ends up like this. Her childhood? Something in the family? A mental breakdown? I know that her mother was a stay at home mom, totally dominated by the dad (who was the patriarch of the family).
Thanks for reading and leaving such a well-considered comment. Unfortunately, the scenario you describe re: your friend and his ex is a pretty common one. I’m writing about this phenomenon to draw attention to the unfairness and emotionally abusive aspects of it that most men just have to silently suck up. It isn’t right. I think if he’s still paying her $5000/month he should be able to drop off his laundry and have her clean his new place.
As for the how and why some women end up like this, there are a few possible reasons. 1) They get stuck at an adolescent or earlier stage of development in which they have a fear of adult responsibilities (a hostile dependency), 2) they have a personality disorder such as Borderline Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Histrionic Personality Disorder and or a variation of these traits, and/or 3) They couldn’t get their emotional/physical/psychological needs met as children and have developed an entitled insistence that someone, usually their boyfriends/husbands, take care of their every need as adults.
Thanks again for reading and for leaving such a thought-provoking comment.
I am a woman who enjoys reading your blogs. Unfortunately I have to disagree with you on this point. In my case, I was working when I became pregnant, and fully intended on returning to work after the baby came. I couldn’t understand why some women gave up such high paying jobs to stay home. However, when my daughter was born I changed completely. I soon realized that my time with her was fleeting, and I wanted to relish every minute of it. I know every woman is different, but I surprised myself by my feelings toward my baby. I had read about post partum depression, but I cannot remember a happier time in my life. I sang to her, I rocked her, I read to her. And I began to dread returning to work. Not because I did not like my job. I loved my job. I am a teacher. I had good childcare planned for when I returned to work. My mother-in-law was going watch her. I was just consumed with guilt at the time. I couldn’t imagine someone else telling me about her first word, her first step. When she was upset, I wanted her to run to me for comfort. I wanted to be the main influence in her life.
We weren’t well off, and I knew that quitting my job would put us in a bind financially, but at the time I felt that if I failed at being a mother I would have failed at everything. I did go back to work, but after the first week, I gave a two weeks notice. You cannot imagine how much I enjoyed each day with my daughter. I volunteered to keep another child the same age to help with the income. When she was two I had another daughter. Again I was overjoyed. It was very stressful, and my husband did not always understand that stress. He assumed I was playing all day. We did go to the park, go to the pool, have pic-nics, but when you have two toddlers every moment is filled with stress. I would be exhausted when my husband would return home.
My daughters are now 15 and 13. I went back to teaching full time when my youngest started kindergarten. However, when they were in preschool, I worked at their school in the library during the hours they were at school. This didn’t help out too much financially, but it did help some. To be completely honest I found working full time is nowhere near as stressful as staying home with two toddlers. At this point in my life I am very thankful for my job. I have a job that I look forward to going to. I love my students and feel that I have become more patient since having my own kids. I am very proud of my daughers. We are very close, but they both have always been allowed to be their own people. My oldest is a very independent young woman who has a lot of self-confidence. She has always made wise choices in friends. Most of her friends have been around since pre-school, so they are like family. My youngest isn’t quite as self confident as the oldest, and by nature more clingy. But I am equally proud of both. I have never regretted the decision to stay home when they were young, and am very thankful that I was able to do so. One of our favorite things to do is to get out our old home movies and watch them. Those preschool years are like a gift to me.
Thanks for reading and the positive feedback. Based on what you describe in your comment, you don’t fit the criteria I describe in this blog. You actually returned to work after your youngest began kindergarten. You didn’t look for new excuses to stay home. Also, you found ways to generate a little income while you were a stay-at-home mom in so the entire financial burden wouldn’t fall on your husband.
The behaviors and personalities I describe in this post and elsewhere on the site are quite different and pathological in nature.
Thanks again for posting a comment. I truly appreciate it.
Princess Crazypants says
Actually maybe you should be telling men that if they can’t support a wife and children they have no business getting married. Having the man work 8 or 9 hours a day with weekends off is a CAKEWALK compared to the work a mother has to do for her children, her spouse and her home. You make the man look like a big whiney martyr. It’s like my grandmother who treated my father like an infant all of his life and actually had the balls to tell my dad that his wife’s family should BUY HIM A HOUSE. Dad never did work, he sat on his butt and spent my mom’s hard earned money. Nevermind support the kids, mom had to support dad’s entertainment needs (books, music, event tickets, porn, fast food and oh yeah, his beloved CAT.) He had no business getting married if he just wanted to trade in his mommy for another mommy with an available vagina.
Hi “Princess Crazypants,”
Thanks for reading and commenting. That’s an interesting name you’ve chosen as a pseudonym.
I don’t think it’s the man’s responsibility to support another, educated adult who is capable of working. I think it is the couple’s responsibility to support each other and any children they create. Actually, I don’t think it’s the men who are coming off as whiny martyrs on this thread.
Max Weber says
Sounds like your dad was a real loser. I don’t know what age it is where you learn to accept the shortcomings of your parents; but, it helps to be able to accept them for what they are I think.
I understand the point you are trying to get across in this blog, however there are many women who choose to stay home even after their children are in school, and many times it is not because they are avoiding work, or because they just want someone to take care of them.
In my case, my husband did not understand my desire to stay home with our daughter. In the discussions we had about me staying home, he expressed his concern over finances (which was legitimate), and although he didn’t verbalize it, I got the feeling that he thought I was just wanting to “take it easy”. I knew it would hurt us financially, but I felt that we could cut back in many areas, and I felt that the benefits of staying home with our daughter would be worth any sacrifices we made. I don’t think my husband fully understood this desire I had, and to be honest with you, I don’t think I would have understood it myself before having children. I also must point out that he is no longer my husband. We divorced when my the year before my youngest was in kindergarten, so that was the main reason I went back to work. I’m not sure what I would have done if we had not divorced. I do know that at the time, we had one daughter in school, and one in preschool. I was extremely busy at this time. I helped out in my daughter’s classroom, and yes, my daughters were involved in many activities which required me running them around here and there.
