Working wives

Some might think that Taken In Hand means wives not being allowed to work outside the home, and indeed, in some cases, where it suits the couple concerned, that might be true. But I am a Taken In Hand woman and not only am I permitted to work outside of the home my husband expects it of me. He doesn't force me but out of respect I choose to work outside of the home. It was understood when I quit working (when our first child was born) that when all our children were of school age I would go back to work.

My husband made enough money for us live at a modest rate, buy a home, have modest vacations mostly staying with friends or relatives etc. We never went without but were certainly not well off. I have a fairly well paying career skill and my husband looked forward for many years to me returning to work. Out of respect for his wishes I returned to work when our last child entered school.

Frankly, I would rather not work. I would prefer to stay home and just focus on my job as a wife and mother. My husband and I have fought many a time over this issue. I have been taken in hand not for disagreeing (I am of course allowed to express any opinion I have) but basically for being bitchy in my expressions of my frustration at being a working mother.

I have been told by my husband that I can quit anytime I want and I know he means it. Yet I know that we won't be unified if I do. I don't know whether I’ll continue to work or not. If I do or don't I want it to be based on a mutual agreement between my husband and me. That’s what he wants too. He knows he can make me work and of course I would. He won't do that. I work because I love my husband and I trust his decision that this is best for our family financially and otherwise.

By the way, lest you think I slave away all day at my husband's request and then come home to complete all the household chores myself I must explain otherwise. My husband has made every effort to help me through this transition back to work. He does more of the cooking, shopping, and cleaning than I do. The children help with the cleaning as well and we have a woman come every other week for the major cleaning.

My husband did the majority of everything the first year I was back to work because I was so wiped out every day. Now he still does more but I am working very hard to take some of the burden off of him. He does a large majority of taking care of the children and their needs. My children have always been fortunate to have a very involved father and since I started working he has become even more actively involved in their care. Again I am trying to find some balance here and am working fewer hours this year so I can have more energy for my family.

The point that I am trying to make is that a woman's working or not has no bearing on how submissive she is to her husband. It will have more to do with the individual relationship and desires of her husband as well as her own desires. I would love to meet my husband at the door with his newspaper and his slippers, but that is not his idea of what he wants out of a wife. He wants a financial as well as emotional helper. I am more than willing to bend my wishes to adjust to his especially since he adapted to me staying home for many years while our children were small. All relationships require compromise, Taken In Hand or not.

Forty-something wife

Take the Taken In Hand tour


My husband expects me to work, too

I did stay home for a number of years, mainly because we had too many children to make childcare a reasonable (affordable) choice. I loved being at home with my kids but knew it would end as soon as I could hold down a full time job.

We could have lived on one salary--his or mine--for a number of years, but we knew we would be in a financial bind when our kids reached college age. Next year we will have three in college, they will have jobs, one has a scholarship--but we will be paying out of state tuition for another. My entire annual salary will go to education costs. Yikes.

I'm not complaining, I knew when they were babies that this was how it would be, and I like my job. Hubby decided to get our house paid off a while back, so that helps, and we still live in our 'starter' home.

Life would be far less hectic if I could stay home! But then, life would have been less hectic without kids, too.

I'm not superwoman, and everyone helps with the house and hubby does all of the grocery shopping, menu planning and at least half the cooking. I usually arrive home later than he does, plus I have to attend and also teach seminars for further education in my field many evenings and weekends.

I don't know a single woman with school aged or older kids who doesn't work outside the home, so to me it seems normal.

Re: Working wifes

I just read this article now and find it very interesting. Except for when my children were small I`ve always wanted to work. To my husband it doesn`t really make a difference though he appreciates the extra income. I work part time and to me it`s not just the extra money but I’m glad to get out of the house 2 days a week. They have a special law in Germany which permitts women to stay at home for the first 3 years after the child was born. The company is not allowed to fire them during and after the 3 years they have to give them their job back. They also get about 250.- Dollars a month during them 3 years for each child from the State. They say here the first 3 years in a childs life are the most important and either the father or the mother should stay home with the child. I could not imagine going to work with having a 3 month old child or younger. I stayed home fulltime for each of my 3 children during their first 3 years of life.

working wives

I went back to work when my first child was 7 weeks old; it broke my heart. I then waited 7 years to have my daughter. I went back to work when she was just over a year old—part-time 18 months, by the time she was 3 I was working full time. He left me after 30 years together... don't talk to me about compromise.


