Do husbands sometimes envy their stay-at-home wives?


#1

Hello,

I’m trying to put my finger on a new dynamic within our marriage… First a quick history: I graduated nursing school in June, and took my dream job in Labor & Delivery working (3) 12 hour night-shifts per week. Shortly before I started this job in August, we unexpectedly discovered that we are expecting our third child. Shortly after I started the job, I started having unstable blood pressures, elevated blood sugars, and panic attacks that I couldn’t really medicate because of the pregnancy.

We made a decision together for me to resign for now and go back next year after the baby is born. My husband assured me many many times that this was what he thought was for the best. When I returned home from resigning (the first day of October), I sat down to share what transpired in my meeting with my manager. He was watching Fox News and seemed distracted. I pointed out that maybe this was not a good time for us to talk because he was busy with the news, and he blew up, threw the remote down and left the house for 5 or 6 hours. He never would really say why he blew up other than he was upset that I wasn’t talking.

Now, this is the first time in our marriage that I’ve been a stay-at-home mom. I’ve always owned a business, or been a student, or been working. Now that I’m just home, he’s always making comments about how he’s the one who has to get up at 5:30 in the morning and that he’s the one who should be tired, not me. I’ve been doing all of the housework except for the lawnmowing, yet one night when I asked him for help tidying up one night, he started picking on how I had loaded the dishwasher. I asked him why he’s got to give me a hard time just because I asked for his help, and he yelled, “Because ***I ***WORK!!!” Yet, I cannot recall any time so far in our 5 years of marriage that I’ve been able to provide so many home-cooked, well thought-out meals, had all of our clothes laundered and put away, kept all of the bills caught up without having to make those last-minute payments because I’d too busy to remember, and had plenty of time to spend with the kids on reading and baking and just discovering life together.

Now when he comes home from work, he just wants to eat dinner and watch the tv all night. He’ll usually lets me sleep in at least once on the weekend, but when I get up the children haven’t been fed and there’s a disaster throughout the house because he just lets them run wild while he watches tv.

I’m trying to figure out if he’s jealous that I’m “just staying home and not working:shrug:”, or if he resents me for actually going through with my resignation (which was really hard for me to do because I’d worked SO hard to get there). So, do husbands sometimes feel jealous of their wives because they don’t understand what being a stay-at-home mom entails?


#2

So, do husbands sometimes feel jealous of their wives because they don’t understand what being a stay-at-home mom entails?

Oh yes!! Unless your husband has had the experience of doing everything at home, he probably thinks that you have a really easy time of it and are, most likely, lying about most of the day doing nothing!

Men frequently have absolutely no idea of the time and work involved in caring for home and children. Even when they have some experience of caring for home and children they have a totally different take on it than women. Men tend (yes, I realize that I am generalizing here) to do the absolute minimum when it comes to housework while women take greater care with the details.

Your husband appears to be resentful of you being at home. He also may be feeling insecure, financially, since everything depends on his income right now.


#3

I agree with Joan. :thumbsup: However, I can’t imagine getting that upset over such small things like you wanting to share your day with your husband during Fox News. Perhaps there is something more bothering him. Work pressures? Regardless, if you have two “little ones” at home, you ARE working fulltime! My advice would be to get a babysitter for a night and take your husband out on a date night and away from the TV. Then gently discuss, with your husband, your concerns.

… and yes, Joan is also right about husbands hating to do housework. BUT, some of us do it anyway. :smiley:


#4

Does your husband make a lot of money, is his job stable? Maybe now that you’re not working he feels a lot of stress and fear because it’s on him to support the whole family, and if he loses his job you’ll be in trouble.


#5

BINGO!!! He’s gone from having a safety-net to adding a third child and losing the safety net all in one fell-swoop. I expect he’s feeling tremendous pressure and stress. This economy is bad, almost all of us who are husbands of stay-at-home mothers are extra stressed right now.

Back to the original question, though: I’d swap with my wife in a heartbeat. No questions asked. I’d downsize our lifestyle to do it, since she wouldn’t be able to equal my income. I wouldn’t think more than a nano-second about it either.


