Author Topic: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances  (Read 32771 times)

NoStacheOhio

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #100 on: February 15, 2017, 07:07:15 AM »
MayDay - thanks for clarifying I will post a case study, however that will take me more time to do.
For now:
The kids are aged 2.8 & 1.8.
They are in a preschool/daycare/kindergarten 6 days a week until 12:30-1:00pm. This costs ~$1000 a month for both. This is cheaper than pretty much any other options (besides not going). Believe me we checked other places the minimum cost around here is $1300. They do not have an option to pay less for less days.
We have a housekeeper coming in once a week. She does not cook, launder or take care of the kids. She costs ~$250 a month.

At 2.8 and 1.8 it isn't really preschool or kindergarten, it's just child care. There may be some learning involved, but it isn't school. Also, are you working six days per week? Six days of child care seems odd. The good news is, generally it gets cheaper as the kids get older, so that should gradually improve even if you don't change anything.

But seriously, six half days of child care plus weekly cleaning service is luxurious when you aren't doing paid work.

lucylu

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #101 on: February 15, 2017, 07:16:27 AM »
Your wife may think it is important to "be at home with her kids", but that's not what she is doing. She just is not working outside the home, she is lunching and "running errands". Sure, it is hard to be at home with 2 toddlers but as (finally) other posters have said, women do this every day without daycare and a weekly maid. I would have loved to have that too, but if that is not the lifestyle you envisioned or can support, you have a problem.

All in all, your wife seems very immature and financially illiterate. As you talk about her, it seems more like a parent/child relationship rather than 2 grown adults. " But I would say it's hard for her to get through tough stuff (tough being subjective). She definitely grew up with a lot and with a shopping household."  She sounds exactly like my mother-in-law, who is now 75 and unfortunately more miserable than EVER. My MIL had the weekly cleaning, live-in nanny, country club, fur coats, landscapers and vacations all her life, always trying to live up to the wealth/socialite status she was born into. My FIL should have set her straight long ago but he just wanted to please her and take away her self-manufactured "stress". Now they are retired with serious health problems (him), lost the family business during the recession (due to these health problems), and she is bitter that life did not live up to her expectations and she can't figure out why.

I wouldn't say your wife is lazy, but she is not prioritizing what is really important to be doing with her time in order to create a life for your family. Or she truly doesn't know how to run a house with children.


« Last Edit: February 15, 2017, 07:19:42 AM by lucylu »

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #102 on: February 15, 2017, 07:41:31 AM »
What are your kids like? How do they treat your wife? I see parents that get in bad ways with kids that age (I have a 3yo and twin infants) where the parent and kids just undermine and attack each other. This usually seems to come of trying to do whatever the kid wants until the parent just can't anymore. The parent doesn't respect their self and the kids follow the leader.

If the time your kids spend with your wife is a constant power struggle, I see how they ended up in day care six (!) days a week.

alewpanda

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #103 on: February 15, 2017, 07:50:13 AM »
I tried to read through all of the responses...sorry, it got very repetitive after a while. 

I would suggest a conversation that has nothing to do with money.

"Honey, I'm really concerned about you.  You used to have energy and be excited about our goals, you and i used to communicate and budget together.  We had a savings rate we both liked and we were happy."
"What has changed?  Not money-wise...what has shifted so that deep down you aren't happy?  Is it us?  Is it a lack of involvement in work or other meaningful tasks?  Did you think things like the maid and the daycare would make you a better person/mother but your concerned they haven't?  Do you feel like a failure of a mother?  Do you feel like you aren't connecting emotionally with the kids?  Do you feel like you aren't connecting emotionally with me? Is there someone (specific or general) out there that you feel you are not measuring up to?  Are there expectations that you feel you aren't meeting?  Are you running from a fear or anxiety concerning others expectations?"

(Please note that she may not have a specific person she can point to regarding the expectations..more than likely it would be a general 'I'm sure I'm not measuring up to what everyone else out there thinks' even when nobody else has said anything or is even aware of the situation.)

You are concerned with her well-being.  If she cannot emotionally determine the root of her dissatisfaction, then she/the situation cannot get better.  Its possible the same factors are at play as were before, but with a higher income, it wasn't noticeable.  You may consider counseling.  Contentment is a sign of peace and happiness -- strong frustration as a response to what you can or cannot have/gain/accomplish is a sign of serious anxiety or depressive issues that keep one from peace and contentment. 

These are some of the reasons I only work part time.  I literally struggle from the fear of failure everyday...and part time work gives me the excuse of "i'm only part time -- I cannot do it all" while also giving me the down time at home that I need.  Not particularly mustachian, but its healthy and wise.  If she believes that she is failing as a mother, if she is convinced she is doing something wrong, if she is overwhelmed and exhausted -- and she wasn't like that before -- then there is something emotional going on.  Address that first.  It may take a year or more with counseling, but you can handle the savings rate afterwards. 



prognastat

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #104 on: February 15, 2017, 08:49:37 AM »
MayDay - thanks for clarifying I will post a case study, however that will take me more time to do.
For now:
The kids are aged 2.8 & 1.8.
They are in a preschool/daycare/kindergarten 6 days a week until 12:30-1:00pm. This costs ~$1000 a month for both. This is cheaper than pretty much any other options (besides not going). Believe me we checked other places the minimum cost around here is $1300. They do not have an option to pay less for less days.
We have a housekeeper coming in once a week. She does not cook, launder or take care of the kids. She costs ~$250 a month.

Sorry but 6 days of childcare till 12.30-1.00 just makes the whole proposition more ridiculous. I thought it was just a 5 days a week Monday through Friday thing and though that was already crazy with a SAHM and a maid coming in once a week to help clean.

Your wife is not a SAHM she is effectively being a trophy wife. Unless the kids take a nap right before daycare end they are likely exhausted after playing with other kids all morning and will be sleeping for a bit after they come home. If this is the case your wife effectively has 0 responsibilities until 2-3 PM 6 days of the week If she gets up at 7-8 AM to take the kids to daycare, I hope she at least does this and it is not you while she sleeps in more, then that is 6-8 hours of time she does whatever she wants to do. Given that a maid comes in to clean once a week she obviously isn't doing much around the house as far as cleaning goes beyond the very basics which takes maybe 1 hour a day if I'm being generous to her.

I know due to societal norms this can be hard to see, but try this as a thought experiment:

Imagine a couple, they decide to have kids. The wife gets pregnant, however she makes more than her husband and her husband says he has always wanted to be there for his kids and play a large role in their upbringing so he will stay home so she can focus on work. The wife understanding that this will reduce their income decides to work more hours to make up for the difference some. This makes her job a little more stressful since she has less downtime each week, but it is worth it since allowing her husband to be with the kids full time will be beneficial for them so she is ok taking on the extra pressure.

Then when they have the kids he says it is so stressful and I need more time and so he wants a maid to help around the house. The wife thinks well I don't quite understand why we need that, but we can afford it and I want my husband to be happy and focused on the kids so she agrees. Then the husband still doesn't have enough time to take care of everything and so we need to put the kids in childcare for 6 days every week freeing up his mornings, though at this point he has almost no responsibilities for most of the days and their kids no longer have the improved quality of life of having the full undivided attention of one of their parents all day anymore and this is reducing the money she is working hard to bring in even more so they have to cut their savings even more. The wife has been working hard 6 day weeks to be able to pay for all this extra stuff and it is making it very hard to make financial progress like they used to because of all these unexpected new expenses.

