Author Topic: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances  (Read 32778 times)

Iplawyer

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #150 on: February 16, 2017, 08:29:59 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.

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.

He's never said they live in Israel.  But even if they do - a woman who has day care 6 days a week and a maid once a week and a husband that comes home and takes care of the kids in addition - I don't care what culture you live in - that is lazy and disrespectful. 

prognastat

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #151 on: February 16, 2017, 08:32:31 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?

I would definitely agree with the no more children. If she is unhappy with the current state more kids will not help and will only rack up the costs making their budget even more of a stress and making it more likely it will end in divorce if not addressed.

StarBright

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #152 on: February 16, 2017, 08:33:43 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.

He's never said they live in Israel.  But even if they do - a woman who has day care 6 days a week and a maid once a week and a husband that comes home and takes care of the kids in addition - I don't care what culture you live in - that is lazy and disrespectful.

My apologies - I thought I remembered from a previous thread that that is where they lived. I must have had the wrong poster. Sorry about that.

prognastat

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #153 on: February 16, 2017, 08:35:25 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.

That would be a societal norm. In general US and to a lesser extent European societal norms are to work till you are 65 yet this whole forum is dedicated to bucking this trend and people advocate for it here. If the societal norm there is for mothers to be SAHM, have childcare 6 days a week and a maid once a week(I seriously doubt this is the norm for all but the wealthiest in any country) then I don't think it'd be that much of a stretch for us to say hey even if this is a societal norm it isn't conducive to your goals and also isn't all that healthy, just like working till 67 is all that healthy.

prognastat

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #154 on: February 16, 2017, 08:37:40 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.

He's never said they live in Israel.  But even if they do - a woman who has day care 6 days a week and a maid once a week and a husband that comes home and takes care of the kids in addition - I don't care what culture you live in - that is lazy and disrespectful.

My apologies - I thought I remembered from a previous thread that that is where they lived. I must have had the wrong poster. Sorry about that.

It looks like you are correct though, took a quick look at his posting history and he does mention the tax rates in Israel so you are likely correct on that being where he lives.

StarBright

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #155 on: February 16, 2017, 08:41:05 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.

That would be a societal norm. In general US and to a lesser extent European societal norms are to work till you are 65 yet this whole forum is dedicated to bucking this trend and people advocate for it here. If the societal norm there is for mothers to be SAHM, have childcare 6 days a week and a maid once a week(I seriously doubt this is the norm for all but the wealthiest in any country) then I don't think it'd be that much of a stretch for us to say hey even if this is a societal norm it isn't conducive to your goals and also isn't all that healthy, just like working till 67 is all that healthy.

I totally agree that they will be bucking the norm and we can definitely encourage that. But  a lot of people aren't saying "this is not conducive to your goals"  they are saying "Your wife is trophy wife" or  she "is lazy and disrespectful."  I'm saying it might not be the most helpful way of framing it. You might be insulting someone's whole culture.

We don't want to drive the OP off - we want to help him and his wife.

SKL-HOU

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #156 on: February 16, 2017, 08:52:11 AM »
I am the one that brought up them living in Israel after I looked at his previous posts. So if that is not the case, I apologize.

I don't necessarily think she is lazy (nothing in the posts suggest to me one way or the other). She was raised in an environment where her mom was a SAHM, possibly with maids/nanny/daycare (don't recall if he mentioned). She comes from money. She sees her mom and sister and the way they live. She probably sees some of the other women she grew up with that have these things so she sees these as normal. However, the OP comes from a working class (unless I misunderstood). He is trying very hard to make her wife happy by providing the life she is used to growing up. He needs a reality check as much as she does. He says he has a very good job. If with a very good job, they are not happy with their savings rate, what is the alternative? Is it more realistic for him to get a even better paying job or cut back on some of these expenses? If it is really hard to manage everything (kids and cleaning, etc), maybe keep the maid but cancel daycare. I understand she wants some time to herself too but it sounds like the OP already gives her that time when he gets home. Also, sending the kids to daycare just a few hours short of full time care and SIX days a week does not translate into a mom who wants stay at home to raise her kids herself. IMO she wants to be like the other moms, her mom, her sister, friends and the only way was to be a "SAHM" but slowly adjusted by adding daycare and maid. And now she is not happy with the savings even though she feels she sacrifices a lot (on what exactly?). She doesn't want to give up daycare/maid, she thinks savings is low, combined with already growing up with money just tells me THIS IS AN INCOME PROBLEM.

prognastat

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #157 on: February 16, 2017, 09:03:35 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.