I understand your comment about compromise! My first husband guilted me into working outside the home when we had small children. I used to cry myself to sleep from exhaustion and the pain of having to leave my kids every day. He ignored my pain and used the 'compromise' word a lot! Soon after #3 was born, we split up. Working outside my home, at that time, was a huge waste! I'm no longer mad at my ex (ok—maybe a little), but I learned from that experience that in order for me to be a good wife and mother, I needed to ensure I didn't stretch myself beyond what was reasonable for me.

Now, with my second husband, I stayed home when we had a child and for a few years there after since between us we have 8 children (he had custody of his 4 when we met and I had 3). Childcare for that many children was the equivalent to one of our salaries, so working outside the house didn't make much sense. Now that the baby is in school, and the older ones are teens and one in college, I work outside the home and I don't mind. The kids all pitch in, S pitches in and I work outside the home. While my house is never as clean and neat as it once was, it is definitly "lived in" by lots of happy little people with smiles on their faces.

Are all women really able to be happy working outside the home?

I find it very difficult to work fulltime. I have always been exhausted by it—even before my body decided it was too sick to handle it. Fulltime work saps me of all my creative powers and I feel so drained and dead.

Some of this I think has to do with my task... what I believe I am meant to complete. I'm a born writer and I can write all day and night and feel so energised that even my husband can see a change between when I'm writing and when I am not.

"You look so happy... glowing... you've been writing, uh?"

I'm working hard to keep a balance between writing and keeping the hearth, home, and husband healthy and happy.

We have started talking about it: artistic life -vs- money. He is truly listening to me, and I know that he puts my happiness very high on the list.

He has given me the directive to continue to look for part time work—and also to work on my writting—with a view to getting some published.

My thought is—are all women really able to lead a happy life and do fulltime work outside of the home?—not for me it seems.



"But sun it is not, when you say it is not, And the moon changes even as your mind: What you will have it names, even that it is, And so it shall be still, for Katharine."

Working outside the home

I certainly wouldn't want to do it, but then I have two young children and, since my earning capacity was never much above the minimum wage, anything I earned would just go on childcare, so it would be a futile exercise anyway.

If I did have a yearning to go out to work, though, I would, and I don't think it would occur to my husband to interfere.

It's difficult

My thought is—are all women really able to lead a happy life and do fulltime work outside of the home?—not for me it seems.

Personally, I find it difficult to be completely content working fulltime outside of my home. That is why I cut back to 4 days a week this year. My husband and I are still trying to decide if working outside of the home is best for me, the kids, him, or the family as a whole. It is a tough decision to make, and there are certainly many variables to consider. My view is going to be somewhat different than his and that is where the compromise comes in. I will work 3 days a week next year if I can arrange that with my boss. That is a huge compromise for my husband as he would much rather me work full time. For me working at all is a compromise because I would much rather not work outside of the home given the choice.

In terms of working when my children were below school aged. I simply refused. He would never make me, but many times he alluded to the fact that he would love it if I went back to work. I was aware that working while the children were small was well out of my comfort zone. It was just something I couldn't and wouldn't do. I don't judge those who do, but it was just something I couldn't live with no matter what my husband wanted.

So obviously my willingness to bend to his wishes is limited to areas I feel comfortable submitting to. When it comes to my children there are just some things I won't bend on. Getting a babysitter when my children were babies was one. Most of the time I simply refused. He would be very frustrated and angry with me because I refused to get a babysitter but I just could not bend. At that time I wasn’t a taken in hand woman in the true sense of the word, but I did try to submit to my husbands wishes whenever I could. I assume it is the same for all taken in hand women. There are just certain areas that they cannot submit to their husbands will. I would love to hear from other couples about areas they couldn’t agree on and how they worked it out if the wife was unwilling to defer to her husbands wishes.

Deferring to your husband

I would certainly agree with you that deference could be difficult, if not impossible in some areas, children would be top of the list with me too. I would not be happy about going out to work while my children are still young, though in our case as I've already said,it would be likely to be a futile gesture anyway, since anything I earned would almost certainly be entirely absorbed by childcare costs. And I wouldn't have been happy about leaving the children with a babysitter when they were babies, fortunately the situation was never a question for conflict, as neither of us are much given to going out in the evenings anyway, we're both always too exhausted!

There has been a certain amount of conflict over the children in the past, our styles of parenting being somewhat different, but these days things work out better. I try to be more supportive of his attitude towards the children, and in return he is more willing to compromise on issues concerning them that I feel strongly about. I learnt the hard way that it is better to tell him if there is something I feel strongly about, rather than trying to keep quiet about it.

