SAHD & Marriage Issues

Updated on February 23, 2008
M.B. asks from Green Bay, WI
11 answers

Just looking for advice or experience.
I have 3 children (2 and under)and a husband of almost 3.5 years. Everything moved very fast for us. My husband stays home with the kids due to the rediculous daycare cost of 3 infants. He was a general contractor and now he only stays home with the kids and works on our house (rennovating for 3 years). Our marriage is very rocky. If I stay busy around the house - always cleaning, organizing, decorating my husband is happy. If I get sick, or pms'ing, or just want to play with my kids, he flips out and says I don't do anything becasue I am relaxed. He claims he has to do all the house, all the finance all the planning and all the remodeling. I remind you we agreed he would do the house remodeling as he was a general contractor and I do have no clue as to what to do besides my own job. Our house obviously is a mess in certain rooms that he deems his. I don't know what to do. We talk divorce, but isn't it stupid to get divorced over such small issues. I truly think he isn't happy with himself, either because we aren't financially stable, or he isn't doing what he thought he would be doing (not the money maker). I don't make good money, but I have the insurance, which is key for us. He is with the friends 3-4x/wk, which I assume he needs because he is home all day. I just don't know what to do. he is a great dad, but why is he so unhappy? Is it me? do I just do my 40 hours and I am not helping much other than doing dishes, sweeping, vacuuming, supper... What do full-time working moms do at home? Do SAHM/SAHD feel I need to do more? Or is our marriage just a disaster waiting to be done?

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So What Happened?

Thank you everyone for your advice. I do want to clear up that I do a LOT around the house, but feel that chores can wait on some nights and the kids come first. I understand that SAHD/M's have it hard, and that wasn't what I was addressing. I think this has more to do with marriage and communication than chores of what he does vs what she does. Counseling should be our priority. We did agree to stop the renovation on the house till the kids are in school or if I take the kids away from the house for the weekend. it is too much for him to watch them during the day in the house then try to work on the house at night. Our kids are too young to understand that daddy is working and leave him alone. That itself has relieved a lot of stress. Which in return has decreased his 3/4x/wk card playing. And we made a chore chart for daily/weekly/monthly chores. It almost sounds childish but in our house we need that direct organization with 3 kids 2 and under running around, (they are in the house all day too, so it isn't easy on them either)! THanks

More Answers



answers from Salt Lake City on

As a SAHM, I don't ask a lot of my husband with housework (he does do dishes nightly because I despise that chore) and he will help with other chores when I ask. He does do almost all the yard work during the summer and we shares the finances. After work, he does help with the kids (plays with them, bathes them, puts them to bed) and he does cook on the weekends. But after he's home, I usually stop "working" and we just spend time together as a family/couple.

There's obviously a lot more to your situation than you can post here, but how often does he work on the remodel? Every day? Once a week? If he's working on the house all day (and taking care of kids) he's not going to have a lot of time for housework and cooking, so you should BOTH take care of that in the evenings or weekends (and learn to live with messes until the remodel is done). If he's not doing much on the remodel, then you need to talk about that and come to some compromise on what you both expect of each other.

I don't know if you are okay with him being out with friends so much. I try to get out with friends 2-3 times a MONTH and my husband goes out golfing or whatever 2-3 times a month, too, and I think we both feel that's a fair amount of personal time. But if you're okay with your husband being gone 3-4 times a week, then that's okay, too. (Just make sure you get time away with friends, and time to just do whatever you want - play with the kids, read a book, watch a movie.)

Lastly, you need to ask him point blank if he's happy. And if he is, you need to try to find out why. If you can't do it on your own, you might need to go to a therapist for some help/support. The problem won't go away if you just let it be.

I don't know if I was much help, but at least you know one SAHM's expectation of her spouse. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Salt Lake City on

Hey MB,

I think everyone that has any child under 3, has a stressful marriage. Your marriage is not a disaster, it is just stressful right now. (I call it being in the baby trench.) I am a SAHM and my husband works really hard, but I still find myself nagging on him all the time whenever he is resting because I never get a break.

Although your husband is not going to work every day, he is still working just as hard, if not harder than you do. When he flips out, it is not because he's mad at you, it is just because he has to be patient with the kids all day and you're the only one he can take out his frustrations on.

