Athol had a great post up yesterday about Stay at home mothers and dads. (SAHM and SAHD) called The Most Difficult Job in the World I couldn’t agree more with him! His main conjecture is that in this world of Marriage 2.0 either party can lose big in the divorce wars if they aren’t on their toes. He goes on to say that many women (and some men) use being a SAHM a cop out from working. Like I said, I’ve been there, done that! Being the stay at home parent is difficult when they are little babies, that’s for sure. But by the time those kids are in Kindergarten, it’s really not that hard anymore. In fact, it’s a pretty darn laid back lifestyle if you ask me. If I hadn’t taken the red pill last year and also I have a pretty high motivation to get back to work, I would say this is a pretty neat existence!
Let me rewind my situation… in 2002 my wife found out she was pregnant. I was pretty deep into Nice Guy land so when she was about half way into her pregnancy we decided that she should stay at work and I should stay home. Financially, it was the right move. She out earned me by 3x and I wasn’t too shabby since I was a computer engineer at a very large software company. I had no clear goal of going back go work, but I can tell you that right off the bat I was bored out of my mind! We quickly had a 2nd son in 2004 which added to my misery. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my kids and I still think they are (mostly) wonderful boys, staying at home was simply something I didn’t like doing and I was frequently frustrated as I tried to get things done.
To relieve my boredom, I started a business at home and poured a ton of money into it. I quickly became frustrated for the lack of time I could dedicate to my business with two kids crawling all over me every waking moment. I was not cut out to do the SAHD thing. As soon as we could afford it, I put them in daycare when they were about 2 and 4. Later on we got a nanny which helped to some extent but I still worked out of the house (this was not an office job so it needed to be in the garage). Now they are in school in grades 3 and 4. I am still the defacto stay at home parent but I am looking for full time work back int he computer industry (see my previous blog entry). I was completely frustrated by my SAHD decision and in hindsight I wish I kept my job and put the kids in daycare full time. I was so beta back then that I couldn’t make a decision myself and relied on my wife to make them for me. Ugh… no wonder she wanted to start an affair!
So, my advice to you guys that are thinking about becoming a SAHD, don’t do it! UNLESS, you are super alpha about how it’s going to work and the fact that you are going back to work as soon as you can. If you can both work, daycare is not that tough on kids, especially if you can afford to put your kids in a high quality day care. Those women (I don’t think there was one guy that worked at our daycare center) did a much better job of entertaining those kids than I did. It’s in their DNA! Staying at home also puts you in the backseat and you end up DLV to your wife who brings home the money.
The flip side to all this is the the SAHM thing that Athol talks about. First, as a SAHD most SAHM do not want anything to do with you as a person. They think you are a freak show, believe me it’s much harder as a SAHD because you are an outcast. SAHM do not, unless they are trying to get you in the sack, want anything to do with you. They give you funny looks and I can see what they are thinking “Why is here at Target on a Tuesday morning at 9am picking up diapers with the kids?!?? What a loser!”
Anyway, my thoughts on SAHM since I did rub shoulders with quite a few of them over the years. There are two types. Those that basically check out and throw away any career they might have and those that believe that once they get through the pre-school days they are back to work. I would say that the ratio was something like 90% checked out with no clue what their plans are and 10% with a mission. I am generalizing here, but the ones that check out generally just lose it. They put on weight, they forget how to dress, they can’t carry on an intelligent conversation anymore and many of them are college educated in my neighborhood. Many of the SAHM I know get their kids into elementary school and start looking around trying to figure out what to do with themselves. Ha! The PTA! My god our PTA is crazy!
A good friend of mine is a SAHM. I’ve known her for 17 years. She is college educated. She has a 10 year old boy. Her husband works and travels like crazy. I love her dearly, but she is lazy! When I first met her she was pretty darn cute, but these days she is super frumpy. I wouldn’t be surprised if her husband (Super Alpha, marathon running, executive type) has multiple affairs going. I feel sorry she is so blue pill sometimes I just want to shake her!
My advice, is even though it’s tough to go back to work (and it’s tough to get a job right now, believe me) the whole family will be better off for it. Your spouse will think more highly of you in the long run. You’ll have more money in the bank and you’ll keep your sanity! As long as you both aren’t getting jobs at some start up or super competitive workplace that put huge demands on you, you will be fine! The kids will turn out just right! Marriage 2.0 is here to stay and staying at home after all the kids are off to school does nobody any good. (OK, unless you have like 5 kids then you’l be doing laundry all day!)