20 answers

Do Men Prefer a Working Wife or a Stay Home Mom (Wife)?

My husband and I have been married for 11 years and have a 7yr old girl and a 3yr old boy. In June of 2006 I lost my job due to downsizing and have not been working since. I was making great money working for a large corporation. My little guy at that time was about to turn 1 yr old. My dad and grandpa passed away in 2004 so lots of things transpired after they passed. I gave birth to my son (now 3) in 2005. Lost my job in June 2006 while at the same time my husband got injured a few months after I lost my job. His injury was severe (falling down the basement stairs) and resulted in 3 surgeries to his right foot. I decided to stay home and not work (since I was in severence pay for a while) and tend to my injured husband, my 5 yr old daugher at that time and my 1 year old son. Things were good and we had to change to a slightly different life style we were used to since we now only had one income coming in. It wasn't until middle of 2007 that my husband started to bug the heck out of me about finding a job. There was not one day that he would not ask me; he was literally forcing me to get one. I refused because he wasn't helping around the house or with the kids (this had been going on since our first born). He would just get home and play video games and watch tv. Arguments began and he got me to the point of wanting to divorce him because it was way too much to handle. I realized that our relationship began to change, not enough sex, constant arguments, we tried to avoid each other (at least I did most of the time). I noticed he was a bit different towards me. He didn't respect me as much and put me down at times. As I sit and think of all that has happed I wonder if all men are like this. Do men prefer a working type wife? Does being a stay home mom change a relationship at all? Does a husband view one different if women don't bring money in? Is it only my husband? I appreciate any feedback.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks so much for the response. I think we're at the point now, as some of you mentioned, were we need to get counseling. The fact that he won't help around the house and with the kids is what brought me to my decision of not working. When working full time, my day will start at 6:00am, iron his clothes the night before, get the kids ready (1 for school-drop her off) the other to grandpa's house and then drive to work. When getting home at 6:00 pm, I would go straight to the kitchen, cook, have dinner, pick-up after, help my girl with her homework, do laundry, clean up the house, etc..next thing you know it's 10:30 and I'm still up trying to finish the cleaning and getting ready for the next morning. If one of the kids woke up in the middle of the night it was me who would get up to tend to him/her. I just think that it's not fair and I gave up. He never listened about my concerns; so I feel that I did what I had to do. I am planning on going back to work once my 3 year old begins pre-k full time. For now, I will enjoy them as much as I can. I have also made up a list of things he has to do around the house and things he as to do with the kids. We'll see how it works out. Thanks all and I will keep you posted.

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I have been wondering baout the same thing as of late. My situation is different a little bit. Please I know I am no help but if you get any good responses please pass along. Thank you and good luck.

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It really depends on the guy. Some couples make the agreement of who will stay home for how long. With kids it can be really hard, just make sure you pray and keep live in your heart with God's help. I truly mean this because my husband and I have been through some tough times. And the future is hard to predict. I am a full-time working mom and wife and I told my husband, I have two kids that are 4 and 6. For us to have another child one of us would have stay home for a short time. We both agree the cost of living is way to expensive to have kids without considering cost and who will make the sacrifice. Just make sure you remind your husband that it is the both of you and you have to work together.
Just trust and believe God, it will work out.

All the Best

1 mom found this helpful

No. Not all men are like your husband. Sounds to me like you both could use some serious marital counseling as well as individual counseling. I see many issues here - get some help.

1 mom found this helpful

I read all of the mom's responses and I also wanted to mention that the answer can lie in different cultures.My husband came here and became a citizen while married two me. He is celebrating his second year of citizenship! I have always worked but we have found that with the economy the way it is I am not finding an additional job and I do not work as much. Which of course affects our finances. But in his culture, you help out your family. His mother has never worked at a job and is not much older than me and quite healthy, and his sisters don't either. They are saints to him, but he has expected me to work. And then he likes to send them money because he feels guilty about not being there and taking care of his family. His brother's wife doesn't work and his other brother's wife did and left him (hence their fear about their wives working). We have batted this issue around a lot. I have a degree and a certificate and haven't gotten a specific job so work as a substitute. He wants me to make him meals all the time and he cooks when possible and he has worked a lot more lately.AND he expects me to work.Frankly it can be exhausting. He defends his mother and sisters for not working. The excuses are no different than what reason I could not have worked, children, home, etc. But here my husband enjoys a different life than the poor one he had when he grew up so that is therein where he needs me to work. Video games are costly for instance! Cellulars ( he never answers it or calls me with it but has to have one ), we have cars, and cable and obviously internet. We make it, but make it better on my income. So not knowing your background you might examine some of the other stuff. You are working so hard as it is. WE women unfortunately will be batted around about this one for years...

