SAHMs get rude awakening from husbands and judges in divorce

 

There is no better truth-revealer for a marriage than divorce. All those horrible things you thought about your husband but were too nice/afraid/kind to say about his mother/underperformance at work/penis size? You say them. All the disgusting things you suspected he believed about you but would never utter aloud about your brother/weight/performance in bed? He shouts them.

Which is why divorce lawyers are such an accurate barometer of what is happening in the relationship zeitgeist. The get the raw, un-adulterated (though often adultering) dirt on how couples think, act and feel.

My friend and neighbor Morghan Richardson, a family lawyer in Astoria, Queens, New York, says that women are often stunned to hear their soon-to-be ex-husbands confess that they never really wanted her to abandon their careers and stay home. And they are confused, and, again stunned, to hear divorce and child support judges demand women work full time — no matter how many or how little their children are. In the war of mommies, the increasing numbers of female judges (who are firmly in the working mothers camp) have their say. And they say being a SAHM does not count as work.

 

In other words: You can argue all day long that staying at home raising children is a full time job. But the legals system decides and it disagrees. So does your husband.

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I see this attitude in many of the men I date. These are progressive, feminist men who maybe at one point conceded that it made sense for one parent to stay home full time with the children. But then the kids got older. He was under a lot of pressure to be the sole breadwinner and he sometimes resented it, especially since there was another educated adult in the family. He went to work each and every day with women — beautiful women — who worked fulltime and raised what seemed like perfectly healthy children. And now they’re divorced and he is so, so angry that he pays her bills since — even though she has gone back to work — she makes so much less than she could have had she stayed in the workforce and — in his words — pulled her own financial weight, which may have saved the marriage!

The takeaway? Keep a foot in the workforce, even when your kids are babies. Accept as fact you have a 50 percent chance of being divorced, and even if your husband seems to fully support heading a one-income household, deep down he likely feels very differently. Regardless of what everyone feels, the only feelings that really matter are the judge’s. And as more women take the ranks of the courts, there is less legal inclination for alimony — especially when the petitioner is an educated woman who chooses not to earn a living.

Related:

You cannot afford to be a SAHM

Who gets to call themselves a SAHM?

Why you should never count on alimony

 

 

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84 thoughts on “SAHMs get rude awakening from husbands and judges in divorce

  1. I dunno. Sexism is alive and well. There are some men who have their egos tied up in being able to make enough money to support their wife, or who don’t want to accommodate someone else’s career. I think about when I went in to discuss my maternity leave with my boss, and he told me that he was so proud that his wife didn’t have to work.

    And, of course, I knew my career at that firm was over at that point.

    That being said, a divorce settlement isn’t going to provide for alimony for years and years for a woman who is capable of employment, and even without divorce, families will have to weather such things as unemployment, underemployment, and death. It makes no sense for people to allow their human capital to wither.

  2. So true, Annie. I see this in the same guys I mention above (what can I say, I have a taste for the alpha). But that doesn’t mean that by the time they divorce, which is hugely important, especially since he is usually the one footing the attorney’s fees.

    “It makes no sense for people to allow their human capital to wither.” Perfectly said.

  3. My personal feeling is that it’s fine to not work, as long as expectations are adjusted accordingly. A woman who actively helps to save half the family income would be great whether that’s one income or four jobs between two people. But even if there are four incomes and she’s got plans to spend it all then that’s headed for trouble. I got out before getting really deep into this situation and I’m really thankful that I won’t end up resenting it for the rest of my life.

    You and your friend are right on with this. Hardest job in the world? Pick any job, then have someone else take away three quarters of your income and present you with a list of demands you’re not living up to!

  4. I hear what you’re saying, Richard– everyone loves to preach communication. But the reality is that we are all complex, complicated people and lots and lots always goes unsaid — even to ourselves. I get that for many families it is tough to find flexible work, affordable daycare and a balance of all these forces. But the risks of abandoning your career are just so steep – for so many reasons, including the risk of losing your marriage.

  5. I stayed home with my older two, but I worked a few days a month to keep my foot in the door. When my 2nd child was a year I decided to work 2 days a week. After I found out my ex was cheating on me (uh, with 4 woman at that time)…and had been our whole marriage, I was so grateful that I had kept my foot in the door workwise. For many reasons, but one being that I immediately kicked his butt out and didn’t have to let the fear about how I was going live factor into it. Turned out at my clear STD test I was pregnant, so now I’m a fulltime working mom to a 5, 3 and 8 month old. And my ex moved across the country.

    After I went back to work, some of the SAHMs I met through playgroups and classes (who NEVER could understand why I worked at all) have made the comment that they would be totally screwed if they were to get divorced. While I believed my husband and I were a team, I knew that I always wanted to be able to support my children and I if I had to. Well…thank God I did. Trust me, 3 kids in daycare is more than my mortgage, but had I spent those 3 years completely devoid of a job, I would be making less and who knows if I could have jumped back in so fast.

    I say stay home if you want to, but woman really need to cover themselves. It’s also funny to me when the SAHMs get all sad for me. Like I’m missing out on my kids lives. Yes, it was hard to put my youngest in fulltime daycare when I never had to with the older ones, but I really don’t feel like I’m missing anything. And in my particular situation…I need the dang break since my ex only sees them every 2 months for like a week.

  6. Marissa: can you share what type of work that you do (generally) an how you were able to keep a toe-hold in the professional world? I think stories like yours should be heard by every woman contemplating whether to stay home. I also wonder how the type of work — is it just a job, or is it something she loves — can impact our collective choices. Anyway, thanks for sharing!

  7. Marissa – thanks for this. Yes, those sad SAHMs! And yes, we need breaks!

    A mom messaged me this privately on FB:
    “In regards to this mornings post- SAHMs get rude awakening from husbands and judges in divorce… You can share my comments a anonymously but I have some SAHM single moms as friends so I didn’t want to post publicly! I was a SAHM for two years before my marriage ended and agree it may have lasted had I worked. I was fortunate to step back into my field and regain my career and then some fairly quickly even tho part time was my only option for a while given an infant and our living situation. The men I now date have these ex wives that take take take and it disgusts me. Especially for the roll they are modeling for their daughters! My ex doesn’t see the sacrifices I made to rebuild my career and to provide a home for our sons. Thanks!”

    Collectively we need to get over the notion that women are EITHER moms OR professionals. Women have contributed financially to families since the dawn of humanity – working in the fields, running family businesses, running households when that required manual labor. Early humans didn’t survive the elements because women were cooing into their infants eyes all day and schlepping them around to baby music classes.

    I love your perspective, your embrace of your situation, and sense of pride for doing what you have to do to take care of your kids.

    1. “Cooing into their infants eyes all day and schlepping them around…” You talk like an ungrateful man. Who does your laundry, cooking, cleaning? Who reads to your children? Who referees their disagreements? Who puts them to bed? Who tends to them when they are sick or scared? Do working moms also do this? Yes. So why do you need to knock SAHM’s. You must think staying at home is stupid and useless. You should be quite a catch among men who agree with that lousy attitude.

      1. Actually working women take on these duties too. But that aside, from what I have seen, SAHM take on loads of responsibility in the beginning but most slip over time. My grandma was a SAHM. She raised 10 kids! But she made sure, breakfast, lunch and dinner were made each day, the house was kept and the kids taken care of. She also made sure she was always perfectly clean and coiffed. When my grandfather came home at 7pm from a hard day of work he came home to his castle. I’m afraid women today aren’t like that. They want it all, but they don’t want the responsibility… So when a husband becomes resentful, tires them and moves on I really don’t feel too sorry for them. Sounds harsh, but hey, life is tough. You make your bed…

  8. You need a way to support yourself and your kids if you marriage falls apart, through divorce or death. Shit happens in life, acting like it is always going to be the same is ridiculous.

  9. I am an executive assistant at a financial firm. I was lucky to be able to find flexibility and a rare part time position. When I was asked, at first I didn’t know if I wanted to, but something inside me just knew that I always needed to keep a foot in the door work wise.

