SAHM Needs Some Honest Opinions

Updated on August 15, 2015
I.*. asks from Columbus, OH
40 answers

I need some third party opinions on something my husband and I are not agreeing on. Some background on us to help you give an opinion without knowing us. I became a SAHM after we had our third child (5.5 years ago). We now have four kids. Our kids will be going into 6th grade, 3rd, kindergarten, and starting preschool. I'm very involved in our kids school, I have been the PTA VP the last two years and am now the PTA President. My husband has worked for his company for 13 years. I worked for the same company for 10 years before becoming a SAHM. Sorry this is going to be long but onto our issue....

My husband is very unhappy with his job, he has been for years but has moved positions a few times so the change gets him through but he always goes back to being unhappy there. So, recently he pretty much had a mental breakdown and decided he is going to quit and wants to do something completely different but isn't sure what he would want to do. I told him I support him whatever he decides, even if it means we have less income, I want him to be happy. We agreed that we will most likely have to downsize our house. We rent, our lease is up in Oct. We started looking for smaller homes in the country. The kids are upset about the thought of leaving their school but living in the country is something my husband really wants. I would love it too but I'm torn b/c of the kids being upset. We also agreed I will probably have to start working to help make up the income assuming he won't make as much wherever he goes. So, Last month he tells me he is going to put in his notice. I didn't think he would really do it without having another job secured or even knowing what he wants to do but he did it! He is in a high up position at his job so he told them he would stay until the end of August so they have time to hire someone else and learn the position before he leaves. He told people at work that we were going to switch roles when asked what he was going to do after he left b/c he didn't want to tell people he has no clue. As we were looking for positions to apply for he kept saying it's the same type of job he already has, he doesn't want to keep doing the same thing, he knows he's going to have to go back to doing the same old thing and be miserable, etc. Then it turned into him thinking I need to go back to work full time so he can have time to figure out what he's going to do. I told him I've been out of the work force for so long, it's not going to be easy for me to just get a full time job that can pay to even cover our house and car payment, let alone support the whole family. Also, I love being home with the kids, being able to be at their school, field trips, PTA, etc. I don't want that taken away from the kids and me. Another thing is we are left in a very bad situation with our lease being up soon. No one will rent to us without steady income. It would look better for him to find another job quickly until we can figure things out on what he wants to do. I told him I'm more than willing to work at night, can't he just work during the day, even if it's a lot less money, so I can still be with the kids but also be helping financially. I'm willing to move and take the kids out of their current school which would also mean me giving up my PTA position, downsize, live poor for the time being, etc. but I don't want to have to give up being there for my kids during the day. Oh, and I didn't mention, I have lots of health issues (three autoimmune disorders and three surgeries within a year and a half) which makes functioning difficult some days. Both of us thinks the other is being selfish. To me it feels like I'm the only one that will have to give anything up. He told me I should ask a third party so that's what I'm doing! What do you ladies think?

Edit: Thank you all for your responses so far! I wanted to add a couple things based off comments/questions.
Education- I do not have a degree. Right after high school I got a good job at a firm and worked there until I became a SAHM. My husband went to school for business and then decided a couple years ago he wanted to get a bachelor's in English. At first he wanted that degree just for himself but then he decided after he gets his degree he wanted to change careers. So, that's been the plan ever since.
Depression- The ladies that mentioned depression are very correct. He's battled depression his whole life. He tried many medications when he was younger and had horrible reactions so he has tried to cope with it on his own. He will do fine for a couple years, go through a bad battle with it, then be ok for a couple more years. Since he battles depression I do whatever I can to make him happy b/c I hate seeing him go through his bad depression periods.
PTA- I said I was willing to give that up. I just mentioned it b/c it is something that means a lot to me. He's actually the one that encouraged me to do it and now that he decided to quit his job abruptly says I'll have to give that up. And it's more than monthly meetings I do, I'm in the school working in the classrooms or office a couple times a week. As I mentioned about the depression I do anything to keep him happy. He wants something, I get it. He finds a new hobby, I support him and join in. He wants to go back to school, I support him. He wants to move us away, I support him. The PTA is the last thing I have of my own, so yes, it does make me sad but I am willing to give that up too.

Additional Edit- I was not going to address anyone directly and I do appreciate all of the responses so far expect- Jill T. from Oradell. I'm not sure why you ASSUME I was the one that EXPECTED to be home with the kids. I was THE ONE done at two kids. My husband wanted three. So, that led to me being home with the kids. Giving up a position that I worked hard for. At the point of me quitting we made almost the same amount ($2000 difference). Then he wanted to grow the family even more, I was COMPLETELY against this. ALL of our family knows this. But once again, I wanted to make him happy. So, we had four. I did not bring this up b/c I do not regret expanding our family beyond what I originally wanted b/c I LOVE my kids to death. And I certainly did not think I would have a "sweet deal". WE decided TOGETHER I would give up my career until our children were all in school.

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

Since I originally posted we have made some positive progress with our issues.

Jobs- My husband has been hired at two places for part time work and he continues to apply for full time work. I contacted my previous employer and am going to start working there again, full time during the day. The thought of getting back into the work force has grown on me and I'm starting to get a little excited. It helps knowing the company I am going back to is very family friendly and I won't have issues getting time off to still do field trips and work in the school from time to time.

