It is official: not only am I the primary breadwinner, I am also basically the sole provider as of three weeks ago.
Becoming the sole provider was always a goal of mine. Literally when my husband and I had just started dating we would talk about how I would love to work and he would love to be a stay at home dad. Since the time I was in graduate school I never thought I would be a stay-at-home mother.
At the of 32, with the birth my second child, I finally made this goal happen. For our family this is a great thing. There is no animosity or resentment but rather elation. One thing I think needs to be recognized is that we discussed a lot before the stay-at-home dad thing actually occurred. I wanted to share a few things we discussed to ensure we had a smooth transition from 2 incomes to one.
The first thing I think needs to be discussed is – can you afford this? Let’s be honest people, the two major things couples fight about are money and sex (or lack there of). Money is usually the number one thing since it plays a role in our everyday lives. Examining your budget is essential. Can you afford this, what do you have to give up? Is it cheaper than daycare? Are you OK with sacrificing things?
My husband is amazing with money and budgeting so when we discussed this I knew he was realistic and true to what our limitations are. We, of course, are going to give up a few things (expensive vacations, spending a lot of extra money on non-necessities) but we also have things to keep for my sanity (need a date night at least once a month).
What expectations do you have? Are the job roles defined? He/she only keeps the home? What about the home – does this include laundry, dinner, cleaning the house? When it comes to cleaning: what is imperative to keep the house clean during the week, versus weekend cleaning. My husband is great at cleaning. I never have had to beg him to pitch in when we both worked so I knew it wouldn’t be a huge discussion but having this discussion is important. Many stay-at-home moms feel buried taking care of everything all the time and having no help. During the week my husband does a majority of the housework but I do help out here and there.
When I get home I also try to take the kids from my husband to give him a break, and will clean up dishes sometimes, throw a load of laundry in, etc.
By discussing the roles and having check in’s you can keep resentment down.
3. DAYS OFF
Being a working parent, and a SAHP (Stay at home parent) is hard. Let’s face it, being a parent is just hard. Kids are tiring and emotionally draining. So we make sure each have something that is just for ourselves. My husband has a motorcycle and likes to play sports. So I let him have a day on the weekend every once in a while to just go off and take care of him. He knows I love my friends and family so hanging with my girls is a necessity. I do a dinner here or there and feel refreshed. This keeps us sane and happy.
I am lucky that in my job I have a boss that tells me when I do well. My husband really would only have me since kids will never thank you that you are keeping them alive (not until they are adults, anyways). So I make sure to thank him and give accolades a lot. People need to feel appreciated especially if they are working hard. My husband does work hard with keeping the house clean, laundry, cooking, play dates, and kids classes.
I literally have placed a repeating reminder in my phone calendar to say thank you. I usually do not need it but want to make sure with time I do not forget.
5. OVERCOMING STIGMA
This is more particular to our situation where roles have “reversed” – dad staying home instead of mom. Forever women did the child rearing and housework and men worked. Well times are changing and for us making sure both sides feels confident and happy is important. My husband has confidence so he does not give a shit when people give him a side eye when he says he is a stay at home dad. He knows he is contributing just as much in our family as I am with money from my job. Both “jobs” are imperative.
I also have no issue when women look at me like I am crazy because my husband stays home.
So this is just a start of our journey and I am sure it will have its ups and downs but to start it has been working great and I am so glad my “dream” has come true!
Any other women out there the sole provider while their partner stays at home? Any things you discussed?