I can't speak for ALL men. I know that in my marriage, I have to work on myself first before I get all up in my husband's business.

You say he treats you differently. The big question is: are YOU viewing yourself any differently since you stopped working? I find it interesting that you refer to your husband's role in the housework and parenting as the one who "helps". Right there, you're sending a message that the household duties are primarily your responsibility. Then you're angry with him for not doing his share of those tasks while also harshing on you about not working. Are you making that expectation clear, or sort of hoping he will put 2 and 2 together?

I say this from experience, as my husband and I were in a similar situation last fall. Our daughter was diagnosed with autism (which, incidentally, came directly on the heels of my beloved FIL's sudden death). We decided it would be best if I didn't return to the workforce, as the kiddo needed WAY more one-on-one time than her child care could provide. Oh, I didn't have a big moneymaking job at the time, I was mostly working on contract, but still. I went through a lot of self-esteem issues from not "working", including feeling guilty about not having the home ec type stuff perfectly managed. Once I came to terms with that personally, my husband (mostly) followed suit.

While the loss of even a pathetic income has been brutal, I don't see myself re-entering the workforce anytime soon. The idea of taking care of a special-needs child all day and then working a job for 20 or 30 hours a week makes me want to lie down in the middle of traffic. I know dear hubby ain't happy with it, but he also accepts the reality of our situation. Hopefully you and your husband can discuss your expectations and options, and work through this rough patch.

When I got married I worked full time and had ran aerobic dance classes through a church part time. When I got pregnant, I continued doing both and then after my first daughter was born, I took my leave of absence and realized that I just didn't want to leave her with a babysitter...I fell madly in love! My husband wanted me to stay home - to be the traditional wife/mom his mother was. I knew I needed something for myself but didn't want to work full time. My job wouldn't allow me to work part time, so I decided to join Mary Kay and start an at-home business. My husband lost his job, so I went back to work, taught aerobics and did Mary Kay. I was also in charge of everything around the house. He eventually got a job and when my daughter turned a year old I gave my notice. I then got pregnant with my second daughter, I taught aerobics through that pregnancy and continued buildng my customers with MK. Now my kids are 12 and 10 and need me more than ever. My husband pressures me from time to time and we have gotten into arguments about going back to full time work. If I'm gone from 9 to 5 he would be 'in charge' of picking up the kids, getting homework started, running them to basketball practice at making sure dinner is ready and managing all the 'play dates'. I would get home at 6 and told him I would expect to have things in order and he would be doing a WHOLE lot more than he has ever done. He argues that he would love to be able to stay home and have an 'easier life'. Ha! The women I know who work full-time and have active families are not happy people. They are stressed out, feel that life is passing them by, they're unable to have the freedom because when they get home after a long day, they still have to do the laundry, go grocery shopping, figure out what their eating for the next day, make sure the kids have everything they need for school and projects and IF they have time, maybe try to exercise or do something for themselves. When you have a family, moms focus on everyone else BUT themselves. I think its a blessing that you can be home and give your children what they need - whenever they need it. I also feel and underlying pressure to make more money. I laugh with my girlfriends that men are the ones who have it easy. All they have to do is wake up, roll out of bed and hit the road. My husband is in construction and leaves at 5 am and isn't here for the morning rush, the last minute cramming for a test, making lunches, and the 'I love you....you're going to ace the test...just stay positive...see you at 3!" My kids love that I'm always there and I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.

Now if I could just get him off my back!

I think more of the issue is that perhaps your husband could have an injured ego and perhaps displacing his frustration on to you. Have you gone to counseling? My parents went through a similiar issue when I was a kid. I really hope you and your husband are able to work this out.

