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re: Stay at home wives. New status symbol?
By ChristinePremium member Comments: 6865, member since Wed Feb 04, 2009
On Sat Nov 30, 2013 06:37 PM
I worked full time for seven years before becoming a SAHW. I was already pregnant with my first child so from the start, I knew this was a temporary luxury. My husband was away for weeks at a time every single month and all the details of managing our home and preparing for our new baby were on me. There was nothing leisurely about it and I did not miss all the crap that is involved in a full time career. After so many years in the business world, I'd had enough.

Honestly, I did not have the money to go to the gym, take a class, or lunch with friends. I didn't spend time sunbathing or going to matinees.

We went from two paychecks to one and the extra time I had from not working went into doing things for ourselves and our home that I didn't have time for when I was working full time and going to college at night. When I worked, if we needed new drapes, I bought them. When I didn't work, I made them. And lots of other things. Wedding cakes, quilts, jelly.... all time intensive and pricy to buy if you don't make them yourself. When I worked, we could afford a painter to paint the house. When I was a new mother, I did the painting myself while the babies slept. It took a long, long, time but the price was right.

I'm not sure I've ever really met women who are ladies of leisure...(well... the summer people who come here for the summer or during ski season to live in their second (or third) homes.....) Most people I know either work inside the home or outside the home. There seems to be a direct relationship to time and money. When I worked, we had more money (and we needed it because we had no time to do many things....)and when I stayed at home, my time was used to make up for the lack of money.

Within a few years, my husband's business required my time and attention. Even with seven children, I spent a great deal of time answering phones and doing computer work. I do much less of this the last few years, but when the kids were all in school I went back to dancing and eventually became a studio owner. My studio has always taken a back seat to my family and my husband's business... just the way it is.

My youngest child is in college now and although I have an unusual situation due to my motherless grandchildren, I do fantasize about just getting a "regular" job.

I'm old enough to have done the full time job thing, the stay at home mom, the working mom (when my third was a baby, I worked full time for about a year)the part time working mom of school aged children and some other variations on these themes. When I worked full time, I did not volunteer. When I did not work full time, I volunteered often and with great commitment. Guess what?

Everyone gets 24 hours a day. Not. one. minute. more. The trick of managing that time with integrity is an individual choice but I do not believe any one choice is any easier than any other. In fairness to the "status symbol" perspective, I must say that because I was just 18 when I fell in love with my then 20 year old husband, I didn't have the "trophy" experience. I can imagine that a middle aged man with a much younger wife might find the idea of a pretty young wife to do his bidding might have a certain charm, but I'm not sure many people would admire this or believe it confers status. The woman is going to age and hopefully grow up and when she does she may find she needs to give something more to her community or her own sense of self worth. Taking a decade long break from being a contributing member of the community will make this very difficult.

A quick look over this thread seems to back this up. No one here finds this kind of shallow lifestyle a symbol of status.

Keep On Dancing*
re: Stay at home wives. New status symbol?
By Krystalmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 8458, member since Tue Sep 02, 2003
On Sun Dec 01, 2013 05:57 AM
Edited by Krystal (73000) on 2013-12-01 05:58:34
A quick look over this thread seems to back this up. No one here finds this kind of shallow lifestyle a symbol of status.


Just wondering...why do you find this lifestyle shallow? I know women in the workforce, who also have children, who also volunteer several hours a week... and live a much more shallow lifestyle than a SAHW/SAHM.
re: Stay at home wives. New status symbol?
By RileyA Comments: 3120, member since Tue Jan 03, 2006
On Sun Dec 01, 2013 01:49 PM
There is nothing wrong with this at all as long as both members of the couple want to do it. If the husband makes enough money to support the wife then that is great. Also the wife not working means there is just one more job available for those who are struggling to find work.

The woman just needs to make sure she has enough in her life to stimulate her. Many of these women are very active volunteers and get very involved in various community projects.

The only problem occurs when the husband does not want the wife to work but the wife wants to work.
re: Stay at home wives. New status symbol?
By ChristinePremium member Comments: 6865, member since Wed Feb 04, 2009
On Sun Dec 01, 2013 02:45 PM
Krystal wrote:

A quick look over this thread seems to back this up. No one here finds this kind of shallow lifestyle a symbol of status.


Just wondering...why do you find this lifestyle shallow? I know women in the workforce, who also have children, who also volunteer several hours a week... and live a much more shallow lifestyle than a SAHW/SAHM.