Then her husband starts complaining that he works so hard and tries to cut costs, but he just feels like she is restricting him, by having to agree to a budget and stick to it and that he just feels guilty. He wants to be able to go out and hang out with his buddies and drink a few beers a few times a week and she knows he has been putting of that new video game he has really wanted, but hasn't been able to get because she has been trying to make sure they save at least some of their income and he is just getting so tired of it.

How do you feel about this husband?
« Last Edit: February 15, 2017, 09:30:57 AM by prognastat »

ArchiePants

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #105 on: February 15, 2017, 08:58:45 AM »
I am a long time lurker, but this is my first post because I recently read something that I think may be useful to you.  I am definitely not an expert, but the blog post below explains how you may be able to feel more satisfied by saving. It sounds like your wife doesn’t want to stop saving, but she doesn’t feel the satisfaction from it that she expects. Maybe try the plan in the blog post below and pair it with the other suggestion of letting her take control of an investment account that is created by all the money she has saved from her own decisions.  That way, it’s not about “giving up” something, but it’s about making a choice for a better future.

http://www.budgetsaresexy.com/2017/01/if-you-can-afford-to-spend-it-you-can-afford-to-save-it/

Good luck!

Carrie

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #106 on: February 15, 2017, 09:02:13 AM »
She sounds spoiled to me. She could easily cut the childcare back to a 2 or 3 day/week half day program (mother's morning out, offered at many churches, very inexpensive). 

The culture in my area is what she wants: half day preschool,  maid, spending money for shopping, coffees and lunches out, tennis club, etc.  This is the norm, and I reject that.  She needs poorer friends, and to quit hanging out with spendy pants relatives.  I wish she'd come hang out with me - I'd teach her how to home make on a shoe string budget and love it. 

Pigeon

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #107 on: February 15, 2017, 09:14:28 AM »
What's needed here isn't financial advice so much as it's therapy.

Your wife's stated goals (to be a SAHM) are at sharp odds with her behavior (kids in daycare half the time, maids, refusal to take the steps to keep the budget in check).

Either she has mental health issues, she's a spoiled brat with unrealistic expectations or she is trying to live a role she finds deeply unfulfilling. Counseling might help her figure that out.  Arguing with you endlessly about budget goals isn't going to.

researcher1

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #108 on: February 15, 2017, 09:17:37 AM »
My daughter is now 4 (almost 5) and I am just seeing the light at the end of the tunnel since motherhood began.

I see a lot of myself in your wife -- being a SAHM is hard -- and the toddler phase is the hardest....

Hold on. 

Did you have someone else taking care of your kids 6 DAYS A WEEK? 
Did you have a maid come to the house EVERY WEEK?

I'm sorry, but your experience is completely different from the OP's wife.

You can't tell me that being a SAHM is hard when a maid comes to clean the house every week and the kids get dropped off at daycare 6 days a week.

researcher1

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #109 on: February 15, 2017, 09:21:11 AM »
What's needed here isn't financial advice so much as it's therapy.

Your wife's stated goals (to be a SAHM) are at sharp odds with her behavior (kids in daycare half the time, maids, refusal to take the steps to keep the budget in check).

Either she has mental health issues, she's a spoiled brat with unrealistic expectations or she is trying to live a role she finds deeply unfulfilling. Counseling might help her figure that out.  Arguing with you endlessly about budget goals isn't going to.

EJH -

This post sums up your situation perfectly.  Please heed this advice!

Malum Prohibitum

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #110 on: February 15, 2017, 09:37:16 AM »
My wife has no maid, daycare, has two teenagers, a toddler, and a baby, takes care of the housecleaning and cooking.  Most mornings she gets up and cooks my breakfast while I am in the shower to get ready for work.  She has a lunch packed for me to take with me (shepherd's pie today, yum!) and dinner on the table with the family when I arrive home.  She works out several times a week.  She is fit and beautiful (she had a baby a few months ago!).  She lately has started "getting ready" (as she calls it) with makeup and hair most days.

She also thanks me frequently for making it possible for her to stay at home with her children.  Gasp!

She seems genuinely happy and cannot understand women who go to work and leave the children in daycare.

It would be very difficult for me to give you any advice whatsoever about your wife, because what you are writing is so alien to me.  I chuckled when you wrote about the maid and daycare, and I agree with the posters above who say she is a spoiled brat.  The money being spent on daycare and the maid, would, when combined with what you are already contributing, max out your retirement accounts.

Malum Prohibitum

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #111 on: February 15, 2017, 09:39:57 AM »
I know due to societal norms this can be hard to see, but try this as a thought experiment:

Imagine a couple, they decide to have kids. The wife gets pregnant, however she makes more than her husband and her husband says . . .
How do you feel about this husband?
  Great scenario to spark some thought, prognastat.  Nobody would give that man any sympathy whatsoever.  For society today, there is a different standard when it is a woman staying home.

prognastat

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #112 on: February 15, 2017, 09:50:57 AM »
I know due to societal norms this can be hard to see, but try this as a thought experiment:

Imagine a couple, they decide to have kids. The wife gets pregnant, however she makes more than her husband and her husband says . . .
How do you feel about this husband?
  Great scenario to spark some thought, prognastat.  Nobody would give that man any sympathy whatsoever.  For society today, there is a different standard when it is a woman staying home.

Exactly, the vast majority of people would have 0 sympathy for that man and would pretty much call him out as being a useless deadbeat. Plenty would even say he is just using his wife for the money and that she should just get rid of him.

Not saying this is the response we should have to women in the same position nor men in this position. However the reality should be somewhere in between. A woman doing this should be criticized more harshly than they are and a man likely should have a little more sympathy than we generally give him.

I doubt if the roles were reversed as many people would be saying that the husband might have some form of depression, which is just as possible as it would be for the OP's wife, and that he needs to be more understanding.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2017, 09:53:55 AM by prognastat »

Pigeon

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #113 on: February 15, 2017, 09:52:22 AM »
My daughter is now 4 (almost 5) and I am just seeing the light at the end of the tunnel since motherhood began.

I see a lot of myself in your wife -- being a SAHM is hard -- and the toddler phase is the hardest....

Hold on. 

Did you have someone else taking care of your kids 6 DAYS A WEEK? 
Did you have a maid come to the house EVERY WEEK?

I'm sorry, but your experience is completely different from the OP's wife.

You can't tell me that being a SAHM is hard when a maid comes to clean the house every week and the kids get dropped off at daycare 6 days a week.
I'm not defending the OP's wife because she says she wants to be a SAHM, but...

While all this help would make it somewhat more appealing, I can honestly say that I would hate being a SAHM even under these conditions.  Obviously, I would suck it up if I had to, but having other options is much better.  For some people, yes, even for some women, being a SAHM is not a desirable situation.

VeggieTable

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #114 on: February 15, 2017, 09:54:55 AM »
I tried to read through all of the responses...sorry, it got very repetitive after a while. 

I would suggest a conversation that has nothing to do with money.

"Honey, I'm really concerned about you.  You used to have energy and be excited about our goals, you and i used to communicate and budget together.  We had a savings rate we both liked and we were happy."
"What has changed?  Not money-wise...what has shifted so that deep down you aren't happy?  Is it us?  Is it a lack of involvement in work or other meaningful tasks?  Did you think things like the maid and the daycare would make you a better person/mother but your concerned they haven't?  Do you feel like a failure of a mother?  Do you feel like you aren't connecting emotionally with the kids?  Do you feel like you aren't connecting emotionally with me? Is there someone (specific or general) out there that you feel you are not measuring up to?  Are there expectations that you feel you aren't meeting?  Are you running from a fear or anxiety concerning others expectations?"

