Don’t Cater Endlessly to a SAHM

The back story to this one is that the SAHM is bored in her $400,000 home and has an affair started via Facebook that the husband has just discovered. The unfolding story is that he’s been doing the standard Betaized nice guy routine to… well to a fault…
I guess you can say that, yep things aren’t done around the house but she says I need to do more! well I’ve spoiled her its my fault. I would think women would like to be spoiled and love you for it!!
Yes you would think that women would love you for spoiling them, but it turns out…
Buy Me!

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Comments

  1. Badger Nation says:

    I'm not married and one of my great anxieties about marriage is the thought of an ungrateful spouse. Sadly my fears are backed up with stories like these. In my LTR I feel I have to hold myself back on the giving of things to avoid building a "habit" as a lavish provider and spoiling the girl. It's a crying ass shame the law agrees with my fears, as anyone knows who is familiar with the phrase "the lifestyle to which she had become accustomed." (Which pardon my French is a huge load of bullsh**.)

    I find this to be a stark difference between men and women. My lifestyle goes up and down based on my salary, long-term vs short-term goals, state of the economy, etc. And I'm fine with that – I find ways to be satisfied.

    But the pattern of a lot of women appears to be to feel put out if they have to take a lifestyle hit and never forgive the guy who's paying the bills, even if it's not at all his fault (layoff, pay cut, extended family financial emergency, whatever). It's like riding a motorcycle, which I also don't do but I've been told that once you get on a bigger bike you can never get the old thrill from the smaller one.

    (This BTW is a huge problem for kids whose parents bankroll their lifestyle in college – they never get the "starving student" frugality habits, and in their mid-20s when they are off the parents' dime and the credit cards max out they are completely lost.)

    It's sort of heartbreaking to realize how this process works, because I'm a bit of a natural whiteknight and I DO want to be generous and give the lady things she wants. To back off on that I have to constantly remind myself I'll be taken for a sucker, which rubs up against the real nature of a lot of women, and coming to grips with that is a bit of a depressing process.

  2. Badger Nation says:

    Athol,

    I'd be interested in your thoughts on the sex-rank and comfort-factor effects of a major voluntary life change after marriage – for example, you've mentioned you went from evangelical to atheist. With a certain partner, that could become a huge dealbreaker, a second-date violation.

    You've already posted on managing a disabling injury. Other things could include flipping political parties, making a major dietary commitment (i.e. vegetarian, paleo, gluten-free) or an elective career change. Tastes and wardrobes change, that's a given, but if you change the "one thing your spouse needs from you," you could be stretching the credulity of the mutual marital promise. I don't interpret marriage vows as a promise to stick by someone no matter what, period.

  3. Julia says:

    Badger, the man should not be the only one "paying the bills" – the wife should also be employed and her money goes into the bill-paying account, not the clothes shopping account. I can't see allowing the wife to stay at home unless she's actually raising children too young to attend school (or homeschooling) – and $400,000 houses are not necessary – hopefully, this recession teaches more people the art of frugality.

    Personally, I never understood the whole "gift" thing or spoiling your woman with presents and expensive dates; a bad habit to develop, really. My husband and I have always just exchanged gifts at Christmas, if that; I don't even have a diamond (gasp!) and could not care less.

    I do think giving gifts for no reason tells her you're trying to buy her love; your company should be gift enough.

  4. Athol Kay says:

    Julia +1

  5. Anonymous says:

    Yep its crazy you would think they would enjoy your pampering! but I guess not!

  6. SAHM says:

    "In any case, isn't the job description of a SAHM that she caters to you? "

    Athol, I've loved your blog, but shame on you for saying that. I am a stay at home mother because I have *children* (not yet old enough for school) who need my focus and care, not because I am my husband's bitch. *We* chose to have me raise our kids rather than some daycare staff.

    I agree that a wife who can work should definitely do so, and that a husband can over-pamper her by letting her get away with all kinds of crap. Certainly the husband needs to rein her in and let her know that the vacation is over.

    However, that doesn't mean she should become her husband's maid, personal chef, on-call hooker, and laundress. There are women he can *pay* for those services. In no way is she obligated to "cater" to him. That shouldn't be the reason he lets her be a SAHM.

  7. Athol Kay says:

    SAHM – I've been the SAHD for a few years while the girls were toddlers. I think it's fair for the working spouse to come home to a house that's basically in one piece and taken care of. Plus I worked a night/weekend job as well during that time. One of the biggest fights in our marriage came after I came home after my weekend of work and the house was left like a shit tornado had flown through. All my hard work undone.

