SAHD - How Do You Get over Everyone Elses Perception?

Updated on January 20, 2012
J.M. asks from Garland, TX
22 answers

My husband has been in and out of work the last year (laid off 3 times in the last 2 years), and just can't seem to find anything that will allow us to keep the status quo that we have been living (a lie really - we haven't been able to keep up and we just keep getting deeper in debt).

I know there are some dad’s on this site – so any advice you can give would also be appreciated.

As of next week, my husband will become a SAHD. He did this once before when our son was born for 6 months. Now our son is 2 1/2 and he needs to have more activities to entertain him. I suggested that he research some homeschool preschool curriculum, since we are removing him from a structured daycare that he has been attending for a year. I also suggested that he look into finding some daddy playgroups, since I know that there are quite a few SAHD’s now days. My question is – how do you working mom’s feel about this? How do you deal with "everyone's" response when you tell them? I don’t want to crush my husband’s manhood, but I will expect him to “kick it up a notch” on the housekeeping. Also – if you have any inexpensive suggestions for things to do in and around the DFW area that would be awesome.

In an effort to curb our spending of unnecessary things – we cut off our home phone (we have the cells) and our expensive “basic” cable. We have a PS3, with HULU – so we can watch tv programs and PBS has a ton of kids programs available on HULU. This shaved off about $120 from our monthly expenses.

What can I do next?

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answers from Dallas on

My cousin has been a SAHD for almost 6 years. He loves it, and his confidence in their family choice seems to keep judgmental comments at bay. His wife is equally confident in her choice to be the sole breadwinner, and if anyone says anything, their attitude is "It works for us." And even though SAHDs are definitely a minority, there are still a lot of dads out there with their kids on weekdays. Dads come to storytimes, "mommy and me" groups, at the park, etc. My husband has a non-traditional work schedule and is often home on weekdays, so he'll take the kids out (he was actually asked to join a SAHD group once!). I honestly don't think most people will say anything. Especially with so many people out of work and in financial trouble, people are a lot more understanding and less judgemental of others.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on

Suggest to him that he put together a weekly schedule. Kids this age really need it. And he needs it too. This will be hard on him because it isn't something he actually chose. It is happening TO him.

If he can't think of things, help him with it.

Good luck to you both,

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Houston on

Where to begin.... Our original basis for me becoming a SAHD came on the heels of my wife landing her dream job, thus allowing us to become a single income home. The wifes two are in school, so that's what it is. She takes her boy to school, I take her daughter to school and until they get home, I'm on my own. Don't get me wrong, I clean, cook, do laundry, do the yard, take care of the pool, take care of two cars and a motorcycle. My wife wants for nothing and doesn't have to lift a finger in the house, this works for US. Not saying every scenario will or should work out like this. We've been doing this since August and I can say, I am just now getting to where I have it down and actually have 'bored' moments.
As far as the perception of others.... (look at one of my first questions ever posted, inlaws) SAHD's are not the norm. Most of the responses I get are positive and yes, jealousy is there as well ;)
Once he's 'official', have him sign up on here, it's a hoot and he will learn more than he EVER wanted to know about parenting and some things he didn't want to know.
I love it here! BWAH!

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

The rest of the world either doesn't care, or are duly impressed that I'm a SAHD.

The males in the family - FIL, Grand FIL, Uncles, Cousins - still give me alot of sh*t. That's what hurts. But we mainly ignore it. It's been a plus that I'm a WAHD, but that hasn't changed the perception of eating bon bons and watching TV all day.

When it gets too much and I can't let it go - I ask "Wouldn't you have liked to spend more time with your kids?" That usually ends the taunts.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

I have been a SAHD for about 4 months now. The first couple of months were the worst for me. Think of the movie Mr. Mom! That was me! Well, now it IS me!

Getting into a routine and doing all the things we had a cleaning crew do before. I'm considering hiring them back. Taking care of two girls during the day and volunteering at the school two days a week is time consuming.

A lot of my friends are jealous. Yes. Jealous. They have this preconceived notion that I get to sleep in and walk around in sweat pants all day. not happening in this house.

I'm in Atlanta so I can't tell you what to do in DWF. I take my girls to the library for "Mommy & Me" and that helps. I see other dad's there now too.