    And hilariously enough, my ex and I just had a wonderful conversation on this topic last night. Though we have been legally separated since Nov of 2012, we are hammering out all the details. You can’t divorce in my state while married and there is some debt that needs to be paid off and I will NOT assume 1/2 of it. (wasn’t mine) He has committed to pay it, then we finalize. Anyway, he wants to send his girlfried (one of the 4, while we were married, ha!) money monthly until he moves back to town in 6 months since he plans to move in with her. His divorced, unemployed mother of 3 girlfriend who has not had a job. Ever. Only one of her children is daycare age. Naturally I expressed that I have managed to support my family (his job change didn’t work out and wasn’t sending me money for 5 months, hense the debt) and I will not delay the divorce any longer in order for him to take care of a capable, able bodied person who refuses to get a job.

    It’s amazing to me how many woman do that. I don’t want spousal support. I could take this man for everything with the disgusting evidence I have. I just want whats fair. He’s my kids dad, no need to be a bitter crazy person. Just child support. But, what if he dies and there is no income? So many things that woman just don’t think about. One SAHM friend’s husband has no life insurance. She has never had a job. Ever. Graduated college, started having babies. It’s mind boggling to me. It’s like some people just live in la la land.

  10. Marissa, I just love your story. To Annie’s point – some dudes just love feeling macho and taking care of women. Except what about their children? And progressive, educated women who feel entitled to alimony – I just don’t get it. Can you be feminist and try to take your ex to the proverbial cleaners? I don’t think so.

  11. I disagree about “keeping a toe-hold” in the workforce. If a woman is going to work while having kids she should fucking WORK and have a career that is just as important as her husbands. If your purpose is to protect yourself just in case, then you should really protect yourself. If you love to work, then work! OR she should stay home and they should both be “all in” to the commitment they made to have someone stay home with the kids. Why should a woman accept a lesser paying job that is probably below her skill level just to “have a toe in”? And therefore makes it more likely the potential future ex won’t have to pay her quite as much while this job may or may not help her transition into a real “career” later. Not all women out there are writers or have some job they can freelance in. To me, in the majority of cases, keeping a toe-hold isn’t going to turn around and give them some completely awesome career. In the majority of cases, these part time gigs, projects, whatever aren’t going to look that awesome on a resume and I don’t think you should pretend otherwise. I feel you are overselling this theory just because it happens that you area in a line of work where it is possible.

    Also: why should the woman be the one that is penalized and has her standard of living be completely destroyed because of a decision they made TOGETHER long ago about what they thought was best for their family?? They were a team, and that team worked together for the family as a whole. She took care of him, the kids and the household etc., and yes, probably made it possible for him to excel further in his career because he didn’t have to sacrifice and come home early, etc. So, she deserves, yes, DESERVES, some of his income. She contributed to the success of his career while sacrificing her own earning potential. I do not apologize one bit for the spousal support I receive while I am working to rebuild and start up my own kick-ass career again. Because I do have myself to support for the rest of my life and I’m not going to lower my expectations for the future just because of shit that happened in my past (aka divorce). I sacrificed my earnings potential for him and our family, he can sacrifice/invest some current earnings for me, the mother of his children, to start again and create a good future for myself.

    1. Preach woman! This idea that educated woman are letting their career potential wither is such a narrow, one sided view of things. Mothering full time is an INVESTMENT in our children! It’s a sacrifice that many families make because they believe it is what is best, not only for the child(ren), but for the family as a whole. No child care provider is going to love or understand a child like it’s mother. No one is more invested in their potential and well being. “Schlepping to and from music classes”, please! You call yourself a feminist?! How about giving some credit to these women who have sacrificed their careers (perhaps only for a time) in order to be the one to ensure that their children are nurtured and guided towards their full potential. My daughters are GRADES ahead of their classmates academically because of the educational enrichment I provide them at home. The only reason they haven’t skipped ahead is because they are in a second language immersion program. They also play sports, and instruments, and are kind, strong, emotionally self aware individuals. I am tremendously proud of them, and the work we have put in to raise such amazing young women! And while I am extremely grateful to my husband for making this all possible by supporting us financially, I also know that I played a major part in making it possible for him to earn what he earns by being home. Had he had to cut his hours to lend a hand is running errands, cooking, feeding, bathing, cleaning, doing laundry, help with homework, take to practices, coach, pack lunches, drop off/pick up he would not have been able to TRIPLE his income in 7 years! I earn my keep thank you very much!

      1. You have provided a wonderful home life for your kiddos BUT what the author is saying …is that it won’t count when you go to court. Or, count for too much. Sad, but true. Been there and done that.

    2. ” do not apologize one bit for the spousal support I receive while I am working to rebuild and start up my own kick-ass career again. Because I do have myself to support for the rest of my life and I’m not going to lower my expectations for the future just because of shit that happened in my past (aka divorce). I sacrificed my earnings potential for him and our family, he can sacrifice/invest some current earnings for me, the mother of his children, to start again and create a good future for myself.”

      Why did you divorce him? Don’t you think there should be consequences for your actions? Did he hit you? Was he addicted to drugs? Expect to make sacrifices when you marry someone. Expect to make sacrifices when you divorce.

      If you are guaranteed to receive some kind of monthly stipend, where is the incentive to stay married when you decide you no longer love your spouse. If you don’t like a job, quit the job and stop getting paid. If you don’t like the marriage, quit the marriage and stop living the lifestyle.

      If you lost a career while being married, reconsider the consequences of being divorced? Plenty of people who never got married have trouble paying their bills and when they break up from a relationship, their exes aren’t expected to maintain their lifestyle while getting nothing in return.

  12. Hi Erica- thanks for this, all relevant points.

    As far as going all in – maybe yes, maybe no. I do think there is some room for gender differences, the fact that women are more inclined to conciously sacrifice earning potential for work-life balance. The reality is that we can complain about wage gaps, stagnating wages, etc., but we still live in a filthy-rich economy where 80 cents on a U.S. man’s dollar still earns one a very nice lifestyle (relative to the rest of the world, and all of (wo?)mankind). The point is to do it conciously – stay home parttime with your kids, but know that it is a risk — a risk that you are likely to lose career momentum, a risk in the very good chance you will divorce.

    The reality is that there are increasing numbers of freelance contract work – the economy is shoving employees in that direction, like it or not. Even if you dream of a FT, corporate job, those positions are fewer and farther between. So these flex jobs are not specific to freelance writing. At all.

    As for alimony – argue all you want. It is going away. Yes, in a beautiful world a man and woman make family decisions together, share the upside and the risk. But in the event of divorce all that idealism goes out the window. The person whose name is on the checks feels that money is his or hers, argues bitterly for it in divorce,and judges increasingly agree.

    That’s the facts. We are in this moment of transition — women are finally able to earn enough to support themselves, yet old ideas about family and equity color our career decisions. This will be a very different discussion when our daughters are building their careers, families (and divorces). Young women simply get that they must take full financial responsibility for their lives. Which, in the big picture, is a huge win.

    1. Gotta go with Erica here. No, it’s mad to do 60% of the work for 30% of the pay — all you do that way is teach your employers that they can take advantage of you. And I say that as a single mom who supported her daughter all-freelance for years. It was horrible and exhausting and I got raped financially, and my daughter grew up thinking that all moms do is work, because I had to pull so many all-nighters to hit deadlines. I was completely abused as an employee. Only when she got older, and I was able to work more stable hours, was I able to demand something like a professional wage, and now I can make that stick. Had I been salaried from the beginning, I’d have had years without worry and mad costs for health insurance, and I’d have done less damage to my health. I’d also have had the stability and support a workplace can offer.

      The reality is that when women step out or down, even for a few years, their income trajectory almost never recovers. I’ve seen women go invisible after as little as six months out — even if they never actually quit but were just on a long leave, for years afterwards people are surprised to see them.

      As for husband-to-cleaners — if a man is going to upend your life financially, and make it likely that you will struggle, then hell yes, take what you can get. It’s not about being vengeful or mean; it’s about seeing that he makes things right as far as they can be made right. There are no bonus points for suffering.