    Frankly I think that if a SAHM has enough time on her hands to spend hours on the Internet and have men over for sex, she's got enough time on her hands to cater to her husband a little. I know you have to agree with that.

    Many women make excellent SAHMs. Unfortunately just as many totally take advantage of the situation.

    If I could swing a SAHD job again I'd do it in a heartbeat. Was the easist and most fun job I ever had! Much nicer that nursing developmentally delayed clients… ever tried to change a diaper on an angry 150lb adult that likes to bite? I do miss those days with the girls. I can cook, clean and pamper with the best of them. I'm also on-call for… personal services too.

    Truly, I've been there.

  8. Anonymous says:

    @SAHM January 2, 2011 6:38 PM

    Sooo, being a corporate bitch is just great, but taking care of your husband is very, very bad, and beneath you and your delusions.

    What the fuck do you bring to a relationship, if you don't think that the point of one is to cater to each other?

    Oh yeah, you want him to outsource anything that resembles taking care of him, so that you can concentrate on being a shallow and selfish bitch.

  9. Jack Amok says:

    I give my wife lots of presents. Sexy clothes are a pretty common gift. Slinky dresses, boots, short skirs, lingerie. She loves it. Now, some women are probably shaking their heads or spitting at me right now, but think about it. If I give a barely-there bit of bedroom attire to a 40 year old woman I've been married to for 15 years, what am I telling her? That's right, I'm telling her she's still attractive to me and I enjoy sex with her. In the long run, I figure that'll make both of us more happy than some overpriced baubble.

  10. Anonymous says:

    @Badger: I think risk is part of any LTR. You have to take a risk to share stuff with your woman, take a risk when you commit to her,…
    But you also have to be sure you can take it when you fail the bet. There are prenups you can make to agree that all property is individual instead of common, etc. so you can safeguard yourself to some extent. I'm a big supporter of just "dating" for a long period of time before getting married. Of course this isn't a guarantee that all will go well in the marriage, but after 3 years of being together for example you should be able to pick up on her bad sides. Besides you can also just tell her you're not a marrying kind of guy, it doesn't stop you from staying together, though it might be a dealbreaker for the girl.

    I can understand if a woman gets paid alimony if she is a SAHM, since she is sacrificing at least part of her career in order to take care of the kids. I also agree that she should then do her part at home. We both have full time jobs, my wife is studying for her masters at the same time, so I do most of the household chores. She'll get an earful if she doesn't take over some of those chores when she graduates. Let alone that she should be a SAHM and doesn't do what I've been doing with a full time job before.

    When it comes to gifts and spoiling, I do sometimes get her something. Birthdays and Christmas are a given, but otherwise I might do something at random. I've brought flowers to her office, which is great, because all the women then go "awww, what a wonderful husband, mine never does that", or send her on a trip around town looking for hidden "directions" and gifts. I seldomly get her flowers, which means that she appreciates it all the more when I do.

    I have to admit that I understand my wife better now thanks to what Athol has been writing. I had noticed before that when I gave her a lot of affection she wasn't very affectionate back, but when I stopped being affectionate and was even a bit on the grumpy side she would approach me affectionatively more easily.
    In short I think that if you make an effort to stay even a smidge ahead of your wife in sex-rate terms you are pretty safe.

    Cheers,
    Fred

  11. Badger Nation says:

    "Athol, I've loved your blog, but shame on you for saying that."

    Wow, not even shaming language but straight-up shaming!

    I think you came across as harsher than you wanted, but your categorical denial that you should serve your husband's needs while he serves your "need" to mother your children sounds like the old "the guy has to pay to take me on a date but shouldn't expect a goodnight kiss."

    That is one of several prototypical fears of men, including me, wrt modern marriage, the "my kids are more important than my husband" attitude.

    We have really pedestalized parenting in America (don't know about NZ) to the point we're expected to think it's a more demanding job than punching a clock and one can't be expected to have any energy left for their spouse. Sure kids need 24/7 on-call parenting, but there's no reason a SAHM/SAHD can't keep the house clean and make home-cooked meals. It's part of the exchange for the person who is busting their ass at work.

    "In no way is she obligated to "cater" to him."

