Stay Home Mom - Old Greenwich,CT

Updated on May 05, 2015
R.F. asks from Old Greenwich, CT
24 answers

Hi.. I am married, 3 kids and stay home mom. My husband gives me money for groceries and I get a disability check ( small) one for my son.. My husband doesn't pay my bills and it's really hard for me to do it all.. If the kids want to do a extra class or project, I put on a credit card.. Now I am over 10000 on MY cards..I. Debt over 7 years. I had none when we married. I guess my issue is that I'm depressed about this, and he says " too bad" to me if I tell him I can't pay all my bills. He has his checking account and I don't have access.. I think I would be better off Alone and get child support...

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So What Happened?

Well I am not a mail order bride, but thanks for that smh
I took out the credit cards to pay for kids activities. I pay my bills cause months he did, but made them late, or didn't pay. I took them back cause I was annoyed and he was happy as a clam!! I owns co-op and he came into the married with over 50 grand in debt. That was the deal. He pays for rent,cable, phone, his credit cards and preschool and car.. I pay the rest and I couldn't do it on my grocery and disability check. That is the truth!! I tend to help people when they are down... I hope my time comes when I don't have to so much. To all the support... Thank you!

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answers from Dallas on

So when ever you want to sign the kids up for something that he won't pay for because it isn't in the budget you charge it on a credit card? The two of you need to go to financial counseling. I suggest Financial Peace University.

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answers from St. Louis on

I have a hard time with this looking at your posts about wanting cosmetic surgery. Your husband is paying all the bills but isn't paying for unneeded stuff you want like cosmetic surgery. I can kind of see how he sees them as your bills.

How do you figure you will be better off alone? The courts will not give you any more access to his income as you do now. If he is paying all the household bills now figure you will get half of that and you will have to pay all of your household bills out of that. You will probably not get all of your son's disability check. You will have to work if you want to live half the life you have now.

I was a stay at home mom for 18 years and my ex actively kept me from going to school and earning a degree. He was also a high earner and that was the only reason I would have got spousal support until our youngest was 22. They do not award spousal support as a rule anymore, just child support.

I am really not trying to be harsh here, just explain to you the reality of divorce because you seem to be living in a soap opera at the moment.
Okay read a few of the answers. Her husband pays all the household bills, gives her money for groceries. Let's say her son's disability check is 300 a month though they can go up to 1,500. Can you think of 300 a month in projects for your kids? Before I got married I didn't have debt either. I would imagine most of us can say that. I didn't have debt while married until I had kids, they aren't cheap, ya know?
Ya know, I am putting off gardening, ya know, real work, so I went through more of your questions. You have a cleaning lady that you paid to do your laundry, pregnancy massages? I divorced a rather wealthy man and didn't find luxuries like that necessary. I considered being able to stay at home luxury enough. Sorry he is making you put your maid on credit, that is really so sad. I am sure the courts will think this is egregious and give you his whole income.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Salinas on

What do you mean "your" bills? He expects you to pay all of the household bills with no outside job? How did you allow this to happen? When a child wants to participate in an activity don't you discuss it as a couple? Did you agree to this financial set up when you married?

I have so many questions I cannot give you an answer. Seems to me this is not a marriage but a transaction of some sort. Your relationship with this man can't be good.

As to your debt, it's his debt too. Just like anything he has acquired since he married you. The court will recognize that you do work and it does have monetary value, even if your jerky husband doesn't.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Save any money you DO have. Hide it away.
Only buy the minimum groceries & go to the cheapest store. Don't buy extra
expensive items.
When the kids want to do an extra class project or you want to pay for them
to have swimming lessons...give him the bill to pay. If he balks, tell him "Oh,
you have the money so the bill goes to you. Thanks.".
Try to make any extra money you can: childcare, aluminum recycling, sell your jewelry you no longer wear (not your wedding ring or anything like that",
sell your old books/CD's, have a garage sale etc.
Hang in there. Be smart. Formulate a plan.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

Your husband is being a jerk but what were you thinking? You just put stuff on a credit card that with no job you would have no way of paying off?? That makes zero sense. Zero. Obviously you need to sit down with your husband and work out a budget. He doesn't want the kids to have any extra classes? I'd do my best to convince him otherwise if you can actually afford these classes. If you can't, then get a part time job, stop the classes, or divorce him. But continuing to rack up debt is senseless. I see you asked about liposuction though. Who is going to pay for that or are you putting it on a credit card too? That would also be foolish. I don't think your husband is fair so that's one issue but you could also work. I do. I'm the main breadwinner as a matter of fact. I don't get to be at home but I also don't have to depend on my husband. Lots of women work.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

Financially, you'd be much better off divorced with child support. What is this "mine and yours" stuff. Marriage makes it "ours". He should not be excluding you from any of the financial information. Your stay at home job makes his job possible. It's a joint effort.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I think neither of you are financially very savvy about how finances work when married. Your financial history and his financial history are connected and so is your future. Marriages are 50/50 venture, so are divorces, unless he's quite good at hiding assets.