(Please note that she may not have a specific person she can point to regarding the expectations..more than likely it would be a general 'I'm sure I'm not measuring up to what everyone else out there thinks' even when nobody else has said anything or is even aware of the situation.)

You are concerned with her well-being.  If she cannot emotionally determine the root of her dissatisfaction, then she/the situation cannot get better.  Its possible the same factors are at play as were before, but with a higher income, it wasn't noticeable.  You may consider counseling.  Contentment is a sign of peace and happiness -- strong frustration as a response to what you can or cannot have/gain/accomplish is a sign of serious anxiety or depressive issues that keep one from peace and contentment. 

These are some of the reasons I only work part time.  I literally struggle from the fear of failure everyday...and part time work gives me the excuse of "i'm only part time -- I cannot do it all" while also giving me the down time at home that I need.  Not particularly mustachian, but its healthy and wise.  If she believes that she is failing as a mother, if she is convinced she is doing something wrong, if she is overwhelmed and exhausted -- and she wasn't like that before -- then there is something emotional going on.  Address that first.  It may take a year or more with counseling, but you can handle the savings rate afterwards.

This is great advice. I'm with you, OP, in that I can't relate to your wife's feelings. I'm a SAHM with no house cleaner, though my son goes to preschool 2 mornings a week. We just started that in September b/c my husband travels for 3 weeks in a row every month. I manage to get cooking/laundry/etc. done and cut costs, all while being what feels like a single mom. So to me, your wife's life sounds extra luxurious. It also sounds like she barely has to do any childcare at all.

But I have a friend who strikes me as very similar to your wife, though she works full time. She has two small children, she and her H both have good-paying jobs, but she feels that she will never have enough money to live how she wants. This even though her family receives yearly contributions from her mother in the tens of thousands.  She struggles with anxiety, even on medication, and I know that contributes to her feeling that her life just isn't as good as it could be. She also is 100% NOT open to suggestions on how to cut back. For her, she feels it is asking her to sacrifice when she is already giving up so much.   

All that to say, I wonder if something similar could be going on with your wife? As other posters have suggested, anxiety/depression could certainly play a role in your wife's dissatisfaction with her life. I know you mentioned that you two had been to couples counseling before; I wonder if you'd consider it again. You are each approaching your finances from vastly different perspectives with little overlap and a professional could help you communicate with each other. An added bonus of counseling would be that, if your wife does have depression/anxiety, it would (hopefully) become apparent in a session. A professional may have more luck broaching the topic with her than you would.

prognastat

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #115 on: February 15, 2017, 09:55:27 AM »
My daughter is now 4 (almost 5) and I am just seeing the light at the end of the tunnel since motherhood began.

I see a lot of myself in your wife -- being a SAHM is hard -- and the toddler phase is the hardest....

Hold on. 

Did you have someone else taking care of your kids 6 DAYS A WEEK? 
Did you have a maid come to the house EVERY WEEK?

I'm sorry, but your experience is completely different from the OP's wife.

You can't tell me that being a SAHM is hard when a maid comes to clean the house every week and the kids get dropped off at daycare 6 days a week.
I'm not defending the OP's wife because she says she wants to be a SAHM, but...

While all this help would make it somewhat more appealing, I can honestly say that I would hate being a SAHM even under these conditions.  Obviously, I would suck it up if I had to, but having other options is much better.  For some people, yes, even for some women, being a SAHM is not a desirable situation.

If that is the case she has the option of not being a SAHM. From the information provided she already has plenty of time to work part time for 20 hours a week. It wouldn't even be that huge of a jump to extend the kids daycare to a full day and work full time.

You don't get to have you cake and eat it too.

SKL-HOU

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #116 on: February 15, 2017, 09:56:35 AM »
She sounds spoiled to me. She could easily cut the childcare back to a 2 or 3 day/week half day program (mother's morning out, offered at many churches, very inexpensive). 

The culture in my area is what she wants: half day preschool,  maid, spending money for shopping, coffees and lunches out, tennis club, etc.  This is the norm, and I reject that.  She needs poorer friends, and to quit hanging out with spendy pants relatives.  I wish she'd come hang out with me - I'd teach her how to home make on a shoe string budget and love it.

Looking at his other posts, I believe they are in Israel so they probably do not have the same options. If I understood correctly, there is no part time pay for daycare, it is full time cost even if they go part time.

In my opinion, you are trying to prove that she CAN have everything she could have had if she married into money. It must be exhausting trying to prove your worth to her. Honestly, I am beginning to think it is really your fault because you are letting her think her unrealistic expectations are realistic by your actions. Paying $1000/month for daycare plus $250 for cleaning service is not a life style you can afford. You keep on defending how exhausted she gets (from doing what?) and how she deserves these but in reality you are trying to give her the life she or her family thinks she could have had with a rich husband. I am curious, was her family really accepting of her marrying you? I said it earlier, I will repeat, she sold you the idea of her not working by telling you how she thinks a mom should stay at home and raise her kids, which you agree with, however, her actions show that she doesn't really think that, she just told you what you wanted to hear. I would wait until she adjusts her expectations to your family's reality before having any more kids.

nobody123

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #117 on: February 15, 2017, 10:16:25 AM »
1.  Assume she is venting unless told otherwise.  You vent about the challenges and frustrations of your day, right?  I bet most of her complaints are her doing the same thing.  She doesn't want to change anything, she isn't asking for solutions -- she just wants to hear, "wow, that's really frustrating, I appreciate how much you are sacrificing for the family." 

[BTDT -- when DH and I were just married, I was unhappy with some job stuff, and I'd come home and vent; DH, ever the engineer, wanted to fix it all for me and so would make all these helpful suggestions; and then I'd get more and more annoyed, because I just wanted to vent, and I heard his suggestions as him not trusting me to manage my own job.  We ultimately agreed that, when I was in that mood, I'd flag it by saying "I just need to vent," and he'd know to make sympathetic noises and then keep his mouth shut. :-)]

+1000.  It took me 5 years of marriage to learn this.  DW finally cut me off mid-suggestion on how *I* would solve her issue with a coworker, and yelled "I don't need to you solve my problem, I'm not an idiot, I know what to do!  I just need to vent!  I just want you to smile and nod, and then say, 'You're right honey, so-and-so really is an asshole'!". 

Hopper

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #118 on: February 15, 2017, 10:18:27 AM »
I started to write out all of the ways that she needed coping mechanisms for this difficult time (2 little kids) and therapy could help.  But you know what?  Therapy will only help if she has an open mind and willingness to delve into her issues.  She has given herself A LOT OF COPING MECHANISMS already.  She is not a FT stay at home parent.  She does it PT.  (As a FT working mom of a 4.5 year old and 6 month old, I was getting ready to saddle my high horse and get all judgy.  I will try not to do that.)  As a lot of other commenters have said, half day daycare 6 days a week in non-wealthy circles for a SAHM is not the norm.  It is not normal at all. Given the ages of your kids, they both are most likely also napping/having quiet time in the afternoon when she is home and in charge of them.  Which leaves her single parenting probably about 5 hours a day total, all added together.  That's still work, but its not full time and it isn't what most people understand that they have signed up for in exchange for getting the privilege of getting to parent without the grueling FT parenting+workday drill.  But if you acknowledge that she gets a lot of extra help each day and it works for you all, great. 