Life is going to get easier every day as your kids get older. Divorce is not the answer and will only complicate your life and stress you out more. Marriage is a lot of work and the more you put in it the more you will get out. I have been married for 10 years now, and I have learned the best way to stop fighting is to just stop. As soon as someone says they're sorry or asks what they can do to help, everything starts to change. Holding grudges and bringing up past mistakes doesn't help or change anything. Try each day to make an effort to be nice and you'll be amazed how far it goes.

Good Luck and hang in there. If you didn't have the bad, you couldn't appreciate the good!


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answers from Des Moines on

I wouldn't give up on your marriage. I think you guys just need to talk it out. I work full time and my husband is a SAHD. It has been essential that we talk issues just like that out.

I think it's really easy for me to go to work and picture him at home playing all day- but it isn't really like that. And I think its easy for him to not see me all day working hard and assume I'm just hanging out with work buddies. The point is, when you don't see each other, it's hard to recognize the work each other is contributing. My husband feels stressed too- he stays home with our 17 month old all day, works part time at night, is trying to get a business started and we have multiple home improvement projects going.

What I had to learn is that he is doing the best that he can regardless of what the house looks like when I get home and that some days he will have time to pick up and other times he won't. There are some days he'll have dinner ready and there are others when he won't- he can't read my mind and if I really want something- I have to let him know in a reasonable timeframe.

What he had to learn is that sometimes you have to prioritize and take care of responsibilities and even though you feel you've worked your butt off, sometimes you still have more work to do and that is the way it is right now.

So, we are still working at it but we have divided up household chores based on who is good at what and then there are some chores we share; for example, we take turns balancing the check book. But he's in charge of most of the daily kitchen stuff ( I do the deep cleaning), trash, minor home repair, anything related to the cars. I'm in charge of laundry, cleaning, paying monthly bills.

One of the most helpful things we've learned to do is before I leave for work he asks what one thing I want done today and I tell him- it's usually something that would take 15 min or less to do- pick up the tools that got left out or call and make dentist appointments. And in return, he gets to ask me to do one thing that day.

It's really hard to go from doing whatever you want, whenever you want and spending money on all of the extra stuff and it is so stressful. I would talk with him, see what he is happy about, not happy about and vice versa- really listen to each other and try to change one little thing at a time. I think it also helps to talk about your long term goals so that you remember why you are choosing to do things the way you are. If you find yourselves yelling at each other- walk away and try again when you are able to talk it out. When I find myself getting to the boiling point- I make myself say exactly what I am frustrated with and not just yell and eventually I can get down to what is really bothering me- same for my hubby.

Marriage doesn't come easy and your needs are always changing- you aren't mindreaders- so you've got to talk it out.

Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

I can somewhat relate to your situation. My husband and I both work full time, but he expects me to do most of the housework and be the majority caretaker of our son. We have had many discussions about this situation. In his defense he does work 2 jobs as an IT consultant and works on average 65 hours a week.
We both struggle to understand the other person's view. Our marriage has been rocky at times. We have compromised though. He acknowledged that the house wasn't clean enough for him, but he understood that I am doing my best to keep things organized while trying to enjoy our child and him. We have discussed how to share responsibilities and how to talk to each other when things are bothering us instead of just getting mad at each other.
I have to admit that this is a constant work in progress. I found a friend that I can trust to just vent to when I feel that I am under too much pressure and frustrated with my husband. My husband also has such a friend. This seems to have helped us stay calm and try to talk things out instead of just blowing up at each other.
I would also recommend checking at your work to see if they have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Many times a company will provide such a program that can provide you with options and resources that are either free or at a reduced fee.
Good luck and remember that you are not alone. Every marriage has problems and can be rocky. If we try to communicate with each other we can sometimes work things out.



answers from Lincoln on

Why doesn't he go back to work part-time? Then that way he can work too and not feel like you are making all the money. Sometimes I think men think they are the ones that need to be making all of the money. He can just make appoints when he knows you are going to be home or hire someone part-time to come to your home to take care of your kids. It would better than taking your kids to a daycare or him going back to work full-time. I hope everything works out with your relationship just talk things out and give it time. Wish you the best!