Moving- We decided to stay in our current home and not move. We did go look at other houses but in the process it helped my husband see he doesn't want to take our kids out of the home and schools they love.

Marriage/Depression- My husband has agreed to go to marriage counseling with me. We need to learn to work better as a team rather than individuals. He acknowledges his depression affects him more than he lets on so hopefully he will get help for that too.

We still are going to have a rough time financially for a while but we're both feeling much better about our future and are going to give everything 100% together! Thanks for all of your opinions and advice.

Featured Answers



answers from Savannah on

My hubby went through a similar situation. The difference is that he found a job that improved the situation before quitting the other. I choose not to enable but to support. Moving 1,000 miles away from family was a leap of faith that I don't regret. Why? Because it saved my marriage & made us grow up.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Regardless of what he should or should not have done, since he already quit, I guess the two of you have to try to get employment fast. Hopefully he is not just refusing to look for a job and insisting on being the one staying at home, because that would be really hard to take. I guess when the situation is dire, you both have to do whatever you have to do. Whoever can find the best-paying job the fastest is the one who has to work, I guess. Hopefully if he ends up staying at home, he's a good stay at home dad.

Good luck with it.

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answers from Washington DC on

Oh sweet mother of God!! If my husband did this? I would be livid. Especially with no back up plan.

You guys need marriage counseling - TODAY!!!

I realize you state he suffers from depression? I can tell you as a recruiter and staffing manager - that he is in for a rude awakening if he believes he can just change career fields and make the same amount of money or enough to sustain a family. Get his butt to the doctor TODAY!! He needs to be back on meds. He needs to go to his work and say - "I'm sorry - I made a mistake, I'm not leaving. I got off my meds and made a hasty decision before my wife had her job." With the unemployment rate in Ohio at 5% (if you really live in Ohio), while that sounds LOW? It's TOUGH to get a job. Since your husband doesn't KNOW what he wants to do??? He needs to go to the unemployment office and see if they have a career satisfaction survey he can take.

He can use this link:

And see if he can get an idea on what he wants to do.

Here's a book on career change

He might be able to download on a kindle. If not - go to your library and check it out.

Here's another:

This is an online test...he should take that as well.

I too would support my husband - heck - my husband would love to be a janitor at a school or something like that - I told him - GO FOR IT. Do what makes you happy. I'd rather be "poor" and happy than rich and unhappy.

Your PTA experience is valuable, to be honest, get your resume updated and out there. Don't discount you're being a SAHM - it can be useful.

Get to a marriage counselor today!
Get him to a doctor TODAY! He MUST go back on meds before the family is homeless and has nothing.

I don't mean to make it worse. But I can tell you from personal experience - the phone doesn't ring that often with SOLID offers when someone just up and quits their job. I would have a hard time presenting that resume to my boss and saying "hey - he wasn't happy what he was doing so he decided to quit" my boss would laugh at me and tell me "NEXT" WHY? because my boss would say "how long will he last here? How long before he up and quits on us?"

The competition is high and tough. Your husband needs to go back to the office today and say "I made a mistake, I am not quitting."

Good luck!

18 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

i mean, i get that he's depressed and unhappy and needs a change. i feel for him. that's got to be tough.
but i really don't get men who have kids, families, commitments, and just toss them. and that's what he's doing. especially when his wife has health issues, and no guaranteed earning ability that will be able to support a family of 6.
it's lovely that you're supportive of him. i applaud you for being willing to keep going extra miles to accommodate all his wants (and they are wants, not needs.) but i think at some point you have to put your foot down and tell him to man the hell up.
WHEN you have a job lined up that's sufficient to support the family or WHEN he's got something in place that will fulfill all of his rather airy-fairy fantasies and WHEN you've found the perfect little place in the country with a picket fence that you can afford with the jobs you haven't yet found- then, yeah, uproot your kids and start afresh. kids are resilient and can handle that.
but to expect you and the kids to just sail along with him quitting his job, moving everyone, and you somehow finding something despite not having a degree or a career to return to is terrifyingly troublesome.
there's support and there's enabling.
men get overwhelmed. men get depression. men bear a disproportionate burden of the breadwinner anxiety, even today.
but this man wanted 4 kids and a stay-at-home wife. this man created a situation in which there are people depending on him.
he needs to stand up.

15 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

How incredibly stupid of your husband to put your family in this situation.

Everyone knows that you do not leave a job without a job lined up. What about health care? He has created a royal clusterf..k for you all.

Please get help for your family, his issues and more via counseling. You need a job asap and how unfair of him to do this to you and your family.

I am so sorry to hear that you have been hit with this so suddenly. He's going to "wake up" too late when you're homeless!

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

He's the single support for a family of 6 (you, him and 4 kids) and he up and quit?
Holy cats.
They say we're all about 2 paychecks away from living on the street.
I'm afraid you're going to find out how true that is.
There's no doubt that being the bread winner is stressful - but he's bailing out with NO PLAN on what to do next.
If he wanted to switch positions he should have taken classes at night school and got ready before quitting - AND the best time to look for work is while you're still employed.
There will be far fewer employment opportunities the more rural you move, and commuting to where the jobs are is expensive.

