Wife wants to become a stay at home mom - I'm not comfortable

Been married for seven years in a month. Love my wife to death. She is extremely consistent and a wonderful person/mother. Two kids, five year old daughter, three year old son. Son is ornery, but is he any worse than any other toddler? I don’t know. We live out in the boonies and are blessed with very cheap daycare in the next town, a lady who took care of my younger sister 20 years ago. However, our daycare lady seems to have a grudge against my son, based on some comments she’s made. However, she is going to retire in 18 months, so she may just be over dealing with hardass kids.

That notion, coupled with the fact that our town may be scarce of daycare in a few years, my wife announced to me last weekend she is going to quit the only job she’s ever had of 11 years and be a stay at home mom and nothing I can say or do to change that notion. Now, my ego was hurt by that, and we have had some fights. Finally told her I’m over it, do what you need to do lets move on.

Part of this is because she won’t get the jab. Extremely conservative, old school gal, regularly does bible studies over the internet. Her plan to make up for the lost income is to sell essential oils and books that she has made a buck here and there from, and then to fix our son’s attitude (God’s plan).

Now I stress about money a lot, although we do very well. I worked up from job to job for better wages, then a better schedule, then on to a salary job with a home office from where I am “working” now, with every holiday and weekend off. She has said it has been a nice transition for her, although sometimes I’m gone all week (once a month). I’m old school and very conservative, but I live in reality and a made a decision to get the jab over the weekend (she was visibly annoyed when I told her) and walked into Walmart Monday and got it. To which I think in reply to me she put her notice in yesterday to be done after her bonus comes out in late Feb.

Like I said I’m taking my beating with my head down here, anything I say brings on tears and “oh it’s all about you, right?” bullshit. I’m frustrated though, she says its not about money, however, in times when our bank account has been drained because we have to make a mortgage payment, she goes flying off the handle, never understands that our equity just went up.

She says if I don’t support her what are we doing in this marriage? I think that’s an utterly retarded thing to say, to shit on seven years of a wonderful marriage over this - but still, $45 k a year just disappeared on a crazy (in my opinion) idea. I will now be the sole breadwinner, I will now provide all insurance (more expensive than hers with her job carrying the kids and her), and what about retirement??? I invest in my 401k heavily, she has one and does her share, now that’s all on me???

What do you folks think? Yes, see a counselor, preferably a faith based one, that is going to be in the works but it ain’t happening today.

I think it’s a bad idea in a marriage for one partner to make a unilateral decision about something that will impact both partners. I can understand why you would feel upset about that. But it’s also clear she is feeling some unmet need that has made her feel this is a mandatory change. My advice is get to the core of the need to understand why this matters so much to her. “It’s all about you, isn’t it?” is very telling. Perhaps she feels like she’s sacrificed a lot for your happiness and you should be willing to sacrifice for her in this instance.

If your impulse is to argue how wrong she is about all she has sacrificed, I would table it, maybe for therapy, because this isn’t about the accuracy of her perceptions, it’s about how she feels.

(The same is true for you… How you feel matters as well, and I get the sense that you’re feeling abandoned to support the family on your own.) It is my opinion that one of the keys to a successful relationship is validation even and especially when you don’t feel like it, and you have to start there before you start negotiating for what you want. When people feel heard, they are much more likely to hear in return.

I would also remain open to the idea that your child really does need more intensive care. I would strongly consider a professional evaluation. It does sound like your wife sees that he has a need and is trying to help him, however oddly. (The idea of a Bible study helping a three year old is bonkers to me, but I’m working within the framework provided.)

I’m not sure how the refusal to get vaccinated fits in here? It sounds like there is a lot more going on than this one issue. This is advice assuming you want to preserve the relationship. Some people want to be proven right more than they want to preserve their marriage, and I’m sure there will be advice in that vein as well. Best of luck to you and your family.

In addition to the excellent advice above, I’m wondering if the two of you have been able to sit down and look over the details of your finances, leaving out the emotional component as much as possible. Her decision is going to have some very real-world consequences, and she’s talking about making an unpredictable amount of money from the side gigs.

Are you able to sit down at a table together, itemize your income and potential income alongside your known expenses, and have a rational discussion about where that leaves you under both an ideal and a less-than-ideal scenario?

Old school conservatives used to get vaccines without issue.

How good have the past seven years actually been? Because you’re viewing her musings as “retarded” already. I have no problem with the R-word, but its use does not convey respect. Also, her getting her way is you taking a beating? Maybe so, but again that’s not a sign of mutual respect. Sounds like your wife is not in touch with reality and you should be thinking about what the next seven years will be like. I’ll put $20 on the table right now that says within seven years she will wish she had a career, and that it’s your fault she had to stay home with the kids (I’ve lived this one. It was her idea to have me be the sole breadwinner, but when everything went to shit, guess whose fault everything was.) Good luck, my man.

