One of the decidedly less romantic things about getting married and starting a family is merging finances and coming up with an arrangement that seems fair and functional for your household. But it’s an important part and one that you’ll undoubtedly need to adjust and troubleshoot down the line as your family grows and the ups and downs of life hit you.
A poster in Reddit’s AITA column found himself struggling with that troubleshooting when circumstances changed enough that he had to ask his wife, who has been a SAHM since 2006, if she could get some part-time work now that their kids are 10, 14 and 15 and are all in school. Her reaction? It wasn’t too agreeable.
“She went off on me stating I lied when I said she can be a stay at home mom when we got married — and her family and mine are agreeing with her,” the poster wrote. “But I said it’s getting to be a mental strain on me financially, since I’ve taken two pay cuts at work and don’t have the luxury of looking for new employment.”
He went on to mention that the change in their family’s needs (plus, like, the whole financial world looking real different than it did in 2006) has even led to him doing food deliveries on weekends to keep his older kids in their sports programs — and he’s still had to say “no” to their youngest child about doing gymnastics because they couldn’t afford it.
“Now she says if I can’t afford a family, why did i get married?” the poster added. “I’m just at a loss on what to do…our needs have changed — since the kids require so much more money now then they did when they were younger. And now my wife hasn’t spoken to me in two weeks and both sides of the family agree with her.”
And it all feels like a lot. While the poster said he even offered to get her a work-from-home assisting him during school hours, he said she and their families are still acting like he should be the only one earning an income no matter what. Other redditors, however, had a different take, believing that his wife should be more flexible and understanding of the family’s financial needs. Plus, the elephant in the room that a partnership ideally requires more mutual support and durability than an outright refusal to compromise and two weeks of silent treatment.
As one commenter eloquently put it: “NTA. Times change, inflation is high, money is tight… And it’s not like your pay is entirely within your control. It would be one thing if you were like, ‘Yeah, I don’t feel like working anymore’ and expected your wife to take on a full-time job to pay for EVERYTHING, but that’s not what’s happening. You’re doing what you can, and you’re asking her for help. I’m pretty sure that’s how it’s SUPPOSED to work!”
No one is saying that being a SAHM or the on-duty stay-at-home parent isn’t work — it absolutely is! — but once the more hands-on and intensive parts of the job are through and the kids have aged out, reevaluating and discussing what the household needs is absolutely not a betrayal of previous agreements.
And per another commenter, r/bamf1701, the allegations of the OP “lying” about making his partner a stay-at-home parent are baseless — and the longterm harm of one partner bearing all of the financial burden can be even worse than a few missed extra-curricular activities: “Your needs have changed, so the family situation needs to change. You never lied to your wife: She was able to be a SAHM for 16 years. And you are essentially working 2 jobs. If she doesn’t help out, you are going to burn out.”