Does this help?

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I find SAHDs to be incredibly sexy--just being honest ;-)

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Here's something to consider from a SAHM's point of view:

If what y'all do to keep the house clean works... why slough it all of onto your husband IN ADDITION to the huge amount of work he's going to be doing taking care of your guys' children?

Being in a house creates mess. Think about vacations, weekends, etc. You're shifting from both working and kids in daycare, to him HOME with the kids... there is going to be a HUGE mess from daily living.

I bring this up because what my husband and I had, worked. Our house was clean. We both worked, we both kept the house clean.

Yet when I stayed home, all of the work he USED to do, suddenly landed on my shoulders.

He had 8 hour days.
I had 14 hour days.

He STOPPED cleaning... "because you're home".

I can only hope that you can think about how you, yourself, would feel if you husband stopped doing everything and then handed you a list of expectations as to how he wanted his house kept.

Like a servant?
An employee?

It's a VERY common theme here on MP... SAHM's in tears over some jerk's "expectations".

I say this with love: Don't be that jerk!

By nature, him being home, he will be doing a LOT more housework. IN ADDITION to the normal housework y'all already do. Meaning: If you guys spend an hour a day cleaning... he's going to have 4 hours of cleaning up after the kids during the day AND that hour he used to do PLUS that hour you used to do. His day will go from 1 hour of cleaning to 6 hours of cleaning.



Keep doing what you're already doing. Don't shove more work onto his shoulders "just" because he's home.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

My husband has been a sahd for almost four job just makes better money in this economy than his sales job did. So yes it just works for us for now. The housecleaning could be (a lot) better, but he's a great cook. Our preschool has a lot of dads volunteering and all the moms think it's fantastic! And the kids in class love playing with the dads, it's just so much different than the moms. I love the PTA dads I know too! I love knowing that someone who cares about them more than any stranger ever could is watching them every day. And since we have two girls I know time with daddy when they're young is especially important!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I wouldn't care!! Go Dad! I would expect him to "kick it up a notch" on housekeeping and educational curriculum for the kiddo, like you suggested.

Kudos to you for cutting those expenses out.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

I definitely think he would benefit from talking with other SAHDs, I'm sure some might be in his same situation. My daughter is 11 and throughout her school years, there have always been several SAHDs. I haven't seen any kind of judginess. I think the difference is this. If a guy appears to have a good handle on his functions as a SAHD and is organized and confident, it is very respectable and no issue. There have been one or two that seem to have had no choice but to be SAHDs, and were so uninterested in what their kids were doing, they were sorting floating through the stay at home thing. This just made them come off as lazy and unmanly. It was the ones who 'manned up', regardless of their situation, and seemed happy to be doing what they were doing, and approaching it with enthusiasm. This was what I saw most often and was impressed. Plus the dads always seem to have more energy than us moms! Good luck to your hubby and you, I hope he finds satisfaction and fulfillment in this. And you can do tons to make him still feel like a man, that's a whole different post!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

I think it's awesome that your husband is taking on the role of SAHD. I love when I see dads with kids (at the store, at the park, etc). Kudos to him!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

When I go off maternity leave this time with our second, my husband will be taking care of the kids again (he's a firefighter and works 24 hours, then is off for 48, so he watches the kids when he's off - 3-4 days a week - and we both consider him a SAHD). It is the BEST thing that I could imagine for our boys.

1. As far as other people's responses... If you feel you have to respond, tell them what a profound and lasting impact a positive, attentive father has on a child, and your son is lucky to get to spend that kind of time with him. And vice versa. I think my husband was very surprised by how much he enjoys being home with the kids and how much it allows him to bond with them. He wouldn't give it up for anything.

2. As far as housekeeping, we made a schedule. Funny, actually, because I couldn't get him to clean much for years. He just didn't "see" the clutter! But one day when I was particularly frustrated, he suggested we make a schedule like they have at the fire station (Mondays are floor days, etc.). If only I had known it would be that easy! So we designate one major chore and one load of laundry per day in addition to picking up, doing dishes etc. So Monday might be bathrooms and wash the towels. Having a short, simple list of tasks to do might help him out. If he had a particularly rough day with the kids and didn't get to a task, I'd either do it when I got home or we'd push it to later. Very manageable.