That would be a societal norm. In general US and to a lesser extent European societal norms are to work till you are 65 yet this whole forum is dedicated to bucking this trend and people advocate for it here. If the societal norm there is for mothers to be SAHM, have childcare 6 days a week and a maid once a week(I seriously doubt this is the norm for all but the wealthiest in any country) then I don't think it'd be that much of a stretch for us to say hey even if this is a societal norm it isn't conducive to your goals and also isn't all that healthy, just like working till 67 is all that healthy.

I totally agree that they will be bucking the norm and we can definitely encourage that. But  a lot of people aren't saying "this is not conducive to your goals"  they are saying "Your wife is trophy wife" or  she "is lazy and disrespectful."  I'm saying it might not be the most helpful way of framing it. You might be insulting someone's whole culture.

We don't want to drive the OP off - we want to help him and his wife.

Given that I was the one making the trophy wife comment and I suspect others made the similar comments for similar reasons as I did mine it is likely to try to shock the OP in to some kind of recognition of the facts. As I mentioned in my last direct response to the OP he needs to decide if he is just going to accept that he works full time to support his family and then comes home and helps more with the kids and around the house while effectively his wife is barely putting in part time work in this relationship while complaining about money. This is not an equal distribution of work in this relationship and he needs to realize this fully and decide if he is just going to accept this in which case he needs to just move on or if he deep down agrees that this is not fair he needs to do something about it and I think people here are trying to give him the needed kick in the pants to make this decision.

Malum Prohibitum

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #158 on: February 16, 2017, 09:36:42 AM »
ejh lives in Israel.  He has 68 posts on this web site.  Reading the others will give a lot more insight into the problems they are facing.  His wife is from a family with a lot of money who are also high spenders.  Her family continues to shower expensive gifts upon them.  She is very unhappy with their situation (even though from the outside looking in it appears pretty good).  She buys bottled mineral water and will not let the kids drink anything else.  Everything he suggests to save money she takes as a personal attack.  He basically segregates money out to give to her for certain things in "her" sphere.

They need to focus more on (1) figuring out what their goals are and (2) how to get to those goals together without this strife.


notactiveanymore

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #159 on: February 16, 2017, 10:16:02 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?

Yeah, I think it's clear the cash allotment is not working well for you guys. It sounds like you've always had some difficulty communicating about money and budgeting and thought you'd eliminate the conflict by talking about it less with splitting up what you're responsible for. Unfortunately, that doesn't eliminate the conflict, it just lets it fester. I think you've got to at least start having a financial summit every quarter and deciding on that quarter's goals and spending targets. Having conflict is okay, you just have to communicate through the conflict and come to a resolution or compromise. It sounds like both of you are feeling some tension and trying to just be nice and not really get to the heart of the issue. I can imagine with two young children and so many life changes it would be tempting to want to avoid areas of conversation that could end in conflict. But it's not going to get better on your current trajectory.

I think there is room for a middle ground conversation on the maid. You've said here that you would happily take on the chores currently covered by the maid. Maybe you can bring this up to your wife at the next financial summit. The way you've described it, she is still doing a lot of homemaker duties even with the kids in daycare part of the day (cooking, daily cleaning, grocery shopping, laundry). So why don't you suggest a trial of no housekeeper or a trial of reduced housekeeping. Maybe you suggest trying for the next quarter to only have the housekeeper come in once a month for more deep cleaning of windows, floors, etc. Then you pledge to spend an hour each week doing the other duties.

For the record, I do believe some "fun money" is great. My husband and I each get $80/month of money to spend on whatever we would like. But we decide together about the rest of the money. People think budgets are limiting, but we really find it freeing to know we can spend some money without feeling guilty. I think if you and your wife get back to budgeting together then she will feel less guilt and tension over daily purchases.

little_brown_dog

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #160 on: February 16, 2017, 10:24:21 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.