    Because you're making a "sacrifice" to "raise HIS children?" Please. I can go out on the street and find a dozen people in five minutes who would love to quit working and take care of children instead.

  12. Anonymous says:

    SAHM SAID:
    Athol, I've loved your blog, but shame on you for saying that. I am a stay at home mother because I have *children* (not yet old enough for school) who need my focus and care, not because I am my husband's bitch. *We* chose to have me raise our kids rather than some daycare staff.

    SAHM, I'm going to try to be more gentle than other commenters. I'm going to approach this statement very differently from them.

    You married your husband some years ago, because you loved him and wanted to spend your life with him, right? At least I assume that is true. Children are a blessing to a marriage, and indeed one of the major reasons for marriage is to provide a sheltered, predictable, good environment for children. But speaking as a man with children, I must point out to you that they do grow up. In time, they will move out into the world. That time will come much quicker than you think.

    On the day that the last child leaves, do you want to turn to your husband, with whom you wish to spend more years, and have him say "Who are you? Do I know you?" There are books, and songs, and poems on this topic.

    Now here is the bottom line: you married your husband. He married you. Neither of you married the children. I know that it seems right now that the children are the center of your world, because they require so much time, but if you do that you are making a serious mistake. You are in essence "marrying" your children. That means your husband is demoted to something more like, oh, roommate.

    Men need to be respected by their wives, just as wives need to be loved by their husbands. When you pour all of your life into your children, your husband will feel that you no longer respect him or really need him, aside from the money he brings home. He'll feel, somewhere inside, that all you really wanted from him was sperm to make babies, and money to support them.

    He won't feel like a man, he'll feel like a drone, or a pack mule.

    And here is a warning: when a man feels taken for granted at home, he's very vulnerable to any woman outside that home who looks at him not as a walking wallet, but as a man. You can dismiss this if you wish, but I'm here to tell you in the first person how hard it can be to resist that temptation. It's worth it, in my opinion, but it can be hard.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Now here is part two, for SAHM

    So if you keep this attitude, don't be surprised in a few years if you find your husband having an affair. Or don't be surprised if in less than a few years he becomes more and more withdrawn from you, spending time looking at porn.

    SAHM, don't be surprised if 10 years down the road, one night, seemingly for no reason, he becomes so filled with anger that he can't speak, so full of resentment, emotional frustration, sexual frustration, that he literally just stares at you like a deadly enemy. Because men can bottle up and repress their emotions for months, years even. But eventually, they do come out.

    See, if you decline to be a wife, sooner or later your husband will decide that you aren't married to him any more. If you are lucky, he'll just tell you about it, and you won't enjoy hearing what his emotional, and sexual, frustration leads him to say. If you are not so lucky, he won't ever tell you. He'll just withdraw one way or another, permanently from you.

    Mrs. SAHM, you married your husband. The children are a serious burden right now, but in time they will fly out of the nest. When that day comes, you will truly want your marriage to still be working. Trust me, a woman pushing 50 whose husband has left, gets very lonely when the youngest child goes out into the world. I have seen it, not in my own life, but in the lives of co-workers. (Being "married" to a job is not good for a marriage, either, and being "married" to both children and job is very dangerous).

    I truly believe that a child-centered family is not stable in the long run. A marriage-centered family, on the other hand, is stable and it benefits the children in the long run, too.

    I humbly urge you to reconsider your position, and adjust your attitude. You should not feel like your husband's "bitch", and he should not feel like your pack mule. Both of you should have some time every day, after the children are in bed on time to be "husband and wife" instead of "daddy and mommy". You need to go on cheap "dates", just get some time together at a java joint without the children.

    I'm not going to go into how having children affected you in multiple ways (estrogen surges actually changed your brain) or how having children in the same area triggers 'cues' in your subconscious. I'm just asking you to reconsider.

    Because you are placing yourself, your husband and yes, your children in a precarious position by making children the center of your life, rather than your marriage.

    Some of this is from observation, and some of it is from very, very personal experience.

    Sorry for going on so long, Athol.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Finally, Mrs. SAHM, I ask you to consider how you would react if the situation was reversed. Suppose that when you had your first child, you were in a secure job with a good salary, and your husband was working on commission – sometimes good, sometimes not so good. So suppose you both agreed that rather than hire some stranger for $20K / year to raise your children, he would stay home and do so.