What if you do all he wants and he's still not happy?
Talk about major mid life crisis!
Are you sure he's not just going to leave the family and run off somewhere?
It happens.
I'm very sorry this is happening to you but your husband is acting like he's got some major screws lose and I think you can kiss your retirement, your healthcare and saving anything for college for the kids goodbye.
Get work asap and Hubby better get his act together else if he's not helping then maybe it'd be better if he left.

Did you ever think that maybe there IS NO CURE for his depression?
No matter what he does, he's going to be just as unhappy as he was before.
So saying YES to him all the time ISN'T HELPING - and it's going a long way to make everyone else miserable.
CHANGE isn't helping him because the change he needs to make is something inside himself - and he can/should do this while he's making a descent living at his current job.
He should swallow his pride and BEG to rescind his notice of leaving.
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.
This move in his career and uprooting your family will not help.
It's time (LONG past time) for you to start saying NO.
And he needs ongoing therapy and meds to deal with his depression.
If one med doesn't work, then he should try another, and another until he finds one that works for him.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

When we marry and have children, our priority is to support the family. You and your husband have forgotten this. I think it is amazing that you have been able to be home with the kids. I see huge value in that; however, your husband is clearly struggling with something, not sure what. Now it is time for YOU to put on your big girl pants and help support the family.

Hubby has jeopardized the family unit with his actions. He didn't think nor care about the consequences of his actions. I would be very upset that there was no plan in place and he put in his notice. You just don't do that!!!

Right now, survival is what matters not PTA. You need to find a job and so does your husband. Doesn't matter who the most selfish one is. Because its both of you. Get a job both of you!!!

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Marriage counseling for both of you STAT before your insurance and money runs out. If my husband did this, I'd have him committed to the psych ward.

If you think he is depressed now, just wait until the job rejections start rolling in or the phone doesn't ring. This is an incredibly hard job market and I'd be surprised if he doesn't take a huge step back or pay cut, after a LONG job search, just to put food on the table and keep the electricity on.

Keep an eye on your 6th grader. This is a HUGE adjustment year and they don't need the added pressure and family turmoil. If you don't think this type of thing affects them then you need to think again.

You need to quit being a Stepford wife and look out for the welfare of your family. Counseling NOW!

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

What's essential, and what's extra?

Essential things are: a place to live, that your kids have their mommy and daddy, transportation, basic utilities, food, and medical care.

Non-essentials are PTA positions and field trips and classroom volunteering, luxuries like HBO, expensive vacations, and everybody having their own bedroom and bathroom. Many good, loving, effective mothers do not have the luxury of being at school with their kids during the day. The PTA will go on. That should not be your deciding factor.

If by breakdown, you mean that your husband actually had a mental or emotional situation where he required medical attention, or needs medications, then his health is at stake as well as yours. If you mean he just had a temper tantrum that came and went, that's a different story.

But it seems that both of you have medical issues that need to be addressed. Perhaps a simpler lifestyle would be helpful for both of you. You can still be a good mom, and you can still eat dinner as a family, or have a weekend breakfast together. Your kids are in school now. You've been there for their infancy, toddler years, and pre-school years. Many moms don't even get that. Now may be the time to realize that for the sake of your marriage, your husband's sanity, and the health of both of you that it's time to let them go to school and trust that you've given them a good foundation.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I read through your post and your SWH.

I think the underlying issue is you're not functioning as a couple here - decisions like this need to be made as a couple, and he's really broken your trust. He hasn't respected you by making a decision that affects you all, and not discussing it with you.

That's pretty huge. It would more of a concern to me then everything else you mention. What's to say he's not going to do this again at some point?

I think expecting you to work, etc. is all just typical stuff that a lot of families go through - but the making a life changing decision without consulting you ... that's not ok. Depression or otherwise.

And you giving in - that won't help his depression either. Medication and counselling are what will help that. Otherwise you're kind of enabling him.

I'm sure you're well aware of all this - but what a situation to be in. I think I would be demanding he see his doctor and getting on medication at this point. You don't have to stand for this. I sympathize with your both your positions, but just reacting to what he's done won't help the situation long term.

Good luck :)

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

ooh how complicated and yet very simple.

Tyler and I made a huge move 3 years ago. California to Georgia. I've not worked in an office since the kids were born 16 years ago.

We are in a different situation. Tyler retired from the military and we can live off his retirement, as the cost of living in Georgia is much lower than California. We made money (luckily) selling our home in California, especially during a time when people were walking away from homes. We were incredibly blessed.

Hard part: I would tell Tyler to rescind his notice and get a plan in place BEFORE he quits. It was wrong of him to quit without having a back up plan, at least that's what I think.

Simple part: Your husband really needs to go back to the doctor and get back on anti-depressants.

Resolution: You need a plan. He needs to work until the plan is set and he or you have a job that will sustain the family.

I would tell him to go to a counselor at a community college and take a career test to find out what he is best at and what would make him happy.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Oh wow. This stresses me because my husband just started work again last month after 9 months of being laid off. We had a loan to sustain us for most of that, but then my parents had to kick in the last two's SO hard in so many ways. Had my husband actually walked away from his job, I'm not sure I would have been able to stay. Sorry, but that's not okay at all.

