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Old 11-02-09, 03:53 PM   #1
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How did you end up as/with a stay at home spouse?

I've always wondered exactly how that happens. MRS degrees (or the male equivalent) excluded, how do people end up as the stay at home person? Everybody in my extended family shy of 60+ years old works, so I can't really relate. I've recently noticed that a lot of my co-workers (mostly engineers) have stay at home wives (only one female engineer here, her husband works). I've got them figured out here as well though: all of these guys are financially set to retire, but just can't sit still that long, whereas their wives are of calmer personalities, worked their 30-40 years, and are happily retired. Several of these guys have "failed at trying to be retired" at least once.
I'm referring more to the 20-50 year old people of either gender who are unemployed by choice, and not because they are caring for others (kids/elderly relatives).
I can't imagine that many people grow up thinking "I'm going to marry a him/her and stay at home cleaning our house and cooking food all day", but it seems to happen that way.
Thinking about it more, most of the people I know (but not well enough to ask about this) in that situation have a spouse that has a huge income (a couple doctors, a CEO, etc). On the other hand, they weren't always that way. Do you just sit down one day and say "It isn't worth the income, I'm just going to stay at home from now on"?

Discuss.

Edit: I'm going to be out for a couple hours, so to throw this in up front, I'm not trying to be insulting to anyone, I'm just curious.
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Old 11-02-09, 04:40 PM   #2
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If my fiancee keeps rising through the ranks at her company, I may have the opportunity to make the "It isn't worth it any more" decision.
Would I quit working and just stay at home? Nah... I can't trust myself to keep from my previous bad habits if left to that situation. Besides, I like the consumer independence that having "my own money" gives me. Even if the answer was always yes, I don't want to be the person asking if they can buy stuff at the bike shop.
Would I keep working a stressful engineering job? Nah. I'm sure I can find something less mentally taxing.
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Old 11-02-09, 05:27 PM   #3
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I guess I'm one of those guys whose wives COULD stay home. Instead, she works as hard if not harder then I do by running our office. We are both pretty type A, and can't imagine retirement. We will likely work till were dead!
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Old 11-02-09, 05:56 PM   #4
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Lost my job back in '01 I think. Company went bankrupt. Was unable to find work, then we found that my wife was pregnant. Since she was working, I stayed home. It's worked out pretty well.
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Old 11-02-09, 06:03 PM   #5
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I think it's lots of incremental effects. If one spouse makes a decent nut and there are kids, the tax hit on marginal income and the further hit from childcare expenses can put a pretty substantial negative incentive on a second working spouse. And that's before the added stress of having to balance the schedules of two jobs (deadlines, etc). Studies have shown that having a spouse at home increases the success rate of the working spouse.
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Old 11-02-09, 06:18 PM   #6
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Lost my job back in '01 I think. Company went bankrupt. Was unable to find work, then we found that my wife was pregnant. Since she was working, I stayed home. It's worked out pretty well.
I did that for our first, I was a stay at home dad for 7 years! Its was great! BTW, when I retired due to injury my wife and I decided she should stay home with me, she left her job a few years after I retired, its been eight years for me and six for her, its pretty nice!
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Old 11-02-09, 06:56 PM   #7
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The wife quit working to have the kids and never went back.
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Old 11-02-09, 09:40 PM   #8
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By the time we have kids my job will be more lucrative than my wife, but personality wise I would be a better at home parent than her.

A few at work gave up after the finances worked out close to negative (make 55 k a year pay 13k x 3 kids for daycare + driving to work every day + babysitters etc) not to mention the idea of your kids spending more time with others than yourself.
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Old 11-02-09, 09:53 PM   #9
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A friend of mine has a stay-at-home husband. They do not have any children. She is an executive at her company and works long hours during the week. They decided it was more useful if he stayed home and maintained the house, cooked, did laundry, etc., rather than having him work and them hiring a housekeeper.
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Old 11-02-09, 10:03 PM   #10
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A friend of mine has a stay-at-home husband. They do not have any children. She is an executive at her company and works long hours during the week. They decided it was more useful if he stayed home and maintained the house, cooked, did laundry, etc., rather than having him work and them hiring a housekeeper.
That's the type of woman I need to find. Where do single women like that hang out in their free time?
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Old 11-02-09, 10:14 PM   #11
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We were both computer programmers making about the same amount. When she was pregnant with our first, she swore every time she scooted up to the desk to type, the baby would push her away. Baby obviously didn't want her to work. I am not going to argue with either an unborn child or a pregnant woman.

Seriously, it was a personal decision about how we wanted to raise our kids.
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Old 11-02-09, 10:18 PM   #12
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a friend, who's a former mod here, should chime in.
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Old 11-02-09, 10:28 PM   #13
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My wife was an office worker when we first met. After we got married, she quit her job, we bought some raw land and worked together like pioneers clearing the land and building our home. Now she enjoys tending the home and garden and never needs to work in an office again, while I get personal satisfaction running the small business I started 30 years ago.

We're really old fashioned Americans.

I enjoy my husbandly duty of being the breadwinner,
while my wife revels in taking care of our homelife.
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Old 11-02-09, 10:33 PM   #14
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My wife said since day one of our marriage if someone was going to stay home it would be me instead of her. She got her degree and planned on using it. 3 months after our first was born, she had to go back to teaching. She had 2 months to finish up before summer break. Everyday of the 2 months that she went back to work she cried and begged me to find a way for her to stay home. I moved jobs within the company, moved to a St. Louis with the company, got a raise and made a lot of sacraficies. But she has not worked in the last 10 years. Wait, she takes care of the house, homeschools the kids, budget and finance, and puts up with me so she works pretty hard. I would say she doesn't make much but I get about 5-10$/wk and she get the rest so I guess she has it pretty good. It hasn't been easy but always worth it. I believe the kids should be raised by the parents and not a gov. organization.
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Old 11-02-09, 11:16 PM   #15
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It was easy for my ex: she just refused to work.
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Old 11-03-09, 12:10 AM   #16
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My wife was an office worker when we first met. After we got married, she quit her job, we bought some raw land and worked together like pioneers clearing the land and building our home. Now she enjoys tending the home and garden and never needs to work in an office again, while I get personal satisfaction running the small business I started 30 years ago.