Your wife may be a lovely person, but she is not coming across as a capable, strong person.  You love her, say she is not lazy, and if you have the financial means to prop her up with lots of extra help (but not to do that and save for FIRE as much as you would like), I think you should work on accepting the situation for now, leave the lines of communication open when discussing pros and cons of saving more vs. spending, and see if things don't change when the kids get older and go to school in a few years  (fingers crossed, for your budgeting purposes, public school).  If she genuinely wants to save, but is just a fragile person that needs extra assistance during these 'tough' years, perhaps she will come around when times aren't as tough.  But then again, I am relying on what I hear from others that school aged kids are, as a whole, much less demanding than toddlers/preschoolers.  Good luck. 



Carrie

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #119 on: February 15, 2017, 10:18:47 AM »
Quick question : has she ever been happy?
Does she have a personality of wanting more / next thing/ etc before being happy & fulfilled in life?

chesebert

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #120 on: February 15, 2017, 10:26:58 AM »
My wife has no maid, daycare, has two teenagers, a toddler, and a baby, takes care of the housecleaning and cooking.  Most mornings she gets up and cooks my breakfast while I am in the shower to get ready for work.  She has a lunch packed for me to take with me (shepherd's pie today, yum!) and dinner on the table with the family when I arrive home.  She works out several times a week.  She is fit and beautiful (she had a baby a few months ago!).  She lately has started "getting ready" (as she calls it) with makeup and hair most days.

She also thanks me frequently for making it possible for her to stay at home with her children.  Gasp!

She seems genuinely happy and cannot understand women who go to work and leave the children in daycare.

It would be very difficult for me to give you any advice whatsoever about your wife, because what you are writing is so alien to me.  I chuckled when you wrote about the maid and daycare, and I agree with the posters above who say she is a spoiled brat.  The money being spent on daycare and the maid, would, when combined with what you are already contributing, max out your retirement accounts.
Where do you live? Is this in the US? I can't believe your wife thanks you frequently - my wife is a SAHM and I get no thanks whatsoever.

Hopper

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #121 on: February 15, 2017, 10:42:38 AM »
My wife has no maid, daycare, has two teenagers, a toddler, and a baby, takes care of the housecleaning and cooking.  Most mornings she gets up and cooks my breakfast while I am in the shower to get ready for work.  She has a lunch packed for me to take with me (shepherd's pie today, yum!) and dinner on the table with the family when I arrive home.  She works out several times a week.  She is fit and beautiful (she had a baby a few months ago!).  She lately has started "getting ready" (as she calls it) with makeup and hair most days.

She also thanks me frequently for making it possible for her to stay at home with her children.  Gasp!

She seems genuinely happy and cannot understand women who go to work and leave the children in daycare.

It would be very difficult for me to give you any advice whatsoever about your wife, because what you are writing is so alien to me.  I chuckled when you wrote about the maid and daycare, and I agree with the posters above who say she is a spoiled brat.  The money being spent on daycare and the maid, would, when combined with what you are already contributing, max out your retirement accounts.
Where do you live? Is this in the US? I can't believe your wife thanks you frequently - my wife is a SAHM and I get no thanks whatsoever.

My husband is a SAHD, and we frequently thank each OTHER for the contributions we make.  Not an alternative fact.  Genuine appreciation is one of the things that makes us a better couple.  Maybe it could work for you too, Cheesebert?

historienne

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #122 on: February 15, 2017, 11:02:18 AM »
I'm not defending the OP's wife because she says she wants to be a SAHM, but...

While all this help would make it somewhat more appealing, I can honestly say that I would hate being a SAHM even under these conditions.  Obviously, I would suck it up if I had to, but having other options is much better.  For some people, yes, even for some women, being a SAHM is not a desirable situation.

Same.  Some people just aren't cut out to be a stay at home parent, and I am one of them.  Even with a lot of help, it's just not what I want to do with my days.  I want to have conversations with other adults, and take on intellectually demanding projects.  Getting childcare for three hours/day so that I can go to Costco would not accomplish those things. 

I am lucky in that my mother worked, so I had a role model for working motherhood.  My husband never expected me to stay home, and it would be a very unusual choice for my professional field and training. I never had any implicit or explicit pressure to stay home. I can see, though, that if I had grown up in a different community, I would have ended up staying home because it was expected of me, and I would be miserable.

StarBright

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #123 on: February 15, 2017, 11:32:03 AM »
I'm wondering if there are some cultural differences at play here that are not translating well in this forum. If the OP is in Israel then cultural differences could explain both the child care and daily errand running.

For instance we knew some parents at our daycare who came from Israel and I also have a couple of American friends that have moved to Haifa.

Our Israeli friends in the US put their little ones in daycare at age 1 basically for socialization but the wife still stayed at home. What they said is that everyone sends their kids to "school" early and it is an important part of creating community - children learn to socialize early and well. She also told me told me it is quite common for stay-at-home parents to put their toddlers in care full time.

My American friends in Haifa have said they go to market a lot more than they did in the US (for meat, produce etc). Also I believe stores are all closed on Saturday so that takes out a whole day that Americans consider fairly sacred for errands :)

If the OP's wife only has the kids' in care half days and and running her errands/getting community time in half the time of those around her it may indeed feel like she is already bucking societal norms to try and save money.

I feel like a lot of these responses are coming from a very US-centric perspective.

prognastat

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #124 on: February 15, 2017, 11:36:59 AM »
I'm wondering if there are some cultural differences at play here that are not translating well in this forum. If the OP is in Israel then cultural differences could explain both the child care and daily errand running.

For instance we knew some parents at our daycare who came from Israel and I also have a couple of American friends that have moved to Haifa.

Our Israeli friends in the US put their little ones in daycare at age 1 basically for socialization but the wife still stayed at home. What they said is that everyone sends their kids to "school" early and it is an important part of creating community - children learn to socialize early and well. She also told me told me it is quite common for stay-at-home parents to put their toddlers in care full time.

My American friends in Haifa have said they go to market a lot more than they did in the US (for meat, produce etc). Also I believe stores are all closed on Saturday so that takes out a whole day that Americans consider fairly sacred for errands :)

If the OP's wife only has the kids' in care half days and and running her errands/getting community time in half the time of those around her it may indeed feel like she is already bucking societal norms to try and save money.

I feel like a lot of these responses are coming from a very US-centric perspective.

Not necessarily, though I may live in the US I grew up in the Netherlands where the cost of childcare is much less of a concern and also stores aren't generally open late and have limited hours on weekends. Being on a forum that is all about bucking the social norms you are bound to get a response that doing something because it is a societal norm makes it acceptable is ridiculous.

It is a matter of no matter how you spin it having childcare 6 days a week and a maid leaves almost no actual work to do. It is an insult to all mothers like mine who managed to take care of more kids, on a much smaller income while working partite/fulltime.

chesebert

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #125 on: February 15, 2017, 11:59:51 AM »
My wife has no maid, daycare, has two teenagers, a toddler, and a baby, takes care of the housecleaning and cooking.  Most mornings she gets up and cooks my breakfast while I am in the shower to get ready for work.  She has a lunch packed for me to take with me (shepherd's pie today, yum!) and dinner on the table with the family when I arrive home.  She works out several times a week.  She is fit and beautiful (she had a baby a few months ago!).  She lately has started "getting ready" (as she calls it) with makeup and hair most days.

She also thanks me frequently for making it possible for her to stay at home with her children.  Gasp!

She seems genuinely happy and cannot understand women who go to work and leave the children in daycare.

It would be very difficult for me to give you any advice whatsoever about your wife, because what you are writing is so alien to me.  I chuckled when you wrote about the maid and daycare, and I agree with the posters above who say she is a spoiled brat.  The money being spent on daycare and the maid, would, when combined with what you are already contributing, max out your retirement accounts.
Where do you live? Is this in the US? I can't believe your wife thanks you frequently - my wife is a SAHM and I get no thanks whatsoever.