You should go get a job - it doesn't sound like your husband is on board with you continuing to be so involved. He wants the pressure off of him for a while. You both need to sit down and realize what is actually doable - because 0 income isn't it.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I think he was selfish in quitting without a plan that included keeping his kids clothed and fed.
I think you are selfish for implying that it's more important for you to be involved in your kids' lives than for your husband to be involved in their lives.

But, IMO, neither of those things matter right now. Fighting over who is being more selfish is missing the forest by focusing on the trees. Right now you both need to be full-out applying for any job you see so that your family doesn't end up without a place to live. And go through your budget to cut out anything non-essential (good bye cable TV, etc). IF you both get jobs, then you can fight about how to handle child-related stuff.

And, FYI, if you are working, you can still do the PTA in the evening and use personal days to go on field trips. And if your husband takes a job that isn't his dream job, he can use his evenings to figure out what he really wants and work towards that.

ETA And he told everyone that he is staying home, so who is he going to list as references on his job applications? This is a mess. Is there any way he can get his job back while he gets treatment for his depression?

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answers from Baton Rouge on

NEVER quit a job before having another lined up, no matter how unhappy you are.
ALWAYS have an income stream if it's within your control to do so.
Your husband was stupid and selfish to give notice before having another job.

You agreed to go to work if need be. Need IS.
You BOTH need to find something, ANYTHING, to bring in income until he finds the job he wants.

Re work while difficult - I have two chronic pain disorders, and I work two jobs. Yes it's hard. Yes, I ache all over every day. And yes, it's necessary. So I suck it up, take my meds, and do what I have to.

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answers from San Francisco on

Clearly your husband should not have behaved so rashly, but if I was in your situation I'd be a lot more concerned about supporting my husband, family and home than pouting about not getting to volunteer at school.
You need to shift your priorities. If you end up divorced you're going to be working full time and seeing your kids half time, and you'll NEVER have time to volunteer.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

I think you are both being selfish, and neither of you are. You both have your reasons for wanting the things you do and they are all legit. What I don't think your husband is doing is acting responsibly, at all. Of course my husband would love to quit his job and trade roles with me, but he realized that after being home for so long I would be lucky to make half what he does, and in the real world you don't just quit your job when you have a family to support. The fact that he wanted to do something different is great, the fact that he quit his job without having that lined up is irresponsible and it hurts your entire family.

I don't know where you will go from here, you will have to figure it out. But I would be extremely hurt if my husband left us in such a vulnerable possible, the end of August is closer then he thinks.

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answers from Chicago on

Your husband reacted selfishly by quitting a job that supports his family without having another plan. Did he give the least bit of thought to what this "different" job might entail or even if he is qualified for it?

It sounds to me like he will not be happy in any job. He has had several different jobs in the recent past and he can't be happy with any of them. What makes him think the grass is greener on the other side? I suspect he will have the same problems wherever he goes since the problem seems to be him, not the job. He's probably depressed.

I would be extremely upset if my husband put us in this position without a plan for how to get out of it. If he were responsible, he would have started looking for this other job prior to quitting the current job - that supports the whole family.

Yikes. Of course, if you want to stay married, you have to be a team player and give up what's important to you since he decided this for your family. And you are right. After being out of work for so long you will not be able to pick up where you left off. Employers will expect you to prove yourself again.

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answers from Chicago on

I think you both are selfish for not actually sitting down and having a legitimate plan and conversation the SECOND time he kept changing jobs and saying he was not happy.

Shame on you both for knowing he has a history of depression and not taking action AS SOON AS his symptoms returned and started to affect his ability to function. This could have been prevented. When was his depression last evaluated? Because it does have a lot to do with his ability to function.

Sorry if that seems harsh but there was very clearly a pattern of symptoms coming on for a period of years and a professional intervention could have helped you all cope with this (even while he resisted meds) before it led him to quit his job.

Your husband needs to go back to work and get his job back.

You both need to update your resumes, start sending them out, and start networking with everyone you know.

Once he gets his job back he needs to go back on his meds. I doubt the side effects are any worse then abandoning your family financially and leaving them without healthcare. Or get him back on the meds now while you have insurance ASAP.

Once the meds take effect you both need to talk about long term and short term goals and how two are going to work together to reach them. Use a third party, such as a marriage counselor, if need be.

Someone is going to have to provide for your kids and obviously you all need health insurance so whichever one of you gets the first solid job offer takes it and by the end of one year working you should have your goals lined up.

However you decide to resolve this, please keep it as stable and stress-free as you can for your children.

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answers from Philadelphia on

I sincerely hope you have a significant amount of money in savings. I can't imagine the stress your family would be under if/when the money runs out.

Your husband has responsibilities and obligations. How will he meet those without a job?