I think if your wife isn’t depressed that she isn’t lazy, she might be caught up on the hedonic treadmill (look it up, cool theory). Perhaps she was so overwhelmed, she needed more ease/less work in her life to be happy, so you guys kept adding in ease trying to fix things – more daycare days/day care for both kids/etc, maid service, etc – and now she has adapted to this insanely high level of ease but is still unhappy, so she is searching for happiness elsewhere (ex: being able to spend more/save more/not budget). Like an alcoholic, you can definitely develop tolerance to your level of luxury/ease in life, and end up thinking that you are having a rough go of it even though nothing could be further from the truth. This is how even the most wealthy, stress free, easy living people can end up depressed and feeling shortchanged for no reason. It’s a bizarre human behavior and we all fall into it to some extent, but your wife may have an extreme case because you guys seem to have continued the vicious loop to a much higher level of luxury than most people do (6 days a week in daycare for a SAHM who doesn’t clean!? Holy cow!). As a result, it gets harder and harder for your wife to be content with anything more reasonable, and she gets angry and defensive because she feels she NEEDS this stuff. The truth is, she doesn’t need it, she has just adapted to it and feels like she does, but because this type of life is now her “bare minimum” she is perpetually unhappy. The hedonic treadmill takes something that is generally good – trying to make your life easier/happier – and twists it into something that can be far more damaging than being overworked sometimes.

The only way to get off the hedonic treadmill is to gain perspective, so you can appreciate what you do have and derive contentment from it. And how do you gain perspective? Well its counter intuitive, but she needs MORE “stress” and responsibility in her life. Yes. If you have daycare 6 days a week, you won’t appreciate it as much as if you only have it 2x a week, and over time, you will derive less and less satisfaction from having time to yourself. If she’s just tooling around not really doing anything constructive with her brain during her free time, she needs to start getting involved in something – part time work, charity/volunteering, etc – so she feels accomplished, and productive, and has variation in her routine. That way, on the days where she can just go out to lunch or relax, she enjoys it more than if she is doing that every day because she has nothing else more productive to do. If she is on the hedonic treadmill, cutting back daycare to 3x a week and forcing her to buck up and be busy on the other days could oddly enough help break her out of her funk.

In my experience, the happiest stay at home parents are those who WORK HARD on a daily basis, not the ones who have it easy with daily nannies, maids, etc and tons of relaxation and “self care” time. These are the ones with lots of kids, the ones who farm, the ones who are always doing some sort of labor – be it child care, home improvements, growing food, etc. It makes no sense at first because these people should be less happy given that they have far more going on, far more responsibility, and far more physicality to their day, but they always seem to be more content than the ones who are more like your wife. This is probably why women like Malum’s wife are so content – they are busy and productive and feel like they are contributing, and so they derive satisfaction from their lives and daily toils even though it is exhausting. Perhaps your wife could take a page out of their book and see if a harder life actually brings more contentment. Seriously, there is nothing to lose. If she can't stand it, she can always go back to daycare every day, but if she tries it for a month and likes it, then you have found a way to save money AND make her feel happier/more fulfilled. The trouble is, people on the hedonic treadmill are almost addicted to their level of luxury and generally balk at any suggestion to forgo what they now consider to be requirements for happiness (maids, daycare, nice things, etc). They only tend to recognize they can be just as happy, or happier, without all this stuff when something in life forces them to make do with less.

Good luck!
« Last Edit: February 16, 2017, 10:35:10 AM by little_brown_dog »

Poundwise

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #161 on: February 16, 2017, 10:58:21 AM »
I haven't read every response in this thread, but is it possible that OP's wife is just feeling temporarily discouraged?  I sometimes get that way when I realize that despite my best efforts, things are not moving as fast as I hoped... I think most of us do. 

In this case, if I were OP, I would simply listen, be sympathetic, and see if the wife comes up with some solutions on her own.
Also, having two toddlers is fortunately a temporary situation which will fix itself in a couple of years.

P.S.  A tip for making the most of part-time childcare: avoid going on errands or doing housework while children are away. Use that childcare time for doing things you can't do with the kids, such as work that requires deep thought, working out, or (yes!) relaxing and self-care.  While the kids are around, multi-task: take them with you shopping, or clean, or cook.  Involve them in the work when you can. Things will get done slower, but it will teach and amuse the kids, and that way you get value out of your childcare, and can possibly cut down on the hours.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2017, 11:04:59 AM by Poundwise »

Iplawyer

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #162 on: February 16, 2017, 11:37:05 AM »
I haven't read every response in this thread, but is it possible that OP's wife is just feeling temporarily discouraged?  I sometimes get that way when I realize that despite my best efforts, things are not moving as fast as I hoped... I think most of us do. 

In this case, if I were OP, I would simply listen, be sympathetic, and see if the wife comes up with some solutions on her own.
Also, having two toddlers is fortunately a temporary situation which will fix itself in a couple of years.