I am 45 and quit my job in May after 21 years. My job was very physical and I worked alot of overtime. Being home is great but at times I feel like a full time maid. I am constantly picking up after everyone. your kids are younger so they keep you challenged, mine are older and do not need me. My husband said how great is was that I was home and how happy he was for me. Until one day when I wanted us to spend a Sunday with my family from out of town. He wanted to go home and lay on the couch, and I had to leave cause we only had the one car. He made a comment to me saying "Well I don't get to sit around everyday watching the View" It was then I realized that he was indeed jealous of my being home. For us it's not the money we have more than enough to get by on. BTW I've never seen one episode of the view. Now he is going to retire early in Feb I started a yoga class and bowl and play bingo I get out. Start going out in the evening. Let him see the job you do is not that easy. And staying home is a full time job. Don't you ever say to yourself wow how did I do all this and work too. If you can stay home and enjoy your kids I wish I could have when mine were younger. Daycare and baby sitters can be a nightmare, there's nothing better than good old MOM.Like I said find time for yourself in the evening he'll start to appreciate you more. Now your just always there

My husband stresses about the economy and being the sole breadwinner and our rising property taxes but at the same time values what I do at home with our children. Not once in the
2 1/2 years that I've been a SAHM has he ever implied that it's not important or of utmost importance. Or at least he knows that if he does I'd be really pissed at him.....He doesn't treat me any different as he did before the kids and we always talk about finances as "our" money and our responsibility not just his. I actually take care of all the bills monthly and set up the bills online. I think it's so important to so many SAHMs to be at home that it shouldn't be mocked or taken lightly. I think the good majority of SAHMs are at home because they want the full responsibility of raising their kids on their shoulders, not shared with a day care, nanny, sitter, etc. Not because they just don't want to "work" as so many people think. It is stressful to have your whole family dependent on you financially but it's also hard to take care of everyone by yourself also. If your husband isn't willing to do anything around the house or with the kids then he's the one with the problem, not you. It's really sad that so many men don't value their wives like they should, whether they work outside the home or inside it. I hope that you guys work things out. If you do go back to work, I hope you do by choice and look forward to it.

Hi Irma,

Staying at home or working is, as many have said, a choice that the couple should make together. I've done both and there are pros and cons to both for each partner as well as the the children.

Most importlantly, it sounds like there are other issues going on in your relationship that are being lost in the issue of your job. I agree with the other post that suggested counseling for you. Get a ref from someone or start calling around. You'll be able to find someone that will accomodate your ability to pay if that's a concern.

One more thing and then I'll stop preaching - if your husband won't go to counseling with you (I'm betting money this will be th case) GO BY YOURSELF! You need to get your bearings so you can deal with this even if he won't join you. Eventually he may join you.

Best of luck to you!

Hi Irma,

First of all, I am very sorry for the struggle you are going through. I am glad you are reaching out for support, because that's what we're all here for : )

As far as the situation with your husband, it strikes me that the key element of communication is missing here. I can't tell from your post how much you and your husband discussed you staying home, but from what you've said, it sounds as though the decision was made based on the extenuating family circumstances occuring at the time. It sort of "just worked out that way." I would also surmise that your husband did not necessarily understand that you were hoping for this to be a permanent situation.

Now that your husband is "back on his feet" (no pun intended!), it appears that he is expecting you to return to work because the period of extenuating circumstances has ended. Perhaps he is pressuring you because he feels as though he has been left out of the decision making process. He may be thinking "I never agreed to be the sole bread winner here. Is she taking advantage of the situation?" Try and use empathy here. How would you feel if the roles were reversed?

This is a decision that must be made as a family. As much as women want to believe that the choice should remain solely ours, we are a part of something bigger once we have children. You have to remember that it's a lot of pressure for the man to suddenly become the sole bread winner. In order for your husband to buy into this idea, he must feel as though he was a part of the decision.

My advice to you is to sit down with your husband and really discuss this issue. Explore how you both feel about your changing roles and really allow him to express his fears and desires. Don't worry about trying to figure out "what men really want". This is not about what men want, it's about what is best for your family. It unfortunately sounds like a lot of games are being played in your house right now - you're not looking for a job to punish him for slacking at home, and he's playing video games because he refuses to help until you get a job. These are the types of things that people do to express their feelings when the lines of communication are not open.

Does the mother staying home change a relationship? You bet your bottom dollar it does. Roles are revised and expectations are different. Both people have to be supportive of the additional responsibilities that the other is taking on. For example, your husband may have to work later hours to get more work done because he is the sole bread winner now. And the wife needs to be understanding and potentially pick up more of the slack at home as a result. There is no room for resentment here and trust is a key factor in the success of this arrangement.

I hope that my insight has helped! I am a SAHM and have been for nearly 3 years. Making the decision to get here wasn't easy and there have been plenty of challenges along the way. But if it is what you feel is in the best interest of your family, then it is worth having as many conversations as it takes to get there.

