Author Topic: Wife of a Sole-Breadwinner Mustachian: Mom Seeking Advice!  (Read 16846 times)

adkarmol

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Wife of a Sole-Breadwinner Mustachian: Mom Seeking Advice!
« on: March 05, 2015, 05:12:37 PM »
The short story:
DH and I met in college in 2008 (I was 22, he was 26), and married in 2010. I came into the marriage with $24k of student loan debt, and he had $20k. (That was our only pre-marriage debt.) In the next 3 years, I spent $8k on failed ventures of one kind or another. He paid off all our debts with his well-paying job. I had the opportunity for a job that paid $45k, but decided to work a tea shop instead. Let's just say I had 'money issues' and was young and massively stupid. We had children, I quit the tea shop, and became a stay-at-home mom.

For 3 years now, I have handled all the monthly bills and finances, and have done a good job. I have begun to embrace many MMM ideas and aspects of minimalism. Even when I was being stupid, we always kept our finances reasonably tight, and have just passed the $100k in retirement mark. We have always each had small discretionary allowances, but spend little outside of that (our weekly 'family date' for years has been pizza at Sam's Club).

I am now 27, DH is 31. Our kids are 2.5 and 7 months. Our extended family is across the country. DH makes good money (computer engineer), but Seattle is expensive. I want to get help with the kids every once in a while, but it is hard to justify. I would like to start pursuing a few interests that could become a career when the kids go to school, but my past mistakes have made it impossible for DH to trust me or want to support my pursuits financially. He wants to be able to retire in 10 years, and has big plans for our financial freedom--every dime that leaves the bank account now pushes his dreams for himself and our family out further.

Here are my questions for all you wonderful Mustachians:

-How do you manage with young children--do you feel that your sanity is worth some small childcare expenses or do you tough it out together alone?
-DH says that I owe the family $30k for my loans he paid off, plus the mistakes, though our finances have always been combined and I have been a stay-at-home mom for close to 3 years. How do you value a stay-at-home parent financially?
-DH has basically been the sole income for our entire relationship. It is hard to see it as 'our money,' even now that we are a family. How do you navigate an exclusively one-income household when the non-earner has pursuits and philosophies and desires the breadwinner does not?
-How do you look at expenses for children and their interests, activities, and education? How do Mustachians feel about spending money on their children, knowing that it may never 'amount to anything tangible,' but that it's part of childhood (especially living in such a crazy-expensive urban environment)?
*EDIT: I'm definitely not talking crazy expenses, I have NO desire to create little entitled brats--what I'm referring to are things like zoo/museum memberships, the occasional gymnastics class or book, art supplies... DH lives by the idea that there should always be a 'free option,' but I don't always agree. (So far, the only thing we have spent money on for our kids activity-wise has been zoo memberships, $3 community center toddler gym days, and a daycare registration fee, though we haven't actually GONE to the daycare since. Otherwise, it's just been library events, parks, and playdates, which are great and plentiful in Seattle.)
-In general, how do Mustachians feel about and value sanity and experiences and relationships when they are not quantifiable things that generate no 'return?' 

Any advice on any of the things would mean the WORLD to me! You guys are awesome! (If anyone in Seattle wants to give me any lengthy advice, I will happily buy you lunch and listen intently!)
« Last Edit: March 05, 2015, 06:15:33 PM by adkarmol »

MrMoogle

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Re: Wife of a Sole-Breadwinner Mustachian: Mom Seeking Advice!
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2015, 05:25:03 PM »
-How do you manage with young children--do you feel that your sanity is worth some small childcare expenses or do you tough it out together alone?
-DH says that I owe the family $30k for my loans he paid off, plus the mistakes, though our finances have always been combined and I have been a stay-at-home mom for close to 3 years. How do you value a stay-at-home parent financially?
-DH has basically been the sole income for our entire relationship. It is hard to see it as 'our money,' even now that we are a family. How do you navigate an exclusively one-income household when the non-earner has pursuits and philosophies and desires the breadwinner does not?
-How do you look at expenses for children and their interests, activities, and education? How do Mustachians feel about spending money on their children, knowing that it may never 'amount to anything tangible,' but that it's part of childhood (especially living in such a crazy-expensive urban environment)?
-In general, how do Mustachians feel about and value sanity and experiences and relationships when they are not quantifiable things that generate no 'return?' 

Any advice on any of the things would mean the WORLD to me! You guys are awesome! (If anyone in Seattle wants to give me any lengthy advice, I will happily buy you lunch and listen intently!)
There are actually a lot of marriage advice articles going around lately, you might want to check them out:
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/help-with-a-unmustachian-wife/
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/mini-money-mustaches/marriage-issues-need-a-listening-ear/
Not that they exactly meet what you are looking for, but they cover a lot of the same issues.

I'm single, so I probably should keep my mouth shut :P

Good luck!

Northerly

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Re: Wife of a Sole-Breadwinner Mustachian: Mom Seeking Advice!
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2015, 05:29:53 PM »
Honestly, just make sure your ventures are money-makers. No more risking the family coffers. If you pursue a new path, that means the compensation has to equal the cost of child care + other incurred expenses.

It may not look nice in writing, but any new money-losing venture you try costs your husband dearly in extended working years, and that's not fair.

Ergo, if it's a money-maker out of the gate, you're good to go. If not, it's an expensive luxury reserved only for a FI person, so it will have to wait.

PharmaStache

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Re: Wife of a Sole-Breadwinner Mustachian: Mom Seeking Advice!
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2015, 05:34:03 PM »
If you owe him 30k for your debts, he owes you the cost of daycare for your 2 kids (since you are providing free childcare for him).  Sheesh.  I hope he didn't tell you that in those words.

kib

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Re: Wife of a Sole-Breadwinner Mustachian: Mom Seeking Advice!
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2015, 05:34:13 PM »
How much would these pursuits cost?  Is it possible that you could find a way to fund some exploration on your own without dipping into the money that's already been allocated to something else?

Frankly ... while I can see how your husband arrived at his conclusions, it seems self serving and unfair that he's bamboozled you into feeling you should be relegated to unpaid servant status for the rest of your life.  There's more to operating a shared life than earning the paycheck.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2015, 05:40:24 PM by frufrau »

adkarmol

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Re: Wife of a Sole-Breadwinner Mustachian: Mom Seeking Advice!
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2015, 05:39:30 PM »
So far, I don't have any particular set 'plans' for my own interests, which is why I haven't done anything yet. I am one of those (eye roll) 'artsy types,' so I generally go with the whole 'hobby' idea and just use my discretionary funds. But I have entertained starting an Etsy shop, blog, and/or book and have been researching how to do these things in a financially-oriented way (DH has helped me brainstorm about monetizing blogs and e-books, for example). My greatest gift and talent (and college education) is being a writer, and have been looking for ways to make money writing freelance as well. I do have a tinsy background in web development, but would shoot myself if I had to go back there again unless I didn't have to touch a line of code ever again in my life... :)

zataks

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Re: Wife of a Sole-Breadwinner Mustachian: Mom Seeking Advice!
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2015, 05:42:25 PM »
-How do you manage with young children--do you feel that your sanity is worth some small childcare expenses or do you tough it out together alone?
-DH says that I owe the family $30k for my loans he paid off, plus the mistakes, though our finances have always been combined and I have been a stay-at-home mom for close to 3 years. How do you value a stay-at-home parent financially?

-DH has basically been the sole income for our entire relationship. It is hard to see it as 'our money,' even now that we are a family. How do you navigate an exclusively one-income household when the non-earner has pursuits and philosophies and desires the breadwinner does not?
-How do you look at expenses for children and their interests, activities, and education? How do Mustachians feel about spending money on their children, knowing that it may never 'amount to anything tangible,' but that it's part of childhood (especially living in such a crazy-expensive urban environment)?
-In general, how do Mustachians feel about and value sanity and experiences and relationships when they are not quantifiable things that generate no 'return?' 

Any advice on any of the things would mean the WORLD to me! You guys are awesome! (If anyone in Seattle wants to give me any lengthy advice, I will happily buy you lunch and listen intently!)

