Couples with this arrangement often go into it not realizing how difficult it can become.

By Virginia Pelley

It sounds like a straightforward and practical arrangement: Dad works outside the home full-time and Mom stays home to take care of the children.

Many couples who make this decision for their families agree — in theory, at least — that each parent has a challenging and important job.

But even among egalitarian parents, resentment and frustration often stem from an all-too-common scenario: Dad worked all day and wants to come home and just relax, while Mom has been waiting roughly nine hours for the opportunity to pass her often screaming and spittle-covered child to someone else for a few minutes so she can have a break.

It’s what everyone wanted, but somehow, sometimes, no one is happy.

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“When they come to me, it’s normally because dad feels like mom is not doing enough and he should be able to come home and relax and not be an engaged parent or mom doesn’t want to stay home anymore because it’s not as rewarding or satisfying as she presumed,” says Racine Henry, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Staten Island, New York.

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