3. Ideas for things to do... We're in Atlanta, but it's been hard for him to find "daddy" centered play dates, and he's been distressed by the negative attitudes he's found at a lot of toddler activities towards SAHDs by the women there. You might just want to prepare your husband and encourage him.
- check your local library system - they usually have story time at least once a week for free
- ditto the local parks and recreation - they probably have cheap "mommy and me" arts or athletics for toddlers. I bet a swim class would be great.
- check out your local zoo. Ours has a super cheap family membership and the boys go all the time, so it's totally worth it!
- the local thrift store can be a great place to take the little one and choose some books to read. They'll be cheap and he can "read" several while he's there.
- send the boys grocery shopping with a detailed list! Our grocery store has little race car shopping carts that our little one loves to use
- we have a local kids' gym where you can do tumbling classes and it comes with free play time, which is great when the weather is crappy
- buy some special daddy toys/books that only daddy and son get to play with together
- have your husband and son test out several local parks and decide which ones they like best!
- the boys love to go to the "cow restaurant" (Chick Fil A) for special lunches sans Mommy
- a local mall probably has a play area. They usually open 1-2 hours before the stores open for "mall walkers" and your husband and son could go early if he didn't want to deal with the crowds. He might also meet some other SAHD's there.

Good luck! I hope it will be as great of an experience for your family as it has been for ours.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Good for your family! Our daughters' scout troop has a dad troop leader and the cookie "mom" is a dad. Times are changing and "most" people are adapting. Make sure you and he are really super super open about communicating. WHen you are thinking he needs to step up he may be going through a real grieving as his sense of self changes. Society may be adapting, but his own sense of self may not shift that easily. Be open to what he is going through. yes, groups and structure will be helpful to them both but you also may need to step back and let him find them. This is their process, let them find it.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

The library is an awesome resource. Start with storytime and you/he will eventually find the calanders there with other activities the library and community offer.

The malls typically have play areas too.

During the summer (here in the midwest) our community offers parks where the kids are allowed to play in the water fountains.

Sometimes your cities "homepage" offer events as well.

Good luck and tell him to enjoy the time.

If anything else stock up on some coloring books and crayons. It is a great way to spend time with your child.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

My husband's done a little of the SAHD thing and there are a lot of dads now not fully employed, consulting etc. So it's pretty cool when they all walk the kids to school in the morning together... What I will say from the full SAHD's I've seen at school, everyone's fine with it and like someone said, if he's engaged, it seems totally cool vs he's freeloading somehow. Same time, SAHD's that start to kind start acting like a mom/woman are a turnoff. I'd encourage him to still totally be a guy and do things his way, so long as he's at least keeping the house neat etc.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

my dfw mommy is a good website to find free and cheap stuff to do. theres almost always something going on in grapevine. go to the webiste. he can visit nash farms and see the animals and climb all over the tractors. Studio Movie Grill often has really cheap movies in the morning during the week.
they could join a gym. honey might want to work out to keep the testosterone pumping and son can make friends in the chioldcare. when my husband was a sahd, he didnt care about people responses, he cared about mine. he wanted me to still treat him like a man, not a nanny, babysitter, housekeeper. I totally backed off, did not tell him how or when to do anything. I let him run the show his way. I made him join a mens group at church and a bowling league so he could go out and be around his buddies and get out of the house. otherwise, he got dark, moody, surly, and all around unpleasant!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Rockford on

I don't really have anything to offer other than who gives a flip what others think? You are doing what is best for your family w/ the circumstances you can't really control and it sounds to me like you have a good handle on things to start and you are smart and strong and you guys will get through this!!! Best of luck to you...anyone who DOES feel the need to judge doesn't matter anyway! As Dr. Suess says: "Those who matter, don't mind, and those who mind, don't matter!"

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

check out, its free to join. seach "stay at home dads" in your zip code and see what comes up. This site has tons of groups that meet for various reasons, most are free. Good luck!!!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I agree with Jim 100%.

My hubby has been a SAHD since my daughter was born and she is now 7 1/2. We have a 4 year old son as well.