After I returned to work I tried to help out in their classrooms as much as possible, and I relied heavily on many of my stay-at-home friends to help take care of my daughters when I needed them to. It was very difficult for me as I have no family in town, and as a teacher it is not easy to take days off to drive children to dentists, dr. appointments, etc. Fortunately for me I had wonderful friends who either worked part time, or stayed home with their children who helped out. I don’t know what I would have done otherwise.
As a teacher I value many stay-at-home moms who make themselves available to substitute or volunteer to help out in the classroom, field trips, etc.
I cannot imagine anyone enjoying their job as much as I enjoy mine. I have taught in several schools, and have enjoyed the students at each school. However, if I had not divorced I am not sure if I would have returned to work. I felt very needed at home. I do not see that most women who stay at home are doing it because they don’t want to work. The friends I have who do this stay at home because there is a need there. I promise you, I stayed much more busier when I stayed home than I do now.
(Let me also express the gratitude that even though my ex-husband did not fully understand the desire I had to stay home, he supported my decision.)
I do understand the point you are trying to make, Dr. T, but please be careful lumping all stay at home moms in the same category. It presents a stereotype that many women do not fit. And let me also state before I sign off that I find you insights and advice valuable! Thank you!
Thank you for the thoughtful reply. It appears like you have truly found your calling in teaching and caring for young children, which makes the vocation of kindergarten teacher a perfect fit for you. You’re being paid to care for kids. That’s great! My mom worked full-time when I was a child. Like you, we also didn’t have family locally to help. She built and relied on a network of friends, school programs, and neighbors for transportation, sitting, etc. Ideally, that’s how a community is supposed to work. My best friend’s mom was a “Block Parent.” I still remember the sign on their front porch window.
Again, I’m not lumping all stay-at-home moms in the same category. Staying home with your kids is an absolutely legitimate choice IF it was mutually agreed upon by the woman and her partner BEFORE having children. Many families can’t afford to have a child on just one income and only feel able to start a family because they’re a two-income household.
Furthermore, I don’t believe it’s fair to the husband to say after you’ve already given birth, “Oh, I changed my mind. I’m not going back to work now.” I’m sure there are many men who would love to stay at home with their kids, too, but don’t because they’re honoring their responsibilities. In fact, I’m sure a lot of the men who find themselves in this situation feel duped and betrayed.
I respectfully disagree with you about a woman’s “need” to stay home after the child/children are enrolled in school. Yes, kids need rides to appointments and emergencies come up, but it doesn’t require a 24-hour on-call mom taxi service. Non-emergency medical appointments can be scheduled for Saturdays. Some doctors have very early weekday or later evening hours. Or, you take an hour or two from work with advance notice for regular check-ups.
Staying at home after the children are enrolled in school, is a choice, not a necessity. Many women struggle with feelings of guilt when they return to work (I’m not saying your one of them), but feelings aren’t facts and it’s something these women need to work through—especially if it’s damaging their marriage.
I know many men, personally and professionally, who feel mighty resentful and angry about their partner’s refusal to return to work. These men don’t think their wives/partners are “staying at home and taking it easy.” However, they do feel, and rightly so, that they’re having to shoulder the entire financial burden and then have to hear complaints that they don’t do enough around the house or spend enough time with the children.
I wonder how most women would react if the roles were reversed and their husbands unilaterally decided that they were quitting their jobs to stay home with the kids because it’s the most fulfilling choice for them and told their wives that they expected them to carry the entire financial burden? It would be heaven on earth if we only had to the things we find most fulfilling in life. Unfortunately, most people don’t have that luxury. So you compromise and do what you need to do to survive and pay the bills part-time and do what is most fulfilling to you the other part of the time.
“Being a mom is the toughest job there is” is a popular and sacred cow statement that’s almost reached dogmatic proportions. At the risk of unleashing the hounds of hell, I disagree. Is “being a dad the toughest job there is?” I think in some ways it’s more difficult to be a father in our culture. Fathers don’t get to spend much time with their kids because they’re the ones who are often the main breadwinners while the wives get the glory for spending the money on the kids and physically buying them clothes, toys, etc. Moms get to be seen as the “givers” and “nurturers” when it’s the dads who are providing them with the funds that enable them to do so.
When marriages end in divorce, most dads don’t get full custody and get to spend even less time with their kids. And, in many situations, because their exes are angry with them about the demise of the relationship, moms trash the dads to their kids, which further strains the father-child relationship.
Being a parent isn’t a job. It’s a relationship. You put work and effort into relationships whether their platonic, familial, parental, romantic or collegial, but they’re not jobs. That’s spin for women who have made the choice not to return to work. You get to quit a job, change a job, get paid for a job, be promoted on a job and punch out at the end of a day. I’ve always found women who view being a mother as a “job” to be defensive and overidentified with the role to the exclusion and detriment of everything else, including their other relationships. Anyway, this is just my perspective. I don’t expect everyone to agree with it. In fact, I imagine some people will want to clobber me for it. Such is the blogosphere.
Thank you again for your comments, Mary. I enjoy the discourse, especially when it’s of differing viewpoints!
