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I agreed to be a SAHM…

… but my husband is not stepping up!

What can I do? It’s great that you discussed staying at home before you had children, says our elder. But now you need to talk about your finances.

Dear EWC

My husband and I agreed when we got married that once we had kids, I would be the one to stay home and he would work. We have lived out this agreement for three years now. However, with the birth of our second child I am seeing just how much my husband lacks motivation and drive, and it’s starting to affect our marriage in my view of him. We struggle to make ends meet each month. He is eligible for a raise if he completes classes, which he has not done and does not make it a priority to do. We talked about moving closer to my family, but he doesn’t seem to have any drive to find a job that would make that work. I do absolutely everything except hold a job that gets monetary pay. I’m a stay-at-home mom, so I feel like I can’t or shouldn’t complain too much, but I also have a degree and have left my field in order to raise our children. I take care of the house, feeding and clothing everyone, the children, the bills, the cars, the pets, all family affairs, and it’s really starting to weigh on me. I just don’t know what to do. And if I mention it, his guard goes up and he gets angry. I’m frustrated and starting to feel resentful

Danray replies

I’m sorry to hear about your frustration and the fact that you are starting to feel resentful towards your husband. In a marriage, it’s important that a husband and wife work together to have a happy and successful family environment. As you’re seeing, there will be bumps in the road that will need to be discussed and addressed.

First, it was nice to hear that you and your husband discussed the fact that you would stay home when children came along and that you agreed to support that plan. Key to a marriage is communication and supporting one another. Also, I understand how difficult it can be to take on the role of a stay-at-home mom and leave the workplace that you have been trained for. My wife decided to be a stay-at-home mom and I often heard about the challenges she had each day.

Saying that, you have the right and responsibility to talk to your husband about finances and the role each of you play in that plan. It’s important that you put a budget in place that acknowledges the income that each of you provide and reflects the expenses that you have responsibility for. Expenses should also include retirement planning, savings for your kids’ future educational needs (may include college), rainy day fund, etc… There are a number of tools, resources and documentation available for the two of you to develop and support this plan. Clearly, if you’re having trouble making ends meet at this time, this discussion and plan needs to be looked at. This financial plan doesn’t just affect you and you husband but your children’s future.

Therefore, I would address this with you husband letting him know that things have to change or that you will continue to have challenges going forward. Just state that you love him, you’re his wife and this has to be addressed. Clearly, he can make more money, you can go back to work part-time, move back home to get more support, cut back on expenses, etc, but something needs to be done.
Hopefully, he’ll understand the issue and acknowledge that the two of you need to address this and that ignoring it or getting defensive is not being responsible. If you approach it this way and he still has an issue you may want to get a counselor involved to help with the communication. Unfortunately, finances or maybe a lack of financial planning is one of the major factors in couples splitting up.
I hope this helps and I wish you the best going forward.

Letter #: 451620
Category: Marriage

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