#6

Bingo… you hit the nail on the head.

And yes, I am very envious of my wife’s ability to stay home.

And for the record; men do not do the least amount of housework possible, we just find much more efficient ways to do things around the house.:thumbsup: I don’t have a clue why my wife thinks its gross to wash the potty chair in the dishwasher :eek: And why in the world do we need to seperate loads of wash (other than to fit them all in the washing machine):smiley:


#7

*I think it has to do with the economy, and an overall sense of insecurity many working people (people who earn a paycheck) have these days. I know I think about it. I make a very good living, so does my husband. We don’t live lavishly, but should one lose his/her income, we would have to change things. I try not to think about it, because it’s not productive. I’d revisit the conversation with your husband. I would try to see things from his point of view. I was a SAHM, and then when I went to work, I could see my husband’s stress a bit better. Men are often not great communicators when it comes to truly what is irking them. (sorry, guys, it’s true lol) They tend to get upset over random things, and to us, it doesn’t make sense. We tend to take it personally…and why not? The comments are directed at us.

But, if you have a heart to heart with your husband, when it’s quiet at night…face to face…it might make all the difference in the world. Just to know you’re there for him during these unpredictable times. That’s the thing–the volatility of this economy. It’s like being in a fight, and you don’t know who you are fighting. But, everyday, we have to get up, and trust in the Lord. I would also ask your husband to not make it sound like he is the one doing everything, and you do nothing all day. Being a SAHM is tough. Same thing applies, he has never done it, he doesn’t know.

If your husband is stressed out, he most likely IS VERY TIRED. Stress and worry can take a lot out of a person. I would get to the bottom of it, before it hurts your marriage. Good luck and prayers going out to you.*


#8

*And for whatever it’s worth, I’d refrain from asking him to help with chores, for a little while. If he chooses to help out, that is great–but if you are home all day, it’s really something you should be doing…unless you have a house full of little ones to keep after, or you live in a mansion…the house cleaning, and so forth should be left to whoever is at home.

When I was a SAHM, I was a nanny, watched several kids, and still kept up with the chores. There were days when I was sick, and my dh would stay home from work. But, on most days, I did the chores, and didn’t ask for help. It would be like your husband asking you to go to work, when he walks in the door. :o He wants to relax. If you are both working, and no one is home, it’s a bit different. That could be what is running through his head, a bit.

Hope that doesn’t sound offensive, but I marvel at how many SAHM’s think a husband should walk in the door and then put in 2 to 3 additional hours of work, helping around the house. Unless the person staying at home is at risk of health issues, etc, it should be left to the person who is home all day. When my husband walked in the door, that was his time to spend with the kids, and I would take care of the dinner dishes, etc. I think that is fair. I was far from June Cleaver, believe me…but, I just believed that my husband shouldn’t have to come home and do laundry, and dishes, when I was home all day. (unless I was sick, of course)

Kittery–not saying you expect your husband to do 2 to 3 hours of work when he walks in the door, I’m just speaking of people I’ve known in my life, who have that mindset. Not you! :o*


#9

I think it’s a combination - like others have said - the WEIGHT of having 3 kids in an unstable economy with a stressful job is ENORMOUS! I guess it depends on the industry, but for many jobs, you don’t just leave work at your desk - a LOT of that stress is carried around 24/7 - it can burden you in the back of your mind ALL the time (I know, I work full time and experience this). When you come home from work, you aren’t always totally “off work” because some issues are constantly being worked in your mind. Maybe nursing wasn’t that way for you, but maybe his career is that way - just something to consider.

I totally agree - and I’m NOT saying Kittery is even coming close to this either, but I am also amazed at home many SAHM’s have those expectations. My mom was like this. She never had a job until I was in high school, and yet every single day when my dad came home from work HE would cook and clean and make sure mom had her glass of wine so she could relax on the couch! :eek: Dear God I’d NEVER expect that from my husband and I only gained this perspective after watching my dad burdened with ALL the housework. I still can’t get over it. (Don’t get me wrong, I love and adore my mom, but I’ve learned many things from her example :o)…

Anyway… I would be as sympathetic as possible - ask about HIS day and see if there are ways that you could help him relieve his stress. (((HUGS))) to you and hope you’re doing better soon!