The shallow lifestyle I refer to is not necessarily due to the SA aspect, but he "going to the gym, lunching with friends,sunbathing, shopping ...." self indulgence rather than being a contributing member of the community. I happen to believe supporting the home front as a full time military wife, IS an important contribution to our society. Your husband could not cope with all the deployments and the stresses of the war machine as well as he does if he did not have the knowledge that you are always there for him and your home without distraction or conflicts. It takes a lot to keep two adult lives going and often husbands and wives have this kind of arrangement; one works inside the home, one works outside the home. Additionally... "they also serve who sit and wait." Productive? Absolutely.

I do agree that there are always individual cases that contradict general observations. I'm sure you know military wives who don't show their husband's any devotion or consideration. I know women with children, working and not, who pawn them off on anyone and everyone every time they have the chance to go on a booze cruise with their friends. We could all go on and on and never really get to the question...

The question, is this "status"? Not in my eyes. If there are men who look at "keeping a little woman" (back in the kitchen? barefoot and pregnant?)a source of advertising individual accomplishment I feel sorry for those women. If they are content with their partnership and enjoy their roll in their husband's professional success, then more power to them. I don't look down on it, but I don't admire the man in question as if as if it something HE's accomplished. "Keeping a woman" is not the same as earning a PHD.

Keep On Dancing*
re: Stay at home wives. New status symbol? (karma: 1)
By slice Comments: 1247, member since Fri Oct 15, 2004
On Sun Dec 01, 2013 03:49 PM
Well, it's still a marker of a certain economic status, assuming the woman is doing it by choice (and not out of an inability to get a job, which is a reality for a lot of people in this economy). Not just everyone can afford to have one person not contributing financially and still take care of the rent/mortgage, car payments, college tuition, and so on and so forth. So it does speak to a certain extent to a man or woman's (financial) success that they're able to singlehandedly provide all of these things on one paycheck.

Not going to get into the whether it's admirable or not debate, but socio-economically, being a SAHW/H is a marker of status.
re: Stay at home wives. New status symbol? (karma: 6)
By SaraTheGrouchmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 8600, member since Thu Apr 17, 2003
On Sun Dec 01, 2013 04:02 PM
So, let's talk about my mother.

My mom got married very young - a few weeks before her 20th birthday. My father, at the time, had graduated from college and had a decent job. My mother was half way done with college (she started at 16 and went part time) and working full time for Lord and Taylor in their advertising department. At the time, finishing school seemed pointless, so she dropped out. She worked her advertising job for a few more years until my father got an even better job and was making a lot of money. She then decided to become a florist because she had become bored with advertising and "loved flowers." She didn't need to work by any stretch of the imagination, but needed something to occupy her time.

When she was pregnant with me, she decided to stop working. The plan had always been that she'd be a SAHM, so there was no objection or debate. Dad was cool with it, and he made more than enough money to pay for the 7 bedroom/6 bathroom house that we moved into when my brother was born 2.5 years later. And I'll just throw it in for good measure - we had a housekeeper too, even though my mother was a SAHM.

Around the time or shortly after my brother was born, my father started cheating on my mother. Mom found out. Mom filed for divorce after therapy, etc, and realizing that the marriage couldn't be salvaged. Mom now had a 5 year old, a 3 year old, a huge house, no college degree, no breadwinning husband, no job, and all that. The rich husband, beautiful house, white picket fence dream that my mother had been living came to a grinding halt.

Since my father is somewhat of an epic douche bag, he withheld child support for a lot of my childhood. It was hard for my mother to find a job because she didn't have a diploma and she had been out of the workforce for a few years. She had two kids in private school and a huge mortgage and even when she was working, it was hard to make things work, but she did it. My grandmother helped, mom sold our house, she made wise investments with the left over money, etc. But it wasn't always butterflies and rainbows, which is what makes me worry about women who do this.

My mother has told me since day 1 to get an education and a job, and be able to support myself just in case. She has told me to keep my own my money, always have a backup plan, and never depend on anyone. I will never put myself in the position that she was in, and I wish more women could understand what a huge mistake it is to depend on someone else for everything they have. Divorces are never planned, but they happen often. Wake up.
re: Stay at home wives. New status symbol?
By toroandbruinmember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 3627, member since Fri Oct 10, 2008
On Sun Dec 01, 2013 10:00 PM
Your mom was quite right.

