Joint Accounts

How Do I Motivate My Stay-at-Home Husband to Go Back to Work?

I’m grateful that he stayed home to care for our daughter, but now she’s in school — and we need the money

Kristin Wong
Published in
4 min readJul 29, 2019

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Illustration: Laurie Rollitt

Dear Joint Accounts,

My daughter was born eight years ago, and I’ve been my family’s sole breadwinner ever since: My husband has stayed home to care for her. Now we could really use a second income. For a few years, I’ve been pushing him to go back to work — especially since our daughter now attends school with aftercare to support working parents. We live in an area with a high cost of living, and my salary barely covers our expenses, with nothing left to save for retirement or things like vacations. And forget about owning a home.

A few months ago, my husband finished a six-month coding bootcamp, but says he still doesn’t feel prepared to reenter the workforce. He wants to keep learning on his own until he feels like he’s a competitive candidate. He doesn’t even have a timeline for when he’s going to start applying for things. I know it’s a difficult transition, but how much more support should I give him? My resentment about this keeps building, and I don’t know what to do about it.

Sincerely,

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Kristin Wong
Forge
Writer for

Kristin Wong has written for the New York Times, The Cut, Catapult, The Atlantic and ELLE.