  13. Erica. I agree with you to a point. I agreed to stay home with my children believing I was in a partnership. I forfeited retirement matching, 4 years of higher raises, contributions to social securtity, etc. I will fight hard to get my children all they are owed. I get to keep the house, all of my retirement and half of his. My ex agreed to all of this and he has said it was because I have been way more than fair and not vindictive. Because when you are divorcing, that’s how they see it. I was appalled at how many people told me to not go back to work until the divorce was final because I would get more money. “but you could continue to stay at home until the kids are in school!” I couldn’t divorce my ex while pregnant. He left the state taking a much lower paying job. Had I continued to believe I was “owed” to continue in the lifestyle I was accustomed to, I would have lost everything. How can you stay home with kids if they lost their job and can’t send the child support and alimony. Plus, my decision to be “cool” with my ex means we have spent little to nothing on lawyers and he just got a higher paying job and is sending me a great deal more money than what I would have gotten had I forced the support issue. He said it was because I stepped up and took care of the kids and haven’t “taken him to the cleaners”. As much of a douche as the man is, he hasn’t lied about finances. However, I have an friend who’s ex quit high paying job just to spite her when she insisted she not work and was asking for tons of spousal support on top of child support. Is that right? Heck no!! But, divorce and resentment takes people to messed up places.

    I didn’t stay working a little because I ever thought I would divorce. I watched my wealthy parents struggle when my dad was laid off for over a year. They had just bought a new home and hadn’t yet sold their old home. Well, after a year and a half of paying two mortgages, private school educations for 4 children, they were nearly out of their savings. My mom was a stay at home mother of 17 years. It took her almost a year to find a job and it was making nothing. Had that happened in my situation, I could have been working fulltime with the ablitlity to supplement a large portion of my husbands income, thus having our savings last much longer.

    I say none of this thinking that staying home is dumb. I made that personal decision myself. I’m a very positive person. I don’t walk around thinking the worst is going to happen. However, I’m a realist. I found myself a pregnant, part time working mom of a 4 and 3 year old, married to a serial cheater. I just did what I had to do. I don’t believe we are owed anything in this life. Is it fair? Nope. But, who cares. So I made a bad decision at 22 picking a life partner. Big whoop. I have 3 amazing kids out of it. A great co-parenting relationship with my ex. I’m having awesome sex (heck ya Emma), having a blast just being me. I can eat ceral for dinner if I want and no one is complaining.

  14. Ugh. It sounds like most of the respondents here had some wonderfully amorous, cheating husbands. Take heart that an easily equal number of faithful husbands have had their rotten cheating wives also drive them to divorce. It’s a rampant, epidemic issue on both sides.

    I would suggest to both spouses to always keep your foot in the workforce. Marriage and love are complete farces in this day and age. Alimony should go away; with a SAHM it would have some purpose, but often it is an abused benefit for rotten wives.

    For my part, I’ve never married, but I’ve dated several single moms at one point in my life with the intent of marrying them if it worked out.

    I found interesting that while I would have been OK working as a partner with them – even contributing financially to their children’s well-being (I have no kids.) – these women were way too willing to be SAHMs to parent those children who weren’t mine. Meanwhile, their deadbeat exes owed piles of child support, but these single moms didn’t make any effort to even simply remind their ex of the legal obligation, much less try any legal means to collect. But they sure didn’t mind the idea of digging in my wallet, so they could have that “dream” staying at home raising lil’ junior and his sister. I finally told the last one that if we got to marriage she should plan on working full-time the rest of her life, because I wasn’t going to completely bankroll the kiddos needs while her ex got away scott free. She didn’t like the idea. Somehow couldn’t see how I would resent all my effort going to support her former decisions. After all, if I truly “loved” she and her kids (and I did indeed care about them) then I should want her to be a SAHM. These single moms sense of entitlement so blinded them. They couldn’t make the SAHM work with their ex, but somehow I was an a**hole for not stepping up so they could fulfill that dream.

    I in no way support marriage to anyone now, and most certainly not to single moms. Alimony should go away. Marriage should fade away, and in kind divorce as well. Child support from the higher earning parent (man or woman) is certainly justified provided it is reasonable, and DNA tests are required to verify paternity (plenty of wives are cheaters as well). SAHMs should really consider the choice given the vulnerability it presents.

    Marissa, you’re ex sounds like a real BOZO. You’re lucky to be rid of him, and it sounds like he’s creating a real, well-deserved HELL (for his stupidity alone, if not also his serial cheating).

    I do indeed benefit from lots of sex from you single moms, however. There is definitely a silver lining to all these divorces. Single moms have needs that I can meet!!

    1. I have a friend who is a very successful media professional. She has a fascinating perspective/experience. When she and her husband were getting ready to start a family, she blindly assumed that she would quit her corporate job, stay home with the kids FT and write books – her dream. When it became clear that her job was needed to afford/qualify for mortgage for the apartment they wanted to buy, she would have to stay in her job. For years she resented that, was angry at her husband for not earning enough to support her sense of entitlement. Then she snapped-to and saw the situation for what it was: entitlement. Today she says about the SAHM phenomena: “In 100 years from now we will look back, scratch our heads and say: ‘Can you BELIEVE there was an entire gender that didn’t think it had to work?!'” So insightful and humble of her.

      1. At least – again, not that I recommend it – if the two parents of the child are married being a SAHM makes much more sense. I’ve dated and known too many single moms either in dating, or through co-workers and friends, who think they “deserve” to be SAHM for their kids even though they are no longer married to the bio-dad. In fact, I can think of three married male co-workers right now who never had kids of their own, but they married a step mom who stayed at home to care for her kids, while he sacrificed way too much for kids that weren’t his. Hmmmm, let me think of which of these three is happily married……Nary a single one. Of course, they probably don’t tell their still lazy wives (whose kids are now past baby stage…even a couple in their 30s and still living at home like leeches), but they definitely have told me “Stay single. Don’t bother.” There three men aren’t the only three I’ve known in my 40 years, rather just the three that come to mind now.

        Divorced women with kids need to blink into reality, and quit acting like just because they made poor choices that we childless guys should be willing to let you play the SAHM. You married, had kids, then divorced. That SAHM dream is done F-O-R-E-V-E-R, and should be. 50 years ago….heck even 25 years ago it was a different time. Now, marriages don’t last, so everybody oughta work for their own protection.

      2. So staying at home raising children is not work? During my career at a Fortune 500 corporation, I reported to the first female vice president at that company. She only had one child and said it was much easier for her to do what she did than stay at home with her child.

        1. I am not passing judgement on whose job is easier or harder. The fact is one path comes with a great measure of financial security, the other comes with none.

          1. “The fact is one path comes with a great measure of financial security, the other comes with none.”

            YES! That’s exactly it. Why does no one hardly ever mention that though? The idea of putting so much trust into one partner is just insane to me. People are only human at the end of the day, and when something finally goes wrong….Cheating, losing his job, destroyed savings, the list just goes on and on. I couldn’t fathom having kids, and NOT making an income, if only to have a solid backup plan/finances.

        2. That’s ridiculous…both wife and husband should be on the hook for working, paying bills and taking care of children. I stayed at home for a brief period when my child was an infant and trust me I had a lot of time on my hands…I slept when the baby slept and there were hours and hours of dead time. After awhile I felt guilty that I wasn’t working and sitting on my ass and got my self back to work and my child went to daycare. I didn’t feel bad, since she loved her daycare and I felt great she wasn’t home sitting in front of a t.v. or being drug around to grocery store or errands (not a good way for a child to exist). And how old are the children of these stay at homes???? How about staying home until they get into kindergarten or first grade, but staying at home until they are in highschool – seriously! That’s ridiculous!!!!

  15. Okay I have to say something here. If a family is taking care of their financial obligations it is really crazy of any anyone to think that they are “entitled” to tell other people how to run there lives. I am not a sahm and don’t appreciate some sahms suggesting I am not dedicated enough to my daughter to stay at home. However, I also believe in freedom of choice. If a couple can afford to have a parent stay at home it is a great opportunity for the family and noone elses business. It becomes other peoples business when you are not taking care of your family, such as applying for multiple sources of government assistance when you are able bodied. Also, divorce is not something you catch like a cold. it is somewhat ridiculous to tell another person what their chance of divorce is. We should all take accountability for our own situations and not try to run other peoples lives. I don’t think you would appreciate someone else trying to run yours.

    1. Yes, I do not think one choice is better or worse than another. It is a choice a couple makes given their finances and other factors. It really isn’t anyone else’s business and I don’t see why some people need to judge others based on that choice.

      I was not feeling “entitled” when I became a stay at home mom. My ex is the one that actually wanted me to do it, but then he did in fact resent me for it. Which is actually what led to his sense of entitlement to have an affair.

      I would really like it if SAHM’s weren’t all lumped into one big group of desperate housewives here. Yes, those women exist, and they are annoying, but not all stay at home mom’s are like that.