Bolded: WTF?  If you've agreed that you are to be a SAH parent, then that's your job.  Determine compensation accordingly.  But if he agreed that you wouldn't earn income it seems unjust to claim you are indebted to him/the family. 

How to see it as "our money?"  It sounds like your husband does not see it that way.

I think there are reasonable amounts to spend on kids activities.  No kids (yet!) but intend on spending some amount on activities and doing cool things while doing so mindfully of what we spend.  $X,000's for professional sports training ain't happening.  But some AYSO soccer could definitely be happening.  I'll even do some carpooling to games/practices! 

I have little desire to spend too much on education as I am a high earning, highly (specifically) skilled tradesperson who dropped out of college.  But wife is highly educated and places a lot of value on education.  We've discussed private school but intend on moving to a better public district instead when the time gets nearer.  Probably end up costing us the same or more than private school given housing prices.  Don't know if we'll pay for college or just help out gently along the way.  That's a ways off.  But we're preparing well enough financially that we'll be able to help. 

Crazy expensive urban enviro?  Silicon Valley is spendy and, again, no kids yet, but surfing is free (except the gear) and the light rail to the children's museum is pretty cheap.  So are parks and playing with the dog and the such.


Relationships, experiences, and sanity are the most important things!  Life is all about connecting with others and sharing experiences.  It's why we're here.

MDM

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Re: Wife of a Sole-Breadwinner Mustachian: Mom Seeking Advice!
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2015, 05:50:26 PM »
-How do you manage with young children--do you feel that your sanity is worth some small childcare expenses or do you tough it out together alone?
Maybe.  Define "small."

Quote
-DH says that I owe the family $30k for my loans he paid off, plus the mistakes, though our finances have always been combined and I have been a stay-at-home mom for close to 3 years. How do you value a stay-at-home parent financially?
Value = Priceless.  The question of "owe" is tougher.  If the two of you agreed on the plan and it just didn't work then it is definitely your (plural) $30K and water under the bridge so let it go.  If there was disagreement and he said, "I don't agree but I love you so go ahead" and then was there to pick up the pieces...one can see why he could feel that way.  I would hope that he would still be willing to call it "our" mistake, but you also might own up to it being "my" mistake. 

Quote
-DH has basically been the sole income for our entire relationship. It is hard to see it as 'our money,' even now that we are a family. How do you navigate an exclusively one-income household when the non-earner has pursuits and philosophies and desires the breadwinner does not?
Carefully and with a lot of discussion and communication.  The big issue seems to lie with the word "philosophies" - usually no problems supporting each other's pursuits and desires but if you have different philosophies you will have a difficult time reaching agreement.

Quote
-How do you look at expenses for children and their interests, activities, and education? How do Mustachians feel about spending money on their children, knowing that it may never 'amount to anything tangible,' but that it's part of childhood (especially living in such a crazy-expensive urban environment)?
You may get as many opinions as responses here.  There is no "right" answer.  Personally, we think raising children to be productive members of society is the highest calling of a parent so we don't mind spending accordingly.  Note that "accordingly" does not need to be "lavishly," but it can certainly be >$0.

Quote
-In general, how do Mustachians feel about and value sanity and experiences and relationships when they are not quantifiable things that generate no 'return?'
The whole (or at least a large portion of the) point of MMM is that "more stuff" doesn't create happiness.  And that's an idea not limited to MMM. 

adkarmol

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Re: Wife of a Sole-Breadwinner Mustachian: Mom Seeking Advice!
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2015, 06:00:26 PM »
I don't actually remember why he paid off my loans, except that it made financial sense because we were combining our finances so it made sense that he would just get rid of the debt since it was going to affect him anyways. Beyond that, I think he probably assumed that I was just going to get a job and pay it off ASAP. (We barely knew each other when we moved across the country and combined our lives. Bad idea. But I love him, so I guess it worked out ;). DH is an honorable, loyal, hard-working, sweet, loving husband and father--he feels betrayed that I just started living off of him and didn't start working, since I had big dreams when we met in college. But he married my 'issues,' too, and it took years for me to understand why he felt betrayed, and it's still kind of a wound that won't heal. Basically, there was a lot of assumptions and no communication or common understandings about finances for years, and by the time we found each other and starting working together, the damage had been done already and we are both struggling to move forward.

Emilyngh

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Re: Wife of a Sole-Breadwinner Mustachian: Mom Seeking Advice!
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2015, 06:01:30 PM »
I'm a sole-breadwinner mustachian.   My DH has been a SAHD for the past 3.5 years with our DD.

-How do you manage with young children--do you feel that your sanity is worth some small childcare expenses or do you tough it out together alone?

We have not yet ever paid for child care, but our daughter is very active so we are looking into paying for preschool for next year.   Our primary motivation is that we think it'll benefit her (especially socially), however it will spare our sanity as well.   Until now, we've toughed it out together alone.   I do have a very flexible job though, so I am at home a lot to help.

-DH says that I owe the family $30k for my loans he paid off, plus the mistakes, though our finances have always been combined and I have been a stay-at-home mom for close to 3 years. How do you value a stay-at-home parent financially?

This is insane.   I usually disagree with those articles along the lines of "if you add up the costs of a nanny, cook, etc a SAHP saves $100k + a year+, but if my spouse implied that I owed him anything for the loans "he" paid off, I'd start tallying up my contributions in financial terms.   In our house DH and I are exactly equally valued financially.   The fact that my job brings in the check means nothing.

-How do you look at expenses for children and their interests, activities, and education? How do Mustachians feel about spending money on their children, knowing that it may never 'amount to anything tangible,' but that it's part of childhood (especially living in such a crazy-expensive urban environment)?

So far, DD has taken 12 weeks of swimming lessons and 12 weeks of gymnastics at the YMCA.   All of these lessons together have cost less than $200.   I disagree that spending money on the expensive "interests" of my child is part of childhood.   I recommend reading this: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/10/12/avoiding-ivy-league-preschool-syndrome/

-In general, how do Mustachians feel about and value sanity and experiences and relationships when they are not quantifiable things that generate no 'return?'

Pretty sure we value sanity and experiences and relationships very highly. Seems to me that it's exactly b/c we value them so highly that we're Mustachian, so that we can put our money towards maximizing them, vs pissing our money away on consumerist, ego-driven bullshit.   
 

« Last Edit: March 05, 2015, 06:03:44 PM by Emilyngh »

thingamabobs

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Re: Wife of a Sole-Breadwinner Mustachian: Mom Seeking Advice!
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2015, 06:21:16 PM »
If you didn't ask him to pay off the loans and you were working, albeit for not a lot of money, then I don't see how he could feel "betrayed".

Like others have said, there is real issue here if he actually said that you owed him $30K.

I would start small with any ventures to avoid further financial output since that is a point of contention. If you're already into crafting, then by all means list them on Etsy. But if you need to go out and buy all new supplies and whatnot to start making stuff... uhm, no. If you've already got a few pieces written or ideas for blogposts, then go ahead and put those up. That should be relatively inexpensive as well.

The other side is how do you react when you discuss money and he mentions the loans that were paid? Because if it was a mutual agreement to pay them off, then you should not feel any guilt and definitely not show any.

urbanista

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Re: Wife of a Sole-Breadwinner Mustachian: Mom Seeking Advice!
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2015, 07:30:59 PM »
I would tell him that if I "owed" a family 30K, I have completely redeemed that by bearing 2 kids and looking after them full-time. To me, that is worth much, much more than 30K.

And really, he needs to understand that *your* happiness is worth a little bit of money. A mother with two kids absolutely "deserves" a little time away from kids. Because he is working 40-(50-60)? hours a week, but mother with a toddler and a new-born is working 24/7.

Do not mention that, but a divorce will cost him so much more than a once-a-week child care or some money spent on your creative hobbies.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Wife of a Sole-Breadwinner Mustachian: Mom Seeking Advice!
« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2015, 07:33:09 PM »
I feel like with the betrayal/owing stuff going on here, there's a very important story background to all of this. I think a stay at home parent absolutely deserves to be an equal partner in finances, but it seems like there's a story we're not really getting here.