    Now imagine how you would react if he put the children first, and declined to wash your clothing, including work clothes, cook food for the family including you, and have sex with you at night — furthermore, that he declined to do these things because he was "too busy raising the children to be your bitch".

    How would you react to that? Would you feel, oh, a little taken advantage of?

    Walk a mile in his shoes. Then put on your high heels once in a while…

  15. Terry @ Breathing Grace says:

    I agree with Athol. I am a SAH wife and mother, and I absolutely believe I should cater to my husband.

    I had an acquaintance ask me once if my attention to my husband's needs (ironing, running his bath, cooking his favorites, etc) was something I feel compelled to do because he is the sole breadwinner.

    At the time I said "No, I do it because I like taking care of him and he deserves it."

    In retrospect I think that was a terrible answer. I should have said, "Yes, it's my job to cater to him."

  16. Anonymous says:

    There is another variant of the SAHM. This type doesn't sit around being bored…on the contrary, she throws herself into ceaseless activity. She endlessly redecorates, acquires various art objects, and starts renovation projects. Although these things are basically her hobby, she views them as WORK, while her husband's hobbies are just hobbies..and she thinks she is very overworked.

    She may also pursue various projects that are supposedly going to bring in money some day..few of them ever do, most of them cost money. But she views her various activities as the center of the family's existence, and her husband's job, however responsible, successful, and lucrative, as pretty minor in comparison.

  17. SAHM says:

    @Anonymous January 3, 2011 1:44 PM: Thank you for disagreeing with grace. Perhaps I should clarify my comment:

    Do I love my husband? Yes. I married him for that love, not as a sperm donor and paycheck.

    Do I take care of my husband? Certainly. I make home-cooked meals (from scratch; no quickie or freezer dinners here), clean the house, do the laundry/ironing, handle the grocery shopping, pay the bills, work part-time as an independent consultant, and take care of the kids.

    My husband, who works 40-45 hours a week, is responsible for the dog, the trash, and the lawn/shoveling snow. He only wants to have sex once a week and he's a ways from 30 yet. He has been so "catered" to, in fact, that he's gained almost 50 pounds in the last 2 years. Aside from pregnancies, I haven't gained a single pound.

    I am tired of "SAHM" meaning "lazy, fat woman who sits on her ass and watches TV all day." That is not me. My husband won't even watch his own kids at night so I can take a long shower or shave my legs (or both!) because "I'm tired; I worked all day." Since when is raising kids not work?!

    It's not only SAHMs who take advantage of the situation; sometimes the *husband* is the one being spoiled. I know that is certainly the case with mine. If I had time to seek out and have a lover, I expect he should give me hell. But on the other hand, just because I'm home all day doesn't mean I have all kinds of time on my hands to take care of everything so he can be lazy.

  18. Athol Kay says:

    I think there's a little bit of pile on happening to commentor SAHM here. I already bumped back on her a little, so we can dispense with the punching bag routine please. :-)

    Here's what I see with SAHM here… her husband has minimal Beta skills so her relationship comfort is declining, plus 50 pounds is a lot of weight in two years on a man so her attraction to him is also decling. Only wanting sex once a week is also a display of lower value. Overall he's tanking his Sex Rank.

    When I suggested "catering", I got the shit test / anger that's really about her husband, directed at me. I get that once in a while :-)

    The quesiton now is what should SAHM do about her situation. If you want advice more privately SAHM you are welcome to email.

  19. SAHM says:

    Thanks, Athol. I have enjoyed the debate we all seem to be having here, but I am done sidetracking the point of your post. Maybe a MMSL forum would be a good future feature so we can all debate there?

    I took your suggestion to "cater" as meaning "to wait on" or "service." (I have had jobs as a waitress/caterer as well, so I know a little about that). And yes, that got my panties in a bunch, probably in large part because of my situation. I hope that not *all* men with stay-home wives expect the same excessive pampering that my husband does.

    You are unique in that you've actually played the role of stay-home parent/spouse, and I don't think many men have had that experience. Maybe more should try it and see if what they expect of their stay-home wives is realistic.

  20. Athol Kay says:

    A forum is likely at *some* point in the future. Book first though.

    You can stop pampering him you know. He's being pampered, but you are engaging in pampering behavior…. :-)

    Seriously, email me.

  21. Victory Unlimited Show says:

    Yes. Men often make the mistake of trying too hard to protect their "investment".

    What I mean by that is: Once a guy gets a wife or a girlfriend with whatever strategy he's been using, then his temptation is to offer MORE of the same——to a fault.