Your situation is depressing, because your married to a man who doesn't give a damn about any other expenses in your life but groceries!! Please see that. There is no way I would stay in a financially demeaning situation as you describe. You and your kids, your family, are worth way more than the allotted monthly grocery $$ he doles out and then tell you to 'too bad' about the rest of your life or commitments or interests.

My hunch is that he is disconnected in other ways from you and your kids and this marriage. Not just financially. As I couldn't imagine enjoying down time, fun time, vacation time, sex, planning for the future with someone this financially controlling and insensitive.

And it's probably near impossible to bring this topic up in a safe way, in a way you know you'll be heard and respected.

The Bottom Line R.....your $10K credit card debt is HIS debt too because you're married. He doesn't get to ever walk away from that being married to you. The banks have every right to come after him for payment.

You have some serious financial planning and budgeting to iron out. You would benefit from a financial counselor first, then a marriage counselor.

He has to pitch in more financially.

I am very does one end up in a financial arrangement where you agreed to receiving only grocery money? What about kids' clothes, haircuts, school supplies, school activities, sports, hobbies, health supplies if sick, replacing lost items, gas and maintenance for cars??? Go onto any budget site and get a list of regular household expenses and show it to him....where in the heck are you supposed to come up with that extra?? Are you supposed to use your son's disability check to cover it?? As that would be rather unethical of the purpose of that $$.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Yeah, something's not right here.
So he's paying all the bills (house, electric, insurance, etc.) and he gives you money for groceries, right?
What about savings, retirement, college savings?
Maybe there's no money left over for extra kids' classes and cosmetic surgery.
I suggest that you stop putting this stuff on the credit card, and get a part time job to pay for all the fun things you want.
Trust me honey, you won't be able to support yourself on child support alone.
Are you a mail order bride or something like that?
You have a LOT to learn about the economy and reality of supporting a family in America.
Do you actually love or even care about your husband, what's the deal?

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

The issue isn't money. The issue is the division of money.

Lay out all the bills, especially the ones for the kids. Lay out all the incoming money. Figure out how things get paid. I make far less than my DH, but if my DD needs something, that's not "my" money or "his" money, but family money. If the kids need something, their father (right?) needs to step up.

Some other posters mentioned surgery - was he against you getting surgery and that's what he won't pay for? What are "your bills" vs his bills? And why isn't he taking care of the kids' activities? Does he think they are not necessary? And if so, why? Does he have a valid reason? My DD is in dance class, but we did not enroll her in a class we felt was too expensive, nevermind that she was interested. We wouldn't renew the pool membership if we had a necessity to pay for. It's hard to tell here if he's just being a jerk or if there are other reasons he won't pay for more.

You say you are $10K in debt. Just kids stuff? Or what?

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I'm trying to get a handle on your situation, so I read some of your prior posts. If I'm reading things right, you have one son from a prior marriage (had him when you were 25). In February, you posted that you have 4 kids, but here you say 3. So maybe you mean 3 with this husband, and you get a disability check for the first child you had with a different husband? You also said you are 50 but in 2012 you posted that you had an infant and were breast feeding. I don't know if there are some typos in there or if you had a miracle infant in your late 40s. And if you had a child at 25, that child is now grown and out of the house??? I'm trying to figure out your husband's attitude and the dynamics of the family. Why does your husband say that there are "your bills" and not his bills or family bills? Even if he is separating out your first child (which he shouldn't), why aren't these children and their needs and projects HIS problem?

If you can't afford extra classes and "projects" (you don't say what sort), then you can't get them. But these are family decisions and part of the family budget. He has a legal obligation to pay for his children if you are at home and he is working. If you are spending on frivolous things that aren't necessities, then you need good credit counseling to control your impulse buys. But if he's not covering essentials, you need a good mediator or lawyer to tell you your rights. You can't just put $10,000 on a credit card and let the interest and penalties accumulate. And you should not be considering all that cosmetic surgery if you cannot pay for household essentials. I'm sure most of us would like to consider some pampering and some feel-good things, and weight loss (which you've mentioned often) is a worthy goal. But cosmetic surgery is a big deal, both medically and financially.

