When one parent decides to become a stay at home parent, there are sometimes marital issues that arise as a result. Arguments often ensue out about household responsibilities, money, and social time. It is important to work together to address with these so that it does not cause serious marital problems.
One of the most common complaints from stay at home parents is that they feel overwhelmed with the household responsibilities. The most common concern is that the working parent no longer helps out around the house.
It is important to support one another and work together as a team. Try to look at things from your spouse’s point of view. Talk about your expectations about what you can accomplish and what you will need help with.
Staying at home means you will be working very hard yet not getting paid, not getting any recognition for your work, and the work is never ending. Ask for help when you need it and take care of yourself. Work out an arrangement with your spouse regarding household chores and childcare that will work for the both of you.
Also, it is important to remember that the spouse who is employed may be feeling a lot more pressure. As the only breadwinner, work hours may need to increase. There may be more anxiety about work stress. Learn how you can support one another with these issues.
Communication habits often change when one person becomes the stay at home parent. When people stay at home all day, they often feel isolated and lack adult interaction much of the time. This makes communicating as a couple very important.
Sometimes stay at home parents feel like they have less to contribute. For example thinking, “I spend my days cleaning, cooking, and changing diapers. I don’t have much to say.” However, it’s important to not lose sight of any goals and dreams you have. Make sure to spend quality time talking about life outside of issues surrounding the cooking and cleaning.
Make time for one another to discuss “business” but also set aside time to discuss other matters. For example, schedule time each week to discuss the logistics of who will pick up the kids, what there are for appointments, or what bills need to be paid. Then make sure to have plenty of time each week to just talk about your love, your relationship, and to plan activities for yourselves.
Make sure to spend time socializing, just the two of you as well as with other friends and family. Being a stay at home parent can be quite isolating so take the extra effort to increase the social time. Schedule date nights regularly. Hire a babysitter and get away from the house at least a couple of times per month. It can do your marriage a lot of good to get away and have fun together. Enjoying one another’s company is important and getting out of the house can help you to focus on one another.
When one person makes the money, it can sometimes throw things off balance. Some couples equate money with power and whoever earns the most is the “boss.” It is important to recognize that you are financial partners, regardless of who earns the money. If you are a stay at home parent, you have just as much of a right to spend the money as the spouse who earns it.
It is important to work on financial issues together. If you don’t have a written budget, make one. You are more likely to stick to it if you have it written down. Discuss what you are comfortable with in terms of spending habits.
Discuss your financial goals as well. A stay at home parent won’t have money going toward retirement so make adjustments as needed to make sure that you are saving enough money. Also consider other changes that it may be a good time to make such as updating life insurance policies. Consider meeting with a financial advisor to discuss how to best meet your financial goals.
Change Your View
If you are struggling with the adjustments to your family after one of you has become a stay at home parent, consider changing your view point. If you have thoughts such as “He doesn’t help out and doesn’t care about all I do everyday” or “She shouldn’t expect me to work all day and then come home and work all night,” it can be helpful to change your thoughts.
Focus on what you are doing well and what you are contributing to the family. Keep focused on that. Recognize what your partner is contributing as well and show gratitude for that. Know that both of you are working hard each day in different capacities.
Also if one of you is able to be a stay at home parent, congratulate yourselves. Many people do not have this luxury. So keep thinking about the positives and your ultimate goal- to raise the children well and worry less about whether or not the house is as you would like it to be.