Stay At Home Spouse Envy: Give Us A Break Ladies!

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One of the major finance sites talked about how a 50 year old wife refused to let her 57 year old husband retire!  She said, “I’m not letting him retire and play golf all day.  He needs to work so long as I’m working!

Wow, what an awesome wife!  Not.  The wife is being totally selfish.  She basically has the attitude of, If I can’t stop working and relax, than neither can he!  She also doesn’t come to terms with the fact that her husband is seven years older than she is, and has therefore worked for seven more years!

F0r some whacko reason, the wife thinks they are the same age and have the same amount of work experience.  Crazy talk I tell you!  From my standpoint, I would much rather have my spouse not have to work so that only one of us suffers.

Stay at home spouse envy is an ever growing problem as more and more men decide to work from home, or simply stay at home and smoke cigars all day.  As someone who just announced his retirement, I am concerned about the such discrimination!

DO WOMEN WANT THEIR CAKE AND WHIP CREAM TOO?

In the past, it would be commonplace for a wife to stay at home and be the homemaker.  Thank the lord, Ben Bernanke, this is no longer the case!  Men have finally risen up from society’s pressure to decide they too can stay at home and still be manly men.  In fact, I wrote a post entitled, “Stay At Home Men Of The World, UNITE!” as an ode to all men out there.

Anybody who has worked for more than 10 consecutive years knows that after a while, work becomes a grind.  You’re in your 30s and suddenly you realize you’re almost middle aged and want to do new things with your life.  The internet has completely changed the way we need to live our lives and make money.  We all know that here on Untemplater and if you can figure out a way to make money quitting your job, you would!

I’m all for women wanting to work from home, or stay at home to raise a family.  Studies after studies show that a woman’s equivalent day job income as a SAHM is worth roughly $100,000.  I believe it, given the job is 24-7!  I would love to have the mother of my children spend as much time with my own flesh and blood for as long as possible.  Much better than a stranger no?

If me and my men friends are so open-minded about women staying at home, why aren’t women as open-minded about men staying at home?

ARE STAY-AT-HOME MEN THAT LOOKED DOWN UPON?

In another survey about occupational prestige, male homemakers were ranked at the BOTTOM of a list of the top 25 occupations. Some of the more prestigious occupations include being a firefighter, scientist, and doctor.  I don’t have the facts, but I’m sure that most firefighters, scientists, and doctors are males 10 years ago, and probably even now.

We can conclude that society simply looks down on men who are not only firefighters, scientists, doctors, lawyers etc, society also thinks men are bums for just staying at home, EVEN THOUGH society believes in the equality of men and women!

I strongly believe in the equality of men and women when it comes to pay, recognition, treatment and so forth.  I want my mother, sister, and spouse to be treated equally.  Yet, do women not want men to be treated equally?

THE WOMAN WHO COULD NOT GET OVER HER STAY AT HOME HUSBAND

I have a good female friend who is slowly starting to drive me BONKERS!   Every time we catch up over drinks, she complains to me how her husband isn’t doing enough in their marriage.  He’s six years older than she is, and left corporate life last Fall to run his own design start-up.  He’s saved a ton of money for them both and really doesn’t have to work for anyone else again.

Despite her husband being older, working longer, and providing the bulk of the couple’s net worth, she still complains!  Here are some things she complains to me about:

“I have to work all day and when I come home, shouldn’t I have food on the table instead of dirty dishes in the sink?”

“Why do I have to continue to work if he’s at home?”

“I try not to think about having to work for several more years because that’s depressing.” (she’s only worked about seven years full time).

“I wonder what he does all day?”

The point is, her resentment is festering and I just want to tell her to please be quiet, enjoy her cushy job, and support and trust her husband as he builds his company.  Being an entrepreneur is hard, and she needs to stop her complaining and put herself in his shoes for a change.  I’m friends with her husband too and I know all he wishes for is for her to be supportive and show she appreciates how hard he’s working.

IMPENDING FAILURE

If she does not rectify her resentment, not only is she going to drive all her friends away with her complaining, her husband is going to start resenting her for not understanding his situation.  Society places a tremendous amount of pressure for males to succeed, so they can earn enough money to take care of a family. When roles are reversed, there really seems to be a shutdown because we’ve been so ingrained with the fact that men need to be out of the house and working.

In Japan, housewives ban their husbands from coming back before 7pm because it is a sign they aren’t socializing and working enough to get ahead!  Meanwhile, Japanese men have this crazy cultural notion of not allowing their wives to work.  If that’s the case, no wonder why Japanese wives crack the whip!