There was an incident a few months ago when he was laying down the law about something, and I was fuming inside, but I didn't say anything, because I thought if I was trying to be submissive, there was no point in doing it only when it was convenient for me. So I flounced out to the kitchen and next thing I knew he'd grabbed my hand and was steering me in the direction of his workshop. "But I haven't done anything!" I protested. "Outright defiance and insolence" he replied. "I never said a word!" i argued. "You didn't have to" he retorted "it was in your face and your body language" I was so startled by his use of the words "body language" that I had no further protest (I would have put money on him not knowing what it meant)anyway, after he'd finished showing me the error of my ways, he himself suggested a reasonable compromise to the issue that had annoyed me, something I could have suggested myself if I hadn't had the mistaken idea that I couldn't speak my mind.

But certainly if something really serious came up, like if he wanted me to put the three-year-old in a fulltime nursery and go back to work full-time, I would say "no way!" Deference has to have its limits, and that would definitely be one of mine. In the end, the children come first. "are the children all right?" is always the question uppermost in my mind, and if the answer to that is "yes" then nothing else really matters by comparison.

Outright Defiance and Insolence


I completely lost my ability to breathe while reading your post describing your husband's response to your "Outright defiance and insolence" I thought my knees would go out from under me for a minute or two. That was a very sexy, exciting story. Jeez! Your husband is quite the dominant man. I assume you appreciate him very much, but just in case there are days you don't, remember that incident lives up to any erotic spanking story I've ever read! Of course you didn't give the intimate details they give in the stories-darn! Just kidding about the intimate details of course.

I do love reading your posts. Keep up the good posting!

To forty something wife

Thank you for your kind comment, I found the incident pretty erotic too, and there have been many others like it. I find my husband's ability to quell my fits of temper and make me feel submissive again slightly humiliating, but in a pleasurable kind of way. He has discovered a way to be dominant that works on me like a charm, and has greatly contributed to domestic harmony.

Staying home with children

I stayed home when our children were young. Our youngest just turned 16 but when she was 10 months old I returned to work and I couldn't do it I went back home.
My husband has always been supportive of me of anything I wanted to do that is work related and there were sacrifices but I would do it all again. I admire you in your decision to remain home.

As for me? Three of our children are grown and doing well. It is such a satisfaction for me to know that I was with them when they were young and that they have turned out to be able to live on their own and they are really nice people. To me there is nothing more important than raising our children. Our youngest is still home and I know I will miss her when she leaves. I actually thought I would be a mother who would not worry about the empty nest but found myself in tears last week knowing we just have her for just a few more years. I feel blessed because I work when she is at school and then I am home.

Anyway, I too have enjoyed your posts and I enjoy your honesty in the things that you share about.

Given the choice I would defi

Given the choice I would definitely want to stay home with my children. It has become a matter of discussion for us because I want children, but only on my terms (that I can stay home with them full time until the age of 5). If I can't have them on my terms, I don't want to have them. Unfortunately in our case that means I won't be likely to have them. I am a teacher with massive student loans, and currently any spare income I get I need to put into furthering my education. My boyfriend makes decent money, but he is self-employed and his pay is often unpredictable. He wants children, and insists that he can't see me giving up the opportunity to be a mother one day.

I'm just not sure I could leave my babies everyday. Kids are resilient. I was never hurt by going to a sitter or staying with my grandmother, but I saw the way it hurt my mother when she worked second shift. She was heartbroken leaving her children, especially knowing we would be long asleep by the time she got home. I'm not sure I'd have the strength to do it.

Staying home

I totally sympathise with your wish to be at at home with the children, I always wanted to be at home with mine, and fortunately was able to.

However, I think if economic necessity had meant that I did have to go to work I think I would have had them anyway. Personally, if you really long to have children, I would say why not have them anyway, even if you do have to work? As you are a teacher, that would mean you would at least be able to spend weekends and holidays with them.

Staying at home is the ideal, I agree, but better to have them and work than not have them at all, I think.

Happy at work and home

Suzette wrote:

My thought is—are all women really able to lead a happy life and do fulltime work outside of the home?—not for me it seems.

I am.

At the moment, we need the money we both bring in, but I don't begrudge working full-time. I enjoy my job, and the place where I currently work seems to be a good company to work for (from a personal and an ethical point of view).

Home life gets a little disrupted from time to time, but the place is clean, relatively tidy, and most of the time we eat home-cooked meals.