P.S.  A tip for making the most of part-time childcare: avoid going on errands or doing housework while children are away. Use that childcare time for doing things you can't do with the kids, such as work that requires deep thought, working out, or (yes!) relaxing and self-care.  While the kids are around, multi-task: take them with you shopping, or clean, or cook.  Involve them in the work when you can. Things will get done slower, but it will teach and amuse the kids, and that way you get value out of your childcare, and can possibly cut down on the hours.

But he said in one of his posts that they want to have 4-5 kids.  I don't see how that can ever possibly work.  And when does the OP get to relax and self-care in this scenario? 

Poundwise

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #163 on: February 16, 2017, 12:10:56 PM »
True that, I wouldn't go for more kids in this situation. Anyway it takes two to make more babies, so if OP is not in agreement they won't happen.

All I'm saying, is that maybe this is just reality beginning to sink in to OP's wife.  She begins to see that their small economies are not doing the job. This is already a step... many people don't see this.  Now, what she chooses to do with that knowledge is up to her.  IME, when a person is at that point, it's better to let them take ownership of the  solution. She'll give up the cleaner or childcare with less resentment if she thinks of it herself and offers it as a gift to the family, than if she is urged to by her husband.  Or she'll go back to work.  Or she'll leave OP for a richer man. Or she'll stick her head back in the sand, but at that point OP should know enough not to father any more kids if he values the family's solvency.



backyardfeast

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #164 on: February 16, 2017, 12:17:26 PM »
ejh, I'm sorry so many of these posts have gone in the traditional MMM-"you just need a facepunch to wake you up and then you can make drastic life changes overnight!" direction.  That attitude does draw many of us here, and it works for many people too--especially young, single people! :)

+1 to everything Poundwise said above.

We are just going on the basic, one-sided information that you have provided, and only you can talk with your wife to find out what the best course forward is.  We can't tell if this is just normal discouragement, in which case reminding her that each $10 savings adds up over time and that this is just a normal stage in the savings process might help, or remind her of how the savings you have done so far has enabled things that are out of reach for your peers, or suggest a happy picture (of a goal perhaps?) that gets coloured in a bit more every time you BOTH save $50 or whatever.  Or figure out some milestones to mark together with rewards to look forward to.  So, when $5000 has been saved, you get to treat yourselves to a special event or spa day or whatever.  Set goals that you both want to acheive and celebrate that progress, instead of having it be demoralizing in it's small steps.

If you are concerned that it's more than that, and that she may be suffering with depression or could use some support in another way, then please do some research about counselling that may be available in your area.  Life transitions can be emotionally difficult, no matter how logically our situation may be fine.

Others have good suggestions about ways to potentially manage the finances.  If it's true that the daycare and maid are costing $1200/mo and that this is a big chunk of your budget, it might be useful just to look at the overall budget together and figure out what the biggest expenses are that are meaning that her penny-pinching doesn't add up to very much.  Then, you talk about each of those large expenses and decide how much value you are getting out of them.  Daycare may be providing a LOT of value right now.  Then you both accept that this choice decreases the amount available to save, during these few years while daycare is important.  It won't be a permanent expense; your budget and savings will change.

But it sounds like supporting your wife AND yourself to make peace with the realities of your expenses and choices during this phase of life might help you both.  Just keep reminding yourselves that you are in control of ALL of these decisions, that all of your budget items are trade-offs, and that you simply have to find the right balance for any given phase of life.  If you are saving, you WILL come out ahead over time.  And it's normal and ok to be frustrated along the way.

BigRed

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #165 on: February 16, 2017, 02:04:42 PM »
All I'm saying, is that maybe this is just reality beginning to sink in to OP's wife.  She begins to see that their small economies are not doing the job. This is already a step... many people don't see this.  Now, what she chooses to do with that knowledge is up to her.  IME, when a person is at that point, it's better to let them take ownership of the  solution. She'll give up the cleaner or childcare with less resentment if she thinks of it herself and offers it as a gift to the family, than if she is urged to by her husband.  Or she'll go back to work.  Or she'll leave OP for a richer man. Or she'll stick her head back in the sand, but at that point OP should know enough not to father any more kids if he values the family's solvency.