      By the way, I did go through a mediator (so very low legal costs here as well) and I just asked for what was recommended. I did even give some concessions. But no, in general, I fought to get the support that the mediator calculated, not any more, not any less, because my ex-husband has an entire lifetime of a great career and I have to start over. And Darth, unlike your former girlfriends, you can be damn sure I will not be relying on another man again to provide for me. Also, unlike them, you can be damn sure if my ex wasn’t paying I’d be taking him to court.

      1. I certainly think that staying home with my kids was wonderful. But, hindsight, I’m very glad I kept a tie in the workforce since my situation turned out the way it did. While I of course still have to “catch up”, I didn’t have to start over.

        But the simple fact is that alimony is going away. I really was amazed at how many people were all over me about not going back to work so I could get more money. I get it, my ex was a royal a$$hat, but I just made a decision to work through that and be as fair as possible. While of course getting everything my kids need. Due to that, my ex is sending me a large amount OVER what he will be legally obligated to send. And he didn’t want the divorce. At all. Wanted his cake too. Ugh. I’m glad you are getting what you need for you and your kids. Infidelity sucks! But we are better to be rid of these intitled jerks.

        Darth-wow. That doesn’t even make sense. I know plenty of single moms, not one sounds like the many single moms you say you have dated. Who wouldn’t go after their exes for child support? If these are the woman you constantly date…your picker is way the hell off!!!

          1. Oh, and Marissa, your “picker” wasn’t way off first in choosing a man who cheats on you serially AND picking to have kids with him to boot. I think you need to shut your hole. I may have dated some idiots, but at least I didn’t marry them and have kids with them….BECAUSE, if you’d read my post, in dating them I saw they were idiots. You, however, didn’t have the same sense apparently.

            1. “Shut your hole” Really, Darth? You’ve made some interesting and insightful points here, but no name calling/ being mean, k?

          2. And Darth, I wasn’t being real serious, guy. Chill out! I was just saying it like, wow, I’ve never met one single mom how you described, let alone many. Settle the heck down! Yes, I made a bad decision in partners. In my defense, everyone who knew him/us was shocked that he was like this. He was really good at hiding who he truly was. Everyone loved the guy (clearly…he pulled alot of tail!) That’s why he moved, people got to see him for who he is.

    2. Unfortunately Amanda, when people can’t agree about Divorce, they go to Court, and We The People are asked to solve their problems. Like it or not, this is what We will be telling a SAHM: get a job. Is that limiting choice or welfare?

  16. AND . . . don’t forget — regardless of judges, the LAWS are changing. 20 years ago, it was much easier to get lifetime alimony. NO LONGER! Alimony (if granted) can be tied to the length of the marriage, etc.

    Quite frankly, I could help so many women if they came to me BEFORE getting a divorce — not after, which is typically the case.

    Also, when you go through the divorce, you really want to be sure you are fighting for your financial future — can you get part of your husband’s 401k?, can you afford to maintain the house, if you get it? Is there a pension? Work with a financial professional before/during the process — not just afterwards.

    Thanks for the discussion — it is SO important!!

  17. I agree with the basic premise of this post – completely going off the workforce grid should be avoided if at all possible.

    Many of the replies here are interesting. Maybe it’s different in other states, but a divorce lawyer told me a few years ago that the judges pretty much don’t want to hear about infidelity anymore.

    There are a lot of SAHMs where I live. Surprisingly, divorces seem pretty rare among them, though several of them have husbands for whom this is their 2nd marriage.

      1. Not exactly. In the state of Georgia, adultery, assuming it can be proven, bars awarding spousal support to the adultering party. “you can screw around, or screw your partner over, but not both”.

  18. In case Marissa couldn’t read my reply since the formatting on this site is screwy, I want to be sure she see’s it:

    “Oh, and Marissa, your “picker” wasn’t way off first in choosing a man who cheats on you serially AND picking to have kids with him to boot. I think you need to shut your hole. I may have dated some idiots, but at least I didn’t marry them and have kids with them….BECAUSE, if you’d read my post, in dating them I saw they were idiots. You, however, didn’t have the same sense apparently.”

    1. Haha. You are funny. Saw it.

      My reply was that I was pretty much kidding. I have never met a single mom like you have described, so when you said that you dated many moms like that…you just left it wide open. Sorry to have upset you. Yep, I made a bad choice in picking a partner. In my defense the guy was beloved by everyone (hehe, clearly he was to pull all that tail) and everyone was shocked that he was like this. Doting husband, loving father, oh wait…look behind the curtain. That’s why he moved, everyone found out who he truly was.

      You better believe I won’t be picking someone like him again. Well, hopefully. That guy was great at faking being a normal human being.

      1. This brings up so many feelings about something I’ve been chewing on writing: “Is it your fault your kids have a shitty dad?”

        Lots and lots of layers and nuance with that topic – what are your immediate thoughts?

      2. Sorry, Marissa, I overreacted to your comment about my “picker”, obviously. In my original reply I was trying to support you and state you are better off without your cheating ex-husband, then read the “picker” comment as a slam at me, when it was more a real observation. Not an untrue one necessarily as my initial picker has often been skewed, but thankfully I’ve usually seen the issues before the relationship got to marriage. I read too much into your reply.

        I’ve dated several single moms. The last single mom was the worst about the “entitlement” I’ve known quite a few childless men who have married divorced single moms in the last decade. In many cases the wives became SAHMs after the had a stepdad with resources although the stepdads didn’t seem too thrilled, but now they were more “locked in”. Many of these SAHM wives didn’t even bother with a job once the kids had long since left high school (and I also have seen this a few times with couples that are the bio parents, so it’s not necessarily always a remarried single mom thing. I can’t say I’ve met a stepdad or bio-dad these days who is under 40 who loves the idea of a SAHM when you really observe them. The expense to raise kids, save for retirement, etc. creates a lot of stress for both parents and steps. Insult to injury, many of these men’s SAHM wives don’t cook, clean, do dishes, or home upkeep, since they are entitled and “too good” for that type of labor. Instead SAHM means lunch out with the girls, and an afternoon shopping while the kids are at school. The husbands end up doing as much housework as they would if the wife also worked outside the home, and imagine how resentful dad, and even moreso the stepdad.

        Not to say many of you moms aren’t extremely likeable and excellent moms, but many women seem to view the SAHM much differently than what it once was. I meet few single mothers who show themselves as self-starters, and willing partners to work WITH a guy to build something. Instead, they act spoiled and entitled. There are exceptions. My friend who is happily married for 15 years seems to have a good catch in his once single mom wife (who has worked their whole marriage). I’m good friends with one mom who I think would be considerate to a guy she’d marry. Still, I think there are a lot more single moms out there that feel we men are just here to meet the needs of they and their brood.

        All the points why I’m not a big single mom fan these days would require my own blog. LOL. I certainly see a SAHM has a purpose, but unfortunately the time for it seems to have passed. Ultimately, with the divorce rate these days I don’t see why any married mother or father would want to risk not maintaining some type of income for that dark day that 50% of divorcing couples see (and 70% of the lucky ones married twice.)

      3. Glad we good, Darth! Trust me, I end up with another cheater…my picker be way off! Hindsight is 20/20. He never gave the cheater vibe, but man he became pretty needy after we got married and never did a dang thing around the house. And about a year in, he became super jealous. Later I found out that is when he started the cheating. The reason I ended up staying home was because I was working 50+ hours a week and doing everything around the house.I said help! He said stay home. He did get the wife who did everything. My mom stayed home, and meals, cleaning, etc was her job.

        Now, if I ever remarry I will NEVER, NEVER, EVER stay home again.

        Emma-

        I get the gut stab when my brother in law comes home and my neice runs up yelling “daddy!” and I see the look on my kids faces. Or I see dads playing with their kids sometimes. About once every other month I’ll break down after they go to bed feeling guilty that I chose such a crappy dad. But, he hid the crappy. My best friend put it best “He’s a great uncle” He plays with them for 15 minutes, and mom did all the bathing, reading, snuggles when they were sick. The hardest thing is how close he is to his girlfriends kids. They are older, he texts with them, etc. I fear when he moves back for the winter and they stay with him, that they will be angry he gives those kids attention. But, it’s not my fault. I chose a partner based on lies. They can send him the bill for the therapy.

