Today I will sell you on the idea of a Stay at Home Mom for a wife. I'm preaching to the choir, but let me ramble on about it. Let me also sell it for the ladies out there, as I have a small female readership. I'm just offering one post of counter-programming as a howl at the progressive hurricane. I am fortunate to live in a low cost, flyover area. This was part of our plan as we could not afford to live in a short commute zone in Boston, for my wife to follow the career path we both wanted for her, and to have multiple kids. My wife teaches ballet and modern dance, and has ratcheted down her teaching to now only two evenings a week. I bring in 90% of our household income. The pressure is on me. My wife knows this. This is not too different from some of my peers, but the difference is my wife is mostly a stay at home mom while my peers make 65% of their household income and their wives work in shitty 9-5 jobs making 25-35K year. I found out in 2014 what an advantage having my wife be a stay at home mom was.
1. She doesn't have her own bag of work bullshit to dump on me. My wife has small stuff as she runs the business side of the studio from our home, but my friends' wives do the "work drama is horrible" routine on them for what appears to be hours. Coworker had a wife that worked at Wal-Mart. Said he'd let her run through her Wally-World stories and zone out, repeatedly responding with 'wow honey". My carpool regularly retells these wife work stories for amusement, but it's at a minimum the first 20 minutes of their wives' time at home from work. I don't talk work drama at home. I leave it there since I heard my parents bitch about work all growing up. Our time at home is spent focused on us.
2. No drama about WHO IS PICKING THE KIDS UP TONIGHT!?!??!!? IT'S YOUR TURN GARY! HOW COULD YOU FORGET???? >legit work phone conversation overheard monthly<
3. My kids spend time with their mom during the day, and no worries they are in a day care Fight Club.
4. Those small errands that take up my peers' weekends are done during the week by my wife. This allows me to enjoy my weekends with my family instead of sitting at Midas or running to Home Depot to grab paint.
5. She cooks meals so it's another thing off my plate that some of my peers have to do. If she worked, I imagine the meal thing would be handled differently.
6. If something serious family related comes up for me, I have a partner at the house to contact to take care of things like organizing a trip. Family emergencies that may require travel arrangements or figuring out what hospital to go to, I can farm out to her as she is at home, and move it out of my hands at work.
7. Martyr Moms. Yes, being a mom is "tough" but a "working mom" adds in a whole other layer of bullshit that society allows women to use as Martyr Moms. You know the moms who lie and spread Faceborg myths, like "A mom can't use the bathroom in peace for 5 years, snarf snarf". So that Martyr Mom never uses the bathroom when he kids nap, are asleep for the night, are gone at an activity, are home with her husband? Logic. My friends with wives who work end up getting sucked into things at home because just like those men getting stressed and worn out, women do too. Sometimes the working dads become the "working mom" hardship story, but they don't bitch about it or get media coverage.
8. Friends who have wives that work have to play the "sick kid" or "sick day care provider" missed day from work game. Which parent leaves work or takes the day off to deal with a sick kid? My last boss would do this once a month (he called it "daddy day care"), but in the four years my son has been around, I've never missed a day for a "sick kid". This applies to children's doctors appointments, too. I hope my boss and his wife's Toyota Avalons are worth it.
9. When shit goes bad at a working mom's job, the stress and job search drama bleeds into dad's life. It's a natural partnership empathy thing. Stay at home moms don't have that baggage.
10. If your kids are school age, primary interface between school and your household becomes your wife. Like a lion on the savanna, you are only called in if shit gets very real.
This advantage crossed my mind all through 2014 as my specific department in my division went through a horrible period. I had peers suffering insomnia, anxiety attacks, massive weight gain or loss and whatnot. I had some nights of waking up at 2am and being unable to go back to sleep. I just wrote for you all down at the desktop those nights. My bad sleep was due to knowing some behind the scenes political drama at work, not just simple work stress, as I knew of the potential downsizings being debated and negotiated. Debating working until 8pm or just coming in on Saturday boiled down to who else would be there, and if you could stand them?
The thing that I had as an advantage was a wife being a great partner focused on our home 100% because she did not have work damage of her own. During a high stress year at work, I did not have to come home to most of the bullshit my coworkers endured. My peers at work were not so lucky. I cannot recommend this lifestyle decision enough. Think about it. I know some cities make a single income difficult, so think about relocating if your job is transferable. There are plenty of affordable cities under 500,000 in population and away from the coasts. Take one road trip outside the Acela Corridor, and you'll be pleasantly surprised about what you can find. Just think about what you really want in life, and make it happen.