If women don’t recognize the growing trend of men who want to stay at home, I’m afraid there will be a lot of breakups in the future.  Men have dreams too you know.  We aren’t all looking to climb the highest rung of the corporate ladder and set off fireworks once we get there.

Readers, why can’t women be happy for their stay at home men?  Is it impossible for women to see themselves as the breadwinner?  Is resentment a natural reaction?  What happened to equality?  Are you interested in figuring out how to make money by quitting your job so you can do whatever you want?

Regards,

Sam

 

“Personal

Unconventional Guides

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Freedom | Rethinking the Dream July 12, 2012 at 5:17 am

The two examples you give seem to show problems in their relationships that are more than about working and staying at home. The second example sounds more like a lack or communication or at least a lack of understanding. If he’s working on starting a business, then he’s not a stay at home spouse – he’s a work at home spouse. That is a huge difference.

My wife is a stay at home spouse/mom. The problem we have is not between the two of us, but often between us and non-stay-at-home-spouse families. We have one member of our extended family that often says, “I wouldn’t want to sit on my butt all day.” Most stay at home spouses are not sitting on their butts all day. My wife does a great job taking care of all the things that need to be done around the house. She typically makes dinner and then after dinner she cleans up all the cookware. She also does all the laundry, cleans, vacuums, takes our daughter to school, and works and plays with her after school. Also, just because I work a regular job all day doesn’t mean I don’t chip in. I’m typically in charge of leftover nights, heating up dinner and cleaning up afterwards. I also help around the house when possible.

The key for us is good communication and a bit of responsibility.

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Financial Samurai July 12, 2012 at 1:29 pm

What does your extended family member say when you tell him that? Stay at home spouse is a FULL TIME job, and I’m not sure why people object.

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Bri July 12, 2012 at 6:05 am

I don’t often read Untemplatar but I have it in my Google Reader and scroll through on occasion. I’m surprised that you approach such a hot topic (men and women equality in the work vs. life balance) with a survey you don’t name and two poor examples (one couple without children at home and the second a personal connection of yours that seems to have a badittude).

From these examples you exclaim “Why can’t women be happy for their stay at home men?!”…”What happened to equality?!”

You literally took a subject affecting hundreds of thousands of women, men, families from different socio-economic backgrounds and came to hysterical, grandiose conclusions because you and your “men friends” think differently.

Not the kind of thought provoking, well-supported journalism I’d like to be seeing on what can be a very interesting discussion. Which is honestly, too bad.

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Financial Samurai July 12, 2012 at 7:06 am

Bri – I think you might have thought you were clicking on the Psychology Today or a New York Times article? This is a blog.

If not, be kind to your man, otherwise, you might not have one!

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Kathleen @ Frugal Portland July 12, 2012 at 11:46 am

I agree, this felt much more like reading a blog post than reading a serious piece of journalism.

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Lance@MoneyLife&More July 12, 2012 at 8:02 am

Amen! I can’t stand when this happens. If you preach equality both sides should be equal in all aspects not just the ones that benefit you.

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Money Beagle July 12, 2012 at 9:42 am

My dad retired about ten years before my step-mom, but he’s also eight years older. I always wondered if it bothered her. She said she wished she could have (and truthfully, she probably could have) but she never begrudged my dad for getting to stay home, simply because as you said, he worked for that much longer at the beginning before she entered the work force.

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Financial Samurai July 12, 2012 at 1:31 pm

When you say “she wished she could have”, that means it bothered her inside. Glad she didn’t begrudge your older dad!

The older we get, the more regrets we have in life. It’s one of the reasons why I wrote How To Engineer Your Layoff and why I engineered my own. Say no to regrets!

S

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krantcents July 12, 2012 at 11:11 am

I “retired” while my wife continued working. She never resented my different hours or responsibilities. Income properties and businesses have different issues and responsibilities. It looked easier because I had employees who did most of the work. It was much more monitoring than working.

My wife and I talked about the changes before they happened and she saw some of the changes over time. Another reason it worked for us was my wife loves her career. If you like what you do, there is less envy or jealousy.

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Financial Samurai July 12, 2012 at 1:34 pm

That is so rare, and so great that your wife loves what she does. Happy wife, happy life!

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Kathleen @ Frugal Portland July 12, 2012 at 11:48 am

I think about that too — like, would I feel sad/mad if I had to work and my partner didn’t? Or if he worked from home? I think, though, if you get right down to it, problems that can be solved by hiring a housekeeper are not in fact problems at all. That said, your friend needs to talk to her husband instead of complaining to a male friend!

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Financial Samurai July 12, 2012 at 1:35 pm

A housekeeper might solve problems.. but there might be MORE resentment! e.g.

