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This November will mark five years since my husband and I decided that it would be best for our growing little family that I stay home. It was literally a decision we made overnight. I had been back at work for just a week, and we were already finding that being a two income family may not have been for us. I was a teacher, and my husband an engineer. Both professions require more hours outside the standard 8 to 5 job. We knew after a week of us both working that it was just going to be too much on us to continue. That night in bed, after what I refer to as the week from hell, we decided that I would give my two-week notice the next day.
This was definitely a dream come true to me. Even before we were married, I had made it known to my husband that if possible I wanted to stay home once we had babies. He wasn’t on board with the idea at all back then. Which is why I was in shock when he agreed it would be the best for us that night. Especially since the week before that I was sitting at our kitchen table balling my eyes out about not wanting to go back and transition our baby to day-care. The conversation ended with him saying I had to go back, obviously.
Looking back now, I wish we would have taken more time to discuss the decision. We should have really talked about some of the issues that might arise with such a drastic life change. But we were young, still kind of dumb, and definitely sleep deprived.
What I would like to share with y’all today are some of the issues that my husband I ran into once the “stay at home mom” decision was made. We definitely hit some rocky paths along the way, but honestly, I feel like it made our marriage stronger. Even though at the time I didn’t know how we would make it out of the rough patch. It helped us learn to communicate, grow as people, and appreciate what the other one is doing for the family.
These were five major issues we had and still do at times. Because let’s be real, no marriage is perfect.
This was an issue because my husband isn’t the best about keeping me in the loop. He’s bad about letting me know a realistic time he might be home, or if he has plans to go out after work. This is super annoying to me. I am fine with things and can roll with it as long as I know ahead of time. I need at least a few hours notice and I’ll be fine. Unfortunately that’s not always a thing with my husband.
I am also not an all-star in this category, but in a different way. I have a hard time communicating my feelings. Instead I hold it in and hold it in and hold it in. I’m like a ticking time bomb.
When I started staying home I think my husband and I had the same picture in mind. I would be in charge of the house and kids, while he worked. The house would be clean everyday, dinner would always be on the table, laundry would be done, and the kids would be entertained. The problem was I did not realize how much work it was going to be to run a household. Seriously, it’s crazy how much work this is. I don’t know how working parents do it. Y’all are the real MVPs.
But back to our problem. What would happen is I would do my best to stay on budget, keep the house clean, food in the fridge, and the kids busy. But no matter what I did, something would get put to the side each week. Which is when fights would happen. My husband would make a simple comment and I would explode. I knew I wasn’t doing as well as I thought I should be, so even a non confrontational comment would send me over the edge. I definitely needed a learning curve.
This one issue was a big one. For awhile neither one of us was feeling appreciated. Neither of us felt like the other one really understood how hard we were working to keep this family going, or felt like the other one even cared. All we both heard from each other was the complaints. From me it was; you’re never home, why don’t you text me during the day, why don’t you compliment all the hard work I did around the house. From him it was; why aren’t you thankful for all the hours I work, why aren’t you welcoming me home when I walk in the door, why aren’t you more loving, and why are you complaining about the kids, this is what you wanted. Neither of us felt loved or wanted during those hard weeks.
This was only on my side. I was extremely jealous of the adult interaction my husband was getting at work and his after-work functions. He would get to go have lunch with co-workers, and join them for happy hour once or twice a month. While I was sitting at home with spit up on my shirt, and only a couple of friends who I saw maybe once every other week. I was so lonely, and my husband was/is my best friend. I would get so upset when he would fall asleep before 9 o’clock, or wouldn’t spend all of his with me on the weekends. I felt like he was making time for everyone else in his life, and not me. I would get so mad anytime he mentioned plans with anyone else that I would literally be in a bad mood from the time he told me his plans, to the day after he went. This behavior led to him not wanting to tell me his plans until the last minute, which added to our communication issue.
This is a huge one. Now we knew when we went from two incomes to one there would be an adjustment. But it was harder than we both anticipated. I would feel useless because I was unable to contribute to the bank account, or keep our family on budget. While my husband would be upset that he worked 10 extra hours with nothing to show for it. My husband would also make the mistake of saying things like, “the money I earned”. Which is never the right thing to say to a stay at home mom.
Over the last few years we have learned to work through all these issues. Some of them rear their ugly heads at times like I said before, but not nearly as much as they did.
Our communication and listening skills (this sounds so funny to me since we are 31 years old) have improved so much. I have learned to express my feelings even if I’m not comfortable with them. Luckily over the years my husband has also become pretty good at noticing when I’m getting to my breaking point and starts a much needed conversation.
He has learned that I need to be kept in the loop. He will do his best to tell me an estimated time he will be home everyday, and if he has plans to hangout with co workers after work. We have both learned how to express to one another an issue we might be having the right way. We also have both learned to listen and not jump right to anger when these issues are expressed.
Appreciation and Expectations
I feel like these are the two areas we have grown the most in. We discussed after a fight one night that we would both do our best to express things we are thankful for. Which means once every few weeks we send each other texts or verbally express something we have noticed the other one doing. For example, he’ll tell me how he appreciates how hard I’ve been working on our oldest’s home school. While I usually send a text saying how thankful I am that he works so hard for our family. Honestly, that man works so hard at a stressful job in order to provide for us.
I also had to have a talk with him about things I needed from him. Now this might not be a popular way to explain this, but it worked best with my husband. It’s like I saw the light turn on in his head when I explained it this way. I explained that him and the kids are like my bosses. They are the ones I’m striving to make happy everyday. Whether that’s by cleaning the house, doing the laundry, taking trips to the zoo, or doing art projects for the holiday that’s coming up. They are the ones I’m trying to impress, and put a smile on their face.
I told him I would love to hear, “Babe you did a great job on the floors!”, or “It looks like you really made the kids’ day by taking them out.” Just something to make me feel that I’m doing well in this new position in life. Because we all know the kids aren’t going to say anything. Well, recently my oldest has started telling me what a god job I’m doing, and it’s freaking amazing.
As for expectations, those have changed too. After staying home solo with the kids a few times, my husband realized how hard it is to do anything with them around. We have also hired someone to help me out around the house every other week. I was spending way too much time cleaning, and not enough with the kids.
I worked on my jealousy issues by finding new friends. I joined a mom’s group and put myself out there. Now, I could honestly care less if he goes out after work. Well, I would still like to know since that means I’m on my own for dinner and bedtime. But other than that I found the social interaction that I needed. Which also took a lot of pressure off my husband. He no longer has to come home to entertain me. Haha
The money issue is never going to go away, and we’ve just accepted that. RJ has realized that our lifestyle hasn’t really changed since I quit working. We still do things on the weekend, go out to eat, take road trips, and summer vacations. Which means all that hard work is paying off. We just spend it all. Haha I also learned how to budget for our family. We still have our bad months where we spend way too much, but life happens and we make it through TOGETHER.
Though these problems were not fun at the time, I’m glad we’ve gone through them. It showed us how strong our relationship really is, and how much we really mean to each other. I could never picture doing life without my husband. We both make each other better people for us, and our children.
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About the guest author:
Mandi is a former teacher who now answers to her own little rugrats. She blogs over at Life With The Baker Five. On her blog you’ll find a wide range of topics. She shares activities she does with her children, parties she throws, crafts she creates in her free time, and post on issues she’s dealing with as a mom, wife, and friend. You can definitely find something on her blog to peak your interest.