  19. The reality is though that many women also drop out of the workforce because they simply cannot find jobs that allow for the flexibility needed – kids get sick, kids get summers off from school…it’s a tightrope walk for women to work FT especially when you are living in/near cities that are too expensive to live IN, but commuting to any reasonably priced area with decent schools adds up to 1-4 hours a day… Any company or organisation hiring women have to allow for a shred of flexibility (working from home, flex hours etc) in order for this to work. My husband travels a LOT for work and if I hadn’t negotiated 9-5 hours, I’d find it tough to work. At some point my kid will go to school and we’ll need to move further away from our jobs, which will seriously compromise my ability to get to an office every day. No idea what we will do but I don’t want to stop working for exactly this reason- potential for divorce (or death or disability of my husband or whatever….) Women cannot afford to not work, but the system is not set up for us to work.

    1. Thanks Sue – yes it is a real problem that government and corporate bodies have not caught up with the very pressing needs of modern families. Plenty has been written about that – including Katrina Alcorn’s bestselling Maxed Out: Moms on the Brink. Important work, but my point is: You and I individually can do little to sway the meta trends. What can we do now, today, to make our lives, our families’ lives better? Pretty much every industry has freelance/contract/telecommute/parttime positions. Not always ideal, but often far better than the traditional 9-5, on=site version. What industry are you in? How can I help you find such a position?

      1. Thanks I really appreciate the offer. I’m (ironically) working for a company that touts itself as a ‘best place for women/parents to work’ but yet, I work for a younger childless woman who is wholly, deeply passionate about ‘face time’. This job is a huge pay cut for me, and I’ve been quite explicit in telling her I’m willing to make less $$ for the chance to work from home a few days a week. Getting the 9-5 timing was through gritted teeth. She’s just not culturally set up to manage employees remotely. Yet so many of my counterparts work from home most of the time! I always seem to wind up working for ‘facetime” centric bosses.Despite my ability to keep in touch, showcase my work and demonstrate working from home actually makes me more productive, I still get flak about working from home. I’m not keen to switch to part time/freelance because I like the benefits of FT work – mainly 401k contribution and match. But also, no freelance/part timer gets the same exposure for top gigs.

  20. In my experience in the Midwest at several employers, most of them are not too fond of employees working remotely thanks to productivity issues and examples set by those employees that were working from home in the past. I’ve had a couple co-workers that thought “working” from home means, half days in the home office whilst babysitting a couple preschoolers…but of course they thought they should also get a full-time paycheck with benefits (one was a dad and one was a mom). I have a male friend whose whole company recently changed to require everyone to minimize home office work because productivity seemed at an all-time low, and he was certainly taking advantage of the lack of supervision himself as well.

    Still, companies have many more tracking capabilities now to measure productivity and attendance, but the one’s I’ve worked for don’t seem to want to implement anything. Maybe it opens some other “Big Brother” type concerns, although if someone is getting a paid for a job they should expect to be monitored some in a remote situation.

    I’m childless, but can certainly understand the flexibility it can bring to parents…and, of course, to me, so I can get to happy hour much more quickly from my home office to a nearby bar where it is much easier to bring home a single mom (whose bio-dad has the kids for visitation, of course) that night! LOL.

  21. Interesting.

    You all have largely managed to invalidate my entire life–my entire adult life–on one page!
    I was indeed a stay-at-home-mom. So are most of my friends.

    So…I have a different perspective.

    Stay at home?
    That doesn’t mean I did nothing but shlep my kids around, eat bon-bons and watch soaps.
    It does not mean I am not a feminist.
    It doesn’t mean that I am lazy, wish to use men as paychecks, or even feel that working moms are in some way lesser parents. (My own mother worked.)
    It also doesn’t mean that I made “poor choices.”

    It does mean that I have had people actually turn their backs on me or cease to include me in conversations (!) when they learn that the answer to “So, what do you do?” is “I’m a housewife.” As though I hadn’t a brain in my head. Societal devaluation at its best.

    I am embroiled in a brutal divorce…my husband, always a manipulative, verbally and emotionally abusive sort…chose to walk out, without warning, after more than a quarter century of marriage. (Please do not insult me–or women like me–further by wondering, “Gee, why did she stay if he were that bad???”)

    This does not mean that all I want to do is “take, take, take.”
    It doesn’t mean that I was living in La-La Land during my marriage.
    It certainly DOES NOT mean that I didn’t work my a$$ off. And I am not talking about cleaning toilets.
    And it doesn’t mean that I am owed nothing in return for my life’s work.

    Couple things you got right:
    Courts are idiots when it comes to maintenance.
    No daughter of mine will EVER be financially vulnerable. EVER.
    And for good measure: No son of mine will EVER take women for granted, treat his marriage as a commodity, nor his partner as disposable. No matter what.

    Just try to remember that Once Upon a Time, things were not as they are now for women.

    That men were not as men are now (supposedly enlightened? hm…happy to chip in at home?).

    That having a “corporate wife” was as necessary as having a right hand if you wanted to get ahead.

    That divorce was frowned upon. And so were divorcees. (Only ONE family in my town was divorced: ONE single mom among thousands. She may as well have had a target on her forehead.)

    That women’s expectations of their prospects and choices–and salaries (insert huge laugh)–were much different. (Teacher? Nurse? Secretary? Family business? Oh, wait, your brother ran that AND inherited it.).

    That if you today make a mere and inexcusable $.80 on the dollar compared to men? That’s a fortune by prior standards.

    That women with children simply weren’t hired. Or rehired. And that birth control wasn’t always available, even to married women. Child care? Seriously? Seriously?

    Even women who attended university had few choices–oh, and women were not accepted at many of the “best” schools. Often marginalized into less prestigious majors. If you think sexual harassment and abuse are rampant now? Imagine what it was like then.

    And, imagine too, that there were no second or third wives to be upset that their husband had to pay alimony and child support. As there are in FL today–lobbying for an end to “permanent” maintenance.

    If you were not born prior to 1960? Likely you have no knowledge of that world.

    Please don’t judge harshly those of us who lived it, and who live with its fallout.
    And who worked to make it different for you, who are our daughters.

    When you are 60+, or older? it’s a little hard to enter the work force in any meaningful way and earn a living wage.

    Just ask any 60-year old man who has been laid off. Or never worked in his adult life.

    Am I disappointed in the courts? Yes. But then I remember that the rules in my state were mandated by what is an all-male assembly. So, some things have not changed….

    Just saying.

    1. Lynn, thanks for weighing in. I’m not sure of your point. On one hand you are so defensive about your choices, but on the other say that you are raising your daughter to never depend on a man financially. What I don’t see is you taking any responsibility for your choices. You knew a) your husband was a jerk, b) divorce rates have been high for decades and decades, and c) there are indeed untold professional and financial opportunities for women today. If you have schoolaged kids, you are young enough to be one of these women.

      Which makes me wonder why you spent so much of your post talking about the plight of women a generation ago. As for the 80 cents on the dollar pay gap — that is a misunderstood statistic. The vast majority of that figure is owed to women’s choices — choices to take time off for kids and sick loved ones, choices to take less-demanding work: http://billmoyers.com/2014/04/08/debunking-the-myth-of-a-mythical-gender-pay-gap/

      Yep, it’s a shame that divorce rates are high and that your husband is a louse. But you don’t have control over that. You do have control over your own financial independence and being a wise role model for your kids.

      You may be interested in some posts I’ve been writing on this topic for Forbes:

      http://www.forbes.com/sites/emmajohnson/2014/10/29/an-end-to-alimony-is-good-for-women/

  22. I know I’m commenting so long after this was posted that my comment probably won’t be read, but I think this advice is unreasonable. There are so many ways you can screw up or go nowhere in your career that might lead you to have less earning power. It seems unfair to blame stay-at-home moms for their decision when it didn’t work out. It’s like saying you should always live in fear and be prepared for anything. In the end, the stay-at-home moms do survive. They go through a rough time and need to reinvent themselves. But this might have happened so many ways — if they had pursued an academic career and faced a tough grant season, or they worked as an astronaut and then funding for space exploration was cut, or they tried to start a business and it went south, or they were an elite athlete and had a car accident, or they forked out heaps of money for a degree and then found there were no jobs at the end because of a change in the industry. What can you do? Unless you already have a ton of money, you always face this risk.

