A couple of years ago, my husband lost his job, and, since I was the main breadwinner anyway, I supported his being at home since our kids are young, and life routines seemed less stressful that way. However, when I stayed home for my recent maternity leave, it became evident that the home had become his territory, and since then we've experienced marital stress. Has anyone else had a similar situation, of role-reversal that feels wrong (it seems like my husband has taken over being mom)? (And maybe I should ask if anyone else has a husband who is mostly at home, whether it works well or not.)
My husband retired from the Navy about 8 years ago and he volunteered to be Mr. Mom. I thought it was a great idea. Yes, we have had our ups and downs. I have had to relinquish some of my ideas about being "super mom" If you have this arrangement, the best thing you can do is talk. Keep up the communication since your feelings won't change but it will get better if you both work through them and figure away out to feel like you are still the mom. I would be happy to help with specifics if I can.
I am very nervous about this issue too. My husband and I are about to make this switch. He is quiting his job to care for our child and I am going back to residency.
I think we have very different parenting styles. He is very laid back. Doesn't like to discipline much, would rather just tickle and giggle. I feel he also lets her eat what ever she wants instead of providing balanced nutrition and saying "its this or nothing". He's more like "you don't want carrots and peas, ok, here is a popsickle". He doesn't like to follow schedules for naps, meals, bedtime.
I am worried that we are going to argue a lot about these things. I have a little bit of hope that he will figure out that not having a schedule doesn't work very well. I know I can't expect him to use my schedule, but maybe he will find his own schedule that works well for the two of them.
Remember that children are very resilient. They can thrive under the most amazing circumstances. It is probably more important to have them feel safe and loved, than to follow a schedule. I recently spent time with old friends on vacation, and found that since we had children, we were very different. My hubby and I are more laid back- our 2 year old was eating corn pops and hot dogs, while hers ate whole grain cereal and avocados. Mine slept when he was tired, while hers stopped the whole group when she had to nap. Guess what? Our kid was the better adjested, more talkative, more physically developed of the two. It may be hard for you to let go of some of your parenting 'rules' and let your husband follow his, but if you are willing to let him learn as he goes, you will likely find the whole family thrives. Just my 2cents worth, although it probably isn't even worth that much! Good luck!
This is really a difficult issue because there is so much other societal junk that comes to bear and you just don't know what will happen in the future.
My husband and I married while I was in first year of residency and he was finishing his masters in engineering. We had our first child at the beginning of my second year and he assumed much of the primary "babycare" stuff because my hours were horrible...you know, missing one night and practically unconc. the next. I had a lot to overcome, mostly jealousy when the baby turned to him but after all these years (and three kids..all in double digits now) we've managed to deal with this and ignore any comments from others that have stung, using my salary for the basics and his as extra.
We decided after residency, since I made at least 3x his salary, that my job would take presidence and he would do "project" work mostly from home so we had someone at home for the boys after school and to get to the numerous sports activities (and orthodontics appointments).
This worked really well for us, well I admit there were occassional spats but every couple fights about something. :yes:
Now we are dealing with another side of the issue which I think would look different if the roles were more traditional. I became disabled about 9 months ago, and have been told I shouldn't go back to direct patient care for a while. I can't think of anything I can do at present but the LTD don't want to pay for the time since July when my elimination period was up, so we are REALLY stretched right now ( Don't let anyone tell you you need 3-6 months emergency funds....get at least a year, there is NO incentive for LTD to pay up, they have no penalty to pay if the court rules that they must pay so it's more profitable to them to hang on to the money until you give up and go away.) My husband had to remain available to me while I was acutely ill and had to limit his availablity for projects and now we're hearing comments from friends and some of my male doctors...couched as chitchat, how are you doing, what's your husband up to etc?
Now I am probably being a bit paranoid but if a male doctor were to find himself in this situation I doubt that the rest of the society would assume his spouse would drop the house/kids and immediately walk into a well-paid job...or am I missing something. :scratchchin: If I am please let me know what it is.
The discussion is interesting and helpful. All the areas mentioned are involved: giving up being 'supermom', varying parenting styles, jealousy, and going against societal expectations. There are a couple of things that stand out for me. First, not being able to have my own time at home with the kids - when I come home it's family time, and often I am out of sinc with what's going on, (my husband is finishing up helping one child with homework or guiding another in a craft) so even though I'm finally home I'm still separated in a way, like a double blow. Second, feeling like my feminine side is neglected because I'm wearing these masculine shoes. For example, this past summer, it was hard when my husband took the older kids on vacation while I stayed to work.
For me, the difference in parenting styles seems to have gotten intertwined with issue of being an active parent when I am at home - if my husband is still calling the shots after 5pm, then my own style (which is a little more freestyle than his) doesn't get opportunity to come into play. The issue of disability must be a tremendous challenge to face - for me the societal expectations mentioned occur both at work, and at home where it is impossible to keep up with the supermoms, and one can feel excluded at the school.