I'm wondering if it is a similar situation to what one of my friends experienced- his girlfriend managed to stay in school 3 years past when she was "going" to graduate, and he bankrolled her the whole time. Then she was "going" to get a job and lived on his income... when he finally confronted her about not looking in any real sense after 6 months, she broke down, admitted she had essentially been "scamming" him, and went and got a job. Then lo and behold, after barely a month of working, she got "sick" and had to quit. She has succeeded in working a grand total of 1 month in their 7 year relationship. No children, no marriage even. He's been supporting her the whole time, and is feeling pretty dang betrayed by the whole situation (personally, I think a lot rests with him for staying with her, but that's beside the point). I'm definitely NOT saying that is what's going on here, but I don't want to break out my pitchfork against this guy when there's two sides to every story.

adkarmol

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Re: Wife of a Sole-Breadwinner Mustachian: Mom Seeking Advice!
« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2015, 07:54:01 PM »
Of course he might tell it differently, but my own backstory is that I was severely depressed when we moved across the country and away from all family and friends, and we were just in two different worlds. When we first met, I told him about all my big dreams (owning a gallery, writing books, etc), and then when we moved for his job and combined our lives and he started working, he immediately started getting angry with me for not looking for a job. With the money that he was earning, I was of the understanding that I did not need to rush out and work because he made plenty (again, I didn't know anything about the real world, careers, or money--I thought he was my knight in shining armor/patron who was going to support all my big artistic dreams, so when he started saying I needed to get a job, I thought he had lied to me, when all the while, he assumed I would hit the ground running once we got moved. Like I said, two different worlds--he didn't communicate his assumptions with any tact, and I apparently thought that unicorns were going to start flying around now that I had found The Perfect Supportive Romantic Artistic Patron. Oy.)

I do want to say that I applied to 60+ jobs before I started working at the tea shop, but I had no clue what I was doing and did a terrible job of the job search.

I in no way, shape, or form consciously set out to scam him. In fact, all $8k of those failed business ventures were because I felt so guilty and terrible for what had happened that I tried to force myself to do things I hated just because he approved of them and was happy with me for a while. I did not know how to be strong or find out what was right for me, so I screwed us both over multiple times trying to earn his validation the wrong way. That is MY backstory.

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Re: Wife of a Sole-Breadwinner Mustachian: Mom Seeking Advice!
« Reply #14 on: March 05, 2015, 07:54:47 PM »
Quote
How do you manage with young children--do you feel that your sanity is worth some small childcare expenses or do you tough it out together alone?

How about a babysitting co-op or trading babysitting/playdates with other moms?
« Last Edit: March 05, 2015, 07:57:35 PM by Janie »

adkarmol

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Re: Wife of a Sole-Breadwinner Mustachian: Mom Seeking Advice!
« Reply #15 on: March 05, 2015, 08:02:40 PM »
I definitely have been trying to do trades with friends and do lots of playdates. It has been getting better slowly, since we just moved across the country (again) a year ago and I have been actively building support with other moms as we get to know and trust each other. We all have young kids, so it's tough because we're all exhausted, but we are trying to support each other as best we can. I just recently started looking into more neighborhood-based trades and co-ops, too.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Wife of a Sole-Breadwinner Mustachian: Mom Seeking Advice!
« Reply #16 on: March 05, 2015, 08:49:44 PM »
Of course he might tell it differently, but my own backstory is that I was severely depressed when we moved across the country and away from all family and friends, and we were just in two different worlds. When we first met, I told him about all my big dreams (owning a gallery, writing books, etc), and then when we moved for his job and combined our lives and he started working, he immediately started getting angry with me for not looking for a job. With the money that he was earning, I was of the understanding that I did not need to rush out and work because he made plenty (again, I didn't know anything about the real world, careers, or money--I thought he was my knight in shining armor/patron who was going to support all my big artistic dreams, so when he started saying I needed to get a job, I thought he had lied to me, when all the while, he assumed I would hit the ground running once we got moved. Like I said, two different worlds--he didn't communicate his assumptions with any tact, and I apparently thought that unicorns were going to start flying around now that I had found The Perfect Supportive Romantic Artistic Patron. Oy.)

I do want to say that I applied to 60+ jobs before I started working at the tea shop, but I had no clue what I was doing and did a terrible job of the job search.

I in no way, shape, or form consciously set out to scam him. In fact, all $8k of those failed business ventures were because I felt so guilty and terrible for what had happened that I tried to force myself to do things I hated just because he approved of them and was happy with me for a while. I did not know how to be strong or find out what was right for me, so I screwed us both over multiple times trying to earn his validation the wrong way. That is MY backstory.

Based on that then, it just sounds like a case of really missing the mark on communication. I'm sorry that's how it started out and that is still hanging over your heads. Do you guys communicate openly about the gulf it caused, or is it the elephant in the room? Just acknowledging the issue can go so far to mending it, and I feel like that is essential for you guys to be on the same team financially.

Good luck. I hope my anecdote didn't sound like accusation- it was not meant as such. I've just seen the forums get a bit gung-ho about "kick his/her ass to the curb" type messages without the full story first.

goatmom

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Re: Wife of a Sole-Breadwinner Mustachian: Mom Seeking Advice!
« Reply #17 on: March 06, 2015, 06:49:40 AM »
I stayed home with littles for quite awhile.  I felt I pulled my weight 50/50. I would have been royally ticked off if dh said that but I was working when our children were first born and it was oh such a relief when I was finally able to stay home.  Your dh never had the experience of two working parents and two little ones.  It can be so stressful that he would happily forgive your "debt" to the family.  LOL.  But, I had a clean house and nutritious meals on the table.  I shopped thrift stores.  I did use some babysitting in order to go to appts, etc.  But, truly never just to get a break.  I guess I can see how you might need that.  I guess I was always too cheap. I was also so grateful to be home because I had been working long hours and missed my babies so much.  When I lived in Seattle I did join the Children's Museum.  It is awesome!  You can take your littles there and just relax.  There are arts and crafts, toys, other little kids, etc.  I never believed in signing little kids up for much of anything.  I think play is the task of early childhood not taking lessons, etc.  When it is raining too hard, the outdoors is great there too.  You can be outside almost year round.  As for earning extra money,  have you thought about teaching art to kids?  There are lots of parents willing to shell out money for classes.  Or running an art camp?  There are many homeschoolers in Washington - homeschool art classes? Well, maybe you want to get away from kids in your career pursuits.  Just some ideas.  Best of luck!

Luthien

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Re: Wife of a Sole-Breadwinner Mustachian: Mom Seeking Advice!
« Reply #18 on: March 06, 2015, 07:51:57 AM »
-How do you look at expenses for children and their interests, activities, and education? How do Mustachians feel about spending money on their children, knowing that it may never 'amount to anything tangible,' but that it's part of childhood (especially living in such a crazy-expensive urban environment)?
*EDIT: I'm definitely not talking crazy expenses, I have NO desire to create little entitled brats--what I'm referring to are things like zoo/museum memberships, the occasional gymnastics class or book, art supplies... DH lives by the idea that there should always be a 'free option,' but I don't always agree. (So far, the only thing we have spent money on for our kids activity-wise has been zoo memberships, $3 community center toddler gym days, and a daycare registration fee, though we haven't actually GONE to the daycare since. Otherwise, it's just been library events, parks, and playdates, which are great and plentiful in Seattle.)

I haven't read the whole thread, but wanted to quick comment on this aspect of your post. I have four kids ages 9, 6, 3, and 5 months. With our oldest, we did sign up for a few toddler gymnastics and swimming classes and that sort of thing. I think it was pretty much a wasted expense. Now that I have older kids, I can see how much more they get out of those class experiences, and it is definitely better to save up your money for classes when your kids are older, like at least 5 or 6. For some activities, I think ages 10-11 is even more appropriate. I have some friends whose kids are teens, and they've recommended the same thing to me - don't spend money on classes until your kids are older.

For younger kids, I think it's better just to get one or two annual passes to a fun local place (kids' museum, zoo, science museum, etc.) and just visit there regularly. Plus go to parks, libraries, free concerts, etc. I've visited Seattle and there are tons of cool parks and free places to visit! I know there are probably expensive things to do and sign up for in Seattle, but you don't need to spend a lot to give your kids a great childhood.