I get to balance the problem-solving side of me and the creative side of me.


"There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so" Hamlet, somewhere.

I am guessing that the vast m

I am guessing that the vast majority of Taken In Hand wives do not work. Many of the women find home life and full time work just don't mix. I just feel that when babies come along a woman needs to give up everything for her man and his children. Our home life is stable, warm, calm and a beautiful environment, and I feel very proud to have contributed to this wonderful life our family have. We don't have a lifestyle flowing with money, latest gadgets,stunning holidays or two cars in the drive. If I worked maybe that would happen..but my Husband is content with a stay at home wife who loves, supports and obeys him. I also I have a son who is 8 months old whom I am exclusively breastfeeding, so I feel blessed that I don't work. My husband and baby come first.

The vast majority?

I don't know whether the vast majority of Taken In Hand women are stay-at-home wives or not. A number of the regular posters on here are career women, and I don't think that really has anything to do with whether you are Taken In Hand. I am stay-at-home wife, but I was one for 18 years before we started having a Taken In Hand relationship. I always thought of staying at home as something I was doing because I wanted to be with my sons, and because economically it would make no sense for me to work, since I never earned much above the minimum wage even when I was working, and anything I earned would almost certainly be enitrely absorbed by childcare costs.

I never thought of staying at home as 'giving up' anything, because I didn't really want to go out to work anyway, but I thought of it as being for my children and myself rather than for my husband, who had no strong views on whether or not I should work. I think either way would have been all right with him. Our house has never exactly been calm and stable, though thanks to central heating it is usually warm enough. And with two boisterous children continually at war with each other, the chances of it being calm in the foreseeable future are remote.

I really don't think staying at home or not staying at home has anything to do with being Taken In Hand, which for me is an entirely seperate issue.


Vast Majority?? Not me and not others I am sure

I am a full-time working mother. I have a 4 month old daughter after many years of believing that it would never happen. She is our miracle child, having gotten preggers without benefit of meds which is what every doctor told me would have to happen.

That being said, I love my job and I am the main bread-winner in our household. My husband is starting a new career. Since we married 15 months ago, my income is our sole stability financially.

Fortunately, my career is such that I can work from home most weeks and have been able to limit the amount of travel to client sites to once a month instead of 3 weeks out of the month. Financially, we would have to make the best of it if my company had not been able to accomodate my desires about travel.

I love being home with my child although she does go to daycare 2 days a week to give me and my husband uninterrupted days to work. Otherwise we share the child-rearing duties, one taking her in the morning and one taking her in the afternoon. It works for us.

We are new to this site and although I do not have a strict Taken in Hand relationship at this point, we have been moving towards this since before we had a name for it. I do not believe that a Taken In Hand relationship requires that the woman want/has to stay at home. It is really an issue for each individual couple in this.

Taken In Hand women work or don't work

Whether a wife stays home to care for her husband and children or decides to work outside the home has little to do with being taken in hand. IMO being taken in hand has to do with the the interaction between a man and a woman in a committed relationship. How they decide to arrange their family life has litte to do with it. Who can know what financial and personal circumstances each couple must face when making these kind of decisions.

I respect those women who make the decision to stay home and raise children despite the financial sacrifice such a decision often incurs. My wife stayed home while the kids were young. It is a sad fact that among certain groups there seems to be a bias against women who make the decison to stay home. Somehow they interpret it as a betrayal of what feminists have struggled for over the last few decades. However, in recent months I have read articles in several publications, one being the NY Times, and watched a 60 minutes episode which reported how educated women are leaving prestigious, highly paid work to raise their children. According to these reports, it is not just a select few women, but represents a real demographic change—at least in the United States. But all of these women are married to men who make a good living wage which can afford these women to make this choice. Unfortunately, due to limited financial resources, many families are not able to make this choice. That doesn't mean they can't have a Taken In Hand relationship.

IMO, a male-led, Taken In Hand relationship depends not so much on how family life is structured, but by how he takes on the responsibility of leading and caring for his wife and family.

I admit...I'd rather stay home

Wow. I never thought I would say that I would rather stay home and take care of my man, our household, and whatever aspects of our life together that he would want me to.

At 47, I've been working for over 30 years to support myself. That should be a clue to how independent and self-sufficient I am. For the last decade, I have had a well-paying, middle to upper middle management level career. At times, I've been quite a workaholic, especially when I was dating a man that was very dedicated to his work. He was working or traveling so, of course, I was always working. What else? (<- add slight sarcasm here)

About a year and a half ago, a bad personal situation on top of the ridiculous demands of my job put me out on medical leave. Some of it was physical but most of it was psychological stress/ exhaustion.