“You get to be home all day AND have a housekeeper do all the work!?! WTF!?!”

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Kathleen @ Frugal Portland July 12, 2012 at 1:43 pm

I would guess not, since the underlying issue seems to be traditional gender roles. “I have to make all the money AND I still have to do all the domestic stuff too? JEEZ!” But I don’t know the situation.

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Thomas - Ways to Invest Money July 12, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Sorry but from what I see and hear all the time most (not all) only view themselves as the one who should be staying at home. One of my friends actually saved a lot of money before he met his current wife and basically has enough now to stop working. When he told his wife he was going to retire in a few years she simply said is there enough for the both of us? If not you need to keep working. Later she said why doesnt she retire and he keeps working since she doesn’t like her job. Now thats crazy.

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Financial Samurai July 12, 2012 at 3:54 pm

Who doesn’t love to have their cake, with extra hot fudge, and eat it too by themselves?!

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Jana @ Daily Money Shot July 12, 2012 at 7:38 pm

This is a pretty loaded post, and one that’s interestingly timely for me considering I just quit my job to try my hand at writing full-time. I feel so lucky and fortunate that my husband was on board with my plan (that transpired due to some other issues as well). To that end, we had also talked extensively at one point about his dream of being a golf pro and I was willing to keep working so he could pursue that (although he chose not to. He’s also more conventional and enjoys a more traditional job). Would it have bothered me that I was working while he was out playing golf? Yes, most likely. But I would have dealt with it. Because in my opinion, that’s what spouses do.

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Financial Samurai July 12, 2012 at 9:38 pm

Jana, I think you might have missed the point of the post.

Men are already understanding of women who work from home. I’m definitely not surprised he is supportive, and it is great he is!

The question is, why be bothered if your husband doesn’t work if he’s OK with you working?

Good luck on full time writing! I’m right there with you!

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Jana @ Daily Money Shot July 13, 2012 at 4:28 am

I didn’t miss the point. In the second half of my comment, I mentioned that we had talked about me continuing to work while he pursued his dream, and I would have been fine with it, even if it might have bothered me a bit.

I think it’s natural to experience a bit of envy if you’re the spouse going to work while the other one stays home. After all, which one sounds like more fun? However, your friend is taking it a bit too far and I agree with you that she’s going to drive her friends away and a wedge in her marriage.

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Sydney July 12, 2012 at 10:54 pm

I think some women have trouble being open to the idea because so they were told countless fairy tales at girls that happily ever after means growing up, getting married, and not having to work after they find a handsome prince to take care of them forever. Obviously society has changed tremendously since these fairy tales started being told. More and more women are career oriented these days and continue to work after having kids, and sometimes that means it works better for their husbands to be at home whether it’s to be a full time parent, entrepreneurs, or retired free spirits.

Every couple is different and I think couples who are open with each other, supportive, and work together to get their finances in order before making any type of big decision will find ways to make their relationship work, whether that means the guy stays at home, the woman stays at home, both work, both become entrepreneurs, etc. I know several couples with kids now where the dad stopped working to be at home full time with their kids and it works great for them. It’s untemplate and they’re happy with their setup. Find what works for you and don’t worry about what other people think.

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Financial Samurai July 13, 2012 at 8:21 am

Insightful words Sydney. Open communication is a must and seriously, if it works for you, screw what everybody else thinks!

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Squirrelers July 13, 2012 at 6:49 pm

Smart comment. I think the fairy tale aspect is a big part of it, being socialized or led to believe that prince charming is supposed to come take care of her. I wonder if a generation from now, that will still be as common, or if it will be dissipated in a big way. After all, more college degrees and graduate degrees are going to women now than men. Bottom line is people should do what they want and not worry about others, as you say.I agree.

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Joe @ Retire By 40 July 20, 2012 at 7:16 am

Every marriage is different and if you want to be a stay at home dad, you’d better make sure you have your wife’s support. If the wife is resentful, it’s not going to work out. One problem is that men are not very good at doing housework. A SAHD should cook, clean, and do other housework too.

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Sydney July 22, 2012 at 11:49 am

I think men can do a fantastic job at housework if they want to. Perhaps men are just not as bothered by messiness as women? There are also more healthy options these days for families who don’t like to cook, which can be a big help if for guys (and women too for that matter) who are stay at home parents and don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen. There are lots of meal delivery services for urban residents, and many ready to go options at grocery stores that save a lot of time.

If I ever have kids, I’m going to train them to help out around the house from an early age. Housework isn’t a drag when everyone pitches in one way or another.

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