I think it would also be worthwhile for you to find some local mom friends with similarly aged kids to hang out with. If you don't know of any playgroups, consider starting one. It's so much more fun to visit the zoo or a park or a museum with friends. You get some adult interaction, the kids have little friends to run around and explore with, and bathroom trips and other toddler emergencies are so much easier to handle with other adults as backup support.

mbl

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Re: Wife of a Sole-Breadwinner Mustachian: Mom Seeking Advice!
« Reply #19 on: March 06, 2015, 07:56:33 AM »
Many good comments.
You seem to have good insight into how your DH feels and have explained yourself as well.

If I were you, I would seek some form of employment going forward.
Not necessarily something that is going to satisfy your "artistic needs" or view of worthwhile work.
A job to help build your own security and self worth.    You don't have the luxury of maintaining the status quo.
I suspect your DH is getting increasingly resentful.

How would it turn out if you were to divorce?  How would you support yourself and your kids?

KCM5

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Re: Wife of a Sole-Breadwinner Mustachian: Mom Seeking Advice!
« Reply #20 on: March 06, 2015, 07:58:10 AM »
1. I think you guys would benefit from an understanding relationship therapist.

2. For something that will cost you no money to start and could get you back into work in the evenings, have you thought about contracting with one of those paint and sip companies. You lead a group of people in a painting while they hang out and drink wine. Your husband could watch the kids, you'd make a bit of money, get out of the house, and you'd get back into working. Win, win, win.

REfinAnon

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Re: Wife of a Sole-Breadwinner Mustachian: Mom Seeking Advice!
« Reply #21 on: March 06, 2015, 08:10:08 AM »
I thought he was my knight in shining armor/patron who was going to support all my big artistic dreams

Yikes. Sounds like there was some massive miscommunication - but I can certainly understand why he might be upset.

I do want to say that I applied to 60+ jobs before I started working at the tea shop, but I had no clue what I was doing and did a terrible job of the job search.

I thought you turned down a $45K a year job.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Wife of a Sole-Breadwinner Mustachian: Mom Seeking Advice!
« Reply #22 on: March 06, 2015, 08:18:08 AM »
+1 to what myatzeck said. I homeschool on a shoestring budget, but as the kids get older, they do get a bit more benefit out of some enrichment, so we're saving what we can. But honestly, they get a ton out of making up their own games, exploring nature, and whatnot. We found some urban hiking trails last summer that got us some great wildlife exposure without having to drive out to the state parks (though we still do this as well).

A zoo pass is great. I'm not real big on children's museums, but science and general museums are pretty cool as well. Getting a membership is usually the best move, because then you can go many, many times and explore at the kids' pace. Sometimes they only want to be there for an hour, and that's okay.

On the failed business ventures, I had similar, though less expensive. It's occasionally a point of friction between my wife and I, and I can definitely empathize with how your husband feels burned. But artsy stuff does not need to be capital intensive. Like others said up thread, treat it as a hobby, only reinvesting proceeds from sales back into supplies. I know a ton of people who mainly sell pieces just to fund the hobby, less to make a living.

This is a situation where if you don't already have some sort of monthly spending allowance for each of you, you should set one up. The amount really depends on your personal finances. We do $50 each, plus 2.5% each of surplus cash flow when income/windfalls which exceed budget come in. Those roll over month to month, so in a few months you can save up quite a bit. A program like YNAB makes it easy to manage a "sinking fund" like this without needing an actual, separate savings account.

I'm now a SAHP 7 days a week, but for the first 9 years, I worked PT and brought in between $15-25K a year. I've never felt the need to pay for extra child care when I wasn't working, but I know parents who do feel the need. I think play dates and letting them roam at parks (very easy once kids are old enough to be trusted) accomplishes a lot of my adult interaction and alone time needs. Winter is the hardest, since we have a very small house, and weather here is too cold to get them to play outside for more than an hour or so typically.

TinyLightsBelow

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Re: Wife of a Sole-Breadwinner Mustachian: Mom Seeking Advice!
« Reply #23 on: March 06, 2015, 08:25:11 AM »
1. I think you guys would benefit from an understanding relationship therapist.
This. You mention your spouse not trusting you and saying you "owe" him -- these are problems that definitely need to be worked through! I think all of the other issues (more time away from kids, launching an art career) can be handled much more easily when you guys rebuild a "Team Us", where sacrifices are not made to the other person but to the relationship.

straycat

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Re: Wife of a Sole-Breadwinner Mustachian: Mom Seeking Advice!
« Reply #24 on: March 06, 2015, 08:53:11 AM »
Do you plan on sending your kids to school? I was never a SAHM and don't think I could have been. If you can hold out until at least one hits school age, that would give you a much-needed break. As for all of this 'betrayal' and 'owing' etc. I think you both have to talk about it and decide that the past is the past. You can't survive a marriage holding on to past resentments, it will eat him up inside. You admit you both made mistakes, there was a severe lack of communication, assumptions made on both sides. Forget all of it - you need to sit together and agree to a plan for the future - you don't really mention if you agree with his future plans for the family, including retiring in 10 years. Do you? He has to understand that a family isn't just about his goals and ideas, and he WILL have to compromise on some things (not every single thing your kids do will be free, in my opinion, that's close to impossible). Also - does he ever look after the kids on his own? He needs to spend an entire day all day alone with them to ensure he has a true understanding of what you do. When I was on mat leave (1 year here in Canada) my husband actually told me it was my "job" to do all of the housework etc. because I'm home anyway - like I was just relaxing at home all day not doing anything. argh! Luckily there were no weapons nearby at the time and he survived.

adkarmol

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Re: Wife of a Sole-Breadwinner Mustachian: Mom Seeking Advice!
« Reply #25 on: March 06, 2015, 08:57:29 AM »
I can definitely see saving most of the paid/structuted activities for when the kids are older. That is a great point. So thank you to those that have mentioned it.

I turned down a second interview for a tech writer position where DH worked, which was the only interview I got besides the tea shop. (I have a BA in English. Ugh. At least it was from the University of Michigan, that seems to hold a lot more weight! Sigh.)

I want to say that I am starting to see that it's not that I want to necessarily spend MORE money on anything (kids, my own interests, etc) but it's more on the psychological/relationship end. I do value simplicity and experience over spending money on stuff, sometimes more than DH (though we both have our Achilles heels, which is the point of discretionary funds), and more than anything, I just want to feel like it's 'our money' and we're a team. For all that we have talked about all of these things, including the pain and emotions and the past, extensively, I think the point that is missing is a 'family philosophy' on money. We have spreadsheets and ledgers and budgets, but no agreements on guiding principles.

And I also definitely pull my weight by running the household, doing all chores and meals and all of that fun day to day stuff. I am also a self-proclaimed 'Goodwill Guru' and save our family so much by thrifting most of our clothes and lots of other goods (almost all of DH's bike commuting wardrobe is amazing stuff I found at Goodwill, a point of pride for me.) In the past, I was not good with money (thank goodness I never had credit cards!) but I am really starting to 'get it' generally, and I guess I am maybe just wanting to get some forgiveness and recognition of my efforts to grow and change and how much I have worked to show him I DO value his goals for us. I just feel like all the efforts go unrecognized and the only things that matter are the past mistakes. Anytime I falter (the grocery bill gets away with me some month, I buy something at Goodwill we don't end up using, etc) he just thinks, 'Here we go again,' instead of 'I know she is trying.' Validation I guess. But that probably starts with me validating myself, which is not so easy, but I am trying.

adkarmol

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Re: Wife of a Sole-Breadwinner Mustachian: Mom Seeking Advice!
« Reply #26 on: March 06, 2015, 09:04:41 AM »
And full disclosure: sometimes I get angry and start demanding funds for this or that (much less than I used to) but never end up actually doing it. Just another product of feeling like I have no say, but it goes a loooong way to reverse all my positive progress--sometimes it comes out in outbursts. I say that because DH is a good man and I am not a saint, not that anyone I thought I was. There is so much emotional baggage I wish we could just start over sometimes and erase the past. One of the challenges of marriage.