I want to reply to two things that you said in your response. You said it isn’t fair when both partners agree that the wife should return to work, then after the baby comes, she changes her mind. This is exactly what I did. I was totally unprepared for the feelings I would have when I had a child. I had read all the books, and felt I was prepared. I was actually looking forward to returning. I enjoyed my job, students, and worked with a fun group of people. I was prepared for feeling overwhelmed after the birth, and was preparing myself for the post-partum depression that so many woman suffer from. I had worked it out with my school system to take off eight weeks after the birth of my daughter. Everyone joked that I would be more than ready to return by that time. I cannot explain the feelings I had when I first held my daughter. And the overwhelming responsibililty I felt toward her. I was probably one of those overprotective moms in a lot of ways. I didn’t trust anyone else to care for her the way I would. Maybe it was the experience of working in daycares when I was in college that affected me, but I could not imagine anyone else responding to her needs with the concern I would. Maybe some of this had to do with my past. My mother worked when I was growing up, and we were left in the care of a maid during the day. Although the maid was attentive to our needs, and we liked her, I sensed a distance from her. I longed to be with my mother. I looked forward to her returning home in the evenings. I loved being in her presence. However, my mother was often emotionally distant to me and my sisters. I do remember her reading to us, drawing with us, and showing affection. But she also let us know that she also felt limited by us. She loved a busy social life, and saw staying home with the children very limiting to this. My sisters and I often jokingly quote our mother as saying, “I love you girls and wouldn’t take a million dollars for you, but if I had to do it all over again, I would never have had kids.” Cleanliness was very important to her also, and each day she was home, and during times when she didn’t work, she would lock us outside to play while she cleaned the house. Often we weren’t even allowed to come in to use the bathroom. I do remember one time when I found the door ajar, and I snuck into the bathroom and being spanked for it. I grew up very insecure, and remember many times wondering if I was loved by my mother. It just seemed like she focused so much on her own life, and so little on ours. (Also note that I grew up in a foreign country due to my father being in the military. Our maid did not speak English. I was two, and developing language. Hearning the two languages spoken caused me to have a language delay, and a severe speech impediment. I could understand both languages, but could not speak either. I withdrew into myself and my mother was told that I could possibly be autistic. She took me to a psychiatrist in Germany who told her that he didn’t think I was autistic, or retarted (another concern), and he advised my mother to quit her job to stay home with me until I could overcome this issue. He thought my problems were due more to being exposed to both languages. My mother, of course, was relieved to hear this, but did not quit her job.)
So perhaps it is from my background that I speak. And from my own insecurities and feeling unloved at times. I did not realize any of this until I was faced with returning back to work. All I knew was that I wanted to be there for my daughter when she needed me. I wanted her to be secure in me. I have told my daughters many times that I don’t care how old they are, or what problems they may have. I want them to always know that whatever they have done, whatever mess they find themselves in, they can come to me.
I guess what I am trying to say is that sometimes there are situations that you cannot fully prepare yourself for. When I agreed with my husband about returning to work, I had no idea the emotions I would feel.
I also do want to interject that I love my mother, and do not blame her for any of those insecurities. It is just who she is. However, at difficult times in my life when I needed support, turning to her was always a mistake. She has a way of making me feel worse. It is my father whom I have turned to. When I went through my divorce, he was the first person I called. He drove up and stayed the weekend with me. He never asked any questions, and we never talked about anything. I just needed his presence. It was a comfort to me.
The second thing is that the reason it is usually the mother who stays home is because in most cases it is the father who has the higher salary. My OB-GYN’s husband was the stay at home dad. I think it is rare for the dad to stay home for this reason, and also because in this society men feel unfullfilled if they do not financially support their families. I think also it has to do with the personality of the person. Woman by nature are more nurturing. I am not the most nurturing person in the world. My daughter will tell you this now. But when they were children my husband and I naturally responded differently to them. This just seemed very natural to me, where it did not to my husband. I don’t know if that makes sense to you or not, but all I can say is that I was more patient with them. He was a very good father, but I was the one who took care of their needs for the most part. He did not seem as attuned to them.
Anyway, just more ramblings.
Princess Crazypants says
Wow sounds like my husband. I work and we have a child. He’s tried to get work but I have a lot more experience than he does.
About responsible planned parenting, I really don’t know anyone who actually saves up the extra ten grand for the first year of a baby’s life nor the 100K it costs from birth to age 18 BEFORE They have the kid. To me this is like saying don’t buy a house until you can pay cash on the barrel. We live in a credit world. I think it’s unrealistic and naive to insist that having children if you can’t afford daycare is irresponsible. Don’t buy a car if you have to finance it. Don’t get a mortgage. Don’t use credit cards. It’s all the same, but parents are the ones getting criticized because there’s something about people having sex and actually having babies from it that’s offensive to people. If you have lots of sex and no babies you are of course applauded.
Please. Almost nobody is financially responsible to that degree.
Taking care of a child is a full time job, not to mention taking care of a household on top of it and taking care of a husband, too. Your article seriously treats mothers as if they aren’t working because they are not getting paid.
Talk to my husband who now has to deal with the laundry, diapering, feeding and entertaining, cleaning, dishes and more while I work. I’m sure he wouldn’t think he was having heaps of fun.
This is a great thread I appreciate your point of view. Coming from a woman, it’s a very fresh perspective. In particular, with this thread, you are helping me give shape to my thoughts about dealings with a person, a woman who was my best friend through college. In retrospect, she meets many of the criteria for NPD and I was always struck by her lack of empathy and how she would write and explain her own rules for conduct and morality, which is almost more antisocial to a degree. No surprise, we had an abrupt ending to our friendship several years ago and no longer speak. But what preceded that was my growing frustration as all the drama and details of her miserable marriage were constantly foisted on me and I would be expected to listen to her complain constantly and and agree with her regarding how her husband was “abusing” her. As far as I could tell, he certainly was not. Her husband was highly educated and well paid. She repeatedly had affairs on him and kicked him out of the home he bought, all with a total air of self rightousness. At any rate I was baffled by her refusal to work (she is highly intelligent and educated) Here’s the real kicker. THEY DON’T EVEN HAVE CHILDREN!, but she would insist that it was enough work redoing the house and holding the husband together. Talk about a “hostile dependency”.
Thanks for reading and commenting. I appreciate it. I also appreciate not being attacked by a women who’s read my blog!