In my family, maybe it was really bad luck but back in the mid-1900's when women were supposed to be housewives my Aunt Margaret ended up supporting 3 sons when her husband died early of cancer, my mother ended up supporting the family for a long while when my father had PTSD, my mother-in-law supported herself and her son (my future husband) when his father was killed in WWII. And, for that matter, my grandmother on my mother's side, in the Victorian era, worked as a seamstress to support her two daughters when her husband died shortly after being in the battle of Khartoum.

So I cannot stress strongly enough the message that if you plan to have kids you'd better keep up the skills necessary to support them -- alone -- come what may.
re: Stay at home wives. New status symbol? (karma: 2)
By dance4ballet Comments: 1202, member since Mon Dec 03, 2007
On Mon Dec 02, 2013 12:02 AM
Some people HAVE to stay at home because of tax / day care etc it's not even worth it...

In my country, if you earn over $180,000 a year as a couple, you are taxed $54,000 of that. PLUS 45c to ever dollar over 180,000.

So, let's say one person earns $150,000 and is the "breadwinner". The partner earns $50,000 as a teacher. Their combined total is $200,000. So, they would pay $63,000 in TAX, which is MORE than what the partner earns, let alone daycare costs of about $400 a week.

I actually know a couple with this EXACT situation. - its not worth the wife working, they just end up paying the government for her to work!
re: Stay at home wives. New status symbol?
By dancin_til_death Comments: 4381, member since Sat May 08, 2004
On Mon Dec 02, 2013 02:07 AM
dance4ballet wrote:

Some people HAVE to stay at home because of tax / day care etc it's not even worth it...

In my country, if you earn over $180,000 a year as a couple, you are taxed $54,000 of that. PLUS 45c to ever dollar over 180,000.

So, let's say one person earns $150,000 and is the "breadwinner". The partner earns $50,000 as a teacher. Their combined total is $200,000. So, they would pay $63,000 in TAX, which is MORE than what the partner earns, let alone daycare costs of about $400 a week.

I actually know a couple with this EXACT situation. - its not worth the wife working, they just end up paying the government for her to work!


I find this brings down the essence of problems I have with this debate. When it comes to tax and childcare, its always the woman's career its compared against. That high level of tax is due to the partners work, not the wife's. Yet it is compared against the wife's income, as if she were the cause of such a high tax level. The same is largely done with childcare. Often its thought of as the wife's income should take care of it, the man is absolved of the responsibility of paying for childcare. It is the woman who has to justify it.

In broader terms of this debate, do we ever hear the reverse - the stay at home husband. I do know of some husbands that went part time, or became the primary care giver...

There is this assumption that if the mother works that her salary must cover the childcare costs. I get that the money is shared, but its always stated as the "mother only has this much left over", as if men shouldn't be assuming half the costs of covering the childcare as well. If she works together as a couple they'll get more money.

Also this sort of argument assumes that the only reason a woman would go to work is for financial reasons. Yet by phrasing the amount of tax and childcare purely against the mother's wage, it dismisses the work she does. It forces us to justify the work she does in financial terms.

I do believe that women (particularly in Australia) are doing themselves a disservice from not being in the workforce. In the long run they'll end up with less independence, less super, and if they do choose to re enter the workforce they'll probably have difficulty, and enter at a lower level then the one they left.
re: Stay at home wives. New status symbol?
By SaraTheGrouchmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 8600, member since Thu Apr 17, 2003
On Mon Dec 02, 2013 11:15 AM
Edited by SaraTheGrouch (63195) on 2013-12-02 11:22:26
I totally understand the have to stay home for childcare thing. I work with an amazing woman who has three kids. She's married to a great guy, but he didn't finish high school. Even so, he's super handy and had a really great job with a boat manufacturing company prior to the kids being born. After the kids, they came to the determination that he would stay home with them until they were school age because day care would cost them more than he made in salary. HOWEVER, in addition to him raising 3 kids, he has been self employed in manufacturing things out of his garage and has maintained a very PRN position at a local home improvement store, just so he can keep his resume afloat for when the kids are all in school and he can go back to work. THIS is a prime example of how to stay at home for financial reasons, yet make that time count. I admire the two of them a TON!

I work with a bunch of women, so at any given moment, someone's pregnant or just had a baby, or both. Pregnancy and children are a common discussion at work given the population. That being said, it's often mentioned that Baby X is SoandSo's "last" baby. Why, you ask? Because "two is all that I can afford to support." Some people combine their husband's income in that factor, but some don't and say, "two is all that I can afford to support ON MY OWN." Wiser words never spoken, folks. I want 3 or 4 kids myself, but if I can't support them based on my own income, it won't be happening.