Best of luck to your family.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I totally get your situation because I was in almost the same one 2 years ago. From skimming some of the other responses I see people are really hard on you two, especially him, but I get it. My husband really couldn't work anymore. And it was really, really hard on our marriage, and on me to see him like that. So I went back to work full time and we moved. He did hang in at work until I found a good job though (highly recommend that). But I also didn't wait to start looking until he quit. Like you, I was warned in advance that the day was coming (your husband has been telling you for years he wants to quit, you say) so we prepared by saving money and looking at openings for me.
It is hard to switch roles and it is a sacrafice. Being a full time working mom is hard, learning to co-parent is hard (I did everything with the kids before), moving is hard. If I'm being honest, I do have a tiny resentment about it, but I know he carried us financially for a long time at a huge personal burden. But it's been really good for us. He's much happier in his new role and the kids are benefiting from his involvement and improved spirits.
The way I see it, you've had a good run. Many women are not as lucky. And your kids will still have some one- dad. I think you should try your best to support the family financially for awhile.
He may be right that he needs time off to decide what his next move is, although, in my opinion you lose the luxury of this time once you have kids.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

So every time he gets down about something he shakes things up for a temporary fix? IMO, I'd be asking him to consider therapy to rule out or treat depression. Then go over everything and decide as a couple what the next step is, because it sounds to me like he's resentful, but he also isn't going to fix it by forcing your hand.

You can still work for a PTA while working though maybe being an officer will be too much. But the more important thing is your DH's rash behavior that could leave you not in the country, but homeless.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

This is a tough situation. I feel the tug and pull that you describe in your post. It's not easy. However, one thing that both of you seem to be doing is talking about what you each want for yourself. In these types of situations, both people, in my opinion, need to "step it up." You've offered to work nights, which I think is a very mature and responsible thing to offer--I think you both need to meet each other half way. If I were you, it would be tough to watch my spouse quit his job knowing that he has a family to support. One should never do something like that unless a) he/she has another option lined up OR b) they have a significant amount of money to float on until the next job. I think what he did was not only selfish, but immature. With that being said, he seems to have a hx of depression, so that would describe the behavior in this situation. Sounds like the first thing he needs to do is get some help for the depression. It's tough to function with depression. I get it. For a period of time, you may both have to work, so that he can take the load off a bit and deal with his emotional well being.

I think when we get married, we know that the other person is going to go through ups and downs. For your husband, his depression sounds like a real challenge. Does he admit to having an issue with it? I would encourage him to seek help in a gentle manner. Offer to go wtih him to the doctor, if he needs that support. Tell him that you love him. Perhaps leveling with him will help you bond a bit over this challenging time.

I know it's hard, but no one said that marriage was supposed to be easy. We all go through different trying times. The key is to work through them and to come out stronger in the end.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Big changes like this need to be planned very carefully. Unfortunately, now you are going to have to make some quick decisions. After reading your entire post, I would have to say that your biggest problem will be finding a job that provides health insurance. With 3 autoimmune problems, you need access to health care and prescriptions. Can you afford COBRA? ACA? As far as you being home for the kids, it looks like that isn't going to happen in the immediate future, but it is possible that you will be able to manage that in the future. So, you might have to compromise for a bit right now.
My husband gave up a job he hated that had a long commute, but that also had great benefits. It took him four years of working two jobs (his full time job and a part time job in the field he wanted to move to) before he was able to finally quit. I have worked all through our marriage and while having kids. It is not easy at all. Some days are really exhausting and impossible, but it is what we have to do. I have another friend whose husband had a breakdown because of job stress. She had been a SAHM and then worked only a few hours a week when her kids were a bit older. He quit his stressful job and they switched places. Now they are both in jobs that provided enough income and health benefits and they are both happy. It is a very hard balancing act. I guess my advice to you is that you stop thinking of each other as being selfish and try to focus on being a team that is trying to solve a lot of complex, immediate problems. One step at a time. Good luck to you both.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I'd be FURIOUS if my husband quit his job w/o a backup plan! He is the one who is being selfish! He had a good paying job that he walked away from (or is about to walk away from). Can he "un-quit?" Maybe he can apologize profusely to his boss, blaming it on his depression? Hopefully he will be allowed to stay. Good luck!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

Wow! Why I certainly think your husband is wrong for quitting his job without another lined up, I completely disagree with the previous poster. It is NOT a man's job to provide for the family while the woman gets to choose what she wants to do. That is such a sexist and backwards idea! Both parties are equal in their responsibility and equal in the decision. Your husband has worked at a job he has hated for a long time to provide for the family. It's time for you to step up, which it sounds like you're willing to do, at least partly. You 2 need to sit down and have a little give and take where you both compromise. He needs to find a new job FAST and you need to find, at minimum, a night job to start with.

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answers from Santa Fe on

My husband has left his job twice now to go on to other jobs because he is unhappy. This has meant huge moves for us. I didn't want to move. This last time the kids were old enough that they didn't want to move and it meant big changes for them and a lot of struggles with being in a new school, bullying, making friends, being comfortable again. The first time we moved I was in love with where we lived and loved my life, my amazing part time job, our child's school, our neighbors, our friends, the art gallery I was a part of. It was heartbreaking. Then 6 months later my husband decided it was a mistake to move and tried to get his old job back...but they would not hire him back. His new job got old quickly. Now we are doing a 2 year thing in the DC area bc he wanted to take this amazing opportunity...and it has been hard for the rest of us. I personally am starting to feel kind of pissed about it. I think it's like a mid life crisis some men go through. They decide they are unhappy with their job and for their own happiness they make the rest of the family suffer. I now have to say I kind of think my husband has been very selfish. Now I feel like I have lost respect for him and our relationship is in a bit of a slump. I think we will pull through, but I wish I had just said no to the first move. So many friends told me to say no. I wanted him to be happy. I see now that perhaps he never will be happy staying in one place and will always be looking for something more amazing. I now think it is up to me to say no. enough. make your job work. For your husband to quit his job without having another job all lined up is very irresponsible. Looking at your life, I would say you are being an amazing mama and you have a lot on your plate...that you are excelling at. Your husband is the one being selfish. I would look into a half time job for yourself, and he needs to get a good job QUICKLY. I would not move the kids out of their school. I would not move at all yet. Tell your husband once they are all done with high school you can move to the country. He needs to suck it up for now and be a good dad and not put himself first. He is being very self centered. You never quit a job before you have been hired for something new with 4 kids. That is insane.