My husband is a SAHD, and we frequently thank each OTHER for the contributions we make.  Not an alternative fact.  Genuine appreciation is one of the things that makes us a better couple.  Maybe it could work for you too, Cheesebert?
Perhaps we all need to be more thankful. Now, back to OP's problem.

shawndoggy

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #126 on: February 15, 2017, 01:44:25 PM »
This reminds me of the time my then 4 year old brother told our mom that he really liked the cherry pie, except for all of the little red balls.

Here, SAHM really likes being SAHM, except for the parenting, the cooking, and the cleaning.... like she's somehow equating it to being retired?

Malum Prohibitum

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #127 on: February 15, 2017, 01:53:59 PM »
My wife has no maid, daycare, has two teenagers, a toddler, and a baby, takes care of the housecleaning and cooking.  Most mornings she gets up and cooks my breakfast while I am in the shower to get ready for work.  She has a lunch packed for me to take with me (shepherd's pie today, yum!) and dinner on the table with the family when I arrive home.  She works out several times a week.  She is fit and beautiful (she had a baby a few months ago!).  She lately has started "getting ready" (as she calls it) with makeup and hair most days.

She also thanks me frequently for making it possible for her to stay at home with her children.  Gasp!

She seems genuinely happy and cannot understand women who go to work and leave the children in daycare.

It would be very difficult for me to give you any advice whatsoever about your wife, because what you are writing is so alien to me.  I chuckled when you wrote about the maid and daycare, and I agree with the posters above who say she is a spoiled brat.  The money being spent on daycare and the maid, would, when combined with what you are already contributing, max out your retirement accounts.
Where do you live? Is this in the US? I can't believe your wife thanks you frequently - my wife is a SAHM and I get no thanks whatsoever.
  Yes, we live in the US.

Sometimes I can't believe it either.

It's always impossible to know exactly what another person is really thinking, but she seems really, really happy and fulfilled.  She told me she has the life she has always wanted since she was a girl, and she is definitely not talking about finances, since we are one income and still working hard on income and budget (as a side note, she is great on the budget, a huge help in meeting our goals, feeding our family of six on $550 monthly).

we frequently thank each OTHER for the contributions we make.  Not an alternative fact.  Genuine appreciation is one of the things that makes us a better couple.  Maybe it could work for you too, Cheesebert?
  Hopper, I hope my overwhelming gratitude to my wife shows in the posts I have made.  You make a good point.  We are both genuinely thankful for the contributions each makes to our family and express it frequently.

chesebert's surprise, however, is probably warranted.  There are not that many wives in the US thanking their husbands for the opportunity to be a SAHM, which is a little different from just expressing thanks for bringing home a paycheck or other contributions to the family.  There are definitely not that many wives in the US who openly express and seem to be genuinely happy and fulfilled being a homemaker (well, outside of studies showing it to be the occupation with the highest satisfaction ratings for women).  Most look at it as an unpleasant chore, at least around here it seems that way to me.  That might just be the area in which I live, though.  Lots and lots of two income households.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2017, 02:09:53 PM by Malum Prohibitum »

Iplawyer

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #128 on: February 15, 2017, 02:55:32 PM »
My wife has no maid, daycare, has two teenagers, a toddler, and a baby, takes care of the housecleaning and cooking.  Most mornings she gets up and cooks my breakfast while I am in the shower to get ready for work.  She has a lunch packed for me to take with me (shepherd's pie today, yum!) and dinner on the table with the family when I arrive home.  She works out several times a week.  She is fit and beautiful (she had a baby a few months ago!).  She lately has started "getting ready" (as she calls it) with makeup and hair most days.

She also thanks me frequently for making it possible for her to stay at home with her children.  Gasp!

She seems genuinely happy and cannot understand women who go to work and leave the children in daycare.

It would be very difficult for me to give you any advice whatsoever about your wife, because what you are writing is so alien to me.  I chuckled when you wrote about the maid and daycare, and I agree with the posters above who say she is a spoiled brat.  The money being spent on daycare and the maid, would, when combined with what you are already contributing, max out your retirement accounts.
Where do you live? Is this in the US? I can't believe your wife thanks you frequently - my wife is a SAHM and I get no thanks whatsoever.

My husband is a SAHD, and we frequently thank each OTHER for the contributions we make.  Not an alternative fact.  Genuine appreciation is one of the things that makes us a better couple.  Maybe it could work for you too, Cheesebert?
Perhaps we all need to be more thankful. Now, back to OP's problem.

Unfortunately I think the OP's problem is that his wife is never going to feel like he makes enough money to support her lifestyle.  That is sad - especially given they have two kids.

Being a SAHM is an important, honorable, and difficult job.  It is equal to a full time job and should be given that status.  But she is not a full time SAHM - she is barely doing it half time.

And she's living with a standard of luxury but feels deprived.  This doesn't change easily.  I feel sorry for OP and the kids.

KBecks

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #129 on: February 15, 2017, 03:15:08 PM »
Here's the thing -- you guys need to work on separating money and things from happiness.  It sounds like your wife is comparing to her friends, and you say you want her to feel above her friends, and that's just not the point.   How can you both re-focus on the things that mean the most to you, and move away from thinking about the money and material goods so much?   

Bee21

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #130 on: February 15, 2017, 04:08:55 PM »
I think your wife should read Your money or your life. That might put things into a different perspective. It might change her wants. What does she want more?

What really resonated with me is the concept of respecting your life energy by not trading it for money so that you can buy more stuff you don't need. You spend your hours working, so that she can spend more money on whatever she desires. She demands more....and is still unhappy, but you have finite time to work, so spend that energy wisely.

Greed and gratitude. Once she gets that balance right, you might be on the right track.

DrMoney

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #131 on: February 15, 2017, 06:03:46 PM »
Hi, I haven't read all of the responses, but I wanted to say that it sounds like your is suffering from depression. I suspect that dealing with that would help the other things (financial included!) fall in order. Good luck!

Laura33

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #132 on: February 15, 2017, 06:41:29 PM »
1.  Assume she is venting unless told otherwise.  You vent about the challenges and frustrations of your day, right?  I bet most of her complaints are her doing the same thing.  She doesn't want to change anything, she isn't asking for solutions -- she just wants to hear, "wow, that's really frustrating, I appreciate how much you are sacrificing for the family." 

[BTDT -- when DH and I were just married, I was unhappy with some job stuff, and I'd come home and vent; DH, ever the engineer, wanted to fix it all for me and so would make all these helpful suggestions; and then I'd get more and more annoyed, because I just wanted to vent, and I heard his suggestions as him not trusting me to manage my own job.  We ultimately agreed that, when I was in that mood, I'd flag it by saying "I just need to vent," and he'd know to make sympathetic noises and then keep his mouth shut. :-)]

+1000.  It took me 5 years of marriage to learn this.  DW finally cut me off mid-suggestion on how *I* would solve her issue with a coworker, and yelled "I don't need to you solve my problem, I'm not an idiot, I know what to do!  I just need to vent!  I just want you to smile and nod, and then say, 'You're right honey, so-and-so really is an asshole'!".

Umm, honey, what are you doing on the MMM boards?  :-)

[Seriously, you just quoted my conversation with DH there]

Viking Thor

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #133 on: February 15, 2017, 07:00:44 PM »
Agree with some of the earlier posts, there is something wrong with the wife. SAHM with 6 days/ week daycare and a maid. Frustrated there isn't more money and how hard she has it.