    1. Professional setbacks are very different from stepping completely off the career track. NASA slashes budgets, you still have relevant and recent experience you can take to the private sector. Same with a shuttered small enterprise and the other examples you cited. The piece of your equation you miss: Technology. Tech is revolutionizing every single industry at break-neck speed. Take a couple years off and you are screwed. Period.

      1. Is any kind of paid work considered more relevant than unpaid work? Some women work as nannies. Why is that so much more legitimate than looking after your own child?

        I wrote from experience to an extent. I’m a stay-at-home mum (with an 18-month-old) and I made the decision to take some time off work because I had basically no career to lose, even though I had been working all my adult life (mostly while studying). I did a PhD (in a relatively useless are of math) and a postdoc, but quit that career track in order to move back to my hometown for personal reasons. When I arrived home, I found that my time doing postdoctoral research was considered completely irrelevant to everything here. I had no recent relevant experience and had to start over from scratch. I worked in unskilled temp jobs while studying computer science from free online resources. Then I got a job as a software developer but had my baby shortly thereafter. A few years ago I had never programmed, apart from a few simple things for doing mathematical calculations. It was all new to me, but I can still learn. We can all still learn. Which technology do you mean and why would I be cut off from it because I am not working? I’m working on a web app in my spare time so I’m still learning, although I don’t get as much spare time as I would like so it’s taking forever. I’m not optimistic about my career prospects but I think my husband would be better off blaming me for the career path I took before than for being a stay-at-home parent now.

  23. My husband is the opposite. I have been a sahm for 5 years. Childcare costs the same as I would make. I found a part time job working at mqcys for a while to work oposit of my husband, but to him my job wasn’t important or nesissary. He would get mad at me for working. He would stay at work late and make me late for work all the time. I even had to call off some days cause he would go out and not care if I was working or not. With me at home he doest have to worry about overtime, baby sitters, not being able to do what he wants on his days off cause I’m right there. 24/7 free childcare.

    1. That is really a challenge, Jessica. But every adult is responsible for his or her own financial wellbeing. Sounds like you have some difficult decisions at hand, and I’m sure you’ll find the right answers.

  24. A woman can have the opportunity to work full time and have a flexible schedule if she establishes her career, and keeps at it for years, BEFORE having kids. I didn’t have my first child until I was 35. I had already been working full time for many years. I went back to work after the standard six weeks maternity leave, and frankly, I couldn’t wait to get back to some adult conversation. Having the highlight of my day being when my husband walked in the door just felt pitiful and sad to me. Plus no way am I going to rely on a man for every dime of money in my wallet. It would be too much of a strain for my husband to support the whole family on his own, and I like knowing that I can support myself if God forbid the marriage break up. In fact, the first home we lived in as a married couple was my home that I bought on my own before we married. And even though my husband is a great guy, my being just as successful as he is financially keeps him on his toes. You treat me badly and I can be outta here in a heartbeat, mister. Bye Felicia!

    After putting my son in daycare and slugging it out for a few more years, by the time my son started kindergarten my company embraced telecommuting and I was able to work full time from home. If you want a good paying work from home job, you have to put in the years and build your reputation as a good employee. Then you can think about having kids.

    1. Love so much of what you said, Pam – having a full life with a career, being a high earner makes you a better wife, etc.

      And what you say are: having a strong career first before telecommuting has its merits in corporate-track jobs (to a degree). But there are real and plentiful opportunities in entrepreneurial pursuits — including joining someone else’s startup — that give women control over their schedules.

  25. What a great article. I’ve read every comment too. I can say from experience that working from home isn’t necessarily much easier either. I was blessed to be able to continue working while having three kids, but it was HARD. We have a lot of mandatory overtime, and my husband works out of town more than he is home, so I’m basically a mom of 3 working 50 hrs a week with no one to help with anything. So, so many times we have both said that this is ridiculous and that no one is raising these kids and life would be so much easier if I wasn’t working. But for as tough as it is at times, I never could take the risk of him losing his job, or him getting ill or worse, or even me getting ill. That is often not thought about either, what if the SAHM gets ill and needs taken care of? In my case, this would be devastating because my husband would have to quit his job, being unable to go out of town. I could never risk any of these things, even though we have any possible insurance to back us up. And I have to agree with a previous poster that I like knowing that, if I had to, I could support myself and my kids even without his support (SUPER tight, but we wouldn’t live on the street), and I think that “balance of power” (so to speak, I don’t mean this in a bad way) is a good thing, at least for our relationship. His ego tends to overinflate quickly. And not to mention that I absolutely don’t deal well with financial stress. I am constantly trying to keep our mandatory expenses to a minimum even with two incomes, so that we could somehow get by even if we somehow both lost our jobs at the same time (not as unlikely as one might think. We just went through a round of layoffs at my company last summer while his company went through a merger. We both feared for our jobs at the same time). I can’t imagine what kind of wreck I would be if I had to worry about no backup if one job was lost. It’s not like we have a year’s worth of salary saved up. So, thank you for this article. It made me smile and realize that while I often feel I’m neither a good enough mother nor a good enough employee because I am always torn into two different directions, for me, this beats the stress of always fearing the “what ifs”. And my kids seem perfectly happy with how things are, I might add :-)

  26. This article seems more of a scolding than an informative tidbit.
    The author sounds as though she is happy that this is happening to SAHM. I sense this article is fueled by a woman scorned, resentful toward herself and/or ex that she has to work. The style as well as the authors comments lead me to believe she’s deflecting the pain of abandoning her kid in daycare onto women that do not have to leave it to someone else to raise their child. I too would be angry if I was a single woman detached from my child, but I wouldn’t project negativity on others because of my unfortunate circumstances. Poor woman. Good luck!

  27. Many SAHMs are in abusive relationships with men who have used isolation for control. They urge their wives to stay home with the children because it provides temporary attachment security. A fully dependent women is going nowhere. Over time the wife gains a bit of personal strength and wishes to leave, and of course all assets belong to the spouse who has climbed the corporate ladder on his wife’s shoulders. His claiming of all asserts that “he earned” is none other than an to extension ongoing abuse.

    1. No, not all assets belong to the one who earned them, I hate to say..
      That is my dilemma..I am already in retirement…Due to health reasons.I was the main or sole breadwinner in our marriage..40 year marriage
      No hope of reconciliation in our marriage..My WH disrespected me and abused me emotionally too many times…I don’t want him back..
      My wayward cheating husband stayed home for many years of our marriage..He has been working for the last year out of 3..This has been an ongoing and typical pattern in our marriage..He has no retirement, no savings..
      My dilemma is how to get out of the marriage to build a life of my own without this cheating man draining me of 1/2 of my pension…Savings.. I earned these over a lifetime..Leaving me with insurmountable financial problems…I am already 60…My health status makes it very difficult for me to hold a full time job, and I can only imagine the nightmare of having too much of my paycheck go to my ex to fund his new lifestyle..Causing me to struggle to pay for my own food and safe shelter….
      Sad to say it isn’t true that the assets belong to the spouse who earned them..The cheater spouse is still entitled to 1/2 of everything that either spouse accumulated during the marriage..
      I think couples should set a plan and have resources in place for when they decide that one partner gets to stay out of the workforce for an extended period time..Should a divorce happen, the sole wage earner suffers if he or she cannot afford to support two households..And in many states it does not matter if the non working spouse derailed the marriage because of cheating, addiction, etc..

      1. This is the struggle most divorced men face. Alimony should be removed. Supporting your child or dividing up assets makes sense to some degree. You want equality? Well here is the other side of the fence. In most cases the push to have kids comes strongest from women including the aggressive nesting syndrome. I agree with the author and I’m glad there are women that see the need to stay financially connected via work.

  28. I left the city I lived in and career as a legal assistant to move to marry and relocate to his hometown and raise my child from a prev marriage, got hit with his two and five year old kids six months in (mother took off) then we had our own four years in. So I went full time stay at home immediately. Now fifteen years later he’s moved on to another woman in September and filed for divorce October 9. I regret leaving the workplace even though it would have been impossible at first with daycare fees, because I lost my friends, my security but mostly my self-confidence. I was immediately isolated in a small town where I knew no one, his family was completely hateful and undermined every effort I made to be a good stepmother and my husband allowed them to do it. I believe if I had kept my job I would have not only had some financial security but better self confidence, an outside support system and friends that could have given me a better perspective on things before I sunk so far into depression and his control that it cost me my marriage.