    How a relationship begins is how women expect for us to maintain—–which is fine. The only thing is that we should always keep an eye out for reciprocity. When our women are showing us their appreciation by giving us what we want to——then it's all good.

    The sad thing is that so many guys get so deep into "please her" mode that they forget to make sure that they're pleased too.

  22. Terry @ Breathing Grace says:

    It amazes me the way we women do mental cartwheels when the subject of putting the needs of our husbands first comes up.

    The woman who mentored me as a young wife went out of her way to see that she did things to her husband's liking and she worked a full time job. The key to getting things done is all about how you manage your time. There is really no excuse for not spending a little time on the guy who makes it possible for you to stay home with the kids. We have 5.

    A woman without an outside job certainly has time to do a little extra for her man. By the way, I am not implying being a mindless stepford wife.

    Okay, Athol, I'll returning to lurker status. Y'all touched on one of my soapbox issues is all. Hope you had a Happy New Year.

  23. Athol Kay says:

    It's called the Female Rationalization Hamster Terry.

    But what kicks the Rationalization Hamster off is being unattracted to the husband.

  24. Anonymous says:

    SAHM says:
    He only wants to have sex once a week and he's a ways from 30 yet. He has been so "catered" to, in fact, that he's gained almost 50 pounds in the last 2 years.

    These two things, as well as your anger, are all related. Athol already discussed what your betaized husband is doing to his sex rank.

    Again I'm taking a different tack. I do not know why he has gained that much weight. Nor do I know what his starting weight was. But I do know that any man who does that is going to have more estrogen, and less testosterone, in his bloodstream. I also know that if he goes on doing this, he is heading for diabetes.

    Diabetes is to aging as gasoline is to a fire.

    So I am left with a question and a suggestion.
    Question: are there any major life events in the last two years? I know a man who got the double whammy of "first born child" and "parent died" in the same month. He started eating a lot of sugary stuff, fast food, and drinking booze. But he tapered off that stuff in less than a year. Two years is a long time to pile on the pounds. Or is there something else in his background? Did anyone in his family deal with stress by eating? I've known people who did that: guy I worked with would have a bad day, he'd go right to McD's, by the time he was into his third Big Mac he was all calm. Hugely fat, too. Did he used to lead a more active life, or play a lot of sports, and now doesn't? I'm concerned about anyone, man or woman, who puts on that much weight in that period of time; it's 1/2 pound per week, for 100+ weeks.

    My question is intended to get you and hopefully him figuring out how he got this way. Because he's way too young to be putting weight on like that, which means when he's over 30 it will only get worse. Blown out knees, and other joints, as well as what I listed above–he really needs to get whatever it is under control, if he wants to see the children's weddings.

  25. Anonymous says:

    SAHM, my suggestion is possibly risky for you, but it seems to me going only by what you have told us, and knowing only one side of the story, your husband would benefit from reading this site. And that would, in turn benefit you and the children involved.

    I hope some of this has ben useful to you.

  26. Anonymous says:

    I want to comment on the long three part reply to SAHM posted above by an anonymous poster(the one where he pointed out ignoring the husband will destroy the marriage).

    In short, Anonymous recited verbatim what happened in my marriage. My ex was a SAHM who devoted herself 100% to our kids. I worked hard to ensure that we were financially secure enough to allow ex to be a SAHM. I naively assumed she would be grateful and appreciative, and would in turn take care of me. Now, I was stupid for not demanding this; rather I just assumed she would be as thoughtful of me as I was being of her. Of course it didn't work out that way, and I was relegated to being a roommate. I even left a good job and took a much more tenuous one to move to her home town so she could be with her family-big mistake (frankly, that was my biggest mistake, as I never-not once-ever got a nod of appreciation for what I did).

    Regardless, what "anonymous" said would happen actually happened to me. I finally hit a point where I simply didn't give a damn. I was in fact so full of frustration, anger, and resentment, that I basically blew up and walked out. Now, it took longer than that, but emotionally, when I walked out there was no turning back-no regrets.

    Was my ex a bitch? Yes. Did I create that bitch by trying to pander to her-to make her happy in hopes of some appreciation (and getting laid)? I don't know.