I think you and your husband need a good counselor to help you sort out your financial priorities, which things with the kids you say "yes" to and which you say "no" to, and to help sort out the legalities involved.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on


You're right.
You WOULD be better off alone. Sheesh. What a jerk!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Everyone has their own financial arrangements that work for their situation, but this obviously doesn't. My husband and I have joint finances and make joint decisions. Some people keep a separate account for themselves but have a joint checking account for bills, that sort of thing.

Just because you are a SAHM doesn't mean you shouldn't have money.

Can you do up a budget and go over it and have a "bill" account? Have the kids' projects' costs go in that too.

Personally, I think so long as you are reasonable, you shouldn't really have to ask your husband for money. The fact that you are in debt to that extent shows you are not working together.

Counselling. Otherwise it will just get worse and you more depressed.

Good luck :)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Seems to me that your bills ARE his bills whether he likes it or not.
As your husband - creditors can and will go after him for the money.
You might need a lawyer to get you access to his checking account or have his wage garnished so you can put it into your own account.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

Mom, I doubt that your husband would pay child support if you got divorced. He sounds like a miser. And if you think that the court will make him start paying right away, you are naive. He will try to "starve you out" in order for you to accept pennies on the dollar...

You need to stop spending ANY money on anything. Don't use your credit card anymore. When he wants to know why something doesn't get done, tell him that you don't have any money for it. Take the grocery money and buy the bare minimum and put the rest on your credit cards.

When you marry, a husband's debt is also his wife's. The wife's debt is the husband's. There is good AND bad in that. A spendthrift spouse makes it really hard on a marriage when the income and debt doesn't support too much spending. A miser like your husband who thinks that the family's debt is not his just destroys a marriage.

You need to get him into financial counseling with you. I'd tell him he's out of your bed until he goes. If you have made unwise spending decisions, you will have to own up to that with the counselor. If you are buying what needs to be bought for the children and he refuses to see that as his responsibility, then he needs to be held accountable for that.

You work hard as a stay at home mom. He has no respect for that. If you had to pay for someone else to come in and clean, cook and provide childcare, including for a special needs child, it would cost a lot of money. The counselor will try to get him to see this.

I sure hope you stop having kids. Why you'd continue to have kids with a man like this, I don't understand.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

What do you mean by your bills?
Do you mean the mortgage, the electric, the gas, etc?
Or do you mean that you go out with your credit card and buy designer clothes, mani/pedis, or other extras that your family can't afford?

There is a very big difference, and it's impossible to answer your post without knowing which scenario you mean.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

They aren't YOUR bills, they are your and your husband's bills. And I assume they are also your husband's children?? Why are you supposed to be the one to pay for your kids' needs, and not your husband?

I know that married couples arrange their finances differently, and that sometimes people have good reasons for keeping their finances separate (see Sadie's example). I know one couple who does what you and your husband do, and they are both not very responsible with money.

In my last marriage, I had the same financial arrangement with my husband that you do -- I got my allowance like a little kid -- and it was NOT good for our relationship. And by the way, I was good with money and not a spender.

The next time I got married, I told my husband that his income was going to be OUR income, even when I was a stay at home mom. So we have a joint checking account and I handle the bills.

You and your husband have been doing it this way for a long time, so I don't know how you will convince your husband to change your financial arrangement. But I think, unless you are terrible with money, that your arrangement needs to change. You are a FAMILY and they are HIS kids too.

You might need to go to a financial counselor to help you work out a different arrangement. Because your current financial arrangement isn't healthy.

Good luck.

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answers from Washington DC on

He obviously doesn't realize that if you rack up bills and have a horrible credit rating etc., or creditors come after you, or the IRS comes after you, HE is going to be the next one they come after to pay YOUR debts.

I would see both a marriage counselor and a financial counselor immediately. Of course he will not want to pay for either (your bank will do free financial counseling, though). You need marriage counseling IF you want to try to salvage this one-sided marriage, because he has some idea that you and he are independent of each other.

He does not pay for his kids' classes or projects? Nothing? Theyr'e his kids as much as yours. What are these other bills that he won't pay and considers "yours" and not his as well? What does he pay -- the mortgage or rent and nothing else? Gas for the car? Does he pay car payments? Does he pay for medicine for you or say it's your bill? What about the kids' medical care? As the kids get older, will you and not him pay for school field trips, school supplies that get more expensive each year? Does he pay for the kids' clothing?

It would help to know how deep his idea of "you pay your own bills" goes here.