As pointed out above, people do die prematurely and unexpectedly. People also go to prison. Two of my classmates' fathers growing up went to prison for white collar crimes, which left both of the families in dire straights.

Bad things happen. They do. Even when you don't anticipate them.

re: Stay at home wives. New status symbol?
By Kettricken Comments: 174, member since Thu Jun 07, 2012
On Mon Dec 02, 2013 12:05 PM
reel_faerie85 wrote:

I'm currently working but have previously been a SAHW. I think its quite common in the military - probably due to moving a lot & the tight knit old fashioned communities.


I was thinking about the military wives. I had an intern who was a SAHW for years, and said it was pretty common for the reasons you listed.

I wish we were in a position where I didn't HAVE to work, but I agree I would go crazy with nothing to really do. I don't look down on a woman in this position just because she doesn't work, but if one was always rubbing it in about how she didn't do anything, I think I might just have to smack her lol.
re: Stay at home wives. New status symbol? (karma: 1)
By imadanseurPremium member Comments: 16604, member since Thu Dec 04, 2003
On Mon Dec 02, 2013 12:24 PM
I live near a suburb that it is QUITE the status symbol if you have a big house and you aren't working outside the home. Many have kids, but often that comes with a nanny and housekeepers and they don't go find a job after their kids are in school or have graduated. I worked for a restaurant and his wife shopped...every single day, and going to the spa, gym, and lunch were also on the list of things to do. Yeah, I look at that life and say, "I wish!" It's never going to happen unless I win the lottery so I can quit dreaming, and I do get a little judgmental about it.

going to the gym, lunching with friends,sunbathing, shopping ...." self indulgence rather than being a contributing member of the community.


I think it is going a little too far to say these people aren't contributing members of the community. First they usually employ a lot of staff or hire people to do a lot of things. They are usually in charge of some kind of charity or fundraising because that is a status symbol in their world and they get huge tax write offs for things like that. Ever go to a silent auction where wealthy people are bidding on items? I worked for a couple that spent $20,000 at a Boys and Girls Club fundraiser and wrote a check. Whether you approve of their lifestyle or not, they contributed a lot more money than I could have ever hoped to contribute in one night, and they were one of 50 people doing that. My brother who is a jeweler has been part of charity events where someone bought an original piece he designed for $50,000. They may not contribute to the community like you do, but they aren't dead beats.
re: Stay at home wives. New status symbol?
By ChristinePremium member Comments: 6865, member since Wed Feb 04, 2009
On Tue Dec 03, 2013 09:08 AM
^I'm not talking about people who are blessed and share their blessings. I don't count these individuals as "non contributors". You are correct that many of the silent actions I contribute to are aimed at people who intend to write a check for a large sum and those of us who organize such events are forever humbled by their generosity. Secret...? We play to this audience. Make A Wish, to name just one organization, could not do what they do without philanthropists.

People who treat themselves well at the expense of others or those who have an, "I got mine, you get yours" , attitude about social injustice are the people who irk me. Please don't misunderstand my harsh judgement. It isn't aimed at those who don't need to work, it is at those who take and take and never give.

Unfortunately, I know more than one person who has never done an altruistic deed in their entire life. They take their own blessings as a sign of their personal superiority and feel entitled, not grateful. I've had families at my studio who ask for and accept favors for YEARS and then ditch everyone who has supported them in their time of need when they think they have a better offer someplace else. This kind of fickleness is understandable and sometimes almost expected in self centered teenagers but I find it disgusting in adults. I can't tell you how many girls have accepted constant rides, food, money, special treats like being included in trips or vacations and then ditch their former friends when they think they have a shot at a more popular group of friends. Without fail, the worst offenders are the children of parents who also take, take, take, and never feel a responsibility to play fair.

When they ask, "Can you drop her home?"...the other parents always say, "Yes." Let one of them say, "My daughter is going to have to miss class all next week because I hit a deer and my car is going to be in the body shop.", and these parasitic women can be counted on to say, "I hit a deer five years ago! It was awful. I.... I.... I...." and never, (and I'm talking nine or ten years of watching this) step up to the plate.

If called on it I'm sure they'd say, "She didn't ask" but I promise you, if asked directly, "Can you drive my daughter next week?" there will always be an excuse. Usually, "I was going to go to the mall afterward. It's out of my way."

I'm sorry if my opinions weren't clear. And I'm sorry if I sound harsh. As usual, I bring baggage....

