I’ve written often enough about how much support an at home parent needs, whether you have a work at home job or not. It’s vital. Today I’d like you to think about how much support your spouse needs. Working outside the home isn’t all easy either.
Some of the issues depend on if you have a home based job or business yourself or if your focus is solely on caring for your family and home. Having your own income means there is less stress on your spouse to be the sole breadwinner. Being the only source of income, or even just the main one, can be hugely stressful. Think about how your family would cope if that income and any benefits were lost. That’s something many families have to consider when one parent stays home.
My family has been there. My business hasn’t always earned enough to pay our rent and other expenses on its own, and of course it doesn’t provide benefits such as health insurance. When my husband was laid off a few years ago, it was tough. We scraped by, but only with the help of credit cards, some of which aren’t yet paid off. Getting closer all the time now, though. It was not a good situation, and I know my husband often felt guilty for not supporting his family well enough. All I could do was support him in his job search and do my best to bring in more money myself. He has a much better job these days, although it gets stressful too.
Recognize His/Her Stress
Be willing to talk about the problems your spouse has at work. My husband and I often talk about how each of our days went. His work can be stressful at times. Recently, for example, he was faced with the possibility of having to take a training session in another office, far enough that he’d have to leave at least an hour early to take a train there, but no so far that his employer would provide a hotel room. I told him that if it would make things less stressful, he could call his friend who lives in the area, and stay out there. Fortunately, his training was switched back to his office, so the problem went away, but he much appreciated that I wanted him to minimize the stress of it, and even have some fun with a friend he rarely sees.
Support His/Her Ambitions
One of things I love about working from home is that I earn money how I choose. I have a lot more freedom in that way than my husband does. That’s why I’ve always told him that if he ever wants to pursue his dream career, I’ll do what I can to help him get there. After all, his work has given me this opportunity.
I know that being at home isn’t the dream for every at home mom or dad. It’s tough, and some days you may wish you could get away for a little. Even working at home isn’t always the best. But that’s no reason to ignore what your spouse wants in a career.
There will be times when you can work only toward one person’s ambitions. When you have a family, having enough money to get by has to be the first priority. But there’s often a way to take steps toward a better lifestyle for at least one of you, and sometimes both. It takes time and mutual support.
Make Sure You Both Get a Break
You may often want a break from the kids when your spouse comes home. It’s tiring being the one they always ask to do everything. Just remember that your spouse wants a break after work too.
Don’t demand help when your spouse gets home every day. If on a particular day you need a break right away, that’s fine, that’s life, but don’t ignore the fact that your spouse is probably tired too.
I believe that both responsibilities and opportunities to relax should be shared when you’re both at home. You’ll probably find that some responsibilities go better for one person than another. My husband, for example, prefers yard work to housework, and so he does more outside and less inside (although certain jobs are taken by the kids as they learn how).
Most work around the house I’m not too picky about when they get done, so my husband can take a solid break first if he wants. Most days there’s enough time for that. If it’s all that urgent, odds are I’ve already done it anyhow, having the most time and opportunity to handle such things.
Sometimes, just talking is enough. Talk about work, your day, current events, total nonsense, whatever. Just make time to talk to each other.