Some good comments from the others.

You referred to your 3-year old as a “hardass kid.” That alarms me.

There do seem to be deeper, unaddressed issues here-- the financial picture, referring to your wife’s POV with the “r-word,” different stances on the vaccine. Parenting two small children is challenging in the best of circumstances…and y’all have hit some bumps in the road. I hope you can find a real-world-oriented, faith-based counselor. You might consider seeing someone on your own so you can vent your anger outside of her presence. You might discover some important things.

Spice_Weasel, are you an actual counselor/therapist? Very appreciative of your response. I will take your advise seriously.

The bible studies are not about changing my son’s behavior. My wife sits down on the internet with a group of gals who I think most folks would call “fringers”. Don’t believe in masks or the vaccine. Homeopathic treatments to ailments (essential oils), not big on real medicine (my wife refuses to even take tylenol, her dad was an organic farmer for a period of time). I believe this group of gals have influenced my wife to get into this mode. This is funny to me because one of the ladies who leads this group is the one above my wife in the pyramid scheme of dealing in oils…

The vaccine thing is the same “well, pretty soon work will require us to have it I’m sure, I’m not getting it so perfect time to quit” logic. I am not in that boat, although I was untrusting of the vaccine for a long time. I may have gotten it specifically to point to my wife that I’m not a fringer and I do believe in science.

I should not have used the “r” word, I am quite salty. I should have used the word “ridiculous” instead. Meaning that her crying and saying that I should unequivocally accept the fact that this is going to be our lifestyle going forward with no say or protest or we should get a divorce is RIDICULOUS. It did not help that last weekend was her time of the month. And if anyone is going to condemn me because I used the “R” word, my wife has used it to refer to me before, and I don’t care.

I took a beating because I woke up one Saturday and was given an upsetting ultimatum with no apology for having my feelings hurt.

As to my son, he will arbitrarily throw a tantrum where he repeats “I don’t want to” over something very petty, that lasts for over an hour - he’s a hardass.

Really appreciate the replies though from all of you. To note, obviously I want to be right AND preserve the marriage, duh. But since I don’t think I’ll get both here, at least the way things are right now, I don’t know.

I am going to stick my head in here just to point out that there are plenty of organic farmers who use modern medicine. (Including covid vaccines.)

Beyond that I’ll say that it looks to me like counseling would be a really good idea. How to find a good faith-based counselor, rather than one who will make matters worse, I have no idea.

I only say faith-based because it would be very important her her, not so much for me. According to her, this is God’s plan for her. When I asked her if it was God’s plan to ignore her husband’s needs and worries, she came unglued.

I don’t think any woman (especially one who has had only one job that lasted eleven years) should put the future of herself and her children all in the hands of one other person. What if you die in a car accident a few years from now? She’ll have a gap in her employment, and negligible (I’m assuming) skills to be able to support herself. For her own sake, I would advise against it.

I wonder if this push to be a stay-at-home Mom is coming from this crowd; in my limited experience, there’s a good chance that she’s getting some pressure from them to stay at home. There’s a lot of toxic and/or nonsense information and pressure on all the “mom” boards and online communities about just about anything mother/parent related.

This is my thought, too: she is under the influence of a very unhealthy peer group. This group is going to push her to shape her life, and yours, and your children’s, in ways that may not be what you want.

Any solution that pits your wants / needs against those of the peer group is going to be really fractious at best. The more time you spend at work, the less time you can spend providing an indirect counterweight to the pull of that group.

I don’t have any good solutions, but I suggest you think really strategically about how to minimize the influence of this online set on your marriage. Multi-level marketing schemers are good at exerting enormous pressure on people / rewarding them socially, as that’s how they make their money, but from what you’ve said they’re already exacting a price.

^the last two replies, damn.

She has been reading a lot lately and has hung a poster with “20 Life Affirmations” on the mirror in our bathroom (I am loved, I am smart, etc.) and I’m starting to question why she hung it up. Do I not provide these things? I always tell her I love her and she can do all these things she will figure it out etc. Always ask her how work was and listen carefully to what she says (I am guilty of not remembering it tho…). If I try to tell her about my job half the time she blows me off, taking my ego down a peg but I try to move on.

The Affirmations poster is NOT NOT NOT about you! I promise. Do not take that personally. This is not a dig at you. It’s about affirming her own worth to herself, and that’s something that no parent, spouse, child, or friend can do for her.