+1

This is the crux of the matter.  Constantly making decisions to economize clothing purchases or exactly which groceries to buy is difficult and takes a lot of energy, and it isn't leading to significant results.  That's because these small things aren't the problem.  Housing, transportation, and childcare drive the budget.  And Income.  Everything else is at the margins.  Making changes will require big changes to big things.  No one likes that realization.  It can be depressing.  The choice is make changes, or accept the effect of the choices you've made.

BTW, this is the insight of MMM, but in some ways it is deeply hidden, particularly the housing part.  If you get the big stuff right, the rest is easy.  If you don't, it's hard.

Lentils4Lunch

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #166 on: February 16, 2017, 02:11:24 PM »
So did we find out where OP lives?

Bee21

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #167 on: February 16, 2017, 02:32:27 PM »
What i really like about this thread is the respectful voice op uses when talking about his wife. And defending her from all these attacks. Nice work op. Your wife is a lucky woman.

But societal norms aside, you will have to sit down with your wife and discuss your future. You are hanging out on these forums, does it mean that you are interested in early retirement and living a simpler life? Is she interested in this lifestyle? Does she understand what it means for your current lifestyle? Can you do it together?

If she is on board, your life will be so much easier. That's why i recommended reading (together) Your money or your life. It takes a while until the message sinks in, but after that life gets easier as the values and priorities shifts.

If she is on board, you can have another discussion to see how you can get there. If she is not, you have a few options:
1.give up your dream, no hard feelings, as family is more important.
2. Give up your dream, bitterly, which will poison your relationship and will cause resentment forever.

For the record, i work part time. We don't necessarily need the money, but it was good for my sanity to get out of the house and away from the toddlers, when every day is groundhog day. Those childcare places are horrible places though. If we are struggling to look after our beloved 2 kids, how do we expect an uneducated underpaid woman to look after 8-12 of them?  What sort of care they provide? Childcare is good for the kids above 3yo, but under 3 all they need is the loving attention of a parent (or in a worst case scenario, a carer =adult they are attached to) and a few play dates. Anything else is suboptimal unfortunately. Hence my part time work. I became a better, more patient mother on my mommy days, because i appreciated those days much more. And i am proud to keep a house where everyone can drop in unexpectedly.

We are in a position now, when we are getting closer to Fire, and my income definitely helps. I clean and cook on my 2 days off and taxi the kids to their afterschool activities. It is a great feeling to know that if something happened to my husband's much better paying job, my income will keep us afloat. And i would feel horrible if i stayed at home sipping lattes while he is stuck at his stressful job. We are in it together.

gaja

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #168 on: February 16, 2017, 04:51:17 PM »
To give an answer from a non-US perspective:

Background: In Norway, few others than the conservative christians and muslims keep their kids at home for more than the 12 months of parent leave the state pays for. Some are able to stretch the leave for an additional 6-12 months (vacation days, unpaid leave, part time work, etc). This is also accepted. But when the kid is 2, people will assume you belong to a religious minority group if you don't let the kid go to at least part time kindergarten. And at age 4-5, someone from the municipality might show up and offer a free ride at the closest kindergarten, "to make sure the child is prepared for school". Full time kindergarten is capped at around $400/month, with discounts for low income parents. There are strict limits for number of children per adult, and minimum number of employees with relevant education. All the kids are well cared for, also the smallest ones.This means that there are no kids or SAHMs to socialize with, if you do decide to stay at home.

Based on my cultural background, I find it completely logical to have the kids in kindergarten regardless of what the parents do, because that is good for the kids. My kids loved kindergarten; their friends, the extra adults who loved and cared for them, learning all the thinks we couldn't teach them... And in the same way, I will always have to think twice about parents who stay home only to take care of house and children, because my experience of maternity leave showed me so very clearly that wasn't for me. After a few months, I had started a blog, and found five ways to work online from home.

My kids are born 16 months apart, the second one with a disability we knew from birth, the oldest with a diagnosis from age 3. Both DH and I worked part time, stretched our paid leave as much as possible, and found work to do from home. Having two toddlers was hell, even when they were in kindergarten most of the days. Having a life apart from caring for them is what saved my sanity.

I won't judge your wife, OP. But I will urge you to talk with her about other interests she has, and how she can set aside time for them, whether they include making money or not. I have also tried to fill my days with busywork and errands, and after a while, even planning one (stupid) errand can take a whole day and feel exhausting. The funny thing is, that if you have more on you schedule, these same errands only take 10 minutes and zero mental capacity.

scantee

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #169 on: February 16, 2017, 05:52:46 PM »
Quote
Those childcare places are horrible places though. If we are struggling to look after our beloved 2 kids, how do we expect an uneducated underpaid woman to look after 8-12 of them?  What sort of care they provide?