As for your former friend, I know the type all too well. NPD’s don’t have actual friends; they have a cheering squad. If you don’t agree with this kind of person 100% (no matter how nutty and hurtful she gets), you’re “banished” from the Land of All About Me, Me, Me. Even if you give someone like her total support, try going to her with a problem or upset of your own. This kind of “friend” can barely tolerate listening to what’s bothering you for a nanosecond before she turns the conversation to her and her laundry list of complaints. You are in her life to serve. There’s no mutuality or reciprocity. “Friends” like this are draining, toxic and give nothing in return, at least nothing that matters.
I had a friend like this in college. When I moved away for grad school, I stopped taking her calls (three cheers for Caller ID!) Your ex-friend sounds like a real charmer. I think it’s important, every now and again, to “weed your garden.” Friends like our former buddies will eventually take up too much space and not allow anything new to grow.
Hi Dr. T
Bare with this comment as it’s probably about as muddled as my thoughts are.
I have always wanted to be a stay at home mom, but I’ve never been certain that it works.
I think that today’s society has made both a man and a woman’s role very confusing. For better and for worse.
Many of the things you’ve stated, and the candid tone you used made reading it difficult to not feel defensive. But the truth is I completely understand. I sense your desire to cut through the bull *hockey* and get to the point. You simply cannot validate every man and woman and make your very important point. Yes, a lot of women hide behind the excuses and I love that you compare it to the Sacred Cow! Lol!
It’s stirring! And it’s accurate! But it’s still gray.
I’m a nanny and have witnessed time and again the sadness and frustration that children have over their parents working all the time. I know first hand what kind of problems it causes. And most of these kids are in school. It’s been a huge reason why I’m so motivated to stay home with my kids.
The expectations society holds it’s mothers to is impossible. There are the stay at home advocates, there are people like you who (lets just be frank) view it as lazy, and there are people who think it should be done some other specific way. It is really hard to go into something as strenuous and life altering as parenting with the whole world giving you conflicting information on how it should be done and chastising you for however you chose to do it.
At the end of the day, we just have to do what we feel is right. Even if it means reading something like this, and feeling hurt that someone views some of your most meaningful life decisions as lie #1, lie #2, and lie #3.
It’s also crazy to think that something 40-50 years ago that was held as a responsibility and obligation is now viewed as lazy and self indulgent. But times have changed, and I realize that. You’re observations are fair enough, but you are one harsh spectator of life.
The bottom line is, if you are in a committed marriage, these decisions need to be made as a couple. A man’s roll in a marriage is equally important as both husband and father. I think the key is being on the same page. Unfortunately it’s easier said than done. I definitely think if a couple goes into the roles of the husband being the provider and wife being a stay at home mom, the provider deserves all the respect and reverence for his role as the stay at home mom demands of hers.
Thanks for reading and your thoughtful comment. I appreciate it. I didn’t refer to stay-at-mothers as lazy. That would be an easy and unsupportable label. It goes much deeper than “laziness” for the kind of women I’m describing. The type of women I’m describing in this series of blogs are stuck at a childish developmental level—a developmental delay of sorts. I’m referring to a group of women who, for the most part, are educated and capable of working, yet hold onto an infantile wish/insistence that they be taken care of combined with a fear of standing on their own two feet. Many of these women were gainfully employed prior to having children (although, I still suspect that for many of them having a career was Plan B in case they couldn’t find a man to marry and support them) and then something happened after having the first kid and they became as much of a dependent as their child(ren).
These are the women who aren’t really happy being stay-at-home parents. They wear it like a badge of martyrdom. They hide behind being a mother as a way to avoid being a responsible, independent adult. They’re entitled, demanding and needy, yet provide no real emotional support to their husbands. They remind their spouses every chance they get of the “sacrifices” they made to stay at home with the kids, how no one understands how hard it is to be a mother and that even though their husband spends over 50 hours a week at work to allow her the option of staying home, she expects him to “pull his weight around the house” even though, theoretically, part of the reason for her not going back to work was so she could tend to household responsibilities.
I never said this is a reflection of laziness. It’s about deep-seated psychological fears and arrested development. Like you, I agree that the man’s role as husband and father is just as important. His feelings and needs matter, too. The kind of women I’m writing about, however, sure as hell don’t see things that way.
Thanks again for sharing your point of view, Marianne.
I feel that you make many valid points in this article, but you missed one important “excuse”. Maybe because it is a little more valid excuse? What are your thoughts on this one?
4) “I can’t work because I take on 100% of the parental duties since your job is so demanding.”
I did re-enter the workforce when my youngest was starting 1st grade. But, it has been a tough journey. And 4 years later, I am working part-time, but at a professional job. During the years that I was a full time mommy, my husband’s career took off. I expected nothing from him in the day to day parental duties – because that was my job. He worked long hours, and never had to leave work to care for a sick child, go to a preschool conference, party, practice, game, etc. Maybe I made a mistake by creating this problem. But, I felt that since his job was supporting our family, I would take full responsiblility for the children. Of course when I did re-enter the workforce it was extremely difficult. I still had all the parental obligations and had to balance them with a job. Going back to work is difficult enough when you have been out for a long time. Since your article is written for men, I thought I would bring this up. If you do desire your wife to be successful when she re-enters the workforce, realize that your role in the parenting equation may need to change.
Hi Dr. T
Please bear with me as well. Its been a long day, and trying to keep my thoughts straight is a bit of a challenge.
I have just recently discovered your blog, and I do find it interesting. It is very refreshing to find another point of view, and someone who is not afraid to voice that view. Your article does make valid points, and brings up the issue that there are people out there who, unfortunately, use other people to get what they want and not have to be responsible, for whatever reason.
I am also a woman, and have my own struggles concerning motherhood. I have read countless books, articles, and have had numerous conversations with other mothers, and the points you have listed in this article have come up many times in those conversations.