    I am not criticizing what SAHM said (because I think some people are in fact piling on a bit). Rather, my point is this-women who decide to be SAHMs need to recognize that they are putting themselves in a vulnerable position where they can be criticized. I think being a stay at home parent is a tremendous goal, but when it happens you have an imbalance-one parent is providing for the household financially while the other is not. It also puts the household back into a more "traditional" role (if it's a SAHM and not a SAHD) where the husband is the provider and the wife is the caretaker. That "can" lead to a situation where the wife is thought of as subservient and is therefore obligated to "take care" of her husband. (I'm not saying this is right-but it's the truth).

    Where am I going with all this? I don't know. What got me going though, was the description by "Anonymous" that was eerily similar to my own. So don't take his comments lightly-it happened to me.

  27. Badger Nation says:

    I think today is a good lesson in blog communication.

    SAHM, why didn't you tell the story in the first place? That you were having the opposite experience as Athol's client, and thus it was a good opportunity to learn that "catering" can go too far the other way? It doesn't sound unreasonable.

    Instead you went with "well MY experience isn't like this so you are WRONG!" and wrote something that could be construed as denying your husband's humanity, and got unnecessarily flamed by a dozen readers and the blog proprietor – who had a good reason to say what we did, IF your original comment had been the real story.

  28. Badger Nation says:

    Athol et al,

    I think this thread dovetails nicely with two current threads at Dalrock about modern "chivalry," the nature of intersexual obligation, and the moral hazard (to use Athol's words) of telling women it's a man's job to given them goodies and cover their tracks.

    http://dalrock.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/chivalry-only-comes-from-a-position-of-strength/

    http://dalrock.wordpress.com/2010/12/30/chivalry-on-the-titanic/

  29. Athol Kay says:

    Badger – she just threw a baby shit test at me is all, I passed, we're all happier and moved on. Now you're just messing with one of my girls. ;-)

  30. Susan Walsh says:

    Sorry I am late to this thread, Badger linked to it at Dalrock. I want to weigh in here because I went through the long process of transitioning from highly paid management consultant to SAHM, which I did for 15 years. The decision was one my husband and I made together, based on difficulties our son was having at the time, and the impossibility of working 80 hour weeks with a child. It cut our income in half, which was a real hardship. That was 22 years ago. Here are the things I have learned about marriage while being a SAHM:
    Since my husband was the sole breadwinner, it was my job to make his time at home as pleasant as possible. No matter how stressful my day with little kids had been, his stress at work needed to be dealt with first, because the welfare of our family was riding on his job.
    1. I do all laundry. My husband has never even operated the machine.
    2. I am in charge of dry cleaning, sewing on buttons, any ironing, etc. as well.
    3. I cook a satisfying dinner every single night we are at home.
    4. I greet my husband at night with a genuine kiss and an earnest inquiry about his day.
    5. I keep the house tidy – I would never leave the bed unmade, for example.
    6. I arrange all house maintenance, such as gutter cleaning, painting, etc. He is generally known to the various tradesmen as Mr. Walsh (not his last name :) )
    7. I handle all buying of gifts and sending of cards (except for myself, of course).
    8. I take out the trash.
    9. I almost never decline sex.
    In other words, my job is to make his home life delightful and easy. He is in charge of some of the heavier duty tasks – like yardwork, for example.
    .
    We never discussed any of this. I just viewed it as only fair. At various times, I have failed in these responsibilities, and he has let me know immediately when I'm not holding up my end of the implied bargain. He is appreciative and generous, but would not tolerate a messy house or frequent takeout.
    .
    If I had been a prima donna about any of this, I'm pretty sure my husband would have left me.

  31. Anonymous says:

    I want to comment to Anonymous' post at January 3, 2011 1:44 PM. He described my situation EXACTLY (did you live in my house?). I had a SAHM who never once showed me any appreciation for what I did. We both worked until my daughter was born. Then my wife began getting upset that she had to leave our daughter. After many tears and much pleading I figured out that we could make it on one income. This went on for several years, at which time she pressured me to leave my good job so we could move to her hometown to be near her family. So I left my good, secure job for a much more tenuous one. I busted my ass, and managed to create a good secure place for myself at work.

    NOT ONE TIME did I ever get a "thank you," a "I appreciate you working hard so I can stay home, a "I know you left a good job so I could be closer to my family." So I silently stewed, letting the resentment and frustration build until my marriage was totally dead. Should I have said something? Probably, but i didn't. Finally one day I hit a boiling point and was done.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Part II of my 2:04 comment-

    I don't care what SAHM (or anyone) says, women who choose to stay at home with the kids do it because they WANT to. Is it a job? Sure it is-a damn tough one. But it's a CHOICE and any woman who stays home does it because she chooses to. A woman has a choice-she can be a SAHM and not earn an income, or she can work outside the office and put the kids in day care.