Either she changes her attitude, or they will both be miserable, or they will get divorced. That sounds harsh but it's hard to see any outcome here other than one of those.

Villanelle

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #134 on: February 16, 2017, 04:57:08 AM »
Everyone seems to be focusing on your wife's supposed character flaws.  I really don't see how that's productive.  Let's stipulate for a moment that there is no depression or anything else at play, and she's simply entitled and spoiled.

Okay.  How does having that knowledge help the OP?  Is he supposed to go to her and call her spoiled and lazy to her face?  Is that likely to be productive? 

He married this woman, as she is, even if that's spoiled and lazy.  So to suddenly expect that to go away is ridiculous.  Instead of spending energy vilifying his wife (or listening to us vilifying her), he needs to figure out how to work in partnership with the woman sitting across the table from him, not some slightly better version of her that isn't spoiled and lazy.  Dismissing her as lazy and spoiled, or simply demanding that the things she has and wants to keep are far more than many have, and expecting that to change her world view is never going to change anything. They'll both continue to be unhappy.  In fact, they will likely become more and more unhappy. 

Facepunches are great when people ask for them or solicit advice.  OP's wife has done neither, and it's a pretty safe bet that she wouldn't be receptive to them.  Face-punches for the OP about this wife's character flaws aren't going to accomplish anything.  They are already married, so that ship has sort of sailed.  He's got to work with her, as she is, unless he wants them to continue to be unhappy, or he wants to divorce her. 

Viking Thor

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #135 on: February 16, 2017, 05:56:07 AM »
It does help in terms of recognizing how abnormal this behavior is. Obviously, it doesn't help in terms of bluntly telling the wife, which no one was suggesting and would obviously not work.

Recognizing a problem is the first step in deciding on a strategy to address it.

jwc082

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #136 on: February 16, 2017, 06:14:56 AM »
What solutions or fixes has your wife proposed?  So she's unhappy - how would she fix it?  Have you asked her how she would deal with this problem?

She's an adult.  When adults have problems, they propose solutions.  Not tell their husband they're unhappy and wait for them to fix it somehow.

ejh

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #137 on: February 16, 2017, 06:23:20 AM »
Villanelle - thanks for your reply.

I gotta say, reading these latest posts describing laziness, brattiness even suggesting to move the thread to a wall of shame, leaves me overwhelmed. I don't mind hearing hard stuff and I'm not the type of guy to be unrealistic, but some of the stuff here is real poison which can drastically affect relationships. It's like many were waiting for the first person to say what's on their mind and then hopped on the train. I hope anyone else in a similar situation like me will know how to filter that out.

I came here with an issue, asking for advice on how to overcome, fix and get through a tough period. I'm pretty amazed at how easily some of you suggest divorce as if that's something you do in the blink of an eye.

My wife is not a trophy wife as one here said. She's definitely not frugal, but that doesn't mean breaking up a family.
I'm sure all of you have issues just like any human being, and like any couple, and I hope you don't end a relationship without trying to fix it first.

It's possible to convey how abnormal a situation is simply by stating facts or personal stories, without being so judgemental. I'm old enough to make the comparison myself.

That being said, thanks to all you put in the time to read and reply. Especially to those who, while acknowledging the problem, still offered constructive suggestions.

baw88

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #138 on: February 16, 2017, 06:48:58 AM »
Villanelle - thanks for your reply.

I gotta say, reading these latest posts describing laziness, brattiness even suggesting to move the thread to a wall of shame, leaves me overwhelmed. I don't mind hearing hard stuff and I'm not the type of guy to be unrealistic, but some of the stuff here is real poison which can drastically affect relationships. It's like many were waiting for the first person to say what's on their mind and then hopped on the train. I hope anyone else in a similar situation like me will know how to filter that out.

I came here with an issue, asking for advice on how to overcome, fix and get through a tough period. I'm pretty amazed at how easily some of you suggest divorce as if that's something you do in the blink of an eye.

My wife is not a trophy wife as one here said. She's definitely not frugal, but that doesn't mean breaking up a family.
I'm sure all of you have issues just like any human being, and like any couple, and I hope you don't end a relationship without trying to fix it first.

It's possible to convey how abnormal a situation is simply by stating facts or personal stories, without being so judgemental. I'm old enough to make the comparison myself.

That being said, thanks to all you put in the time to read and reply. Especially to those who, while acknowledging the problem, still offered constructive suggestions.

While a lot of the responses saying that your wife is lazy or bratty are harsh and somewhat unkind I don't think they are unwarranted given the information you've presented to us. Your wife receives an incredible amount of help with the SAHM duties and seems to be struggling with that lightened load. If most people could lift 100 lbs and you presented us a situation where a person could only lift 25 lbs it wouldn't be inaccurate to call that person weak. All of this is not necessarily helpful to your situation though except as a way to get through to you that your current state of affairs is not not normal. I would guess that less that 10% of families in industrialized countries live with that luxurious set up, not to mention the remaining billions of people with far less. As I see it both you and your wife need a reality check as to your current status although it's your money and you make enough to not take on water doing this so feel free to continue. Personally I see two paths forward, one is that you make no changes and mentally prepare yourself for a longer working life than you'd prefer. The second is that you sit down with your wife and really hash out what you both want out of life going forward. I don't think people were suggesting to you that you divorce your wife. I would never suggest that. There is a recognition that there seems to be a gulf between your desires and hers right now though which isn't a great sign.

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #139 on: February 16, 2017, 07:10:43 AM »
Is it possible that having a maid and daycare service is freeing up way too much time for your wife, thus leading her mind to slip away from parenting and towards consumerist distractions?  Too much time on a person's hands is one hell of a way for them to convince themselves that consumerist wants are actually needs.

ejh

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #140 on: February 16, 2017, 07:18:18 AM »
I don't know if that's the case, it may be.
My wife was at home with one or both of the kids until about 5 months ago. That is when my second kid went into daycare at age 1.5. Until then she was at home with either one or both, so if the notion came off that they have been in daycare since they were born, that's wrong.
It was difficult for both of us with both kids at young ages with all that's involved - caring, cooking, sick days, sleepless nights, etc. It was also a period of more emotional stress as we moved into a new house and had growing pains I think any regular family has. Newborns also mean conflicts regarding how to raise them and new situations we as a couple needed to learn together. All this causes stress as well. Why do I get the feeling this is a non-issue for many of the posters here?
Now since things are getting more relaxed and back into a more regular schedule we are looking for ways to move ahead. However, perhaps the past 2.5 years with all these changes has left emotional strain on my wife, and I am trying to get to the bottom of that.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2017, 07:27:18 AM by ejh »

notactiveanymore

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #141 on: February 16, 2017, 07:39:18 AM »
Villanelle - thanks for your reply.

I gotta say, reading these latest posts describing laziness, brattiness even suggesting to move the thread to a wall of shame, leaves me overwhelmed. I don't mind hearing hard stuff and I'm not the type of guy to be unrealistic, but some of the stuff here is real poison which can drastically affect relationships. It's like many were waiting for the first person to say what's on their mind and then hopped on the train. I hope anyone else in a similar situation like me will know how to filter that out.

I came here with an issue, asking for advice on how to overcome, fix and get through a tough period. I'm pretty amazed at how easily some of you suggest divorce as if that's something you do in the blink of an eye.

My wife is not a trophy wife as one here said. She's definitely not frugal, but that doesn't mean breaking up a family.
I'm sure all of you have issues just like any human being, and like any couple, and I hope you don't end a relationship without trying to fix it first.