Logic_Lady

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Re: Wife of a Sole-Breadwinner Mustachian: Mom Seeking Advice!
« Reply #27 on: March 06, 2015, 09:13:10 AM »
And full disclosure: sometimes I get angry and start demanding funds for this or that (much less than I used to) but never end up actually doing it. Just another product of feeling like I have no say, but it goes a loooong way to reverse all my positive progress--sometimes it comes out in outbursts. I say that because DH is a good man and I am not a saint, not that anyone I thought I was. There is so much emotional baggage I wish we could just start over sometimes and erase the past. One of the challenges of marriage.

I think the two of you could really benefit from talking to a marriage counselor. It sounds like your problems are about communication more than anything. If your DH doesn't want to go, talking to a therapist on your own might also help with your emotional baggage.

TinyLightsBelow

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Re: Wife of a Sole-Breadwinner Mustachian: Mom Seeking Advice!
« Reply #28 on: March 06, 2015, 09:22:32 AM »
I want to say that I am starting to see that it's not that I want to necessarily spend MORE money on anything (kids, my own interests, etc) but it's more on the psychological/relationship end. I do value simplicity and experience over spending money on stuff, sometimes more than DH (though we both have our Achilles heels, which is the point of discretionary funds), and more than anything, I just want to feel like it's 'our money' and we're a team. For all that we have talked about all of these things, including the pain and emotions and the past, extensively, I think the point that is missing is a 'family philosophy' on money. We have spreadsheets and ledgers and budgets, but no agreements on guiding principles.

And I also definitely pull my weight by running the household, doing all chores and meals and all of that fun day to day stuff. I am also a self-proclaimed 'Goodwill Guru' and save our family so much by thrifting most of our clothes and lots of other goods (almost all of DH's bike commuting wardrobe is amazing stuff I found at Goodwill, a point of pride for me.) In the past, I was not good with money (thank goodness I never had credit cards!) but I am really starting to 'get it' generally, and I guess I am maybe just wanting to get some forgiveness and recognition of my efforts to grow and change and how much I have worked to show him I DO value his goals for us. I just feel like all the efforts go unrecognized and the only things that matter are the past mistakes. Anytime I falter (the grocery bill gets away with me some month, I buy something at Goodwill we don't end up using, etc) he just thinks, 'Here we go again,' instead of 'I know she is trying.' Validation I guess. But that probably starts with me validating myself, which is not so easy, but I am trying.
I think this is really important and what you should work towards with your husband, perhaps telling him this directly.

Also, I know you said sometimes you demand funds for things, and while this is not star behavior I want you to have sympathy for yourself and understand why this is happening. When you ask for money, even demand money, you are not 'causing problems' -- you are responding to the problem of having no financial freedom within a relationship where you legitimately are trying your hardest to do your fair share. Next time you feel the urge, try to communicate to him WHY you feel powerless about money.

DragonSlayer

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Re: Wife of a Sole-Breadwinner Mustachian: Mom Seeking Advice!
« Reply #29 on: March 06, 2015, 11:01:18 AM »
I'm not going to comment on the kid stuff because I have none and have nothing to say. But, I will throw out some ideas about your potential business ideas. You say you might like to be a writer. That can be done with almost no money. I'm a freelance writer and my expenses were almost nil when I started out. (I already had the laptop and the internet access, and that would really be your only investment if you didn't already have it.)

Anyway, you can start a blog for free on blogger or wordpress. You won't be able to make much in ad revenue as the free services limit your ability to use ad programs, but you can start writing, build a solid content base, and get some followers. If you succeed, then you can look at moving to a hosted site and earning money via ads. But then you'll know you have a decent chance at earning some money because you'll have built a following. (And hosting can be cheap. If your site is small, you can often get hosting for $1/month.) If you don't already, learn to use Twitter and Facebook to promote your blog and get the word out. There are lots of books at the library on how to promote blogs using social media. For that matter, there are a lot of books about blogging and optimizing your chances of success.

Beyond blogging, you don't really have to spend money to get freelance gigs, either. You just have to keep your eyes open. I started by reading a lot of blogs in my areas of interest and responding whenever they asked for guest posts. Those weren't paid (usually), but they did build up clips to show when a blog announced they were hiring staff writers. I got a few of those jobs. Then people read my work and asked me to write for them, or if they could reprint some of my work in books or on their website. It snowballs. You just have to start and put yourself out there.

Don't waste your time on the content mills. Getting paid a penny per word is just silly and your efforts are better spent elsewhere. Doing that type of writing will suck your creativity dry and pretty much ruin you for creating better things. It sucks you into thinking you're doing something productive, but you're betting paid worse than a shirt maker in Bangladesh and it's just not worth it. Spend the time on building toward bigger things. Plus, a lot of websites, newspapers, etc. don't look positively at clips from content mills. They're often too short and generic to be of interest.

If you want to write books, the only answer is to write them, first. It seems obvious, but until you have a manuscript, you don't need to spend any money on anything. Research can be done for free. Get some books from the library to learn about the publishing process, or how to improve your writing. Writing is free. Once you have something to sell, then you can look at self-publishing or traditional. Whichever way you go, it doesn't have to be hugely expensive. You  might want to pay for a good editor and a cover designer (if you self-publish), but again, not until you have something solid to work with.

There's no need to sink a lot of capital into being a writer. Chances are, if you're spending a boatload of money, you're either not writing and thinking that throwing money at it will magically make you a writer, or you're paying into scams.

lifejoy

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Re: Wife of a Sole-Breadwinner Mustachian: Mom Seeking Advice!
« Reply #30 on: March 06, 2015, 11:09:16 AM »
Not sure if a SAHM would have time for his, but Google "MOOCs" - mobile online open courseware. You can take free courses, online, from schools like Stanford, Harvard, etc. They have every topic under the sun, and it's free! You get a certificate at the end, which is not as good as school credits, but the knowledge is there.

Perhaps this would help you feel like you were doing something with yourself in preparation for a career, but it won't empty the bank account :)

gipsygrrl

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Re: Wife of a Sole-Breadwinner Mustachian: Mom Seeking Advice!
« Reply #31 on: March 06, 2015, 11:18:43 AM »
adkarmol, when I read your posts, I want to give you a hug and tell you to quit devaluing yourself. Your contributions as a SAHM have been important and worthwhile. Being an artsy type and looking for ANY kind of work that lets you fulfill even a modicum of that expression is super-hard (the world has trouble valuing the work of us artsy types), and starting any kind of new venture is a risk and 8k in lost startup funds when you were young doesn't seem so outlandish or reprehensible to me. Give yourself some credit for all the great progress you've made financially. And be strong about the fact that asking for childcare help or a chance to develop your own interests/career deserves 100% support from your husband. Because it does, period. I'm not saying he should financially support you while you try whatever you want... I'm just saying it's his responsibility as a team member to meet you halfway and help you look for a solution that gets you closer to a new career or some time for yourself.

lise

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Re: Wife of a Sole-Breadwinner Mustachian: Mom Seeking Advice!
« Reply #32 on: March 06, 2015, 11:23:20 AM »
Also, I know you said sometimes you demand funds for things, and while this is not star behavior I want you to have sympathy for yourself and understand why this is happening. When you ask for money, even demand money, you are not 'causing problems' -- you are responding to the problem of having no financial freedom within a relationship where you legitimately are trying your hardest to do your fair share. Next time you feel the urge, try to communicate to him WHY you feel powerless about money.

+1

adkarmol

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Re: Wife of a Sole-Breadwinner Mustachian: Mom Seeking Advice!
« Reply #33 on: March 06, 2015, 11:48:38 AM »
Not sure if a SAHM would have time for his, but Google "MOOCs" - mobile online open courseware. You can take free courses, online, from schools like Stanford, Harvard, etc. They have every topic under the sun, and it's free! You get a certificate at the end, which is not as good as school credits, but the knowledge is there.