Please be aware: What you describe is not normal in most married couples, not to the degree you describe. Sounds almost like he wants to punish you and your kids for daring to do anything other than eat the groceries he so graciously pays for.

Counseling, immediate, you can find low-cost or sliding-scale counseling at your local women's center (search "women's center" online for your area) or via your county or city mental health department. If he won't go, YOU go alone to decide how to handle him and how to get your personal credit rating back on track and pay off your bills.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Barbara on

It is hard to know the whole story.

I have a relative (he was sweet and gets taken advantage of a lot) who married someone from a 3rd world country. She would get credit cards and rack it up and cause him to do many (work extra get rid of college savings for kid from other marriage) things to bail her out. He finally said no more. They ended in divorce. She was very greedy and only saw him as a money source. She would cry and say he was stingy and doesn't give her anything.

Did you know this about him before marriage? He should be paying for the kid classes and possibly telling the kids 'no, that is too expensive' if that is the financial situation in your household.

You saying you would be better of alone getting child support says a lot about your love and commitment to him.

If I was in your shoes the way you explained it I think I would be depressed too. This is not the way a happy healthy marriage works.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Williamsport on

If you have not already laid out a different situation that you need from him, I guess do that first. Sounds like he made things the way they are, and he's gotten away with it. Maybe you've complained, but when he says "tough" you just carry on. I'm not blaming you, but I see why he has continued if he could get away with it.

So. If you can lay down some sort of real and true ultimatum like, "OK, guess what. I'm a hard-working, loving, financially responsible mother and wife and I'm in personal debt over my own personal bills and those from our children's expenses. This arrangement no longer works for me. It is degrading and has made me depressed for years. I will not continue this way. I need guilt-free joint access to your account as your wife. I need our bills to be our bills, inclusive of everyone in our family, including me, and including the kids. I will continue to contribute as I always have, but I will no longer go into personal debt over our children's expenses and my expenses. I want to seek counseling with you to come to an arrangement we can both live with. I realize you may not want to do that, but I love you and hope you do. If not, I will be filing for divorce, because I can't live like this anymore."

And mean it!

You may want to seek legal council first-many lawyers will talk to you for free, to see what you can expect in a divorce.

Also, sounds like you need some help. I know it sounds drastic but maybe ask a women's shelter for guidance for where to turn. His behavior is actually very abusive, and he's not reasonable. He won't admit or feel fault for this most likely. You have been manipulated for so long, I think you need help with finding and enforcing your boundaries.

Good luck and sorry he is so cruel.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

I have to agree you might be better off alone with the child support. If you agreed together that you would be a stay at home then that means the money he brings in belongs to both of you. My husband has never restricted my spending as a stay at home parent, he understands we made this choice together and therefore anything he brings in is "ours". I would not want to remain with a man who had so little respect for me, my needs, or the agreements we made.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Louisville on

If you get divorced, your husband will be expected to provide child support, but so will you. He won't be expected to provide support at such a level that you can stay home, not work, pay off your debts, and carry on as usual and/or better with your kids. Not to mention, depending on how custody goes/is split, child support may be minimal or you may be paying it to him.

You need to be realistic and NOT look at child support as your main source of financial support.

You should look at financial and credit counseling, individual and marriage counseling, and perhaps a consultation with a lawyer to ascertain your actual legal situation.

And then perhaps you should consider getting a job. It sounds like being a stay at home mom is a luxury you can't afford.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Keep your check for your spending money and tell him you are giving the bills to him. He can take over paying them. If he won't take them then let them go for a couple of months.

The reason I say let them go is I'm hoping their things like utilities or something. Stop allowing him to do this to you.

He is controlling you by doing this and it's crazy. Please take a chance on this. I think if you simply make payments on your card and get it down to zero then cut it up you'll feel a whole lot better and hopefully he'll have learned a lesson.

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answers from Washington DC on

Thais is not how marriage and family works. Your kids are his kids and your bills are his bills and his money is your money. He is a jerk and wants to control you. Get some help to take back some control and get out of that situation. Do you want your kids to have this kind of married life? This is what they are learning from the two of you and it is not healthy and loving!!

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answers from Los Angeles on

he works and you don't?
we are a one income family here. he pays the bills and gives me grocery money. anything beyond that we talk about and either he agrees and we get it or he says no and thats the end of it. if its a small thing that i can fit into the grocery budget then i do that. but i don't have to worry about paying any bills of my own.
consider a pt job or a crafty think you could do and sell online (crochet, knitting, quilts, artificial flower arrangements etc. i quilt and crochet and sell items fo extra cash.)

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