It's possible to convey how abnormal a situation is simply by stating facts or personal stories, without being so judgemental. I'm old enough to make the comparison myself.

That being said, thanks to all you put in the time to read and reply. Especially to those who, while acknowledging the problem, still offered constructive suggestions.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the constructive suggestions I provided earlier. (Page 2 I think?). I talked about encouraging her to dive more into the finances so that she feels ownership over the whole amount saved. I also talked about how her being more involved in finances may open her eyes up to where you could cut.

Carrie

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #142 on: February 16, 2017, 07:49:20 AM »
The first few years of motherhood are tough. It can be lonely, overwhelming, exhausting, etc.  I wonder about what someone else mentioned - is there too much leisure time now that she fills with shopping/fretting over what she can't buy?
Does she have hobbies or something she's always wanted to learn? (Bonus if it can be done cheaply.)
When my kids started getting independent and half day preschool,  I took that opportunity to delve heavily into cooking from scratch - started baking bread like I've never done before. I started sewing and have gotten quite good - selling things in a shop now.

My opinion,  as a SAHM mom, is that she needs another outlet - a creative one - to alleviate the jonesing. 
« Last Edit: February 16, 2017, 07:51:19 AM by Carrie »

researcher1

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #143 on: February 16, 2017, 08:00:27 AM »
It was difficult for both of us with both kids at young ages with all that's involved - caring, cooking, sick days, sleepless nights, etc. It was also a period of more emotional stress as we moved into a new house and had growing pains I think any regular family has. Newborns also mean conflicts regarding how to raise them and new situations we as a couple needed to learn together. All this causes stress as well.

Why do I get the feeling this is a non-issue for many of the posters here?

What you are describing is called life as a parent.  Tens of millions of people deal with these same issues on a daily basis.  Every parent is faced with the issues you describe, and while there are certainly challenges along the way, you deal with it.

What makes your situation unique is your wife's role as a "SAHM."  It is highly unusual, almost unheard of, for a SAHM to have her kids in daycare 6 DAYS A WEEK and a maid service EVERY WEEK.   On top of this, she expresses extreme unhappiness with her situation, even though she seemingly has it made!

This is the disconnect between your situation and everyone else's.  This is why we are suggesting that something is not quite right with your wife.  This leads to speculation (trophy wife, spoiled, depressed, ect), which may or may not be correct.

Either way, this is not a financial issue.  You need to dig deep to figure out the root cause of your wife's unhappiness. 
After this is figured out, she either needs to start working OR become a real SAHM and cancel the daycare/maid service.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2017, 08:08:33 AM by researcher1 »

Laura33

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #144 on: February 16, 2017, 08:01:11 AM »
I don't know if that's the case, it may be.
My wife was at home with one or both of the kids until about 5 months ago. That is when my second kid went into daycare at age 1.5. Until then she was at home with either one or both, so if the notion came off that they have been in daycare since they were born, that's wrong.
It was difficult for both of us with both kids at young ages with all that's involved - caring, cooking, sick days, sleepless nights, etc. It was also a period of more emotional stress as we moved into a new house and had growing pains I think any regular family has. Newborns also mean conflicts regarding how to raise them and new situations we as a couple needed to learn together. All this causes stress as well. Why do I get the feeling this is a non-issue for many of the posters here?
Now since things are getting more relaxed and back into a more regular schedule we are looking for ways to move ahead. However, perhaps the past 2.5 years with all these changes has left emotional strain on my wife, and I am trying to get to the bottom of that.

1.  Because for those of us with older kids, selective amnesia has set in. :-)

2.  I think this is insightful and thoughtful.  Why don't you ask her that directly?  Even in those exact words?  Not at the end of a stressful day, but out somewhere on a patio with a bottle of wine?  "I see you are unhappy, I see you under emotional strain, what can we do, how can I help?  Your happiness matters to me."

FWIW, when I was home with our first child, I was doing "less" than ever in my life, and I was also the most unhappy.  We were also in a new home, I had had to leave my job and was trying to telecommute very part-time, and I did not have any kind of a local support system [although TBH, *I* was the one fretting about spending too much :-)].  What got me through was the big-picture "dream" talks with my DH -- I needed to figure out what I wanted [turns out, it was to be in an office in a regular job again], and so we made a long-term plan to get there [he agreed to move when the job market improved], which made the short-term more bearable.  But that whole process took probably 6-8 months for me to work through before I even knew enough to ask him for what I wanted.

It sounds like she feels empty, and she is trying to fill the void with stuff, which is always the wrong answer.  The real answer may be that your wife needs to learn how strong/competent she is by really buckling down and committing to being a SAHM frugalista.  Or she may be discovering that the SAHM role doesn't fit and she wants something different.  Only you and she can figure that out, with patience and mutual support and lots of talking.  [and it's ok for you to voice your own fears and dreams, too -- you have a lot of pressure on you as sole provider, and it has to be hurtful to work so hard *for her* and still see her unhappy]

ejh

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #145 on: February 16, 2017, 08:08:46 AM »
theotherelise - Hi again.
I re-read your post. We actually used to budget together. I realized when we got married that it could help us a lot, and we stuck to it for 2 whole years. We would have monthly budget sessions and use YNAB for setting amounts. It was tiring, we would argue and have our differences, but I think it was a good process. I (partly) credit the fact that we could purchase a lovely apartment so early on to those sessions. Just for comparison - barley anyone our age has the financial means to do that in this market. The housing market here is much much different from the US.
We sort of lost track of that once the kids were born due to many factors, me being a part of that. We tried re-starting the process (my wife pushed for it by the way), about 6 months ago, but it was hard to stick to. Then she came forward with this idea that we implement now. Every week she takes out a specific amount of cash (about 20% of our income) and that's what she uses for her share of the expenses (such as, groceries, housekeeper, clothing for the family, baby care, drug store, feminine products, gifts, anything fun she wants to do and some more). I still take account of the rest of our expenses using YNAB. The first month or two she managed to save a whole lot from her allotted sum. Please note this does not mean I give her a limited amount of money as some sort of parent/child allowance. This is just a system where she feels can be easier to manage.
The past 2 months were a bit more of a struggle and this caused her frustration which prompted me to start this thread because I feel that these things go about in cycles and I would like to break this cycle.
What do you think of this?

prognastat

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #146 on: February 16, 2017, 08:14:16 AM »
Villanelle - thanks for your reply.

I gotta say, reading these latest posts describing laziness, brattiness even suggesting to move the thread to a wall of shame, leaves me overwhelmed. I don't mind hearing hard stuff and I'm not the type of guy to be unrealistic, but some of the stuff here is real poison which can drastically affect relationships. It's like many were waiting for the first person to say what's on their mind and then hopped on the train. I hope anyone else in a similar situation like me will know how to filter that out.

I came here with an issue, asking for advice on how to overcome, fix and get through a tough period. I'm pretty amazed at how easily some of you suggest divorce as if that's something you do in the blink of an eye.

My wife is not a trophy wife as one here said. She's definitely not frugal, but that doesn't mean breaking up a family.
I'm sure all of you have issues just like any human being, and like any couple, and I hope you don't end a relationship without trying to fix it first.

It's possible to convey how abnormal a situation is simply by stating facts or personal stories, without being so judgemental. I'm old enough to make the comparison myself.

That being said, thanks to all you put in the time to read and reply. Especially to those who, while acknowledging the problem, still offered constructive suggestions.