Perhaps this would help you feel like you were doing something with yourself in preparation for a career, but it won't empty the bank account :)

Just yesterday I actually signed up for my first edX course. I definitely agree that it will feel good to do some free learning--and there is SO much good stuff out there right now! :)

justajane

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Re: Wife of a Sole-Breadwinner Mustachian: Mom Seeking Advice!
« Reply #34 on: March 06, 2015, 11:48:51 AM »
Oh, man. I could write a book on this topic. I'll write as much as I can before I go pick up my 9 month old from a Parent's Day Out Program and then an hour later go pick up my 4 year old from part-time preschool. I have three kids and have been a SAHM for the duration. When we first had kids, I was a graduate student trying to finish her dissertation. Therefore, we put my 4 month old in part-time childcare so that I could finish. Then I graduated, shortly thereafter had a second, and he went to part-time daycare with his older sibling. At this point I had no income and we were spending ca. $400 a month to give me breaks throughout the week. Did I feel bad about it? I guess I kind of did, even though my husband values my sanity. While I can certainly see how other parents can spend all day every day with their younger children, I am not that parent. I NEED a break. Usually this break consists of shopping, little home projects, and cleaning. But sometimes I just sit on my ass and surf the web like I'm doing now.

Despite my husband's insistence that this expense in our budget didn't matter to him, I nonetheless sought out part-time freelance work when my second was around a year old. It took a while for this to all work out, and I was "losing" money for quite a while. But three years later, my part-time income can be more than the cost of part-time daycare. I said "can", because sometimes I intentionally turn down projects in order to recharge or because the house is falling apart and I need to clean it up.

The reason I tell you my story is to stress that #1. it is absolutely okay to feel the need to spend some time apart from your non-school age kids and #2 sometimes it takes some time to build up a part-time job that will exceed the cost of childcare. It takes time to build a business, and I just soundly reject the idea that you can only pay for part-time childcare if you are making enough.

The money your husband makes is for the family. Childcare is a family expense. Even if you never make enough to pay for all of it, that doesn't mean your work is not important. I don't think it's fair for the primary earning spouse to say you can only get a break if you pay for it. Presumably he gets lunch breaks, bathroom breaks, etc? As a stay at home parent, sometimes you don't even get those! I feel fortunate that I didn't have to fight for my right to get a break during the day, but if you have to, at least I believe in your right to do so :).

I could say so much more, but let me end with the idea that your child also enjoys the break. My 9 month old LOVES his Parent's Day Out program. Of course he hasn't told me so in so many words, but when I drop him off, he smiles and crawls over to the toys. When I come to pick him up, he's happily playing on the floor with the other kids. Interaction, even at a young age, is good for kids. Many like the increased activity that a facility brings.

Sibley

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Re: Wife of a Sole-Breadwinner Mustachian: Mom Seeking Advice!
« Reply #35 on: March 06, 2015, 11:58:48 AM »
I read the OP very first post, and saw red.

Regarding what a stay at home mom "deserves", " has earned", and whatever else you want to say, read this:
http://www.salary.com/mom-paycheck/

Then tell your wonderful husband that you're going to go visit your family/friend/anywhere that is not at home for 7 days, with no kids or husband. Then do it. He can manage the kids and house. Oh, and if you come home to a mess, then he failed. Then let him tell you that you can't do something.

I visited a friend (near Seattle actually) who is a first time mom and is currently not working outside the house. I was horrified to learn that in the 10 months since her son was born, she had not been away from him for even as much as an hour. I handed the kid to dad, and we went out for the day. It was very good for her to get a break, and she enjoyed herself.

You are a mom, yes. But you are a human being first, and you need time to yourself, doing things you want to do, whether or not they are income producers! Your family will not be improved if you go insane.

Ok, now going to actually read what's been posted...
« Last Edit: March 06, 2015, 12:09:16 PM by Sibley »

adkarmol

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Re: Wife of a Sole-Breadwinner Mustachian: Mom Seeking Advice!
« Reply #36 on: March 06, 2015, 12:45:57 PM »
Thank you everyone for all the advice and support and ideas so far!

Talked to the DH for about 10 minutes last night (that's about all you get when the kids are up ;) and he agrees that there was no explicit agreement about the student loans when he began to pay them off other than that it 'made financial sense to have as few debts as possible as a family,' but that he does not necessarily see it directly as a 'debt' I owe--he described it more as a 'sore spot' that he struggles with. So indeed, pitchforks are not necessary. (He's a big guy, he might fight back.)

One of the tough spots is that I have said that if I were to make money, I would like it to go, to some degree, towards things that I feel are important for the family as my way of being able to put more value on my desires for the family (for example, I am more 'into' education than him, being a Montessori baby myself, though as someone else mentioned, we moved to Seattle because of the stellar public schools. I'm not proposing sending my kids to private schools). But he thinks that if I were to make any money, it would also go into the pot and until 60/40 happened, our first priority is savings, no matter who makes the money.

He reiterated the importance of getting our finances to a 60% savings/40% spending rate; that is the only way we will meet the 10-year FIRE goals for our family (hope I used that acronym right!). We are currently in the 30-40% rate, and it has been worse lately because we bought a fairly nice house  (new build townhouse) and had our son in 2014 and the 'dust' is still settling. I feel that we seem to agree on some things being 'worth it' to throw that 60/40 goal off, but then DH tightens down and struggles with it, and I feel the squeeze (for example, our house buying budget was $350k-$450k. My favorite was a $350k townhouse on a busy road, but we found the $450 new build in a better location and he knew it would be so huge for our sanity to have something with incredible warranties and generally a house that wouldn't require any work or money for a long time, theoretically. Plus, having something nice to come home to he knew would benefit us all since it wouldn't be screaming at us "You have more work to do!!" all the time. But I feel like he forgot the benefits and the choices and is squeezing my sanity for it. I agreed to buy this house and love it, too, but I held out for a while and said that we couldn't buy at the top of the budget if it meant devaluing what I felt was important, and I feel like that's what's happening anyways. Rant over.) He said until 60/40 is achieved, once a month daycare was reasonable, but once a week was a luxury that is currently out of reach for us.

I don't want him to work forever. He works for Amazon and is nearly killing himself with how stressful work is. I want him to be around to enjoy life and be a father, and not just when the kids are grown up. I don't know what to think of any of this, because like he says, if I could just tough it out for a few years, the kids would be in school, and I would get more breaks and time to work/have other hobbies. I do think that there is an imbalance and some forgiveness and moving on is necessary, but his early retirement goals benefit us all, though I resent it sometimes. Don't know what to think. I don't always treat my husband like I should, but he works so hard and I don't want my values and mistakes and need for breaks to be the reason he is chained to his desk forever.

MayDay

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Re: Wife of a Sole-Breadwinner Mustachian: Mom Seeking Advice!
« Reply #37 on: March 06, 2015, 01:00:24 PM »
SAHM to 2 little kids, here.  My H is an engineer.  I did work before kids, and went back to work after kid 1.  It was freaking hat,d and it didn't take too many Mornings of H having to do my daycare drop-off for him to see the value in one of us not working, especially with 2 kids. 

In some ways, you having never worked hurts your case, if you h hasn't had to do the daycare juggle, pack all 47 bags to get out the door in the morning, try to get to work intact without spit up/poop/fingerpaint on his work clothes, and then have to leave in the middle of something important at 4:45 in order to make it to daycare pickup in time. 

In terms of kids spending, we spend far less than some people.  We set a general guideline of passes are fine as long as we use them (so for us one pass a year is enough) and only one activity that a time.  And only cheap activities :).

We did pay for some childcare.  Some moms can handle 6 small children under the age of 4 and not blink an eye.  I had hard days, and H understood, so we sometimes used a neighborhood mom who did a home daycare, and took drop-ins if she wasn't full.  We also put no kids in preschool as soon as they were old enough (although we picked basically the cheapest possible preschool, because really we wanted socialization, not Learning). 

How to sort things out about you working?  I'm in that struggle now.  I want to work.  I don't know quite what.  Childcare is expensive.  It's gotten easier for me as my oldest is now in full day school.  I am currently substitute teaching.  When my kids were your's age, I took in some childcare kids (same age says my own kids, only ever one extra at a time, only ever part time kids!).  In of me my ways it was no extra work, but I certainly couldn't have handled it full time.  My best situation was a mom who needed every Friday for her son who was the exact age of my daughter.  10$ an hour (AP-style hippie dippie woo woo childcare is hard to find and people will pay!) and I did what I was basically doing anyway.  I'm throwing that out there, because maybe you could earn "your own" money to spend how you like, either on kids activites, new business ideas, etc.