One issue I’ve noticed that comes up in the responses is that you’ve been accused of lumping together all stay at home mothers into one category that you’re describing in your article, which I know is not the case. What frustrates me is stay at home mothers warn not to generalize all stay at home mothers into one area, but (and I realize not all stay at home mothers do this), they will turn around and do the same generalizing to working mothers by calling them bad parents.
Also, I do agree that both the husband and wife should be on the same page in terms of childcare, and whether she returns to work after maternity leave, or takes a few years off, or whatever the case is. I understand it’s the couple’s choice, and they need to choose what’s right for them, as long as both are in agreement. Its called communication skills.
Plus, there’s my own perspective I do want to share in the aspect of being a mother. My husband and I are dealing with infertility, and have been trying to have children for 3 years currently, which is not that long compared to other couples who have gone through the same thing. Going through this has seriously opened my eyes and has made me sit down and really think about what being a mother is all about, and how far are we willing to go to have children and have a family. And, in all honesty, there are some comments and arguments that I have read and heard that I find utterly ridiculous and petty. There are women who should be grateful they were able to have children, because I know there are many women and men who wish and pray every day to have children.
Thank you for reading and posting. I appreciate your thoughtful and well-considered comment. I wish you and you husband the very best with your fertility treatment. My best friend and her husband tried for four years, had multiple miscarriages and then she started taking shots (can’t remember) and finally had a successful pregnancy. She didn’t think she’d be able to get pregnant on her own without fertility medication and 10 months after their first daughter, they became pregnant with their second daughter and a year and a half after that birth, conceived their son. She was in her late 30’s when she had her first child and had nearly given up hope.
I agree with your sentiments about the ridiculousness and pettiness of some of the comments on this thread. I chalk it up to these women being defensive about the choices they made and that, on some level, they know they’re being unfair to their husbands and could be doing more with their lives and it makes them really angry to see it in black and white. Again, I wish you and your husband the very best.
I remember how emotionally painful it is to see parents complaining about the inconviences of parenting when you so desperately want to have a child and cannot. It took 4 years for me to conceive our first child, and those were very difficult years – some of the most difficult I have ever experienced in my life. Unless, you go through it personally, you cannot truly understand. After many different types of fertility treatments, we finally had 2 children through IVF. I became a stay-at-home mom after our 2nd child was born. It was a sacrifice that both my husband and I made, and I still believe it was the right choice for our children. Returning back to work when my youngest started school was a real challenge for me. And, I understand the emotional comments that several moms have made in response to this article. It is not an easy transition, and honestly I think Dr. T’s article does not recognize that fact.
I hope that all of the misunderstandings in this thread does not discourage you from pursuing motherhood. Yes, I have made sacrifices for my children that I never would have imagined I’d be capable of – but I cannot imagine my life with out them. Motherhood is truly a blessing. I sincerely hope that you are able to experience it soon.
I could go on and on about this topic.
I guess I need to distill out down for the sake of my typing fingers…..
Let’s start with the Stay at home thing and the kids grades. Our kids are not doing well in School, my oldest has surprised us with Ds and Fs in late may for the past 4 years (7th, 8th, 9th and 10th grades) He is now on probation and may not be able to participate in Football (which he loves) …not to get distracted with him, my younger Son squeaks by with Ds….My Older Daughter (8yo) is an over achiever yet she has Cs (and She get’s pissed when she is not on top of the game).
I had to start to tutor the 8yo in Math all last year because the wife couldn’t be bothered with it. After about 3-5 weeks she became proficient in her Math tables……Understand, I gave the public schools a little girl that could read by the age of 4. Yes, I layed on her bed and taught her to read by the time she was 4…..I’d say 3 years old but she couldn’t read the whole book herself at 3…so to be fair I say 4. She knew all her alphabet and could identify all her letters by the time she turned 3.
My point to all this is, if My Wife stays home to care for the kids, why are we having difficulties with our childs grades?? Understand, our kids aren’t stupid, they are lazy and no one keeps after them to complete and turn in assignments. Missing assignments are the older kids downfalls.
Let me slip in this nugget…when confronted with this fact….you should here the absolute “nugget” she provided……She maintains that it is not the parents fault that the kids do poorly in school…..I ask her bluntly “Who’s fault is it???” She cannot answer that one…..I swear, how could someone say that and believe it??
Wait……I thought if I sacrificed having all the “good stuff” so she could stay home with the kids……MY payoff would be in how well the kids turn out!!! Guess what, the older one is 17 now and in Alternative Schools…….WHERE IS MY RETURN??? WHERE IS MY PAYOFF???
Guess what? I feel again cheated…We had an understanding didn’t we?? Isn’t this what we agreed we would do way back in 1992??
Guess what? I’m the only one that lived up to the terms of the agreement….
And the house?? It is a pit, I have to have a “clean-up day” one day over the weekend to get the house back in order.
Her Car?? It is layers deep in trash when I get to it……multiple fast food cups with shit growing in the bottom of them….
Speaking of things that grow……The garage refrigerator started stinking….one of her mystery packs had got a bit too ripe. I thought the Refrige had gone bad…..nope just a pot of left overs growing things….
Yeah, Our last one started 1st grade last week. She sent out two Resume’s last year……..2…….as in, One more than One….Gee…she didn’t get a call back for an interview for the two Resume’s
This Year since School started, she hasn’t been able to send out any Resume’s because her’s is not “up to date”
….I’m wondering what she is going to add, She has not held a job in ~16 years or so……What’s to add??
The level of entitlement this women exhibits is just absolutely Numbing to me.
A few weeks ago when she was determined to “kick me out” she forgot to calculate that I would remove her name from the checking account and cancel her credit cards. Funny how Stoic she was until the 27th of the month came around. She flat out told me that the Church and her Mother would support her and that she needed me no further.
The Church gave her $400 in Grocery vouchers and her mother sent her $200.
Dr. T, you mention “Arrested Development” She is totally in La La land. This woman has no Job, No savings, No credit of her own, No prospects for a Job and yet she can tell me she doesn’t need me and that I should move out……
….after a week and her realization that the 1st was coming around and her CCs didn’t work and the Church and her Mom didn’t really work out for her……..She breaks down and begs me to come back on the 27th of the month.