I'll bite since you literally called out my comment about her effectively being a trophy wife. She doesn't work and she is part time taking care of the kids and she is only part time working around the house. This is not something that is considered normal by the vast majority of people on this planet and that is including all the people we here consider consumer suckas. Most people have two options or only one of those two. Either both people work and kids are in daycare starting as soon as parental leave ends for the mother which for many is only a few month or none at all. Paternal leave is even less available for many people so the father is lucky to get any time off to help with the kids in the first few month. The second option for many couples having a kid is for the parent with the lowest income potential to become a stay at home parent and take on the childcare and household duties allowing the other spouse to focus on working as much as possible while removing childcare and other household costs.

The reason people are giving you face punches is because it seems you keep making excuses for the situation. Your wife is living a life of luxury to an extent the vast majority of humans have never had and is complaining.

I have mentioned the constructive feedback that you should likely be talking to someone since either your wife is depressed or has some other mental issues or if she doesn't she has some unrealistic expectations that need to be talked through and I doubt it is happening given the current situation and your automatic reflex of defending some of her behaviors which I suspect you are even likelier to do in real life with your wife if you do it even when on an anonymous message board.

I'm not one of the ones that said divorce since you have kids and as long as you two are able to provide a life for the kids with two parents and no financial issues where you are in massive debt and can't provide generally having both parents is the best for your kids. However at the same time your wife not working yet choosing to spend far less time with your kids is a little alarming to me. It'd be one thing if your kids were in childcare 1-2 mornings per week to give her a morning of rest and/or some time to get shopping or other chores done that are harder with small children in tow, however that isn't the case here. You also responded to my calling your wife a trophy wife, yet haven't addressed my reversing the roles and question what you would think of the husband in said scenario.

I'm sorry if some of this is a little harsh, however to me it doesn't feel like you are actually all that open to most suggestions made and are hoping for an easy answer where there is none. If you want this resolved it is likely to involve you either shutting up and putting up with it or having some seriously uncomfortable conversation with your wife possible with a counselor involved.

Nobody would be judging if she was a SAHM and she was taking care of the children and household full time saving money that way and she had some complaints about feeling restricted in her spending as long as she wasn't expecting anything crazy. Neither would anyone be judging if she was working part time or full time to be able to put the kids through childcare if she just isn't into being a full time SAHM. It's the trying to have the best of both worlds and complaining. Also you have to keep in mind we are getting only your side of the story and are responding to the best of our knowledge of your situation based on what you have said and our own experience/general knowledge.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2017, 08:21:10 AM by prognastat »

StarBright

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #147 on: February 16, 2017, 08:19:57 AM »
I'm wondering if there are some cultural differences at play here that are not translating well in this forum. If the OP is in Israel then cultural differences could explain both the child care and daily errand running.

For instance we knew some parents at our daycare who came from Israel and I also have a couple of American friends that have moved to Haifa.

Our Israeli friends in the US put their little ones in daycare at age 1 basically for socialization but the wife still stayed at home. What they said is that everyone sends their kids to "school" early and it is an important part of creating community - children learn to socialize early and well. She also told me told me it is quite common for stay-at-home parents to put their toddlers in care full time.

My American friends in Haifa have said they go to market a lot more than they did in the US (for meat, produce etc). Also I believe stores are all closed on Saturday so that takes out a whole day that Americans consider fairly sacred for errands :)

If the OP's wife only has the kids' in care half days and and running her errands/getting community time in half the time of those around her it may indeed feel like she is already bucking societal norms to try and save money.

I feel like a lot of these responses are coming from a very US-centric perspective.

Not necessarily, though I may live in the US I grew up in the Netherlands where the cost of childcare is much less of a concern and also stores aren't generally open late and have limited hours on weekends. Being on a forum that is all about bucking the social norms you are bound to get a response that doing something because it is a societal norm makes it acceptable is ridiculous.

It is a matter of no matter how you spin it having childcare 6 days a week and a maid leaves almost no actual work to do. It is an insult to all mothers like mine who managed to take care of more kids, on a much smaller income while working partite/fulltime.

You  make a good point about bucking societal norms in general -  but my post was more in response to those who are saying "6 days of daycare AND a maid AND SAHMing?! NOBODY DOES THAT!" to point out that nobody in America really does that. A lot of people responding here are being pretty intense, saying there is something wrong with the wife and calling her lazy, etc.

But their situation might be much more common in Israel and therefor our responses might seem really out of whack to the OP ( ie. we're being overly dramatic and fatalistic about his marriage.) Cultural context matters and I feel should be taken into consideration when offering advice.

Iplawyer

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #148 on: February 16, 2017, 08:24:47 AM »
Villanelle - thanks for your reply.

I gotta say, reading these latest posts describing laziness, brattiness even suggesting to move the thread to a wall of shame, leaves me overwhelmed. I don't mind hearing hard stuff and I'm not the type of guy to be unrealistic, but some of the stuff here is real poison which can drastically affect relationships. It's like many were waiting for the first person to say what's on their mind and then hopped on the train. I hope anyone else in a similar situation like me will know how to filter that out.

I came here with an issue, asking for advice on how to overcome, fix and get through a tough period. I'm pretty amazed at how easily some of you suggest divorce as if that's something you do in the blink of an eye.

My wife is not a trophy wife as one here said. She's definitely not frugal, but that doesn't mean breaking up a family.
I'm sure all of you have issues just like any human being, and like any couple, and I hope you don't end a relationship without trying to fix it first.

It's possible to convey how abnormal a situation is simply by stating facts or personal stories, without being so judgemental. I'm old enough to make the comparison myself.

That being said, thanks to all you put in the time to read and reply. Especially to those who, while acknowledging the problem, still offered constructive suggestions.

I'm sorry - but as I already suggested - some of these things can only be fixed by the one perpetrating them. I'm sorry that it offends you that I think a woman who has daycare 6 days a week and a weekly maid and still feels like she is deprived is a lazy brat.  It is the two of you that decided to become parents and she decided to be a  stay at home mother.  Did she think she'd be living a life of leisure when she did that?  Your children are not being raised by their parents but by strangers at day care.  Given that and how unhappy she is - more than one of us has suggested she get a job during the time the children are in day care.   Again - the entire world handles these situations with much, much, much less than your wife has - and they don't feel deprived in any way.  Your wife needs serious counseling.  HER BEHAVIOR IS NOT NORMAL.  And that is even so for those of us who had kids years ago.  Again - I would NEVER tell the man I love, my husband, that I don't have enough. 

As I see it you have few choices because I am pretty sure she sees herself as acting normally.  But your relationship is not going to last with a woman who feels deprived all of the time.  And you cannot fill that void for her. 

Get her to a counselor immediately - she's got lots of spare time to go.  And go with her if that is what it takes to get there.  AND DON'T ADD MORE CHILDREN TO THE MIX WITH AN UNHAPPY PARENT!  No matter what you think - they sense and know that she is unhappy. 

Finally - we've all asked you:

1- where do you live
2 - what has your wife "cut back" on
3- to do a case study

I can understand not getting to number 3 - that takes some time - but why haven't you answered the multiple requests for 1 and 2? 

researcher1

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #149 on: February 16, 2017, 08:27:17 AM »
The past 2 months were a bit more of a struggle and this caused her frustration which prompted me to start this thread because I feel that these things go about in cycles and I would like to break this cycle.

Again, this is not a money or financial issue.  It appears she feels unfulfilled in her current life.

The maid and daycare are costing you ~$1250 each month.  That is a lot of money.
She can't have her cake and eat it too.  Either she wants to be a SAHM and is willing to forgo these things OR she keeps the maid/daycare and gets a job.

Either of these scenarios will result in a substantial amount of additional money available, which could lessen the feeling of each month being a financial "struggle".