I am now in my first relationship with a man that I would trust to take me in hand. Our relationship is somewhat organically taken in hand. In other words, he seems to have the inclinations and the ability, and I have found myself—for the first time ever—actually wanting to be submissive (to what extent remains to be seen). We have made comments to each other about him ‘leading’ but we have not actually discussed what this means to each other and to the relationship.

We do not yet share a household (and it is important to me to be married to my soulmate/ life partner—not just live with him) and yet, I find myself doing domestic things at his house that I would not normally do for a man. Granted, I do spend quite a lot of my time there and I'm currently out of work (but on the verge of signing a contract) so I don't usually feel like I'm over-contributing to housework at HIS residence (although there are times where I start to feel like a maid and I have to speak up). I feel like I am showing my appreciation for the fact that he not only pays for almost everything right now but that on top of that, he also takes care of me when I am tired, stressed, hungry, etc.

Honestly, in general, I absolutely hate housework. Except for the extremely rare occasion where I get on a therapeutic stint and clean my house from top to bottom, I will do anything to avoid almost any kind of housework (except vacuuming the floors—probably because I go barefoot most of the time).

So, it is odd that I am really enjoying straightening his house when he is off at work, and if appropriate, planning and cooking dinner for him. I am, at his bidding, already in charge of keeping a list of things we need to shop for, and he even said something about making him a Honey Do list a couple of times (although I haven't started this list yet—I don't want him to feel like I'm telling him what to do in his own house). The first time that he told me to start a shopping list and then rambled off some things to write down, I laughed like “Yeah, right. That's not my job”, and ignored his instructions. But then, two days later before I left for my place, I made a shopping list with all of the things he had asked me to write down. When he noticed the list and commented about how I had remembered everything that he had asked for, I felt appreciated. I have now put a magnetic pad of paper on his fridge so the list does not get shuffled in with papers on the counter. I do not expect to see anything on that list in his handwriting, and if I do, I might just remove it to remind him whose job it is, per his request.

I think more than one poster above mentioned that full-time work outside the home is exhausting. I agree. Mind you, I am not allergic to work. For many of the last 10 years, I have worked 50, 60, even 70 or more hours per week, depending on deadlines and such. However, there was not much of me left after that most of the time, especially over the last two years. Even before I went out on leave from work, even 40 or so hours/ week drained me to the bone. I wasn't taking care of myself, my home, my personal business (e.g., bills, paperwork, etc.). I was becoming more and more depressed. I was avoiding social activities. And never mind even trying to eat right and exercise, which was a huge red flag since I've always been very healthy and in rippin' shape.

I am getting ready to go back to work full-time. The reality is that I am down to the wire in regard to money and will not be able to pay my rent and bills (or buy food and gas) soon if I don't go back ASAP. I know that my contribution to housework and such at my man's house will drop—both due to my reduced availability and to the fact that working full-time again is going to be exhausting, mentally (which manifests physically for me).

My man is not all that interested in my financial contribution. I was initially looking for less than full-time work (and I can actually earn enough to live on 25-30 hours/week), and he was hugely supportive of this. Not because he wanted me available to clean house but he wanted me to use my ‘free’ time to do things that I enjoyed and that made me happy. My heart leapt when he said that to me. I have never had a man say things like that to me before. Make less money and use my free time to play? How lucky am I to have met a man who truly wants me to be happy and less stressed out.

As I look forward and at our possible future marriage, and reading this post, I find myself thinking how much I would love to work part-time (so that we can afford to have and do some special things that we desire), using some of my other time to pursue things like teaching yoga and volunteering with kids but also taking care of our household and my man. Neither of us is a great housekeeper but I learned quickly he’s worse than I am—and suddenly, this independent, housework-hating woman wants to clean up after a man! I love when the kitchen is clean for him (in general but he also happens to cook dinner more often than I do), the fridge is organized, the bed is (sort of) made, the sheets and towels are clean, the living room is straightened, and the dining table is more cleared. You have no idea how unbelievable it is for me to even see these words coming out of my fingertips.

I feel like there is no way for me to work full-time, keep the house like I want to for him, and still have energy to be up, creative, as supportive as I want to be, or present and available for him. I’d rather give up some of the money than short my man on appreciation and support.

Of course, I don’t know how he feels about this but I’m sure it will come up in the next couple of months as I start working again.