I caved, but I am still angry with myself for doing it. I considered my kids and worried that they would suffer under her singleton care.
Yeah, so I ramble. Sue me.
“The telltale sign: Who goes to most of the parent-teacher meetings and soccer/baseball/lacrosse games because she needs a break? Does she go to your office when you need a break?”
I forgot this almost…..I do everything with and for the kids….I am the Scout Leader, Little League Coach, Soccer Coach…..She did sign the little one up for Tap last year….
So lemme get it straight, Our older one is 17, The amount of Teams and scouting years are almost too many to count for me I’ve been Scouting/Coaching straight since 1997…I buy the kids Musical instrument and teach them to play….I buy and rebuild cars for the older ones to drive…….and one year she took the little one to Tap…….One year……She NEVER volunteers in their Schools, Never spends a moment at the PTA…..Oh I forgot, I had to run the Talent show last year….no one would do it so I stepped up. BTW, I also developed the Song and Dance routines for the two little Girls so they could be in the Talent show. My wife never lifted a finger…..wouldn’t you think a Mother would like to be involved in her little Girls working out singing and dancing skits with their classmates?? Every Wednesday I held practice here in my garage for three little 8 year old girls and one 6 year old girl….the wife was inside…..”busy” with other things…sheesh….
Very familiar story. Messy house, minimal cooking, dirty disorganized car covered in fast food wrappers and happy meal toys, stuff going bad in fridge, dirty laundry piled up, shrugging off kids bedwetting problems because too much effort to get up at night. She would sign the kids up for lots of activities so that other people could teach/entertain them (and to her credit was always good about scheduling and getting them there on time), but little effort to play with them or teach them personally and lack of follow through on lessons, homework, etc. I would try to pick up the slack, got accused of being verbally abusive if I said anything, and of trying to embarass/criticize her by my actions if I just did it.
Then, when the complaining started getting chronic about how we didn’t have enough money or fun (the paid-for kind) or travel, and I suggested she go back to work to help out if she wasn’t happy with what I was making, I got the “But I’m the primary caregiver” and “I couldn’t make enough to break even with the child care expenses” routine. This from someone with a graduate degree, professional licenses, etc.
In the meantime, she dabbled in fun hobby jobs (tupperware party type stuff) that were all net losers money-wise, but soaked up tons of time. She had a cleaning lady, membership at an athletic club (at the same time she was yelling at me that I was keeping us poor). Volunteered lots of time for frivolous “charity” work where she could dress up and go to luncheons and plan parties and hang out with the ladies (and donate money!), lots of energy for those. She finally left me.
I don’t know what to say except that I hope hearing similar stories helps you a bit, maybe to bear it out or to make hard decisions, either way. I know it’s helped put perspective on things for me.
Thanks Dr. T for a good website.
Anonymous T, yeah this is the first place that has “Ever” “Heard me”….
You ask how a website “hears me”, well all the similar stories tell me that I am not alone.
Dr. Ts articles have given me “inner peace” and understanding. When I have further questions, I merely need to peruse this Blog and lo, I find the answers to my questions.
I’ve not felt the need to “Talk” with my wife about this subject but one time since I found this place. And then it was to go down the checklist to confirm her stance or answers……She failed for being normal…..passed with flying colors for being BPD.
But other than that one single time….it’s been a calm inside me. I know now that I’ll never find rational answers from her….”so stop worrying about it” is what I tell myself and off I go to complete whatever task is on my mind…it’s been nice.
The only weight on my mind at this time is. I know what the problem is, I know I have to do something, I’m just not sure exactly what I will do.
If you’re a married man, NEVER allow your wife to not work for an extended period of time. The more she works, the more it can be proven that she can support herself in case you get divorced. Hence, less (or no) alimony for her.
How many divorce attorneys have had to tell men: “The problem is, you let her not work for all those years. Now the court will see it as ‘She can’t support herself.’ Since the court wants to keep people off welfare, guess who gets to pay her bills? YOU.”
Any guy who allows his wife to not work today is insane!! Making her work is insurance for YOU!!
You know, I read the title of this article on the index and have always skipped it because I don’t have a wife. So, I never would have thought I could get a lot out of this article.
I was extremely wrong–First, I guess I always thought of gold diggers doing this stuff. You know, WOMEN WANTED TO MARRY RICH MEN. But, this article revealed a woman who didn’t necessarily want to marry a rich man, BUT ANY MAN WHO COULD KEEP THEM OUT OF THE WORK FORCE (this could include a man living in a trailer!). Gold diggers, or women who use you, took on a whole new meaning.
Then, the idea of how a woman could load up a kid’s schedule just as an excuse for her not to work: WOW!!!!!!!!! I never would have thought of this at all. Instead, I would have thought she was just making a big deal (I call it the “picket fence”) about the kid and overdoing being a parent a tad bit. BUT…to think women do such things to men they are married to. I don’t understand why they would be manipulative like that…even using kids as shields to protect their deception. I think (or at least hope) only a bpd/npd woman would pull something like this.
I mean how clever…I wonder if they do it intentionally all the time? This makes me not even want to marry when I think about it. It seems like such a dice roll. And to think that a man could get trapped like this is news to me. You see, I would have thought having a kid was the trap (the trap to keep him in the relationship or to agree to a marriage–I’ve heard of this one). But, to actually trap a man into debt and absolute financial responsibility is amazing. And she even does it with such sophisticated logic and reasoning (daycare it too expensive…sabotaging the job interviews), and other stuff.
This is a very saddening process. It seems like you cannot trust anyone. By the time you find out who you can trust, it may be too late.
And to think of a woman thinking of work as a “plan b” the whole time they were showcasing it as “plan a” is totally mind blowing. I just can’t believe it, and it makes perfect sense.
