My wife is a stay at home mom and we have 3 daughters (ages 5, 20 months and 1 month old). How important is it for a woman in her situation to get help around the house providing child care for this many kids and doing the domestic duties like cooking and cleaning? I work full time and I try to help out in the evenings and weekends, and we often eat out so she doesn't have to cook. But that is about all I can do myself.

There is really no one we can ask for help. She says she is okay and that she can handle it. But I would like to do more for her (like paying someone to come and help, even though that would be expensive).

So is it in the ability of most women to handle this level of child care and domestic responsibilities or at this point do they really need help?

Edited to add:

Thank you all for your input, the fact that it is a matter of opinion actually answers my question. I will defer to my wife's judgment then and leave the decision to her (which for the time being is that she doesn't need outside help).

I was just thinking that there is no way any woman can cope with this level of work and from the response here I see it is possible and since my wife says she can handle it and I don't see the children being neglected then I will just try my best to help and trust in her abilities and judgment of the situation.

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    This is pretty opinion based, as you can even see in the different perspectives you and your spouse have. There are many stay at home parents who are very effective with little to no help from partners or others, and many who can't cope. Have you noticed any stress, or failure to adequately care for the family, anything that is concerning you?
    – Acire
    Commented Mar 19, 2016 at 2:06
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    " is it in the ability of most women to handle this level of child care and domestic responsibilities" even if that can be answered, would it really help you? If 60 percent of women need help, would that mean your wife does?
    – YviDe
    Commented Mar 19, 2016 at 16:58

2 Answers 2


Trust your wife. If she has chosen to be a stay-at-home mom, don't micromanage her. If she feels up to the task of running your busy household (three small children) without help, let her thrive. If you insist on bringing in outside help when she says she doesn't want it, you are sending a vote of "no confidence" and undermining her in her domain. Let her enjoy the journey.

If you suspect she is denying help out of financial concerns (not because she doesn't actually want help), then have a frank conversation with her as an equal. Tell her, "you are wonderful! You take such good care of all of us. I really want to do something for you. I'd like to pamper you and give you an occasional break, and treat you to the opportunity to let someone else do some heavy-lifting every once in a while. That's why I'd like to hire someone to come in and deep-clean the house once a month, because it would make me happy to give you an occasional break. This is important to me; I'd really like to give you this gift." And then do whatever she wants. If she says, "no," then don't push. Let her be queen of her chosen domain.

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    I would like to add to this great answer - what she might want is not help around the house, but some time (during the weekend) without the children. Maybe go brunch with a friend, or a day spa. You also might want to use your money on a babysitter so the two of you can go out on a date :).
    – Ida
    Commented Mar 21, 2016 at 17:49
  • @Ida: great suggestions Commented Mar 21, 2016 at 17:51

There is a general approach to these types of questions / problems, that eliminates opinion-based subjectivity that the initial comment points to.

It's called "testing". First, avoid thinking about anything as an infinite commitment to trying something out, which generates a huge mental and financial barrier to trying something out. Look for incremental improvements first. Set a budget for a 1-2 month trial period and try it out. After this you will have much clearer understanding of whether it helps or not.

The test should have a clear hypothesis, aka the reason why even test something. If we try this thing out, after 1-2 months we expect this or that to happen, which is measured by some kind of criteria you decide on. Criteria could very well be the feeling "I don't know how I lived without domestic help before" that you may or may not experience. Or could be something specific and clearly measurable, like more quality family hours spent together over that time period.

Once you have data about the trial period and hiring domestic help proves to be a fantastic experience, you will understand whether you can afford to go further, or start finding out how to get more financing to sustain hiring the help. After all, your own work hours should be more expensive (or working towards getting there) than the domestic help hour cost - the money leak may or may not be a problem, that's up to specifics of your situation.

The advantage of this process is, there is no failure. Even if the test fails, you are smarter for it, and can start thinking about a better test later. If the test wins, youre life has already improved. Perfect time for the next test to improve something else.

EDIT first set of comments here raise concerns that the above somehow suggests such a process can be performed one-sided, or without the partner's consent. This edit aims to upgrade clarity: the process is suggested only as a team effort, with all relevant stakeholders knowing and agreeing to everything to be tested.

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    To point out the opinion-based part of this answer, what of the wife (all this is based on the husband's perspective.) What if the wife feels perfectly competent and would see the hiring of domestic help as an affront? The wife's viewpoint is not considered at all in this response. People are not merely test subjects, and if that is not understood, experiments fail. The truth is, we don't know enough about what's going on in the home. Commented Mar 19, 2016 at 13:08
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    "The advantage of this process is, there is no failure" I doubt that. His wife says she doesn't need (or want) help. Just hiring someone without agreeing on it, which it sounds like you are recommending (if not, you should edit that in), could put a real strain on the relationship.
    – YviDe
    Commented Mar 19, 2016 at 16:56
  • @anongoodnurse Well, in this case you'd be evaluating how she's doing with the kids over 2 months, and how much she's struggling.
    – deworde
    Commented Mar 19, 2016 at 19:44
  • It is only possible to execute this with full agreement with all stakeholders and I've edited the text to reflect it. @YviDe regardless of gender, people are able to make those "I'm fine" propositions and really think that they are, until someone thinks of a clearly better alternative. Aren't there things in all of our lives that you think back on with "Why didn't someone show me this sooner?" Quite often it just requires focused thinking. The whole process is geared to put the family thinking caps on in a more organized fashion.
    – lkraav
    Commented Mar 20, 2016 at 12:10

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