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answers from Fayetteville on

How many people really, really love their job? I'm not saying everyone hates their job, but most people are somewhere in between. I've had a few friends and/or friends' spouses want to completely reinvent themselves at 40 with 3 kids. Ummm...not such a good idea with mouths to feed. If hubby doesn't deal with his depression, nothing will make him happy.

I get the PTO/volunteer thing. I do a lot at our school and I enjoy it. It's a great benefit for you, the kids, and the school!

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answers from Pittsburgh on

He has worked a job he hated for 5.5 years so you could stay home with the kids. I think you owe him a LOT and need to go back to work full time ASAP. You seem to see your contribution as 'helping' but still see supporting the family financially as his obligation. That is not fair. I think helping out the PTA comes in a distant second to supporting your family. I am sorry about your health issues. However I cannot imagine too many jobs that you could not function at if you are able to manage 4 kids.

ETA: Of course one shouldn't quit a job without having the next lined up. But you don't say exactly what you mean by a breakdown. Have you been looking for work since he told you he was unhappy at his job?

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answers from Phoenix on

I would be beyond pissed. It's one thing to quit after having something in place but to just quit then when he cant find something put it on YOU to start working full time. Uh, hell no.

That being said, I worked at an insurance company for 15 years then one day I just had it and was D.O.N.E. I went home and told my husband I wanted to move out of state and start over so we did. He had been with his company for 10 years. We didn't have jobs but ended up finding ones and I guess it worked out (we got divorced but that had nothing to do with the move).

If I were you, I would sit him down and tell him all the things you told us. I would make it clear that you working full time while he sat at home and decided what he was going to do when he grows up is not an option.

I feel bad for you, this would more than stress me out. Good luck.

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answers from San Francisco on

Ditto Dana K. Your husband is stressed and supporting your marriage is more important than being PTA mom.

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answers from Cleveland on

People seem to be answering the question of whether or not your husband should have quit his job without thoroughly discussing. Of course he shouldn't have but that's done now. You said he had a kind of mental breakdown. Maybe he just couldn't continue. If this was a woman, I think people would be much more sympathetic. But question now is who is being unfair asking the other to go back to work full time. So he worked a job for 10 years he hated and it's unfair that now it's your turn? I don't get it. I agree with Katie how outdated it is that the man has to support the family. Lots and lots of women are primary breadwinners. You're making it like you're a victim here. He decided you'd have 4 kids and you'd stay home? You of course had a say. Now he wants to take turns working and not sure how that is not fair. Maybe it's not that practical but that's a different issue. He quit last month. Have you tried to find a job or just told him it's so unfair you have to? Maybe if you get a job and he sees it doesn't pay enough, he will get back on the ball. But you have to at least try. Maybe he's digging in his heels bc he feels like he's worked for 10 years at a job he hates and you won't even try. Why can't he be with the kids for a while during the day?

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answers from Los Angeles on

I am so sorry you are going through this. As the major breadwinner he
should not have just up & quit his job. This has put your family in an
unfortunate position.
I feel that men should definitely be able to provide for their family while the
mom is able to stay home & care for their kids if the mom so desires.
My husb pushed me to go back to work when our youngest wasn't quite 2yrs
old. I think that was prodded by issues w/SD.
I would tell your husb you'll look for a night job while he continues to look
for full time work. Tell him he's more desirable at this point as he just came
from a job. And coming from's much harder for a SAHM
to re-enter the workforce. Nobody seems to want to hire us.
I would help & support your husband in ways like downsizing, cutting back
on spending, finding a night job. But it was irresponsible of him to quit
his job w/o another one lined up as the primary breadwinner.
I would suggest he see a counselor as just someone to talk to, bounce ideas
off of but mainly it'll be to address his stress & depression.
I would not move out into the middle of nowhere & take my kids away from
their schools & friends. I'd draw the line. In the marriage there are 2 people
w/input. So far he's made his own decisions (quitting) & now insists you
all move out into the country. We all have wishes & dreams but when you
have a family you make certain sacrifices.
I wish you the best of luck. Hang in there. Talk to counselor yourself so
you are armed with good suggestions & tools on how to best handle this

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answers from New York on

No one can live their life in reverse. It was a bad idea for your husband to quit his job before having another job. With that said, someone has to get off their butt and get some money into the house.

One of the things I love most about my husband is his ability to endure the seemingly unbearable because it is what he may need to do at the time for our family.