answers from Billings on

I am a SAHM, and my husband and I are having similar issues. He thinks I stay home and play all day, when in reality, I don't stop moving until he gets home, when he can spend a little time with the kids and I can shower! Staying home with small children--especially toddlers--is incredibly hard, and I bet your husband doesn't feel like he gets enough appreciation for what he does all day. I am sure you appreciate him, but maybe you should tell him more often. Maybe you already do that? But I think that in all relationships where one parent works and the other stays home, there is a conflict over feeling unappreciated. The one who works feels like they work so hard and spend so much time away from home, doing the "work"; the stay at home parent feels overworked doing house chores and caring for kids, which is by itself a full time job! It's no wonder your husband hasn't been able to finish your house. I 'd say, if your house is livable as is right now, put the carpentry projects on hold until the kids are older and he has more time--then he won't feel so pressured, and feel like he is failing in his expectations of himself.



answers from Salt Lake City on

Your husband probably has some of the same issues as a SAHM plus he is working at home renovating - he has 2 major jobs there. He does need some help and some time off, and so do you. Talk about it and see if together you can find a way to make it work. Maybe some time together away from all the kids would be nice if you can work it out too.

Good luck, you both have a lot on your plates.



answers from Salt Lake City on

WOW- 3 little ones and a husband who is unhappy, I am sorry that can not be easy to deal with.

Both my husband and I work- though mine is a PhD student-brings in a bit of money but not much. We split things at home since we are both not there much, though he can get upset at times and so can I when we each feel we are not carrying our weight.

I know if I stayed home I would still expect some help but not as much as that would be part of my "job". Staying at home is hard work and I realize that, but so is family, marriage, and making it work. You need to take a look at what kind of time he is putting into making the other peice of life work.

These are not small issues and ones that will continure to come up if you dont deal with them. If you can I would say a little couples counclining might be good, to have a third party help you create a plan that can work for you both.




answers from Salt Lake City on

The fact that you are looking at the possibility that your marriage might be a disaster waiting to happen suggests that it is something to seriously look at.

I would love you to consider coming to my Marriage Connection workshop starting on April 4.
I believe the trip would be will worth your time.
There is a 15% discount for mamasource members.

I look forward to hearing from you.
With Joy, C.



answers from Grand Rapids on

Well I can relate to dad. I am a stay at home mom of two toddles and I can honestlly say that it is the HARDEST JOB ON EARTH! Sure it is the most rewarding, but it is sometimes hard to see that. Dont get me wrong I am blessed and thankful to be at home with my children, but 24/7 is a bit much at times. I think you should let your husband know that he is appreciated! Even if you tell him every night when you come home from work - tell him twice!

I know my husband works hard, and even though I am the one who wants to stay home I will admit that I get jelous of him. Sure he is at work...but he is AT WORK...he is out of the house...he is talking to adults...he is using his mind on things other than reading carebear books and watching barney...

Like I said it is the hardest job on earth to stay at home with your children...espically when not only do you have them to care for, but you are the one doing all the "house work" cleaning, and laundry, and dishes, and shopping, and cooking, and yard work, and bills, and and and...I could go on and get the point and Im sure have heard it all from hubby before.

I guess what I am saying is just let your hubby know that you love him and you appreciate every single thing he does. And help him out with the house work as much as you possibly can. I must say though that he is lucky to be with his friends 3/4x a week and he should be thankful for that! I would also let him know that you work hard too and you need to know that you are loved and appreciated as well..and once in a while you need time to be with friends too - it is always a two way street.

I would also suggest more date nights! The will help your marriage more than you know! Sometimes we need a break from being Mom and Dad and just have fun with eachother!

Dont give up on him or your marriage...keep at is hard work, but as the kids get older and the house gets fixed up things will get better :)



answers from Green Bay on

I have only been a SAHM for a short time, as in maybe 2 years.
I do get upset with DH sometimes as he comes home and does nothing, but it isn't playing with the kids, it's playing games on the computer usually. I do pretty much all the housework, except for dishes and now I also don't do most of the laundry as the kids (boys 14,12, 10, &7 and girl 13) are all now responsible for washing their own clothes. I just do DH's, mine, and towels, as the kids even wash their own bedding. I vacuum, I clean. I pick up, and have the kids pick up. When I do get upset, it is on weekends where I have a ton of catching up to do, and he just sits and watches movies on the laptop in our room, or plays computer games in the living room, instead of doing maintenance or playing/doing something with the kids.I do know however, that since I am home I should not be angry or upset. This is my job to take care of the home. My husband does his job outside the home, so I try to keep it that way. Usually if he does see me overworked, he tries to find out what needs to be done and do it.

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