I'm an early childhood researcher. I spend most of my professional working hours studying early care and education. It's not often I get to pull out my expert cred, but I'm definitely going to do it now to state that this is an absolute falsehood. If you want to stay home with your kids, great!, I'm glad you have the opportunity to structure your family in a way that works for you. Keep the rest of your judgemental, offensive and utterly ignorant opinions about other people's life choices to yourself.

Laura33

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #170 on: February 16, 2017, 06:11:27 PM »
Quote
Those childcare places are horrible places though. If we are struggling to look after our beloved 2 kids, how do we expect an uneducated underpaid woman to look after 8-12 of them?  What sort of care they provide?

I'm an early childhood researcher. I spend most of my professional working hours studying early care and education. It's not often I get to pull out my expert cred, but I'm definitely going to do it now to state that this is an absolute falsehood. If you want to stay home with your kids, great!, I'm glad you have the opportunity to structure your family in a way that works for you. Keep the rest of your judgemental, offensive and utterly ignorant opinions about other people's life choices to yourself.

Thank you for this.

Bee21

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #171 on: February 16, 2017, 06:47:44 PM »
Quote
Those childcare places are horrible places though. If we are struggling to look after our beloved 2 kids, how do we expect an uneducated underpaid woman to look after 8-12 of them?  What sort of care they provide?

I'm an early childhood researcher. I spend most of my professional working hours studying early care and education. It's not often I get to pull out my expert cred, but I'm definitely going to do it now to state that this is an absolute falsehood. If you want to stay home with your kids, great!, I'm glad you have the opportunity to structure your family in a way that works for you. Keep the rest of your judgemental, offensive and utterly ignorant opinions about other people's life choices to yourself.

Well, this is not the place to argue about this, but what part was judgemental, offensive and ignorant? Please.

I might not be a researcher (just a trained teacher), who experienced those childcare places from the parents perspective in the past 7 years.

Uneducated-around here they need a 6 month 'diploma' to qualify them as an early childhood educator.  Hm? They are also able to work in childcare centres if they are enrolled in these training programs.

And let me tell you, i might not have done extensive research and did not read and write a larger than usual pile on the topic, but i saw the good, the bad and the ugly during those 7 years. 4 childcare centres, so i might have only a small perspective.. . It is not raindrops and roses, so i stand by my comments. Some of those places were truly horrible and the people unsuitable for the job.There were a few lovely ladies around, but some of those people and places we experienced still make me shudder. It took me a while until i found the place where i could happily leave the kids.

So save that vitriol for the scholarly papers and maybe the truly horrible childcare places you might encounter during your extensive reasearch. I am happy to have a civilized discussion about my experience somewhere else, we really shouldn't dump that here. Poor op has enough on his plate.

« Last Edit: February 16, 2017, 10:04:41 PM by Bee21 »

Villanelle

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #172 on: February 16, 2017, 11:53:50 PM »
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.

I recall a conversation I had with an Israeli friend several years ago.  She said that whereas in the US, there is pressure and judgment on parents (moms, mostly) who put their kids in daycare rather than SAH with them, in Israel it is the opposite  Instead of "you put your kids in one of those awful places and let other people raise your child??!!?!", it's , "You selfishly keep your child home with you rather than offer him the educational and social benefits of day care??!!?!". It is considered depriving kids of necessary and beneficial social interaction to not have kids in daycare.  While this was only one conversation with one Israeli, this thread suggests to me she may have been spot on about her take on the subject. (OP, is Israeli, I believe...?)  This cultural difference may well be at play here. 

bugbaby

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #173 on: February 17, 2017, 03:57:34 AM »
As someone suffering from serious depression and anxiety, reading through this thread...

I'd ask if deep down, your wife is doing the SAHM thing because that is what she thinks she should be doing. I would also question whether she really wants to have lots of kids and be a full time mother... because she feels that this is what a woman is supposed to do, because this is what she sees from her own family experience, and it is what you and she decided on. And this is not something she should just blurt out "of course that's what I want!" because she can absolutely think that on the surface, but without some serious, meditative thought on the current state of her life, her unhappiness and why exactly she is unhappy (hint: it's not about money) then she's possibly lying to herself more than anything. We've all likely done this, and it's nothing to be ashamed about either.