  29. Agree. I’m frankly quite offended with the condsceding tone in the article and in the comments.
    I’m not sure who the SAHM’s are that they speak of so contemptuous about but I have the utmost respect for the ones I know. I do worry though that they will be in the same dire straits as me if they end up divorced but the ones I know are all long term military spouses and seemingly quite happy.

    I also was a military officers spouse. We were married for 13 years. I had one child previous to this marriage and we had two children together that were 23 mos apart. He was gone for 40% of our marriage and we moved state to state and coast to coast 5 times during the 13 years. He left on deployment when I was 6 mos pregnant and came back when our youngest was 4 mos. old.
    We had no family anywhere we lived. Military spouses have a very difficult time getting jobs. Employers know that they will not be a long term employee and so they don’t want to invest the time and/or money to train them. The civilian spouse never gets to earn seniority or promotions. And some jobs require state licenses (particularly teachers and nurses). Often there is additional training or education that they have to complete in order to even take the state boards. Lots of duty stations are short term so not enough time to do all that is required.
    So that leaves low paying minimum wage jobs. Not worth the daycare, not worth the stress and does nothing to enable you to prepare to be able to take care of yourself. And guess who suffers? The children.
    The other issue is that the military member has a different kind of job then what civilians are used to. They do not have a choice in what their day to day work schedule is like. There are lots of training and preparation that they do to keep our country safe.
    That includes night ops, 12-24 hour duty shifts, mini dets (1-3 weeks) and longer short term training assignments. That’s all in addition to the sea schedule of work-ups, duty days and deployments. They are unable to just call in sick or choose not to come in. These spouses are operating dangerous machinery so it is important that they get proper rest. And so if both spouses had to work the next day and the baby is up all night with an earache, who do you think is going to be up with the baby? Not him. And who do you think will call their employer to tell them they can’t come to work the next morning? Not him. As my ex-husband told me one while I was working on some crafting projects that I did on the side to make extra money and had a deadline for this assignment so I needed his help with the kids. He was not being helpful and so I reminded him that when he has any work thing going on that I always take care of the kids so that he can do what he needs to do and he said to me “don’t you ever compare what you do to what I do again”.

    You as a military spouse have the responsibility of trying to provide your children with everything that would normally be divided out amongst family and extended family. You are the one who has to do the bulk of the work to help your children adjust and Integrate into a new city, a new neighborhood and a new school. Your spouse is likely doing training at his new duty station or re-qualifications and is learning a new job himself.
    It’s a lot of work and most of the military spouses that I knew were stay at home parents.
    The most important thing was to try to keep things as calm and consistent for the kids because there were so many constant changes going on. There is literally no way I would have been able to do it all and do it well if I had to also work full time.
    My spouse would have suffered. His career would have suffered. My children would have suffered (and one was recently diagnosed with a few things including being on the autism spectrum).
    It sometimes keeps me up at night and I think about all the would have, could have and should have beens.
    Sometimes I feel anxious or worried about how I’m going to afford groceries or stressed out and terrified about going pro-se against his men’s rights atty to try to right all the wrongs because I can’t afford a lawyer etc and I curse our decision to have me be a stay at home parent. It infuriates me that he is able to make enough money to live quite nicely and at the same time I am having to visit food pantries and have had no medical insurance for 5 years. I’m struggling trying to provide for 2 teenagers. We live in So.Cal and it’s very expensive here. I was 42 when I got my first minimum wage job. My ex was held to minimum wage after he retired and so my child support is only enough for one good grocery trip and my alimony was taken away. He has spent over 100k on his attorney.
    I don’t want a penny from him. I don’t. But what I do want is for my children to have what they need while with me. I would also like to be able to afford to take them to the movies once in a while. But until I am able to work my way up in the working world which frankly I’m finding to be difficult and it’s not fair that our children suffer half the month while with me. It’s been 2.5 yrs since the support went almost all the way away. Working as hard as I have had to make ends meet has worn on me hard. I see it when I look at myself. I feel it.
    So when I wearily Google information to find a group that possibly mentors former stay at home moms to help move them in the right direction towards being financially independent and I stumble upon articles like this it literally feels like a kick to me when I’m already down.
    Bottom line is at night when I lie awake with regrets that it was and is 100% worth it. And I think about my children and I’m so grateful that I got to be there for that time and would I trade them for any amount of comfort? And of course I wouldn’t and that brings me peace.
    Now can you please please write an article to help women like me? I’m trying desperately to move forward.
    Oh and btw, he is now a govt contract pilot. I’m too scared to take him back to court though after what I’ve been through.

  30. My husband makes millions of dollars per year. My earning power and probably yours would never make a difference in his life. He wants a companion to share his life with. We travel the world, immerse ourselves in different, beautiful cultures. We have two teenage children together and have been married for 20 years. Had I kept my foot in the door for a two day part time job, I can assure you I would be divorced. I believe as does my husband, you put your energy 100% into everything you do. Having your foot in the door in case of an impending divorce is only showing you’re not 100% committed to your marriage. Yes, should my husband decide he wanted a divorce. I would have asking for half! He is the one that wanted a full time companion.

    1. You had me until “He is the one that wanted a full time companion.”

      What do YOU want? Why do you get half of another person’s money because you obediently did what he demanded?

      And while you certainly gain a lot by abandoning your career and committing to what your husband desires, you lose a lot, too — autonomy, the ability to express what it is you want, and the professional and creative fulfillment that comes with building a career.

  31. I never believed in spell casters, not until last two weeks when i saw with my very eyes what Priest tokubo did for me. i came accross priest tokubo email address when i was listening to world news on television when a woman testify on how this great world spell caster helped her to get her husband back. for the pass two months I and my wife haven`t being in good terms and during that period she was seeing someone else, because of the love i had for her i went in search of solution to have her back no matter the sacrifice. just exactly ten days, i came in contact with this priest tokubo, Atet contacting this great spell caster and follow his instructions my wife came back to me with some of her friends with apologies that she has really hurt me and right now we are living happily.i am very grateful for what you did for me by bringing back my lost precious jewellery.from the dept of my heart, is now i believed that you are a true world greatest and world famous spell caster, i say thank you. And for any one out there having similar problem like mine, can get in touch with this great priest through this email address: highpriesttokubo @ gmail. com
    You are the next to testify about him once you contact him for help.

  32. I’m sorry but, I will not just hand over my young child to be taken care ( and who knows if even well or how I want them to be taken care of) by another person. Just because i MIGHT get a divorce or i may not be able to get a job once the baby is old enoug for school. It would have killed me inside to know that my child loved my nanny or wanted to be with the sitter more than me. What’s wrong with taking care of our children? I don’t get why all the hate. I get that you are financially vulnerable but that’s the sacrifice you make for your children. And the men love thier children too what’s wrong with your wife being there care taker versus a nanny? I get that when they are in school that,that may be a good time for mom to work, but does her job really end at 5? Or does she need to figure out the laundry the cooking the cleaning the lunches the practices etc. And men cam be stay at home as well my sister does it this way because she make more money. Any way my point is we are very aware of the decision of leaving the work force thank you very much. But I’m not handing my baby over to the day care with five other infants or to the nanny so she can see my baby first steps, so that I can be prepared for a divorce. If I where dealt a different hand where I didn’t get the opportunity to stay at home I would work and work my aSs off for my child to have what they need. But as long as I am given the opportunity I will take it.

    1. Working part-time, remotely or another flexible arrangement to stay relevant and maintain financial security does not mean “handing over your child for someone else to raise.” And research finds time and again that after age 3 it doesn’t matter how much time we spend with our kids, while the income and professional success of parents — mothers in particular — does have a huge impact.

  33. This is the first time to use the service of robinson.buckler@yahoo. com and even if I was a bit skeptical at first, I highly recommend his service to people who need an extra help. It felt good to have my lover back. i never crossed my arms waiting for him to come on his own

  34. “As for husband-to-cleaners — if a man is going to upend your life financially, and make it likely that you will struggle, then hell yes, take what you can get. It’s not about being vengeful or mean; it’s about seeing that he makes things right as far as they can be made right. There are no bonus points for suffering.”