My ex went to flight school, and then she transferred to engineer school. Anyway, in her diary she expressed frustration that men never knew what a “catch” she was because they ignored her. Anyway, she didn’t even like her engineer studies. She also scoffed at being a pilot after she changed majors, saying, “A pilot is a taxi driver with wings”. The point is I wonder if she always had hoped to meet a rich pilot or a rich engineer…someone who could fulfill this dream for her (of not working, etc.).
Who really knows what lied at the bottom of her cruel heart? But it could have been a power move (going to school for pilot/engineer stuff) from the very beginning. A few of her friends met very wealthy men at this school and they don’t work in that the man supports them. BUT MY BPD/NPD ex didn’t meet one…boo hoo.
It is also amazing how anyone could know so many manipulative tricks about women. This is almost every bit an art and a science of how women manipulate men, and its code has been cracked by a woman. Or better put, it has been translated by a woman so that men can understand it. One would think that there was a period of Tara’s life that she spent studying these women day and night in order to be able to comprehend them so much on so many different levels.
Does anybody have any experience and advice for dealing with a wife who tries to influence her sons on WHY SHE SHOULD NOT WORK, while the father is working. She paints a picture of gloom and doom to the kids to frighten the kids with the worst case scenario if she would go to work. I told her she can even work part-time and I would even bring her mother to help (boys are 10 and 11 yearls old).She has a BA degree and told me she wants to work, but her actions over the past 19 months say otherwise. Also she looks to criticize anything I do to make the kids happy to maintain the upper hand with them. Please anybody have advice as she denies doing any of these tactics.
Old Guy says
Based on my experience, if your wife is a BPD/NPD type, you’re in a no-win situation … and always will be.
Your boys probably have friends whose parents both work and you could point out that nothing terrible has happened to their friends and that the norm today is that both parents work. I’m sure they’d understand the point you’re making.
However, if you say this in front of your wife or tell the boys and they relay it to her, I suspect she’ll accuse you of “attacking” her or “putting her down” or “trying to make her look bad” in the eyes of the boys or whoever and a number of other things.
Again based on my own experience, if she’s telling them the type of stuff you mentioned, I’d also suspect she’s telling them much more when you’re not around that casts you in a bad light and her in a good. And it wouldn’t surprise me if she then turned around and told you stuff about the boys that makes it seem like they aren’t treating her right.
Did she work before the 19 month period you mentioned? If so, what happened?
I think there may be a variant of the woman who doesn’t work, and that would be the woman who does work, yes, but uses that fact to excuse herself from much of the actual work of having a family, leaving that to her husband. I think women who have part-time jobs, or possibly full-time jobs that have periods of time without work, being a teacher, for instance, may still avoid taking care of much of the household work. I think they may claim they are too tired, too stressed, to deal with the kids, or make dinner, or do the grocery shopping, or the many other things it takes to keep a household running.
When my husband and I decided to have children, we also decided that I would stay at home with the children. Having made that choice, I took over all of the household work, running errands, paying bills, taking care of the children, cooking, cleaning, washing, mowing the grass, etc. I felt I should do everything I could to keep the household running well because I was not earning money. I also made sure that I didn’t spend money excessively since I wasn’t earning any. And when both children were in school, I began working toward moving back into the workforce. I wasn’t sure how I would accomplish that and started out doing volunteer work that led to paid work and have now been working for nearly 15 years. So yes, I agree that some women, use their children as an excuse to work. I deplored phemonenon of the overscheduled child when I was at home with my own. I felt that some women overscheduled their children’s lives because it created the illusion of doing so much for the children while giving them quite a bit of time off. But as I said in the first paragraph, I think women can also use working part-time, in jobs like teaching, to claim that they are too overwhelmed to deal with household responsibilities, when they are at home. And they expect their husbands to do all of the household stuff because they are just too tired and stressed.
This article doesn’t take into account how hard employers make it for stay at home parents to return to the work force by demanding experience required on every job advertisement and no training being given. I am a house dad and regret every day I am not working since my kids started primary school. I am still trying to get a job.
Punching Bag says
I got suckered in too. I thought the article was great. we built a lifestyle on 2 incomes and she actually made more than me so it hurt big time after kids when our primary breadwinner was benched.
Max Weber says
benched isn’t the same as freeloading. Responsibly managing household spending and high quality parenting is very valuable, if you can find it.
Hi Dr Tara,
Feel real odd writing this, but I’m at my wits end, and just don’t know what to do anymore. I’m 54 years old, my wife was living with me in my house when she became pregnant and we had a beautiful girl 17 years ago. We now have three children. Another daughter 11 years old and a son 10. She was a manager at a computer company when she stopped working when my first daughter was born. I was doing ok financially for awhile. Bills always got paid on time. About 5 or 6 years ago, she said she would get a job after the two younger one were in school full time. Well, still no job. Resentment has been growing every year more and more. I took on another job about a year ago. Alot of overtime, and callouts in middle of night. I’m not complaining, it’s overtime and I need it. My house has slowly but surely getting cluttered. Nothing ever gets thrown out. Up until a year ago, when my hours were more normal, I did most of cooking, dishes. I don’t mind, I like the cooking part anyway. Dishes, another story. Problem, even with my extra overtime, I’m just getting through. Whaat the heck am I supposed to do to get this girl (46 years old) off her butt and look for work. My oldest daughter is starting college next year, She ignores reality and thinks I can just take out loans to pay without ever volunteering to help. I’m getting more angry just writing this now. I don’t like her anymore, don’t talk much, and don’t even want to touch her anymore.
I’m in trouble…..Thanks for any advice.