Hugs to all

Keep On Dancing*
re: Stay at home wives. New status symbol? (karma: 1)
By pokomember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 9027, member since Sun Oct 31, 2004
On Wed Dec 04, 2013 06:37 AM
Ok, earning $150,000 a year here would be huge.. So I can't really comment on that because I'm not sure where you're from...

But honestly, I have a few SAHM/Non-Mums on my FB and at the end of the day... I'm just jealous. And I have no problem admitting that. While I'm working 70-80 hours away for little money, and my fiancé picking up whatever random teaching days he can get... I see them posting photos of them at the beach, getting fit because they have time for the gym, and having all these fun holidays because they can.

Then I think to myself, I cannot go one week off work without feeling bored as, but there will always be a small part of me that will always feel jealous.
re: Stay at home wives. New status symbol?
By MarlaSingermember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 3906, member since Fri Jul 25, 2008
On Wed Dec 04, 2013 08:48 AM
^ME TOO. I just had five days off from work, and it was grand. I did not get bored at all. I would never do the SAHW thing, but it's not because I couldn't fill my time. I just don't think I'd be able to enjoy it, because I know me, and I think I would worry constantly about what would happen if my husband could no longer support us for whatever reason. For us, part of being a partnership is that either of us would be able to shoulder the financial responsibility if the other were unable to work, or wanted to go back to school and work part-time, or wanted to take a major pay cut to start a new career, or whatever. But yeah, I would have absolutely no problem filling my time if I didn't work for a living. All I'd have to do is make a list of all the things I wish I had time to do but don't, and voila, I'm sure it would easily be 40 hours a week.
re: Stay at home wives. New status symbol?
By SiyoNqobamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 7113, member since Fri Aug 02, 2002
On Wed Dec 04, 2013 01:30 PM
poko wrote:

Then I think to myself, I cannot go one week off work without feeling bored as, but there will always be a small part of me that will always feel jealous.


Isn't that the truth of it?! I think pretty much all of us would love to not have to work. I'm a stay-at-home mum (and part time dance teacher), but realistically, I do need to work, we just make sacrifices so that I don't have to. To be able to choose whether or not to work, regardless of children, would be bliss.

My husband's mum is friends with a woman whose youngest child is 17, and she's never gone back to work. Her husband is a transplant surgeon, and even if they divorced or he died, she'll never have to work. She lives a very full life of volunteering, going to the gym, socialising, and she does keep everything running smoothly for her husband and young adult kids. But her time is pretty much her own. Oh, that would be my dream life 20-odd years from now!
re: Stay at home wives. New status symbol?
By JigEnPointemember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 855, member since Mon Jan 23, 2012
On Sat Dec 28, 2013 04:19 AM
Edited by JigEnPointe (245523) on 2013-12-28 04:22:53 Another thought.
I'm a stay-at-home-fiancee. Like others have said, I do not sit around eating bon bons. I am in a dance company, so I am busy--but it doesn't technically count as a "job," because in this country, dance companies don't bring in enough money to be considered a career. Meanwhile, FI happens to have a very good career, which means that I don't have to go find a minimum-wage type of job that makes me want to shoot myself, just to keep us in an apartment, and not a cardboard box. Now, I used to have one of those jobs, BUT minimum wage here is $5 an hour, and they expect you to work 7 days a week, often 10 hours a day, and to devote your life to what is literally not much more than slavery.
(It's very different than in the USA; workers here don't have many rights, and the rights that ARE available aren't upheld by the "judicial" system.) As someone with a history of depression and a panic disorder, this didn't end up working well for me, so we talked about it, and I quit. I do just want to say that in other places, I'd have a job that makes more money than that, and I'd be happy having a job--even a lower-paying one--in that situation, but in this country, that's just the way the chips fell.

What do I do at home? Well, when I'm not dancing or freelance modeling--how I get the income that I do bring--I'm cleaning like a fiend (we're both perfectionists), cooking, helping him throughout the day with various errands, oftentimes single-handedly rescuing abandoned kittens, etc. Around 5 pm is when I can actually start talking to my friends/family on the other side of the globe (when I don't have a 24-hour-a-day kitten case, of course), so it works well for us.

I used to have dinner hot on the table when he got home, and that was convenient for both of us, because he's grumpy when he's hungry, and I'd rather cook dinner alone to circumvent that. :P However, these days we usually cook together, as it's quality time that we enjoy.

No bon bons (except at Christmas ;) ), no tanning, no matinees, no mani-pedis. I bust my little rear end trying to get everything done in one day that needs to be done! Our home and relationship have benefited from me being able to stay home.
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