    This is the problem. You can’t have it both ways. You want to earn the same? Then go out and become a software engineer and work at Facebook. You can’t expect equal pay across industries. In your vision, what is “right” is simply what the law allows. As the writer has eloquently stated, alimony is going away as it should. It takes two people to make a child.

    And the argument of spousal support “being just right” is nonsense. What is just right? Your standard of living. Well that standard came because you decided to marry someone that is or turned out to be a high earner. The fact that you supported that person doesn’t mean you added to the bottom line. Certainly not at a 50/50 rate as many women now argue. “I sacrificed my career for you!” From what I have seen with SAHMs is the mom was the one pushing aggressively to start a family and her earning potential never came close to that of the husbands. And now they dream about the CFO/CEO income they gave up to watch kids. And by the way, most everyone has the ability to have kids. Very few can make it up the ranks to CFO/CEO. So the argument about spousal support being just right is absurd. And when you have women judges, many that worked hard through law school and had to move up the system with sacrifices, they see through they other women that are simply lazy and want a free ticket.

    Just reading through this, I can see why many successful men are being reluctant to marry.

  35. In 1980 I had my first son, second in 1982. It was expected that I resume working. When getting married the male spouse was very conscious of prospective wife’s path in and out and back to work. Being a SAHM was accepted until pre-school age, 3 or 4yrs old. Having some undergrad and post grad course parts to complete meant that sometimes I worked 1 or 2 days less pw.

    After the 1970’s ended in Australia everyone expected wives of schoolage kids to beback at work, at least substantially part-time to work. Even our SAHM mothers of the 1950s worried if we had a gap between jobs.

    I remember having moments (preferred working mostly) of wistful envy of women a decade older allowed to forever SAHM. Here being a SAHM was then and is still generally seen at best a temp stage re babies, or more rarely occurs for a period of time an older child has a crisis issue requing extra care.

    In Au if a mom is at home with school age kids it usully means she’s involuntarily unemployed, or too ill/disabled to work, or otherwise impaired to be employble. We’ve our underclasses of multi genertional never been employed, but they include both genders.

  36. Some lower paid women can’t afford to work. Initially the daycare would cost more than the take home pay after taxes at the married rate. Take the husband making $75k with long hours and the wife making $45k with long hours, and $20k per kid for daycare. With 2 kids – do the math. Sometimes most common sense thing to do would be for the wife to quit and do everything you would otherwise have to outsource. After daycare – school age kids would need after school care, vacation care, summer camps, sick days, snow days. You just don’t realize that some jobs have long hours, include travel, and are not compatible with family responsibilities. Not to mention the stress and lack of sleep! Add it up and 2 working parents very often doesn’t make financial sense. What needs to happen is to codify the marital agreement (pre-nup, post nup, etc) so that the parent taking time off or ramping off to part time is protected against this financial risk and does not end up kicked in the ditch by the other parent for not ‘doing their 50%’. Or maybe she should just bill him for being the nanny and the housekeeper.

  37. and agree with Katherine !!! No one who wants to be home with their kids should work so that they can prepare for a divorce! What a lousy reason to go to work!!!! If you can manage without the income and work is making you miserable – then downshift to part time or take a year off – or two – or three – or ten. You never get those years with your children back. And there is no research that shows there’s no problem if you skip out on your kids when they are 3!!!!! If you really want to help a SAHM, tell her to have savings in her name, have life insurance on her husband, try to keep her toes in the professional world and keep her professional accreditations, and have a plan for her husband’s death or divorce. The mommy wars are about getting validation – very selfish. Let’s just stop it!
    When my kids were little, full time work involved long hours and travel and was incompatible with taking care of the kids. Daycare was expensive and awful. So I started my own consulting business to work around the kids schedule. Even though I made less, I was so glad to be the one taking care of my kids and there was actually a net financial gain as a family. And yes, when they were pre-teenagers, my husband divorced me and he and the women lawyers and judges told me to ‘work more’. Of course I was going to ‘work more’ – but getting a little child support and alimony was the only way for me to keep my modest home with the kids and be able to continue to take care of them. So that’s what I fought for – and that’s what I got. You do right by your kids – one way or the other.

  38. I can’t say I blame the judges, in fact I think they are right..The problem is that I didn’t know this in time and now it’s too late :(

    As a mom of 4 kids, I’ve been out of the workforce for 10+ years, because 1, childcare was very expensive 2, we had no family near or far to help us out and 3, my husband’s career is pretty much a 24/7 gig and I knew I wouldn’t have the chance to earn nowhere near as much as he does, and someone had to be here with the kids on evenings, nights, weekends and holidays. I figured I’d have to be the one sacrificing my work hours anyway, when they were sick, which was and is still quite a frequent occurrence.

    I do understand the judges and I wish I didn’t sacrifice my life like this. As always, the initial romance wore off, and my husband and I have little to nothing in common anymore, we have a roommate relationship, where both he and I are lonely and resentful and bitter. At night I go to bed and close my eyes and live my dream life in my fantasy, divorced and free, or better yet, never married, never “wasted” over a decade of my life at home. It has no value to society, it has no value to anyone. I tried to work hard to raise good kids, but they’re ungrateful, bickering, can’t get along – no doubt they pick up on our stress. Anyways, I dream of a life that I could’ve had, without buying into this SAHM madness. I was a honor student, I had so much potential. I loved studying, I enjoyed cultivating knowledge. I hated being locked up at home – even when away from home , in motherly/wifely/ housewifely chores and roles.

    Now after over a decade gone, what chances do I have? My youngest won’t be old enough for me to be gone full-time for work for many more years to come. Husband’s career is the same as ever. I’d spend my entire income on childcare, and maybe more. And who would employ me like this, anyway?

    So, anyhow, I can’t say these judges are wrong. I think women should be encouraged to go back to work asap, or better yet, never even leave. I regret having children. I regret marrying. Yea, I pretty much live in regret every day. Dreaming away at night, dreaming of another life where I can be still successful, happy and young..following my life call, enjoying a rewarding career with adequate+ finances.

    I am only in my 30s and I am buried alive and there’s noone and nothing to turn to.
    How will I start a new life in my 50s-60s, even when they finally grow up?

    And no, I don’t just b#tch and moan for myself. I feel sorry for my husband too, he’s equally unhappy. I wish he had a better life himself, he deserves it. Just because we can’t get along and our relationship has ended, I do not hate him, I want him happy too.

    Same for the kids…I know we are setting them up for a miserable future, bound to repeat the same mistakes, or bound by this miserable situation financially, if nothing else, for perhaps their entire lives to come.

    It’s a disgrace to think that it was ever a good idea to go down this road.

    If you got to read it this far – and if you walk in the same shoes, don’t walk, but run if you can! If you’re before making such a life decision, run five times faster and never look back!

    They say, being a SAHM is a joy, how wonderful it is to care for your children, be there every moment, watch them grow..and they say it’s the most amazing thing in the world to be the “heart” of the house and family. All lies.

    I hope it’s not too late for some of you..

    And I also don’t judge some of you who voiced very harsh opinions here about SAHMs. Yea, we totally come off as money-hungry manipulative people, wanting to rip men off of all they have.

    Not me, even if my husband earned well, I wouldn’t do that to him, because I know that’d ruin his future as well. I can’t do that. It’s wrong.

    He doesn’t earn well so I know that a divorce would financially damage him as well. So no, we all are not in it for the money, but I can’t argue, it does look like that and it’s a stigma we – or at least I – may never be able to wipe off of myself, even though my life situation has a lot more to do with naivety than anything else.

    Thanks for reading – I hope it helped to even one person..

  39. I didn’t even read what you posted past your first line to know that you’ve made it about the monetary gain and not your children . Your obvious motives concern monetary gain, which not necessarily benifit the longevity for you or for the benifit of people who follow the advice found here. Disclaimers are found somewhere on this site and are present for a reason, if the advice is given for your benifit or others alone, no disclaimers would be needed or present. The women are bitching, some sounded like they cared, if any actually gave a , they would go for awareness and state no woman should be retaliatory in divorce, for the children’s sake. This is the US, it doesn’t seem to happen anymore, which seems to lead to secular results… people seem to make the best thoughts and other bullcrap to explain outside of sane reasoning. Reality for you many likely doesn’t apply when their pride, ego, sexual orientation, or their willingness to even hump a porcupine seems to benifi themselves on some way. No I am not racial or discriminatory against porcupines, you idiot.

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