We're really old fashioned Americans.

I enjoy my husbandly duty of being the breadwinner,
while my wife revels in taking care of our homelife.
very cool
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Old 11-03-09, 08:20 AM   #17
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I think it's lots of incremental effects. If one spouse makes a decent nut and there are kids, the tax hit on marginal income and the further hit from childcare expenses can put a pretty substantial negative incentive on a second working spouse. And that's before the added stress of having to balance the schedules of two jobs (deadlines, etc). Studies have shown that having a spouse at home increases the success rate of the working spouse.
I figured it would be lots of incremental things. I just can't picture that moment when you decide, I'm going to quit my job next week, or whatever. On the other hand, I didn't picture the "I'm graduating and am not going to have summer vacation/internship/Christmas Break any more" part very well either. It does make sense that having one stay at home spouse helps the one with the day job simply because there is less stress in scheduling and such. I noticed a change in my stress level when I had to change from 4 10's to 5 8's at work. Suddenly my open week day to see places that close before I get home from work vanished and meant I had to be home on Saturdays.

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A friend of mine has a stay-at-home husband. They do not have any children. She is an executive at her company and works long hours during the week. They decided it was more useful if he stayed home and maintained the house, cooked, did laundry, etc., rather than having him work and them hiring a housekeeper.

Quote:
Originally Posted by oldpedalpusher View Post
My wife was an office worker when we first met. After we got married, she quit her job, we bought some raw land and worked together like pioneers clearing the land and building our home. Now she enjoys tending the home and garden and never needs to work in an office again, while I get personal satisfaction running the small business I started 30 years ago.

We're really old fashioned Americans.

I enjoy my husbandly duty of being the breadwinner,
while my wife revels in taking care of our homelife.
That's pretty cool, and one of the only examples in this thread that didn't involve raising kids. I know two people who did that in an effort to one day retire on their own land in a house they built, but they certainly haven't gone nearly as far with it as you.
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Old 11-03-09, 08:43 AM   #18
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My wife is a stay at home mom and when the kid(s) go to school she will become a stay-at-home homemaker. OUR choice, based upon our beliefs. And yes, she did grow up dreaming of being a mom.

For both of us it is about valuing quality of life over quantity of stuff.

Be careful here, this could easily go P&R and get hannah hooks into it.
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Old 11-03-09, 09:15 AM   #19
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I'm referring more to the 20-50 year old people of either gender who are unemployed by choice, and not because they are caring for others (kids/elderly relatives).
I think people are having a really hard time with this part of my question^^
I understand the part about raising kids. Someday if I have kids either my then wife or I will probably stay home to raise them. It's the ones not raising kids/toking care of elderly parents, etc that I'm curious about.
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Old 11-03-09, 09:16 AM   #20
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Be careful here, this could easily go P&R and get hannah hooks into it.
Posting this in Foo rather than P&R was no accident. Things are more....pleasant here.
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Old 11-03-09, 09:17 AM   #21
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I handcuffed her to the bed post. Now she stays at home.
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Old 11-03-09, 09:21 AM   #22
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Mr Coffeecake will end up staying home with the kids, as I'll probably be making more $ than he is in a couple years. His personality is also more suited to it. Unless our province/country comes through with universal childcare, in which case we'll dump the kiddies off and get some relief at work.
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Old 11-03-09, 09:24 AM   #23
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Without kids, I might take some time off, but I wouldn't be at home - I'd be doing another degree. Sometimes I think it would be nice to lie around all day, and make some money off my paintings, but I hate doing housework and will procrastinate to the end. So I guess I'm not the right person to answer your question.
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Old 11-03-09, 11:08 AM   #24
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That's pretty cool, and one of the only examples in this thread that didn't involve raising kids. I know two people who did that in an effort to one day retire on their own land in a house they built, but they certainly haven't gone nearly as far with it as you.
That's because I was 50 and my wife was 48 when we got married...

We built a very small home and paid cash for everything so as to enjoy living completely debt free.

There are two approaches to retirement, the usual one that everyone does is to accumulate money in stocks, CD's, or 401K retirement accounts and the like... while another little used out of the box alternative is to own all of your assets outright and have no debts. We chose the latter, and it works like a charm. Since I'm self employed, I've been paying into Social Security at double the employee rate for over 40 years. And yet even the minimum payout will cover all of our property taxes, utilities, and food costs.
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Old 11-03-09, 11:11 AM   #25
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That's because I was 50 and my wife was 48 when we got married...

We built a very small home and paid cash for everything so as to enjoy living completely debt free.

There are two approaches to retirement, the usual one that everyone does is to accumulate money in stocks, CD's, or 401K retirement accounts and the like... while another little used out of the box alternative is to own all of your assets outright and have no debts. We chose the latter, and it works like a charm. Since I'm self employed, I've been paying into Social Security at double the employee rate for over 40 years. And yet even the minimum payout will cover all of our property taxes, utilities, and food costs.
That's an interesting point you make there. I guess I always assumed people did both, got rid of all of their debt and had a retirement account of sorts. I guess that will be another thread, unless people want to start adding that info here.
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