We get comments every now and then, but we don't let them bother us. What works for us is what matters. Lots of other men and not all of them are dads think that DH has a "cush" job and doesn't do anything. My BIL especially is jealous of DH...thats because he is single with no kids and has no idea what its like to run a household and raise kids! So, we do our best to let comments not bother us.

My DH takes care of the kids when they aren't in school and takes care of all the cleaning and laundry and most of the cooking. He knows that my job is to work outside the home to financially support our family and he knows that his job is to take care of the kids and the house. I honestly don't have to lift a finger to clean or do laundry unless I want to. I usually help with dinner dishes and kitchen clean up before bedtime. I usually help encourage the kids to pick up their toys. I get the kids clothes, lunches and backpacks ready each morning before I leave for work. Other than that, I can honestly say I don't do much more around the house. When I get home from work we have dinner and then family time and that is really the only time during the week that I get to spend any time with my kids. So my DH feels its important that I not have to worry about cleaning the house or doing the laundry when my time at home is limited. It's a system that works great for us and we don't let anybody make us feel bad for our choices.

As for things to do...if the weather is nice there are lots of parks to try out, not just the closest one to your house. Bike rides, walks around the block, playing in the backyard. When the weather isn't good DH does things like puzzles, boardgames and playdoh. Almost every mall has a play area and those are free, or even McDonalds or Chick-fil-A play areas. The library is great, and free.

The one thing I must recommend and remind you of is that you and he may agree on a list of things that are his responsibility, like cleaning and laundry, but you have to let him figure out "how" it gets done. He probably won't do it your way, but that is 100% ok.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

My husband was a SAHD most of my (6 yr olds) son's life. He often worked evenings and weekends but made sure his schedule worked around him being here for our son while I worked (as a teacher my schedule is not flexible) What a wonderful thing it has been for both of them! At age two we put our son is a program two mornings a week as there were very few kids around the neighborhood. Maybe you could look into Co op nursery schools where Dad volunteers and tuition is cheap? There are many SAHDs around now a days so I never worried about other peoples perceptions, this is a great thing for your son! No one is ashamed if a mom stays home to raise a child rather than putting a child in daycare! You can make suggestions, check out Nature Centers, museums, planetariums and libraries (even in the next town over) but you have to let Dad take the lead in activities....he may prefer taking him to the park and letting him play with whoever is there rather than something structured. He may not be as into arts and crafts but may lovel building with blocks and Duplos! My DH never took him to the library but did sign up for Music Together classes cuz he likes music. If he doesnt love coloring books, buy sidewalk chalk. If he likes music buy some CDs they can listen to and sing along with. He doesnt need a curriculum at age two, please dont put money into that, build fine motor skills, read stories, and find ways to have him play with peers. Yes Dad has to do some house cleaning and laundry so you can spend time with your son when you're not working. sit down and discuss how to share the chores. I think it's much more relaxed to go to grocery store on a weekday morning with child and! discuss everything they see then fighting the crowds on Saturday. I also made hubby responsible for scheduling Dr apts since he would be the one to take him he should call and make the apt. I'm so happy your son will have this time with his Dad much better than a daycare!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Well, you have to write down for your house what your expectations are of him and yourself and keep it up together if things are changing. I would start a group or find one on I would also tell others to bleep off if they are judgy. Realize that dads are going to be different from moms and that things will get done HIS way not yours. It has been a while since I have been in the DFW area but I would check your local parks and rec for classes to start off.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Orlando on

My hubby is a SAHD and has been since our son was born (he will be 4 in April. When we were in the Metroplex, they took a swim class and then he went to the modified Mothers Day Out both sponsored by the Parks and Rec (Arl & GP). It was only twice a week for 3 1/2 hours but some parents stayed and some didn't. There were moms, dads, grandparents and nannies. I know Mansfield has an open play day once a week at one of their Rec Centers (free for members, super cheap for non-members). I would look at the surrounding cities to see what their Parks and Recs have to offer. I am in FL now and what I miss is how awesome DFW is when it comes city sponsored events.

As far as the perception, I don't recall anyone ever saying anything negative. A little taken back sometimes as it isn't as common, but it doesn't take people long to realize it just makes economic sense for a lot of people (amongst other reasons, of course).

2 moms found this helpful
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