The other thing I have done on and off, is swap childcare with moms in my neighborhood.  All last summer, a friend took my kids Tuesdays 1-5, and I took hers Thursday 1-5.  It's amazingly hard to have no family nearby (we are in that situation too) and having that close relationship was so treat- when my friend was in the hospital, I watched her kids (hey they already were used to being watched by me!) and vice versa.  It's hard sometimes to put yourself out there and find these things, but try.  It pays huge dividends. 

Another thought:  are there areas of your budget at you could negotiate?  Could you agree with your h to cut, for example, the grocery budget, via you giving up convenience things and making food from scratch, and use that "saved" money for childcare or whatever?  Are there other things like cable or a nicer cell phone contract, that you could sacrifice?

On the general relationship front with your hubby, I am of two minds.  #1 is you guys could gain some benefits from hashing it out with a neutral third party, who could help your communication.  #2 is if your hubby sees you trying to bring in some income, and then doing responsible things with it, he may see you in a new light. 

mollyjade

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Re: Wife of a Sole-Breadwinner Mustachian: Mom Seeking Advice!
« Reply #38 on: March 06, 2015, 01:07:34 PM »
It sounds like you two need to write down your money priorities, share them with each other, and then make a common family priority list. You value different things and don't communicate that well. You arbitrarily break the rules (buying a $450,000 house for convenience when you're trying to reach FIRE) and arbitrarily enforce them, which makes you both resentful. You need a common set of firm guidelines that you can refer to when you're considering spending money.

adkarmol

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Re: Wife of a Sole-Breadwinner Mustachian: Mom Seeking Advice!
« Reply #39 on: March 06, 2015, 01:16:39 PM »
Another thought:  are there areas of your budget at you could negotiate?  Could you agree with your h to cut, for example, the grocery budget, via you giving up convenience things and making food from scratch, and use that "saved" money for childcare or whatever?  Are there other things like cable or a nicer cell phone contract, that you could sacrifice?

I've been doing this fairly hardcore for the last year or so, and I was working towards a pretty streamlined grocery-and-food-prep process before that to (mostly) a good degree of success. I largely only shop at Sam's Club to streamline the buying, and generally only buy scratch ingredients. Last year, I had a month where I got us down to $350 for a family of 3 (when I was pregnant) and that included meat at every dinner and some organic produce. Lately, it's been more in the $500-$600/month range, which I am NOT proud of, but I have had to fall back on more prepared stuff since I'm not finding time to make food as much as I want to. But we are still eating very healthy and at least I am proud to say that my family eats well most of the time. I know I could still do better, and DH is NOT happy about how high it has been lately, though he had to make dinner from scratch just last night when he came home from work at 7pm and there was NOTHING to eat (that NEVER happens, so he was sweet and made us breakfast burritos). Trying to convince DH to do more meatless meals, and he is open to the idea, but not thrilled about it. I have tried to mention my savings by buying from Goodwill and scratch ingredients, but it doesn't seem to matter when the bottom line still isn't where we need it to be.

Cpa Cat

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Re: Wife of a Sole-Breadwinner Mustachian: Mom Seeking Advice!
« Reply #40 on: March 06, 2015, 01:36:06 PM »
I don't really know why people are no angry about the husband's feelings about the money "owed." He's not saying she owes him money for being a SAHM. He paid off her student loans and supported her prior to the children being born. Her response to that was to decline a well-paying position so that she could pursue her hobbies (I count the tea shop among them). And now he doesn't want to dump more money into her self employment interests, because he's been down this road before.

It doesn't sound like he signed on initially for a marriage where he would be the only one working while he supported his wife and she did whatever she felt like doing (SAHM included). While being a SAHM may be valuable, it may simply not be how he imagined their life together. Afterall, if she had pursued a real career, she could be making good money and paying for childcare and they would be closer to his goals of early retirement. But that ship has sailed.

I think the best way to approach this is to have a serious discussion with the husband. Remind him that there's no use crying over spilled milk - it does nothing for your marriage or your finances - and create a plan for going forward with the assets and information you have available to you right now.

If he wants you to earn money, then he'll have to agree with you on a plan for how, when and how much. Maybe that's not realistic until at least one child is in school (one child in daycare would be cheaper). Certainly, it does no good for him to be resentful about your contribution, but then veto every idea you have on how to change that.

For the kid budget - there should be a line item for this. $50 a month or whatever you guys agree on. He's right - there are many free options (maybe even enough), but there are also valuable paid options.

I'd drop the "education" idea. If he's really interested in retiring early and you have excellent public schools available, then this is a non-starter. If you want to supplement your kids' education - do it for free, on your own time, with the resources you have available to you.


swick

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Re: Wife of a Sole-Breadwinner Mustachian: Mom Seeking Advice!
« Reply #41 on: March 06, 2015, 01:40:04 PM »
A few suggestions:

 - Figure out both your "Love Languages google it and take a free test. You might have different styles in both how you like to show love and how you receive love which might be at odds 0 understanding how your partner feels valued is priceless.

 - Have each of you do a free Myers-briggs style personality test. I would wager you and your hubby are very, very different which means you see the world, your place in it and your strengths and weaknesses completely different. May also help you understand why you are good/not good for certain jobs (like loving to write but having no interest in technical writing)

 - Check out Creative Live for their free arts/art business related classes. Stream them while you are doing things around the classes (just don't be tempted to buy them!)

Bruinguy

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Re: Wife of a Sole-Breadwinner Mustachian: Mom Seeking Advice!
« Reply #42 on: March 06, 2015, 01:56:27 PM »
One of the tough spots is that I have said that if I were to make money, I would like it to go, to some degree, towards things that I feel are important for the family as my way of being able to put more value on my desires for the family (for example, I am more 'into' education than him, being a Montessori baby myself, though as someone else mentioned, we moved to Seattle because of the stellar public schools. I'm not proposing sending my kids to private schools). But he thinks that if I were to make any money, it would also go into the pot and until 60/40 happened, our first priority is savings, no matter who makes the money.

You earning money is the same as your spouse getting a raise. 

It is family money and should be spent as agreed to by you and your spouse and used to achieve family goals.  If the 60/40 ratio is truely a joint goal, then shouldn't you be in agreement on any increases in spending that take away from reaching that goal?

adkarmol

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Re: Wife of a Sole-Breadwinner Mustachian: Mom Seeking Advice!
« Reply #43 on: March 06, 2015, 02:00:23 PM »

 - Figure out both your "Love Languages google it and take a free test. You might have different styles in both how you like to show love and how you receive love which might be at odds 0 understanding how your partner feels valued is priceless.

 - Have each of you do a free Myers-briggs style personality test. I would wager you and your hubby are very, very different which means you see the world, your place in it and your strengths and weaknesses completely different. May also help you understand why you are good/not good for certain jobs (like loving to write but having no interest in technical writing)

 - Check out Creative Live for their free arts/art business related classes. Stream them while you are doing things around the classes (just don't be tempted to buy them!)

We read the Love Languages book, and the Mars/Venus book a few years back, among a few others. He hates that stuff, but it was certainly eye-opening! And I am a HUGE fan of the Enneagram (Riso-Hudson Personality Type Indicator) and had him do it, too. That was awesome. The only problem is, his type happens to be the one that hates self-introspection and anything along those lines, so it doesn't help or come into play nearly as often as I would like. And I will definitely check out Creative Live--I currently spend much of my day with my headphones in one ear listening to podcasts, audiobooks, YouTube videos, etc, it's one of the few things I can do with the little ones underfoot!

(We had been going to a therapist for a few years, but when we moved, the insurance benefits changed and he is adamant he does NOT want to go to therapy again, and we are so busy with the kids I can't fight with him much even though I want to find a neutral 3rd party to help us, too.)

And as for your thoughts, Cpa Cat, I totally agree, and so would DH about the first part--he got burned one too many times, and I appreciate you standing up for him about that. I don't think he is wrong to feel that way, hence why I have devalued any contributions I have made to the family since it happened (with the occasional disproportionate outburst). It is a heavy blanket of guilt and I am trying to rebuild the trust with actions and work, not just saying sorry or admitting fault (but that, too).

