Points of view about children, jobs, etc.

Points of view about children, jobs, etc.

Postby altrinu » Thu Mar 12, 2009 12:25 am

This year our second child was born, and recently my wife and I had some issues regarding our points of view about children, jobs and more.


My wife had been working from high school until graduate school, when we got married. I just had part-time jobs until I finish graduate school. At this point, due to several reasons, the roles switched: she started part-time jobs and I started a full-time job in a company.

When our first child was born, she took care of the child for almost a year and then went back to work (part-time). One more year passed and we moved overseas mainly because of my job and our second child was born. My wife didn't have a work at that moment and to me it was obvious that she would take care of the children for the time being.


1. Children and Jobs

However, not even a month after the birth, she started talking about hiring a full-time maid (it is possible here, not in the country we lived before) and looking for a job. I was really surprised.

I was never against her getting a job before, but now it is difficult to me to understand why she wants to look for a job just after giving birth. It looks to me that the baby is not her priority at all, but the job.

We have talked about this twice. The second time we covered more issues and I become tense (rarely I do) and I raised my voice when we touched this job/childcare subject. Specifically, she said that anyone could do what she was doing (childcare, etc.), and that it has no value and could not be compared to what I was doing (my job is highly specialized). Such comments made me upset because I did not like at all that she was underestimating her task as a mother. I do not think a nanny would do the same. However, I agree with my wife on hiring one in order to have more time to talk as a couple.

She was in tears, but she is more expressive than I (sincerely I do not know when to trust her tears) and so she continued talking while softly crying.

In the two times we talked I told her that I would even leave my job, whatever good the job is, and look after the children so that she could work and their care/education/etc. would not be left to a maid or a nanny. She immediately answered that it would not be possible because she would not get the same income level I am getting (we are not rich, but can save some money and have no financial problems), so she understood I did not want to let her work.

She told me that learning I was against she having a job was a real downer for her.

To this point, I do not know what I should tell her. I mean, if both children could go to the nursery or kindergarten I would have no objection for her to work (we did this in the past).

2. "Mental Stimulus" and Communication

She also mentioned that not working, not meeting people because of taking care of the baby, doing only house chores, etc., do not provide her a "mental stimulus." As an example, we use English (not our mother tongue) in this country, but she feels she is forgetting English because she is not using it frequently. Ditto for the other languages she has learned.

When we first met many years ago we were in a similar educational level, and after that we chose similar fields of study. However, the gap between our levels was increasing and she feels she is being left behind. Unfortunately, there is a situation that have made things worse in this topic.

Long ago, just some months after being married, she made an unfortunate comment that made me think that she would speak in a very affirmative way without confirming things first. That was very disappointing for me because I thought I should not trust immediately what I hear from her. And in the years that followed that comment I found myself challenging every thing she would say. Last week we had the last example of this and it was a disaster: I provided her a lot of details to show/prove that what she had just said was wrong. I wanted to give her the right information, but it looks I did not do it in the right way and she felt like an ignorant.

I try not to be a perfectionist, but in regards of evaluating information provided by other people I am somehow sensitive because of several bad experiences I had from different scenarios. The one in the paragraph above is one example that had no consequences as other did, but it was too impressive for me.


With my wife not feeling good about herself I not only worry about her, but also about the children. I have told this directly to her, and she immediately replied she would not do anything bad to them. Additional info: we were never punished physically by our parents and we agreed on taking the same approach for our children.

Sorry for the long text, but I think you have the main elements of the picture now. I want to do my best for my family, but I am not sure of what the right steps should be.

Your advice is appreciated.
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Postby elizacol » Sat Mar 14, 2009 4:48 pm

I think you are being incredibly selfish. As well, you sound condescending towards your wife. Treating her as if she is ignorant, or 'proving her wrong' is just plain disrespectful. No wonder she feels as she does.

She deserves to live her life, develop a career, her own interests, etc.
Just as she supports you in your endeavors, so, too, should you support her in hers. It does not sound like you are doing so.

I am a FIRM believer in parents raising children, as opposed to nannies, daycare centers, etc. So strong were my own feelings, that I was a SAHM for 13ish years.

However, that choice does not work for all women!

I don't know what the answer to your situation is, but good starting points would be to 1) actually 'hear' what your wife is saying, and respect her thoughts and feelings and 2) allow her something to call her own. Whether that be a job, or classes, or some opportunity in which to use her languages.

I wish you luck.
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Postby Hremom » Wed Jun 10, 2009 12:21 am

If you want her to stay home with the children, then YOU need to make her feel like what she is doing is the most important thing in the world for your family! Daily, thank her for all she does and tell her how much you see the kids growing and learning because she is there giving them daily loving care. She is their first and most important teacher.

Encourage her to join a Stay at home Mom's club. Many of the women in these groups are highly educated and get together to let the kids socialize while they do the same. They also do things for the community together and many have a book club where they will all read and discuss the same book. Staying home all day with the kids can be mind numbing and make a person's self value plummet. Getting together with other parents going through the same things and working to keep their minds sharp can be a welcome relief.

Lastly, stop trying to prove her wrong. It is childish and disrespectful. If she is wrong, handle it like you would a good friend. Sometimes with the day to day familiarity of house and home we treat those we love the most in inconsiderate and even cruel ways we would never do with a friend who doesn't live with us. We want to keep that friendship, so we're careful in our actions. We need to do that even more in our marriages!!
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