Good luck! : )

There is no clear cut answer to that question, except to say that men should want a *happy* wife and a good relationship.

In our home, that means I work. I do not need to work, but I choose not to put the burden of being the sole income on my husband. I worked very hard to establish my career, and I will not give it up lightly. As long as my child is happy and healthy, I will continue working. I took advantage of my employer's very generous maternity leave / part-time policy after the birth of my daughter, and I use flex-time now to make things work. I'm sure he'd like it if I was able to work fewer hours, but he knows how I feel about working. The option is there for me to stay home, but I have told him several times I don't want it, and we are both happy and okay with that. If he had a strong opinion, I'd consider it. Staying home is not a decision I'd make lightly.

I'd like to know too

It looks like you've had a very stressful few years and that this probably doesn't all stem from the work issue but rather stems from the injuries and deaths and stuff about which you can do nothing, so your subconscious is projecting that anguish onto the work situation.

My husband wants me to work-- so that he can be a stay-at-home dad and homeschool our children and clean the house and cook. How bout that for unusual? Heehee. But it's not practical cuz he makes more money than I do at his job so I'm the one quitting work.

Why don't you compromise and work a couple days a week?

Did you make some sort of arrangement with your husband about working before you married him? Tell him to get off his butt and do something himself. How long can he milk ankle surgeries? He still has 2 arms and a leg. He can help aroung the house and get computor work from home instead of games on the t.v. Tell him to grow up, you're only 1 person. If you have to, talk to his parens about the kind of man they raised! Maybe he should have married his mommy if he didn't want responsibility. Sorry for the harshness but he needs a kick in the pants.

Hello irma. Taking care of 2 kids is a full time job in itself. I am at home with my 2 kids & we live off of my husbands 1 income. We get by & family is first always.

You are his wife the mother of his kids & should tell him he is hurting you by this behavior. Millions of women stay home & take care of the house hold. Daddy brings home the bacon.

Yes men like the extra $$$$ from a working wife but it should not be a demand. My husband & i have been married 18 years i am 38. Ive worked on & off. Helped also but he has no problem with my decision to stay at home with our 3 year old. Good luck. If you need to chat. I would love to. ____@____.com
good luck. You sound like a good mom & woman. M.......

I really think all men are different and there is no one answer for everyone. When my husband and I met I owned my own business and made it very clear I was never going to be a stay at home mom. All that changed after my first daughter was born and my priorities changed. I decided to sell my business to stay at home with the kids and he totally supported me and has ever since. Also, I think he is thankful that I am the one home all day with the kids and taking care of them. From everything you wrote, it sounds to me like your problems with your husband stem from something much deeper than you not working.
Sending you a little hug filled with light and hope you're able to figure it all out....

There seems to be a number of issues that are occurring due to a number of stressful events over the couple of years. We have also experienced similar situations. It seems that you have a beautiful family that is worth fighting for. I would recommend that you and your husband go for marriage couseling. In the mean time you might want to purchase the book called "The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman" for you and your husband to read. It is an excellent book.


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It's funny, I remember when I was younger (20s) all of my guy friends would talk about how horrified they were at the idea that their girlfriends would turn into leeches as soon as they got married. And yet a lot of those guys ended up having SAHM wives, at least for a while.

But I think that fear and resentment is there for some men. And the economy isn't all that easy these days.

To me, marriage is a partnership. These things have to be decided together. It do agree, just from observing friends, that SAH is something that can be hard on a relationship because there can be an inequality of power and respect. (But then is it any harder than having two exhausted people working? Grass is always greener, right?)

My husband was proud of the fact that he could provide enough so that I could be a SAHM. He tends to be very traditional. My mother worked outside of the home constantly (except when she had her 4 babies)since my father's drinking led to his losing job after job. We agreed before marriage that our budget would have to allow me to stay at home once we had kids. There have been times when our finances caused us stress and for a couple years I did home daycare to supplement our income.
I guess it comes down to how much stress he is under & what are his beliefs about your responsibilities. Even though my hubby knew my 'job' as mom was 24/7 and appreciated how I took care of the home & kids I know the burden of being the sole breadwinner was at times very heavy.

I have been wondering baout the same thing as of late. My situation is different a little bit. Please I know I am no help but if you get any good responses please pass along. Thank you and good luck.

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