#10

*One more thing, and I’ll stop contributing here. :stuck_out_tongue:

Something that jumped out at me, is his desire to watch tv so much, and let the kids run wild. On some level, I think your husband thinks the RAISING of the kids is only your job. No, that is a shared task. Doesn’t matter if you’re not working or you’re both working or whatever. Raising the children, is both of your responsibilities. And I don’t think it’s fair for him to let the house get trashed on the weekend, and you’re having to do double duty to clean it up. So, that needs to be addressed. Calmly, but it has to be discussed. I’m thinking he is depressed. Not depressed as in long term, but something is troubling him so much that he uses tv as an ‘‘escape.’’ Seems like he is a bit resentful, but maybe it is fearful, and men don’t do well with ‘fear,’ so they tend to escape reality for a little while, either on the computer, tv, etc…to ‘cope’ with it. I think that is what is at stake here, just guessing of course.

The key to the whole SAHM thing working is making sure you’re both understanding one another’s needs. You have needs at the end of the day, and so does he. Try to meet each other’s needs, and the resentment or fears that he is feeling, will dissipate. God bless. :hug1:*


#11

Wow, EM. Your mom had it made. :smiley:

Yes, kittery, we are only sharing the EXTREME perspective. Not saying you are remotely expecting this, but I probably wouldn’t ask him to do the chores for a while…ask him to play with the kids, take them somewhere. Or plan a picnic or something, where you all can get out of the house for a little while, and spend time together as a family. That might help, too.*


#12

OH yeah!!! My now exhusband oh man, would hate me when I didn’t work! I had to work before and after all my pregnancies! With my first pregnancy I was put on bedrest close to my last trimester, with my second pregnancy I had finally stayed home for a year with my daughter and was asahm but miserable because he was the breadwinner and I was the lazy one! With my 3rd I was then raising 2 children one school aged, so I was really busy and then I was still the lazy fat ***! Then went and got a job and oh how he loved me then but used the excuse that I had to clean up house take care of kids cook wash etc because my job was sitting down doing nothing while his was physical!!! I never got a hand from him ever! And he wondered why I left him??? He wouldn’t change diapers unless I would literally throw the diapers and baby wipes at him and would walk out the door telling him he wants a maid he can go pay for one and that they were his kids too! HE would then say things like “you’re the one whom wanted kids, you opened your legs, you decided to get off bcps!” It was devastating!

My mother would always tell me it was my fault because I let him do this to me…She was like “if you would have put your foot down from the begining about child rearing etc then he would have nothing to say to you about you staying at home with your kids!” Whatever…

Being someone whom went through such horrible things I would like to tell you to just ignore him, take care of your kids, yourself, your home and just ignore him give him the silent treatment till he comes around! But I need to give you better advise! So what I am going to suggest is that you talk to him…Let him know how you are feeling and the problems with your pregnancy!

I am pregnant with my 3rd baby from my fiance, outside of marriage, this hit us both really hard from one stupid night of passion, which of course I don’t regret, but I am going crazy!!! My hormones are so out of if I am sick, I don’t feel well at all and I am on borderline of bipolar LOL seriously! I blow up at everything that he says that upsets me! BIG TIME! I have talked to him about it, we have been doing better with each other not blowing up on each other…and he’s been helping me a little more. I am not trying to complain at the dirtyness of my house with my kids, I feel too weak to deal with it I find no strength whatsoever. I work and with 3 kids oh man I have my hands full and now this pg that has me going bonkers?! IT is devastating…AND he didn’t know nor understood what was going on…Now he does a little…It’s taking him a bit to accept the situation and to be more patient and gentle with me but it’s a work in progress…So talk to him…Bring some books about prenancy written by doctors and even other mothers like “what to expect while expecting” that helped me out in my first pg maybe I should read it to my fiance because this is his first child and doesn’t know what’s going on…you know?!