    When a woman becomes a SAHM it naturally places more financial pressure on the household (i.e., the man). Accordingly the wife's choice places more pressure on the husband. Call me sexist, but the wife should be appreciative of the fact that the husband has taken on more pressure so the wife can exercise her choice, and any woman who doesn't express some appreciation (or at least acknowledge the added pressure she has placed on the husband) should know they run the risk of a resentful spouse.

    Maybe this is a little "touchy-feely" but the Mars-Venus books sum it up nicely. Men want to be appreciated for their efforts, pure and simple. Frankly, had I received a few more "thank yous" and a little action in the bedroom, I'd probably still be married-maybe not completely happy, but married nonetheless.

  33. Athol Kay says:

    It's not really a hard job. Personally I loved it. Eight hours of your own kids in your own house is much easier than a shift as a nurse.

  34. A Guy says:

    Just a thought: Maybe being a SAHM is different depending on how many kids you have? A woman with one kid certainly isn't doing as much work as someone like my mom, who had 5 of us to take care of, is she?

    This is not to start a fight, but I am wondering.

  35. Athol Kay says:

    5 kids are more work than 1. 1 kid is pretty intense though as they focus on parental attention all the time. 2 kids is easier than 1 as they entertain each other and allow you to get chores done more easily. 5 would be a bit of a production line.

    I had 2 toddlers at home and worked 24-32 hours a week on the weekends and nights for about 4 years. Tiring but I did love it.

  36. Badger Nation says:

    Susan's post is reasonable. If the roles are split such that one spouse is earning the material wage and the other is overseeing domestic comforts, then certainly the material earner is entitled to comforts from the domesticated half.

    Anyone who honestly says something like "I'm at home taking care of the KIDS, not my HUSBAND…" is, in my humble opinion, seriously disturbed as to the ethical reality of the situation.

    But…reasonable is not necessarily sexy. Being a durable "breadwinner" will not win you sexy sex, and though Susan can dedicate herself to not refusing sex, attraction is not a choice and she can't talk herself into feeling hot for her man unless he's exhibiting the proper attraction traits. (Based on her posts about 'Mr Walsh,' I doubt she spent too many nights lying back and thinking of Boston.) And without a doubt, wobegone the man who feels HE doesn't have to do any comfort tasks, as the SAHM commenter has shown us. The post is titled "don't cater ENDLESSLY," not don't cater at all.

  37. Anonymous says:

    I am the Anonymous who posted the 2 part response yesterday.

    Badger has it right. If a woman wants to be a SAHM (a more traditional role) then taking care of her man (who in turn takes care of her through his salary and hopefully attention) goes part and parcel with her role as a SAHM-it's part of the job description.

    Athol-thanks for pointing out that being a SAH parent isn't all that hard. I wanted to say that, but not having done it before I didn't want to appear to be a sexist pig.

  38. Anonymous says:

    Most women who have never pursued a serious career just don't seem to understand how stressful it often is–even when the work is basically enjoyable–and how important it is to be able to make job choices leading to a reasonable level of autonomy and satisfaction, as well as income.

    Although it's often said that a man is better off with a woman who is not career-oriented, I think the opposite may be true, because if she's been where you are, she's likely to have more empathy. Also, if a woman has interests outside the home she is likely to be less obsessive about domestic matters.

  39. Badger Nation says:

    "Most women who have never pursued a serious career just don't seem to understand how stressful it often is–even when the work is basically enjoyable–and how important it is to be able to make job choices leading to a reasonable level of autonomy and satisfaction, as well as income."

    I've found this to be a huge problem with young people in general – not understanding where money comes from and what the spoken and unspoken requirements are to keep climbing that ladder. They seem to think you just punch the clock and be yourself the promotions and raises will come.

  40. Pj says:

    What about showing respect to a woman that has sacrificed her career to stay home and raise the children? Are men so ungrateful that you think it’s ALL about you. I’ve worked several jobs and sorry, it’s easier working outside the home on a set schedule than it is working 24/7/365 inside the home. Thank GOD I married a MAN that actually appreciates me and in return he gets appreciation from me too.

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