My wife used the baby excuse to not find a job. In fact, she has never worked a single day after graduating college. I recovered from almost dying of cancer several years ago and have been working every single day after that. She still does not get a clue. I guess she thinks if I died then she would live off insurance.
hmmm, I am a woman on the opposite side of this. I have a husband who does not want to go back to work. On year before my daughter was born, he lost his job. My daughter is 9 now. He seems to be full of excuses. Of course, I am just an insensitive B as he says. I could never possibly understand. He claims physical issues, but will not go see a doctor to get them fixed. Claims he does not want to go under the knife and open pandoras box. So I guess I am suppose to carry the burdon of everything.
Max Weber says
Put him on a budget for household expenses only. If he wants to buy something, work for it – just like a kid.
Welcome to my world! Been on the job for 28 years without one break in between while my wife finished up college (full-time. Never took a moment to work or contribute to the household expenses. EVER) That tradition stayed in effect for 21 years. We have a family account (the money I make goes in both our names) and then she has her account.
Many years ago she was demanding our one son go to a very expensive private school. So expensive it was almost a joke to consider. ; $12,000/ year on my salary of $35,000.
I said no, and she played a Mexican standoff until she got fed up and forged my name on the documents, enrolled him and that was that. Until I wrote the school and asked them for a copy of the tuition agreement. BINGO…..Stabbed in the back! BTW: She did this ALL WITHOUT HAVING A JOB HERSELF. Double back stabbed!
She treated it like I had wronged her. Imagine me having the gaul to write the school and not trust her. THEN she started in how she had to do it because I was “not emotionally present” toward the family. It was simple……She was trying to do the right thing and I was getting in her way. Her Dad died when she was 4, so lets cut to the chase. Daddy issues + her Mom had an abusive Dad, and her Mother had an abusive husband…..Ahhhhh the family tradition of not relying on men was taken to a higher level. Her Mom and Grandmother were control freaks…..My wife is simply entitled, but says she does not “need a man.”
She is obviuosly conflating emotional independence with financial dependency. Problem is she’s either hoping I will stroke out of have a heart attack, or leave her.
She rescues animals while the boys are in school all day which actually costs me money. She says: (GET THIS) “It’s a hobby and you should get a hobby yourself.” Hello, hobbys are things you do when you aren’t working. Like….in your spare time!
Hobbys cost money. Having interests in things don’t. So she drives hundreds of miles in the SUV I gave her, charges me for the gas and maint. and then treats me as if I’m a wife beater.
Nuff said. I feel your pain
Hmmm…I find this topic interesting. I’ve wondered about this and about the significant other’s opinions or feelings when this happens. I’m a single forty-something female, never been married (but that is soon to change), officer of a company and have been with this company for 17 years, a previous one for 9 years prior to that. I’ve always supported myself and never had a break longer than a vacation (no children, although I’d like to have them). I notice high-school friends that I’ve reconnected with, who might have a 12, 14 or 8 year old getting an interview, a job for a month and then poof, something doesn’t work out and they aren’t talking about the job anymore and they aren’t looking for a job to replace it. Or college roommates who just don’t search out that career anymore. I know if I have the chance to become a Mom and be at home for the short term it will be hard work day and night…but I also know to me it won’t be the same thing as leaving the home, dressing up, learning to work with others, promising my time to someone else, meeting deadlines and answering to a boss and clients.
Max Weber says
Hope you were able to have kids. Its the best. I think this blog is about a spouse who acts like a kid. Its a pain.
You’ve identified a real problem but unfortunately for someone like me who’s dealt with this for the past 10 years you’ve provided no solution. Divorce isn’t it. Any marriage classes we take are quickly put down by my wife as worthless.
An unmotivated spouse is impossible to reason with. You won’t find this sort of person reading these blogs but instead watching another show or movie or shopping.
this is an old post but so interesting i have to comment. I stumble upon this post in search for help with a non working husband. Excuses dont just comes from wives…but yes i totally agree they have taken adventage of every bit not to work…. they become too comfortable and take the working spouse for granted….
Max Weber says
Funny story one of our friends in Charlotte, NC told us was about a husband from the UK. Said he had a job and would leave every morning. So, after about a year the wife finds out he’s been going to the pub and hanging out every day. For a year! I guess its not that funny, because its true.
Interesting. I’m sure you knew and prepared in advance to be attacked and lashed out at by some of your female audience. The women going on the defense here didn’t give me the impression they’re merely defending the “stay at home mom” but rather validating themselves, and thier own experiences solely. Ignoring the context and specific characteristics of SOME women/stay at home mothers as you described. Why seek self validation when you don’t fit the criteria? *shrug*
This isn’t battle of the sexes, and the targeting was very objective. Being defensive on this issue seems silly when the context was very clear.
“Borderline, Narcissistic, Histrionic and/or sociopathic traits.”
Lashing out at the perspective, instead of calling to task EITHER gender for embodying these traits, is in myy humble opinion a waste of energy. In all likelihood some of the stay at home moms KNOW some of thier peers that do fit the bill. It would be better if you directed your criticism there.
But what do I know? I was born with a penis. Xp
My wife won’t work, never has after our first child was born. We have always lived hand to mouth, payday to payday, with no savings and really no hope of much savings since our disposable income after taxes and our discretionary income after mandatory bills paid just won’t support any savings. On top of that, i had to file bankruptcy in 2010 so we are still trying to get on our feet. I shudder to think of what our financial future looks like and i don’t discuss it with her. She just gets angry about my lack of faith. I just can’t help but wonder if things would have been different had we both worked.
I know this blog is about wives that use their kids as an excuse not to work, but it works for the the other way around too. My husband refuses to go to work even though the kids are in the 3rd grade now.He’s terrible at cleaning the house and he really don’t spend that much time with the kids. He is mostly home playing video games while they are at school. He then picks them up, brings them home and right back to his video games until dinner. He will then tell them to get their showers (all the while he is still playing his games) I just don’t get it. I personally think that he uses them as an excuse not to work because he really does neglect what they are doing.He certainly doesn’t seem to mind leaving all the financial parts up to me to figure out. WTF
How can I escape from this madd-ness peacefully