Now that your husband doesn't have a job and doesn't want to return to that line of work, he needs to decide what he wants to do and then do it but he doesn't really have the luxury of time to mull this over.

I'm so angry at him for being selfish and not considering the family first. The question then becomes, what are you willing and going to do if he can't get his collective self together fast enough to prevent his choice from becoming a disaster to the family?

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answers from Jacksonville on

I don't think selfish is the problem. I think the problem is rashness. He gave notice at his job with NO PLAN for how the family would survive. He let his emotions take over and acted prematurely.

He should have been doing his research and self-discovery at night and on the weekends WHILE he was still employed. He's now finding out that he will do the same thing elsewhere, and what has it cost to figure that out? He's jeopardized the family's well-being. Where are you even going to live?? You are correct that no one is going to want to rent to you without stable employment. So what will you do?

I do think that saying you don't want to give up your time with the kids and that it isn't "fair" to ask that of you and them is a bit selfish. But, you countered that with offers to work at night. I just don't know how realistic that is, so it may have been sort of an "in name only" type offers and he sees it that way.
You must both be willing to compromise of course. But just giving notice at work and having no plan is NOT compromise. It's shortsighted and dangerous.

He needs to find another job (if he can't go back to where he was) and figure this out during his off hours. Moving the kids to a new school wouldn't be horrible necessarily. The one most affected will be the eldest, starting middle school. So, if you must move, the time is good to do that now. But even if you waited a year, it still wouldn't be ruinous to your kid. I moved in 10th grade (near the end of it) and it wasn't blissful, but I made friends and it worked out ok.

He need to find a job and provide for the family and maybe see a counselor a few times. He's got something going on that he needs help figuring out if he is willing to quit his job (as the sole bread winner) with NO PLAN on how to provide for your family, which has 4 children in it. That's reckless. I'm not saying he has to stay in his job forever, or that he can't take a job with a paycut, or that you shouldn't work, too. Only that you need to figure out how to accomplish this (whatever it is he decides he wants to do) without jeopardizing your family's stability. Is he ok with being homeless? Do you have relatives you can stay/live with and is he ok with that as a safety net? WHAT is the plan?

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answers from Kansas City on

Your husband did something impulsive and selfish and now you're having to pay the consequences. It's unfortunate, if he is depressed or what have you, but that's how I see it. Has he been in therapy for this? It shouldn't be sporadic or momentary, he needs long term, constant professional support. Doing whatever you can to make him happy is NOT going to make him happy, just make you miserable. It doesn't work that way. The bottom line is he will never be happy until he is happy within himself. The job isn't the issue (as evidenced by his multiple changes over the years, but yet he's still "miserable") It's not up to your job to "make" you happy. Your job pays the bills. As adults we have to accept that. And your job, or anything (or anyone) else in the world, isn't there to cater to our moods. He needs help - you are giving prime examples of exactly why. You've done everything, bent over backwards, to support what he thinks will "make" him happy. Again, it doesn't work that way.

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answers from Los Angeles on

Ok...I'm not getting into the specifics, but O. thing is CRYSTAL clear...if you're going to do this, you need to go about it correctly or you might end up living in your car, doing laundry in gas station bathrooms.

First, nothing changes until you have 6 months of expenses saved.
Then look for a cheaper house.
Then he starts looking for a new job.
Career counseling would help...he sounds like he has no plan. Not good.
What is he going to do with a degree in English?
Sorry--he can expect a woman with 3 kids to 100% shoulder the financial burden with no job prospects in sight.
IF he quits his day job? Better at least be working a job evenings & weekends to keep the bills paid while he stumbles on his dream job.

ETA: He needs to deal with this depression or I suspect these cycles will continue. Maybe the changes outlined can be contingent upon him seeing a doc, getting meds, therapy, etc. you can be on board but there's got to be a solid foundation.

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answers from Denver on

I am baffled by some of the responses, just wow. And I am so sorry you are in this situation. What your husband did is really unfair. Regardless of the impact of depression on his actions, it is unfair.

Of course couples need to both be willing to compromise and support one another's needs. He is not asking you to have a discussion to work out what is best for all involved, he launched you into this position. You do not seem like some selfish housewife who refuses to work. It would be one thing if he said "hey I really need to reduce my work life and change careers, could we talk about what this might look like?" He QUIT HIS JOB. He's leaving you little to no choice.

My husband has a super stressful job, and is becoming more and more unhappy with it. I have told him that if he feels like he needs to quit and/or change careers, I am totally willing to go back to work. I would also be willing to sell our house and downsize to reduce the financial pressure on him/us. Whatever he needs. I don't think he will take me up on this, he sees this as a burden to me. I think closer to retirement age, he may consider downsizing, and I will probably go back to work just to add some extra comfort. And years ago, he started out as a stock broker, and it completely blew up and he was let go. He realized he hated it. He needed a career change. But he refused to sit and figure things out- he got a job waiting tables to bring in some money and found a new career.

So I'm saying that I think you are awesome for your willingness to uproot your lives and support him through this time. But he can't just dump everything in your lap and expect you to take it- this is not the work/life balance expected in families.