Every pregnancy is different, believe me this is my 4th and OMG I am having the biggest problems lack of sleep no eating nausea 24/7 no appetite, super thirsty and dehydrated no energy I have to nap during the day and I am up at 4 every morning unable to go back to sleep very restless it’s no fun never went through this before! :frowning: BUT like I said every pg is different! So you hubby needs to learn that and understand that you know?! So the more you two talk about things the better! Don’t hold back just be honest with him and talk to him…Have a moment of privacy and come together and talk!

GOD bless let us know how it goes k! Good luck.


#13

A point that no one seems to be addressing is that she is having medical issues that caused her to make the decision to stay at home. She mentioned blood pressure, blood sugar and anxiety issues so she has a very legit reason to not be working, esp. 12 hour night turn shifts.

I’m a nurse as well that works 12 hour shifts in an ER. Honestly, no matter what specialty you work in, 12 hours on your feet as a nurse is HARD AS HELL when you are pregnant and if you are having medical issues it is definitely NOT APPROPRIATE for you to work right now. I am a healthy young adult and working 12 hour shifts is very tough. If I didn’t have such good help and support from DH I dunno how I would’ve gotten through this pregnancy so far working full time. Also, I’m offended by the OP’s husband saying things like “because I work” because I know the OP must be a hard worker cuz she went through nursing school with 2 children (no small feat, nursing school is hard even with no children to deal with!) and worked full time nights on L&D which is stressful.

I understand that the husband is probably feeling overwhelmed with being the sole-breadwinner and the burden of another child on the way, but honestly he is treating the OP like ****. It is not her fault these medical issues came up and she worked LONG and HARD to get her degree to be a registered nurse to only now have to stop.

Frankly, I find the OP’s husband behavior juvenile. He needs to discuss with his wife what is bothering him and just because she is now a SAHM doesn’t mean his responsibilites as the dad has ceased. This whole letting the kids run around while he watches tv is acting like he’s 13. He needs to grow up and toughen it out. She will be going back to work when the child is born so it’s not like this is permanent.

Sorry if my opinion seems harsh, but OP has legit medical reasons to stop working and honestly what if she ends up on bedrest before the end??? How with the OP’s DH treat her then and the children??? What if she ends up with pre-eclampsia or gestational diabetes? Prayers for you and your family OP during this difficult time.


#14

No,when they were young because the first-born was up all night just about every night for several years while the second was chronically active in the day. He loved to go to work. I was the jealous one.

Yes, as the kids grew older because he envied the fun things I did with them (not knowing how tired I still was because the oldest was still which chronic health problems).

And no now because I have a part-time job (which I may lose soon incidentally) helping the finances and still do 90% of the home management! But, I am no longer jealous. Teens are actually easier.


#15

*This is a very good point. I definitely think that if someone is home and at risk health-wise, it’s understandable, and should be a no brainer, to help with the chores, on the part of the person who is not at home. He could just be dealing with the economy, change, his wife’s medical issues…When people act out, there are reasons. I think that they need to just have a heart to heart, and see what the problems are. I glossed over your medical issues, kittery, forgove me. :blush: It wasn’t intentional.

Praying that you and your dh can get on the same page here.*


#16

My wife stayed at home for many years, and just recently went back to work.

It’s easy to get into the dynamic of the husband working outside the house and bringing in a paycheck and the wife working inside the home and responsible for it’s running. If the wife lets the husband get away with it, he will do as little as possible, because “I do my job without your help, why can’t you do yours without mine?”

You two need to come to an understanding about the division of duties. And, if your husband expects to have a nine to five or eight to six job, why should he expect you to have a 7AM to 11PM job? Because you don’t really do anything? Nip that in the bud quickly.


#17

I’m in a unique position… I can see a couple different things going on.

My wife has been a SAHM for the last 1.5 years since our daughter has been born.