I gotta say… and I mean this in the nicest possible way… you seem like a bit of a hardass yourself. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

OTOH, this shows some self-awareness, so good on you.

Ask yourself why it is important for you to be right. I’m not saying you aren’t right-- in fact, I think you are, and it sounds like your wife is being unduly influenced by a fringe-y group, for sure. And she fell in with them because she is seeking something. But what does it feel like inside of you when you grasp tightly to the need to be right? No need to answer here-- just ponder to yourself.

I can be a hardass. I do not take my frustrations out on her though, although she will egg me on at times. This conversation is opening my eyes a bit and really reaffirming our need for counseling. Just last night the kids were chasing each other around with toy brooms which have long handles. My son usually gets the upper hand in these battles because he is very big. Said I don’t appreciate the long pointy objects in the hands of little kids running. She just said “he just hasn’t been hurt, let him run into something and bump his head and he will learn”. Okay what about being impaled? Under the bus I go.

No, I’m just a person on the internet. My husband and I both learned from the catastrophic mistakes of our parents.

Chances are good there are better ways to respond to the tantrums. Tantrums are normal at that age, the question is why they are lasting so long. This is why I think professional evaluation may be helpful. In the very least, if it’s nothing serious, they can give some pointers on reducing the severity. Don’t be afraid to go for help even if your aren’t 100% sure the problem is “bad enough.” As someone who recently took my own kid for evaluation, the peace of mind and helpful direction was worth it.

You should not be the source of your wife’s self-esteem. Her attempt to build herself up should not be taken as a failure on your part. And you don’t have to take this personally! It sounds like she’s going through some things that may not have much to do with you. Her kooky friends are providing something she’s never had before. That’s why Internet radicalization can be so insidious. I’d be curious about why these women mean so much to her that she’s looking at an entire lifestyle change. And would there be alternative ways she can get the same thing?

I want to be clear, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being a SAHM. I’ve considered it before, but my job offers too much meaning for me to toss it aside easily. A lot of people make this choice and it’s a valid choice! But it should be a choice very well considered and made in conjunction with a partner. Some people are just not as comfortable being the sole breadwinner.

I’m curious how much childcare she does now, relative to you? How much housework? Even for women who are employed, the burden of domestic labor usually falls on their shoulders, and it’s a lot. Maybe she’s feeling that something has to give because there is too much on her plate.

I wonder if your wife is aware of how the power dynamic will shift when she has “no money of her own” and is fully dependent on you? Being the sole bread winner essentially gives you complete veto power over anything she wants to do.

Does she really want that? And this is not to imply that you are not a loving husband. Or that you would use that power to be a dick to your wife. It’s just that, this is reality, and marriages don’t always end happily ever after. And it’s good to keep that in mind no matter how happy you currently are in a relationship.

Maintaining a certain level of independence is an important part of a healthy relationship in my opinion. It keeps you from resenting her for feeling obligated to take care of her. And it keeps her from resenting you for having to depend on you.

To be honest, she does most of it. I’d say 85% of the cooking, 60% of cleaning (not much gets done around here, I don’t complain though). I do my own laundry, she does the kids but I have expressed interest in splitting the kids’ laundry with her. She gives them their baths (I’m gonna start splitting them with her though) and picks them up and drops them off at daycare (although her schedule is extremely consistent, 7-330 M-F and she passes thru the daycare lady’s town on the way to work while mine might have me on the road from 5 am to 9 pm, she drives the SUV while I drive a company pickup full of tools most of the time.

Wife also participates in two 4H activities which tie her up every Saturday in the winter until 2 PM ish usually where I take care of the kids solely. Then she has one she does in the summer once a week in the evenings.

I’m a busy person with my career and aside from that I also farm, and that adds both to our retirement with the land we will soon have paid for and an inheritance and I believe an added benefit for the kids as what little boy doesn’t like riding in a combine with his dad? In good years like this one too we are reaping a bountiful harvest at a good price too so lots of money laying around.

I am absolutely interested in stepping up and doing more to help around the house (when I’m around) as I’m terrified for our future.

You have no idea how many times I’ve thought that: “oh well now we don’t have that much money, you will not be getting a Suburban/Tahoe, we will not be going on anymore vacations, you won’t be running up and down the roads running after this and that or going on shopping trips with your mom, the kids will no longer have a college fund that gets added to monthly, we simply can’t afford it”. But I cannot be that big of a dick, it isn’t right.

It’s one thing to vindictively withhold discretionary funds, it’s another to have a frank and honest conversation about how your lifestyle will have to change as a result of her decision. She has to understand the trade-offs.