I will say in a small bit of self-defense that like I mentioned earlier, he did assume I would work when we moved and merged our lives soon after we met... But... By the time we got married, we had been together for nearly 2 years and he was well aware of the miscommunications, and we had been seeing a therapist part of that time and trying to work things through, though it was still a mess. When we got married, he knew that his assumptions and hopes and expectations were not going to happen the way he thought they would, but he married me anyways.

I often say he is loyal to the point of stupidity, and he still took a chance on us even after he should have kicked me to the curb. I have matured and learned and worked to fix my past wrongs, and now I am looking for the way to heal and move on and show him that I am not going to screw him over again.

adkarmol

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Re: Wife of a Sole-Breadwinner Mustachian: Mom Seeking Advice!
« Reply #44 on: March 06, 2015, 02:08:45 PM »
It is family money and should be spent as agreed to by you and your spouse and used to achieve family goals.  If the 60/40 ratio is truely a joint goal, then shouldn't you be in agreement on any increases in spending that take away from reaching that goal?

Exactly. It's like someone else said: It's not the money that's so much the issue as the lack of agreements in philosophies and values, and lack of personal consistency on each of our parts. I'm not sure if I agree with 60/40 or not. I mean, yes, of course I do because of what it means for him and what it means for our family. But I question his own resolve toward it; sometimes he does things to throw that off and then seems to put the squeeze on ME because he likes the things/experiences he got from his own decisions, but since he disagrees with mine and sees no value in them, he takes out his frustrations about not reaching goals on me. I don't think he is totally aware that he does that every so often. I don't show the same resolve towards the goal, but I also haven't really agreed to it.

Ergo, I think we both need some punches in the face to stop being wishy-washy and hypocritical, maybe?

mm1970

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Re: Wife of a Sole-Breadwinner Mustachian: Mom Seeking Advice!
« Reply #45 on: March 06, 2015, 03:26:58 PM »
Quote
It doesn't sound like he signed on initially for a marriage where he would be the only one working while he supported his wife and she did whatever she felt like doing (SAHM included). While being a SAHM may be valuable, it may simply not be how he imagined their life together. Afterall, if she had pursued a real career, she could be making good money and paying for childcare and they would be closer to his goals of early retirement. But that ship has sailed.

That sailed a long time ago. 

The one talk they really need to have, I think, is this one:
1.  What does full time child care cost for the kids
2.  How much money can she make at a full time job

I'm guessing that #1>#2, or darned close to it, after taxes and expenses.  Which makes his concern about her not working pretty much moot.

adkarmol

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Re: Wife of a Sole-Breadwinner Mustachian: Mom Seeking Advice!
« Reply #46 on: March 06, 2015, 03:39:41 PM »
Technically, the ship never existed, since we agreed early in our relationship one of us would stay at home with the kids, and we both always wanted kids (he actually wanted MORE kids than I did, but he changed his tune recently now that we have 2 ;)

To be fair to him, the one point that he still struggles with was that he wanted to wait a few more years to start the family so we could be in a better position financially before they came, and I did not want to wait. You can guess who 'won' that one--for better or for worse, we are happy with it now--he was even the one that pushed to get pregnant with #2 when we did--but he is still regretful that we weren't better off before we started on the 'family path,' and I struggle with that, too. I was just afraid there was never going to be a 'right time' and that it would get pushed off forever, but I think that was unfounded fear because he really DID want a family and IS a wonderful dad. 

DanielleS

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Re: Wife of a Sole-Breadwinner Mustachian: Mom Seeking Advice!
« Reply #47 on: March 06, 2015, 04:12:54 PM »
You state in your first post you were 22 to his 26 when you first met. This is a huge difference in maturity. Would he have fared so well if the situations were reversed, and all his uncertainty/stupid mistakes/figuring out adult behavior at 22 were coming back to haunt him in your relationship!?!??

Frankly, from what I read, I think since he's making the money right now he feels he should be the boss of the relationship. He's probably pretty aware that he treats his own spending like it's rational and then treats yours like it's irrational. The point is, he probably thinks it's legitimate for him to act that way since he's the boss (in his mind).

I think you are both still figuring things out. You're both pretty young yet, and NO ONE IS PERFECT. The only thing missing in your relationship, in my arrogant opinion, is that feeling of teamwork. You're both part of a team, and if one of you isn't feeling that way it's pretty sucky. From what I read, you're trying to be a team and he's not always trying to be a team. I would have no problem bringing up his inconsistent behavior ("you were in favor of this more expensive house, and were cognizant of the resulting expenses"; "you purchased xyz last week, yet you're attempting to make me feel guilty for abc"; "I hear you that you think the grocery budget is too high, to combat this I will serve three vegan dinners per week") in a non-argumentative, but self-assured way. This new tactic will probably keep you from bursting at the seams at inopportune times.

Do you plan to go back to work when your children are in school? If so... sit the husband down for a talk, and state this. It may make a huge difference to definitively state what your employment status will be at a certain date. Even a part-time job will make your retirement date come faster, of course.

Do you make budget spreadsheets? If you don't, you can send once a week or once a month--or whatever--spreadsheets with whatever spending you do so you are both aware of where the money is going. Also, stress makes us do irrational things sometimes. I can see that you are cognizant of his stress and try to treat him well. Your job now (although it's really his job not yours) is to tell him that you are also under stress and that you are not perfect. Also, this time in your lives with two really young kids is just a phase. Your lives will settle down at some point.

Good luck.

frugaldrummer

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Re: Wife of a Sole-Breadwinner Mustachian: Mom Seeking Advice!
« Reply #48 on: March 06, 2015, 05:20:01 PM »
Just a few thoughts:

1) reread the Five Love Languages. Be sure you are speaking his love languages to him.

2) I second the idea of finding someone you can swap childcare with.

3) consider doing home childcare or some other part time work from home.

4) you sound like you have a lot of good intentions but not the best follow through. And some things you said remind me a bit of a musician friend of mine. She's never really gotten her financial act together because subconsciously she always expected someone else to rescue her. Now she's a 57 year old widow with a 13 yo son to raise, no assets and no retirement, and a low paying job.

You can be an artist and still pursue financial stability; in fact, I would argue that FIRE is an ideal plan for artsy types, as once achieved it allows you to pursue your art without having to worry about profitability. But right now, you should be thinking about ways you could increase income and/or savings. 

Noodle

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Re: Wife of a Sole-Breadwinner Mustachian: Mom Seeking Advice!
« Reply #49 on: March 07, 2015, 11:45:44 AM »
After reading these boards for awhile, I feel like one of the most difficult dynamics to negotiate is working Mustachian in search of FIRE + stay-at-home spouse, given that the person who is most in need of ER is not the one responsible for a lot of the day-to-day household logistics and expenses, and may not have a good working understanding of the SAHP's decisionmaking. Having different communication styles adds another layer of complexity before you even get into the financial backstory!

I think the time has come to forgive yourself for past financial mistakes. If you look around these boards, (check out the "Least Mustachian Decision" thread) you will find plenty of people who have made bigger financial missteps in service of less worthy goals than making a living, and when they had more life experience and more reason to have known better. $8000 is a lot to pay for a financial education, but now you know what you are not cut out for. As for the student loans, you and your husband came in with just about equal debt loans. And as for the salaried job...you just got offered a second interview. There is no guarantee that you would have gotten that job anyway.

I also feel like, in service of admitting and fixing your own past mistakes (a good thing!) you and your husband are forgetting that he made choices too. He could have chosen to wait longer to get married, to veto children for a few more years, to take a job with less pressure (you are in Seattle, there are plenty of tech jobs), to vote for the less expensive house. It may not be effective at this point for you and your husband to get counseling together, if he doesn't want to go back, but you can go on your own to learn to articulate your needs and concerns, which you have a right to even given your past, and to listen to his.

And really, it sounds like you guys have a ways to go in terms of consensus on the whole FIRE situation, that you understand the reasons rationally but haven't embraced it emotionally. All those little decisions that add up are so much clearer when you have a goal that really grabs you, and since your husband's FIRE would change your life much less than his, I can see why a longer timeline doesn't have quite the wallop for you that it does for him.