However, what's done is done. If he quit- he quit. So what do you do now? Start by telling him you see that he is having a hard time, and you are willing to come together to see this through. You are willing to work- evenings or whatever. Maybe look into working in the school? This way you'll be near your kids and have similar schedules? Tell him you will explore working, but you'd like his support in understanding that being around the four kids is important to you.

Tell him you are happy to help him explore a new direction, but he needs to bring in some income in the meantime. He can work retail or anything right now while he figures out his next move. I really don't get men or people who do nothing to support their families while they "figure things out." So fine, he isn't ready for a new career- great. But he best get ready for some kind of job right now. There are so many resources. You mention he has his degree- are you still in the same town as his college? Most colleges have alumni career fairs or services, have him look into that. Even if you've since moved, I'm sure there is online help through the school. This will provide some direction and a start.

Great that your lease is up soon so you can find something cheaper if necessary. But seriously, get some income rolling or I'm afraid the other poster was right- you are on your way to living in your car.

As a side story, my sister and her husband both worked in advertising. They both got laid off. He announced that he hated 'being chained to a desk' and wasn't going to look for anything else, he would stay home with their daughter. So my sister had no choice but to find another agency. She says she is fine with this, but she often cries. Many nights she Skypes goodnight to her daughter because she is working so late and calls me so sad about that. During a blizzard in NY she had to trudge to the subway because hubby was afraid the car might get stuck and didn't want to take it out. She continues to accept his increasing demands on her. She tries so hard to enjoy being a career woman, and her work ethic is stellar. But my biggest fear is that their daughter will be grown and she is going to look back and be bitter as hell at what she missed out on with her. I don't want that for her, and I don't want that for you. That doesn't mean you shouldn't return to work in some form, it just means that it had better be because you decided it as a family and weren't forced into that decision. Good luck to you.

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answers from Chicago on

I can totally understand how you feel, and truly, sadly can understand how he feels. UGH...but the truth is,we need to eat and all of your information lends to thinking that he really jumped the gun and could you both in a terrible situation. It sounds like he basically is unhappy being tied to something,not necessarily the job. He may not like living in the country either. He may not like what he thinks he's going to like and now he put you in this position. On the other hand there are still possible solutions and a quick fix at that and it is to take temporary positions, sign up and perhaps alternate days until you can both do what makes you happy. You didn't say if you have any educational backgrounds such as college degrees. In which case if you did you could substitute for teachers or assistants. There are also temp places for mechanical type jobs.
This is seriously a very bad situation whatwith four children. You actually sound way to complacent about this, as I think I'd be screaming into the air at how scarey it is. And if you had several surgeries (am I to assume you aren't healthy yet?) then you need a third party to help you sort this out. Yes, I totally get it. Been like that myself and have spontaneously quit jobs, but was in situations where it wasn't affecting as many other people. Please go to someone if you can't work this out yourselves.

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answers from New York on

All I know is I would have loved to stay at home and be on PTA too but I was forward looking enough to realize my husband might decide to up and quit one day so I'd better be stable and keep my job. It was also a reason I didn't have four kids. I stopped at two bc of finances and I felt working full time and having more than two was not fair to the kids. I'd be spread too thin. So sorry but any time I hear a SAHM complain she may not be able to be home with her kids anymore bc of something her husband is doing, I am thankful I never took that chance and kind of feel like "well, you gambled you could have a sweet deal at home on your husband's back. It is ending. Sucks but if you're supposed to be equal partners, now it's your turn to carry the load". If my husband had a career that was stable and he loved it, maybe I'd have taken a risk too and had more than 2 kids. But he's always had jobs that were up and down. Your husband has a similar history and suffers from depression. So what did you expect?

Eta: additional background helps and I'm sorry if I insulted you. Same time, my husband also wanted more than two kids and has said countless times for me to quit and stay home. But I'm the more practical of the two of us so I said no. Your post was a lot about giving up the PTA. That's a luxury a lot of women have never had.

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answers from Detroit on

Hi there,

Wow. Even with your comprehensive post I am sure you were unable to include every dynamic involved in this situation. I agree with Christy, he did jump the gun. And getting a team oriented game plan together is crucial, as she also pointed out.

My son goes to a private school which is tuition based. This is our choice because it is a best fit for him. My husband earns enough on his own to support us but the tuition beast is hungry. My point is that I am currently working a job that I try not to say I hate, but it's close some days. I do it for the financial wellbeing of my family.

I am not playing any martyr (sp) card here. I am simply saying that we do what we have to during each chapter of our lives to provide financial stability and I think that your husband is showing some selfishness on his part in moving so quickly and without a plan. Sorry for the run on sentence. I know how it feels to dread a Monday morning but I also see the joy and pride when my darling son flourishes in a school that meets his academic goals and his social and emotional needs. He's worth every punch of that clock. I think your husband, with all due respect, is being rather myopic about this whole thing. It's not like you two are going to take turns supporting the family....that is something we all have to do as a team, especially in this day and age.

I know that when this financial chapter of our lives is closed and the next one opens I will be able to make other professional decisions for myself. One irony is that with his 529s since birth, college should be pretty much paid for....I am truly blessed with my boys.

But back to you and yours. Try to empathize but when you discuss this with him, make sure you articulate all the variables that you feel are important and try to organize a plan and a priority list that meets your needs and most of your wants.

best of luck to you and yours. S.

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