I work from home almost every work day out of the year other than when I travel - about 5 weeks spaced throughout the year.

Not seeing it each and everyday would certainly not tell the whole story as to how much time and dedication she gives to our daughter and the house. One would never “get it” I don’t think if they haven’t experienced it first hand to see what takes place each and every day.

That doesn’t give your husband the wild card to play of not doing anything around the house. He’s still a husband and dad and needs to uphold his end of the deal.

In our situation I do all the routine maintenance and we share in the shopping, cleaning & cooking. No issues there. I do the money management and bill paying.

When I’m done with work - I make it a point and more so - desire - to be involved with our daughter. I help with the meals, bathing and changing. I play and try to teach. TV, for the most part is only on until news is over then it’s off until the little one is in bed. I also try to give my wife a break and chase her out of the house for a while for some alone time.

As far as feeling the stress - absolutely true! This economy is brutal. We recently sold and bought a house that would accommodate one of us being at home - assuming at least one of us had an income. We didn’t trade up in house but in fact - a little down. We both agreed to it and realized the trade offs (all well worth it).

However, being a one income household it’s still stressful - especially knowing my wife has more earning power in our situation. That stress is something I try to manage each day not knowing if tomorrow will bring unemployment or not.

Ultimately the only way to get through this is to talk it out and if that means counseling so be it.


#18

WOW your mom had it made! Let me tell you! LOL My mom did everything around the house all the time, cooking cleaning washing raising kids working etc…She would tell me things like “the mother takes care of her home and everything else!” I grew up devastated not wanting to do anything to be lazy not to care for house cleaning or anything like that I felt home life should be a 50/50 thing or both helping each other out 100% of the time…even if one works and the other doesn’t! It’s not fair that after a long day of taking care of a child a husband uses the excuse of “I have a physical job bringing home the money to pay the bills! and all you do is stay home all day!!!” My mother would say tell me that my father wasn’t expected to do anything because he payed most of the bills even after she worked a physical job herself! This woman was over worked! You should see her veins on her legs, she barely sleeps well because of leg problems she has, even now that she is no longer over weight, she’s not a healthy person! Even though she “swears” she’s stronger than any of us! We don’t know what she hides behind her door you know?! And she will never admit it! Now my dad busts his butt 16+ hours a day after all he would do was sleep 60% of the day and work 35% of it! LOL 5% was spent with us!!!

I feel sorry for my mom and I didn’t want to live like that with my husband…BUT I got it even worst than she did, I worked, went to school, raised children and took care of a house and a husband…I had no chance for me and everyone wondered why I became over weight? The stress was overbearing, and to be unapprecaited nor have any help? It was really difficult on top of that have everyone one top of you telling you what a piece of **** you are esp your own husband? Oh man, talk about trying to find the happiness and reason for living??? :frowning:

For the OP talk to your hubby! Hopefully he will understand and things will get better for you!:hug1:


#19

anything? Nip that in the bud quickly.

absolutely.

And kittery has heath issues to boot.

I think her husband likely is overwhelmed with the responsibility of being the sole breadwinner, who isn’t?

But, they mutually agreed it’s best for her to stay home for heath reasons and for the children’s sake. Staying home with children is only worth the lack of income if you’re actually raising the children in a hands on way that you couldn’t if you were working full time.

THAT is where the value comes in.

If you’re staying at home to be the maid, and that is consuming most of your time, then heck, you might as well go back to work and hire someone for that and hire someone to watch the kids too, becasue they’re not getting their mother anyway.

Not to say a SAHM can’t cook and clean etc. as that is part of the kid raising and home care that is necessary, but it should be secondary to being a mother.

Maybe DH isn’t seeing the value in what he’s sacrificing for by being the breadwinner. Maybe there is a lack of being on the same page. Sounds like time for a good talking over.


#20

I am curious though, why did you resign instead of taking sick leave since you do have legitimate health issues? Are you planning to return to work once your child is born and you’re not struggling with blood pressure/blood sugar concerns?


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.