Childfreelife’s Weblog











{August 6, 2008}   Childfree stay at home partner

My husband has been unemployed since April, and like the husbands in this article, I have some perks.  no kids, no jobs wives. Yesterday, I had a hard day at work. I reported some unethical conduct in my department. Immediately after work I called my husband and ranted about it. He listened to me attentively and cared about every word I was saying. I had to go to class right after work, and I forgot to eat a snack since I was upset at the end of day at work. I was in such a daze that I gave my change to a homeless man; not realizing I would be hungry later. I got through class, and came home to do my last minute homework. When I walked in the door, my roommate and my husband had pizza ready for me to eat! And they both were happy to listen to my work issues and say, “you go woman, you did what is right and it will pay off!”

I have several cf couple friends, that live on one income and the other partner goes to school, pursues an interest like writing, or just plain keeps house. Some couples switch off, one works and supports the other, and then later they switch. These people seem happy to me. Sure money might be a little tight, but the house is clean, a home cooked meal is often ready when the worker gets home, and there is less stress. Sure one partner is working hard and might take on stress, but the other partner is more able to absorb it and listen and help out since they don’t have their own stress plate full.

Though this story is about stay at home childfree wives, I have seen the lifestyle be quite successful both ways round. The linch pin, is that the stay at home partner does pursues his or her goals with the extra time and also keeps the household together. The stay at home partner needs to take frugal actions: cooking, bike riding for transport instead of driving, clipping coupons, and so on. The stay at home partner needs to be doing something to make the working partner feel like they are giving something to their partner, time to pursue an education, to write or make art. Without these standards being met, the system would not be worth it, and has not been worth it for me in the past when my partner stayed home, made more of a mess, and seemed to be getting nowhere with his personal goals.

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stepher says:

Hi,

Found you via a CF blog search and what do you know. I wrote on this last week. I was so impressed w/the article that I even emailed the writer who responded w/a v. lovely note.

As a CFSAHW I believe in this 110% as long as it works for BOTH partners. So far, so good and we’re going on eight years.

If you have time, stop by and take a looksee at what other CF women had to say. V. worthwhile discussion.

I dig your blog.

Stepher



childfreelife says:

Thanks Stepher! I added your blog to my daily reads. Can you give me the link to your coverage?



elfracal says:

Hi – I found you through a comment you left of Millionaire Mommy Next Door’s latest post (about how CF was the real answer to financial equalities between the genders). My sphere is usually frugality/personal finance blogging, but my husband and I are CF, so I was immediately drawn to your blog. I’m adding you to my daily reads right now!

More on topic with this post, I absolutely agree that, regardless of gender, the stay at home partner needs to take that extra time to reduce household expenses and make the home a more comfortable place for everyone. Unfortunately I think for many people this isn’t an option, because even given the the additional opportunity the SAH partner has to optimize the budget, most costs these days are centered around having two income-earners. I also think situations like these can fall apart if the working partner feels the the SAH partner isn’t keeping up their end of the bargain



childfreelife says:

elfracal:

Thanks for your reply. I would like to add, that CF is a real answer to inequality between the sexes. But even more egregious is that working fathers continue to treat working mothers as the primary caretaker to make career sacrifices instead of sharing the burden of childcare.

The “real” answer to the wage discrepancies between mothers and fathers (not women and men), is for mothers and fathers to take turns sacrificing opportunities in their careers. If every other time a child was sick, the father took the sick time, if the parents took turns taking overtime opportunities or opportunities to come into the office early, and so on. Then I imagine the wage discrepancy between fathers and mothers would disappear and the wage discrepancy would be more obvious between childless/free workers and parents and thus non-gendered issue.

Also, I think there is a cult of the child in our culture currently, and too much focus on getting junior to special things and hauling him all over hell and gone. If parents focused on quality time with their children instead of massive amounts of non-quality time driving them places, mothers might have more time for work.

As for stay at home cf’s, the key is most definitely doing ones share. Also the working partner has to recognize that listening, cleaning, home improvements, budgeting and financing are all paid skills and treat their spouse with respect if they are working hard.

I will address the two-earner economy idea and how it should not apply to cf’s in later posts about choices that save someone money or make someone money that CFs can make.



I often think it would be great to have a house husband. I have asked my hubby before if he would like to be a house husband (if I made enough money to comfortably support both of us) and he said “absolutely”. It probably wouldn’t work, though, because we have different standards of “clean” and I’d probably never be satisfied with his housework. 😉



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