Domestic labor and childcare are often undervalued, and moms often feel unappreciated. Being a stay-at-home mom is hard work, and often women stay at home because they can’t afford childcare or daycare. But for whatever reason you might be a stay-at-home parent, you will probably encounter some less-than-evolved thinking about your job (yes, it’s a job).
On Reddit, one woman is wondering if she’s wrong for asking her partner to essentially pay her money to stay home with their two children while they are planning to have a third.
The OP says that she and her boyfriend have two children and have been together for many years. She says she’s always worked except when on maternity leave. They are considering a third child and talking about what that might mean financially for them. The OP says he makes “five times what I do and we could easily afford for me not to work but I don’t want to lose the independence, especially as we aren’t married.”
“I know several different women who were stay at home mothers for years who then struggled to survive when their relationships ended because they were blind sided and didn’t have money or jobs to fall back on. Divorce settlements take a while/you’re basically entitled to nothing if not married and jobs aren’t gained instantaneously especially with an employment gap,” the OP writes.
She says she’s explained to her partner that the whole thing makes her feel “incredibly anxious and insecure.” She maintains that she trusts him, but also that those other women trusted their partners and “look what happened.”
“I told him I was willing to be stay at home if I still had my own separate money, whether I put away a lump sum upfront (we could afford for me to put aside upwards of $10,000 rn) or I received a regular amount that was mine to save.”
“He said I’m being ridiculous and he’s not even going to entertain the thought of rewarding my distrust, so I said fine if baby happens I return to work after maternity leave like before.”
Redditors offered their advice:
“Since you’re not married which would give you equal right to joint assets, you have to think a little differently than a married woman in a similar situation would. Him asking to give up your means of income without the security of being married puts you in a very potentially vulnerable spot. And sure, it could all turn out fine… but it could also turn out in disaster for you if you and he ever split up, and you would have very little recourse. I’d suggest one of three options: 1. Tell him you’ll be a SAHM if he marries you and gives you joint access for his main bank accounts, to that you can access family funds as needed. 2. Tell him you will continue to live committed but unmarried, but if he wants you to give up work then he should give you X amount of money weekly or monthly until you return to work, and it will go into an account that is in your name alone. 3. Don’t have a third baby.” said Katt_ler.
“My friend was not-married to a man for 25 years. She stayed at home and raised their kids. He then went behind her back, met another woman, and married her. My friend can’t get alimony because they weren’t legally married. She’s not even sure if she has rights to any of their house that she’s living in. She has no job skills. She was 18 when she met him. You need to protect yourself. If your man has no interest in helping you achieve that, you have big problems,” said daiceedoll.
“I was a SAHM for two years and during that time got my ‘own’ money every week to do what I wanted with. I saved most of it. We got divorced when our daughter was 3 and I had enough money to get my own place and live until I could get daycare and a job lined up. The laws in the US are set up for marriage so I would def consider that before having more children. You’re NTA at all for thinking about your future and wanting to protect yourself in the event things change. I still have a great relationship with my ex, but I’ve seen a lot of my friends get totally screwed by staying at home, being unmarried, and either having to stay in a terrible relationship because they were trapped or leaving and being on the wrong side of things because they couldn’t afford to start over,” relayed TopLahman.
“I’ve seen too many posts on here from SAHM who are made to feel like they’re freeloaders who have to beg for money to spend. Funnily enough, I’ve never seen a post on here from a SAHD having that problem. Too many men equate money with power. You’re smart to be wary. If you were married, I’d recommend a three account system. One large account that covers all joint expenses including savings. The rest of the money spilt down the middle for each of you to do what you want with it. But you’re not even married. If you quit work you’d putting your whole financial future in the hands of a man who doesn’t financially value what you do,” advised Dana07620.
“The fact he won’t marry you or commit to mutual benefit financial/family objectives shows how one sided his rational is. He wants to have his cake and eat it to! Good on you mumma for protecting yourself. My husband and I are joint everything, joint house, joint accts, joint life etc (Im not a SAHM tho) so if we ever do splitsys, its very even stevens. There are different ways to do family budgeting, I.e. if your going to do EQUAL parenting you could each put a set amount into a joint acct for bills/food/essentials and have the left over as your own VS pooling the combined income and separating into essentials/joint savings/+ each have a “fun” amount etc. What he is proposing is the old 1900s model where he has 100% control you are a housewife with no legal rights…its 2020. He needs to grow up and show up to this century,” said s2inno.
The OP edited her post later with a disturbing addition that made Redditors nervous about her situation.
“I’m sorry, I keep answering questions wrong, it’s the truth but it’s making people upset so I’m sorry, he loves me very much and just doesn’t want to be taken advantage of, I understand that and I’m sorry I’m making him look bad, I didn’t mean to, I’m not answering anything else now, I’m sorry,” she needlessly apologized.
“This last edit makes it seem like OP is in an emotionally and perhaps verbally abusive relationship. Saying you’re sorry for making him look bad sounds like he found out about this thread and is punishing her behind the scenes and forcing her to say this. OP, no one should force you to have another kid if you don’t want one. It’s your body and your choice. Please reach out to support hotlines if necessary,” advised HedgehogHungry.
“Why does this sound like her husband found this post?? Red flags are going off in my mind. This edit sounds exactly like someone who is being gaslit,” said chlorinerinse.