The general feeling I get is that she is doing things that are expected of her, but what is missing for her is that she wants to be an independent, free woman, and her wants/needs aren't being met by being a SAH parent, and she is feeling trapped into a life she planned for (wife/mother), but isn't as fulfilling as she expected, so there is panic about the future, sadness/shame about being so disappointed in herself for not being happy with her decision, and a need to fix it somewhat by moving blame to others (or lack of material things) so she doesn't feel so responsible for her decision.

None of this is meant to sound like I'm judging her. It is absolutely not something she can help if she is feeling this way. She's actually trying to power through her feelings and hold the line, and I think that is very noble of her. The thing is, it likely is also making her feel even more guilty and sad trying to stay the course and scrambling to find outside things to fix the situation.


This was very good.  I am not a SAHM and never wanted to be.  But choosing to be a working parent is hard, even when you know it's right.

Because I am being judged.  Coworkers, neighbors, friends.  There are VERY few people who don't judge me at all.  Some of them don't even mean it.
"You mean you are still working?"
"Why can't you make a 10 am musical performance?"
"You worked from home on a holiday?"
I imagine if she was raised a certain way, it's even harder when she's being judged by family.  My mother used to judge my SIL.  She would say things like "Your brother is SO GOOD with those girls.  He does so much with them.  Takes care of them, gives baths, etc., comes and visits.  SIL does so little, always working, I never see her."  News flash mom: 1.  Brother works 32 hours a week and makes less than half what his wife does.  2.  Brother is off work by noon every day.  3.  Brother comes to visit  you because he likes a little help.  4.  SIL goes to HER MOM'S house when she is off.

My very own mother would say, ad nauseum, that "all she ever wanted was to be a stay at home mom".  She had a baby out of wedlock. Married my dad, a widower with kids.  It was not a good marriage.  He was not a nice guy.  Lived with the Catholic guilt of disappointing her parents (who wanted her to be a nun).  Had to live on a pretty tight budget being married to my dad and it was HARD.  Went back to work when I was 11, part time.

Always said she hated working.  Divorced my dad, went full time.  As much as she said she hated it (worked hard, boss was a tool, got paid less than half what he did), I had NEVER seen her MORE HAPPY than when we were living in that trailer and she didn't have any responsibilities to anybody but herself, and me ( and I was 16).  Even though she felt guilty that my brother stayed with dad.

Remarried.  Wonderful guy but she "didn't love him when she married him".  Quit work eventually.  Went into a deep deep depression, STILL INSISTING that all she wanted was to be a wife.  But here's the thing.  She was on a budget again.  An unnecessarily tight budget for the income, but she married a guy who was in his 40s and had always spent what he wanted.  So SHE had to figure out how to live to HIS budget.

Her desire to be "a wife and mother" warred with the difficulty of living on a budget when *she* wasn't bringing in any money. And thus felt that she didn't have as much say.  Now, with all of that and the Catholic guilt, it was a long spiral into depression and alcoholism, which killed her.  I honestly think a part time job, where she just clocked in and out and worked, would have been best.  She was offered one, but stressed about taking vacation.  It was very sad.
Thanks for sharing this story. I'm a lot like your mum.

Good luck OP, this sounds to me like a deep psychological issue of your wife's expectations & world view.

Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk


NoStacheOhio

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #174 on: February 17, 2017, 04:48:56 AM »
Quote
Those childcare places are horrible places though. If we are struggling to look after our beloved 2 kids, how do we expect an uneducated underpaid woman to look after 8-12 of them?  What sort of care they provide?

I'm an early childhood researcher. I spend most of my professional working hours studying early care and education. It's not often I get to pull out my expert cred, but I'm definitely going to do it now to state that this is an absolute falsehood. If you want to stay home with your kids, great!, I'm glad you have the opportunity to structure your family in a way that works for you. Keep the rest of your judgemental, offensive and utterly ignorant opinions about other people's life choices to yourself.

Just to pile on here, the idea of day care as "your child raised by strangers" is absurd. My son has been in day care since he was about 12 weeks old, and he's always had loving people taking care of him when he's there. The idea that the kids don't form real, meaningful bonds with their day care teachers is crazy. He loves his teachers, and they love him back, and I'm glad he has trustworthy adults in his life outside of family.

