When the children are all grown up

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
When the children are all grown up
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Thu, 04-17-2003 - 10:08am
What happens when the children are all grown up and there's no need for a caregiver on a full-time basis? What does the SAHP do now?

I ask this because I have a scenario:

My sister's MIL has been a SAHP since her first child. She has 4 children. At the current time they are between 21 and 32. Now that all the children are adults and pretty much doing their own thing whether it be work or having families of their own, what does she do now? Since she decided to stay home since the first child, all her work skills she used to have are not even used anymore. She's up in age so her mobility skills (bad knee, arthritis) are not their best. She didn't complete a degree of any kind to at least be able to get a job, if she wanted to, that paid good money. And she has just found out recently that her husband of 35 years has been and probably still is being unfaithful. He works off the books and has been for almost 15 years now, so he doesn't pay taxes.

She wants to leave but is not able to support herself. She has no skills, he only gives her enough money to do whatever she needs to do, which has never been a problem before, and no degree to at least get a good job to pay enough money. She wants a divorce but knows she can't get anything because as far as the state knows, he's not employed. The house they have is in his brother's name, so she can't get that. Staying continues to stress her, but leaving would make her life miserable financially.

Right now, she has no skills, unfaithful marriage, no degree, and no hope. She chose to stay home because it would be best for the children. But what about HER? Now that children are grown and gone, what does she do now, to help herself be independent? She's been so independent on him for 32 years, she knows how to do nothing else. She's never had to be independent.

She can't go with any of her children because they either have no room, live with friends, or are away. What are some other options?

NOTE: I know there are people here who chose to get married, pregnant and stay home AFTER they were situated with their education and career FIRST, but this was not the case. She got married when she was 20 years old. Finished High School, got married at 18, worked for 2 years and started their family.

Tonya

Tonya

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 04-17-2003 - 10:17am
Perhaps an extreme example, but my true nightmare scenario. I have no idea :(

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 04-17-2003 - 10:19am
Well, my first reaction is "Why did she wait to think about this until the kids were 21?" They became adults at 18. So, she was no longer a SAHP then. And, in reality, she should have thought about this when her kids were in junior high and high school. She could have easily gone back to school, gotten a part time job, etc and STILL have been there for her kids before and after school etc.

So, in a way, I don't feel sorry for her. She made her bed; now she has to lie in it. Don't go around whining about choices you made. Deal with them. (I really don't have much tolerance for short-sighted people. And those that won't take responsiblity for their own choices ... but that's one of my "not-so-nice" traits.)

Now, I *do* sympathize with her on the husband issue. I've been there. And that's not a choice she made, so she has every right to whine about it.

If she really wants to leave him, and feels their marriage is irreparable, then she should do it. She'll get a marriage settlement and probably alimony. with that, she can live in a small apartment, go to college or a trade school and get some skills to have a job.

And you touched on an issue that is often raised here. Moms sacrificing their own lives and happiness for their kids. wouuld this mom have been better off serving some of her own needs over the years? Would that have prevented the dilemma she's in now? Possibly. We can't really know. But I think its far more possible that doing something for herself and being a bit selfish would have prevented this dilemma, and that it wouldn't have harmed her kids a bit. She did what she thought was best for the kids ... but was it what was best for *the family"? I don't think so.

Hollie

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 04-17-2003 - 10:43am
**If she really wants to leave him, and feels their marriage is irreparable, then she should do it. She'll get a marriage settlement and probably alimony. with that, she can live in a small apartment, go to college or a trade school and get some skills to have a job.**

Well she can't get anything from someone who would be in jail. If she wa sto take the divorce to court and demand some alimony, the judge would look and see he has no job (remember he works off the books-don't pay taxes), if she said anything about it, he would easily goto jail for tax evasion as well as fraud with the house being in his brother's name (who's deceased by the way). So she would come up with nothing from him because everything he has is not legite. If it's not legite, it can't be given to her by the state.

As far as everything else you stated, I'm like that as well. I try to look ahead, and don't understand people who don't. Yeah, I would love to stay home with my children, but only AFTER I accomplish my "fall back on" nest. Then I would have children and SAH. That way if anything goes wrong with hubby, I'll be fine and he can go.

Tonya
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Thu, 04-17-2003 - 10:52am
I don't think being a SAHM is an excuse to not do anything your whole life. She chose not to do anything *but* raise her kids, which I would hope is not the norm. My mom was a SAHM for a looong time.. from when my brother was born in 1969 until I was about 16.. which was in 1994. so 25 years. (my younger brother was 14) She always did little things like taking art classes, working at the school library, etc. But I think she realized that things with my dad weren't going to work out so she went back to school. Now she's a teacher, and owns her own house. I'm a SAHM right now, but I'm going to school, and even after I finish my degree (if I'm not working) I will continue to take classes so I don't end up in a bad situation later. I don't want to be 45, no kids, no recent work experience, and no degree.. blah. Everyone makes their own bed.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 04-17-2003 - 11:01am
maybe I'm in the minority, but I have no desire to either get retrained, reeducated or start a career at 45. I'm sure for some they embrace this, but I sounds so ...tiring. I am turning 44 next month and there is no way in h*ll I want to be just starting out in a career. In fact, I am looking at moving towards semi retirement at this point in my life.

Susan

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 04-17-2003 - 11:04am
Yeah, I forgot about that part. And here's another bad thought. If she *knew* he was working off the books, and she signed joint tax returns, she could go to jail too.

Hollie

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 04-17-2003 - 11:06am
There were no tax papers. He never paid any taxes!!!!

Tonya
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 04-17-2003 - 11:07am
But that's in part because you've already done it. One of the reasons you're tired is that you've been working hard on your career for years.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 04-17-2003 - 11:14am
But I don't think it has to be "retraining" or "starting a career". It just needs to be that you have enough of your own life that you're not devastated by the empty nest. That if your husband were to die, leave, lose his job, whatever, that you could survive. That should be the responsibility of ANY person; be they man, woman, WOHP, SAHP. And it doesn't appear that the person in the OP took on that responsibility.

Hollie

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 04-17-2003 - 11:16am
DOH! Not-enough-Pepsi-yet-this-morning-brain. But my point still holds. As his wife, it is her responsibility to file tax papers as well. She could be convicted of tax evasion too, I believe. (although I doubt her sentence would be as harsh)

Hollie

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