When my husband and I had our son we both worked low income jobs as we were both in college. We opened up a joint bank account and never fought about money. My husband stopped working to finish school. I remained working full time for 2 years. During this time I also handled all of the responsibilities with our son as well as the household obligations (cooking, cleaning, meal planning, laundry, errands, etc.) My husband made some extra money on the side via student loans, and buying and selling big ticket items on Craigslist. Again, we never argued about money and while my husband was the bigger spender, I accepted my role as the more frugal one and never felt like it was to a point where it was extremely unfair.
During my husbands last year of school I got laid off and went back to school full time. We lived off of our nest egg and student loans. We still, never argued about money. My husband has been working for 2 years at a well paying job. After being a full time student for 2 years, I have been a SAHM for the last 6 months waiting to get into the nursing program. We have our second baby due in 2 months.
I still manage all of our parenting responsibilities and household duties (I'm talking all of them, including the typical male designated chores). I feel like I have far less free time than my husband. Even though we are better off financially, we now argue about money constantly. My husband feels resentful that he is the sole provider. In turn, I feel guilty about spending money. I use all of my discretionary income on my son, and hardly ever spend money on myself. My husband believes he deserves to have a much larger discretionary budget as he is making our only income.
I am growing resentful of this attitude as it is not the attitude I adopted when I was our financial provider (even though, as my husband frequently points out, it was much, much less). I also feel helpless and financially dependent while I wait to get into the nursing program. (It could be another year and a half).
What are my options and is there a way to show my husband that he is not being a team player without putting him on the defense?
Eugene Kayser, lic. Marriage & Family Therapist