Hell, one of the teachers at his center took care of ME when I was a toddler. Experiences other places may be different, but I've never once worried about who's taking care of my child, or I would've made different choices.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #175 on: February 17, 2017, 05:43:20 AM »
How about we all agree that there are daycares that do their best, and ones that don't, and that the same goes for stay-at-home parents of small children.

Then, let's try to focus on how OP and his wife can have a happy family.

OP, I still want to know if your kids are respectful towards your wife, and you. I think if not, working on that could make a big difference in happiness.

BeanCounter

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #176 on: February 17, 2017, 06:21:57 AM »
How about we all agree that there are daycares that do their best, and ones that don't, and that the same goes for stay-at-home parents of small children.

Then, let's try to focus on how OP and his wife can have a happy family.

OP, I still want to know if your kids are respectful towards your wife, and you. I think if not, working on that could make a big difference in happiness.
Agreed, but I feel outraged when I read stupid comments about daycare like "letting someone else raise your kid" or that they are horrible places. When we do that we do make parents feel like one of them has to stay home even if they aren't happy. And that's usually the mother that ends up doing it.
I am 110% sure that my children have had better care from others than they would have gotten from me full time at home. It does hurt to admit that, but it is true. If I had been parenting in the 50's I would have had a bottle of gin in one apron pocket and valium in the other.

Pigeon

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #177 on: February 17, 2017, 06:29:40 AM »
Quote
Those childcare places are horrible places though. If we are struggling to look after our beloved 2 kids, how do we expect an uneducated underpaid woman to look after 8-12 of them?  What sort of care they provide?

I'm an early childhood researcher. I spend most of my professional working hours studying early care and education. It's not often I get to pull out my expert cred, but I'm definitely going to do it now to state that this is an absolute falsehood. If you want to stay home with your kids, great!, I'm glad you have the opportunity to structure your family in a way that works for you. Keep the rest of your judgemental, offensive and utterly ignorant opinions about other people's life choices to yourself.

Thank you.  This and Iplawyer's assertions that people who use daycare aren't raising their own children should be called out for the BS it is.

I raised two very successful, happy, well adjusted kids and dh and I worked full time outside the home.  My college kid is still close friends with some of her daycare buddies, and both of my kids go back to visit my childcare provider on a regular basis.  They had much more fun there than they ever would have had if I had no options and was forced to be a SAHM.

There is no evidence that children in good quality daycare have worse outcomes than kids with SAHPs. 

But that's not the issue here in any event.

KCM5

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #178 on: February 17, 2017, 06:52:41 AM »
So save that vitriol for the scholarly papers and maybe the truly horrible childcare places you might encounter during your extensive reasearch. I am happy to have a civilized discussion about my experience somewhere else, we really shouldn't dump that here. Poor op has enough on his plate.

Were there some edited posts I didn't see? It appears to me that the only vitriol regarding childcare centers in the above thread is from you.

It's been well established that children in care grow up to be just as successful (or unsuccessful, as the case may be) as children with stay at home parents. Obviously there are bad childcare centers. And there are great childcare centers. Just as there are people who are just not great parents. And people that are great parents.

It's great that you spent time looking at centers to find one that you want to leave your child at. You're a good parent. Your children's success does not depend on whether or not you stay home with them.


Malum Prohibitum

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #179 on: February 17, 2017, 09:14:25 AM »
So did we find out where OP lives?

See post #160

FIFoFum

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #180 on: February 17, 2017, 10:08:02 AM »
Adding to the part about cultural differences, Israel has a 6 day work week. Americans take for granted having a Sat-Sun weekend. In Israel, Sunday is a regular work/school day (that's why the daycare would be 6 days/wk). Sat is Shabbat, so depending on how observant the OP is and/or where they live, it's simply not possible to do household chores or errands (and outside shopping) on this day. Transit shuts down. Stores are closed. etc. This is a really big deal.

Other random cultural notes:

Like in European countries, appliances are smaller than American counterparts. This includes washing machine and refrigerators. With 2 small children, doing laundry takes longer. You shop more often because you don't store as much food. Dishwashers are not as common. The environment has a lot more dust/dirt, so you have to clean more often for the same level of cleanliness. 2 car ownership much less common (even 1 car less common). Depending on where they live, errands are more likely to be on foot or by bus, and though there is normative supermarket delivery service, food shopping takes longer and you would buy less at once.

---
There are many other cultural differences, but these are common ones I experienced when I lived in Israel. For all the posters calling the OP's wife "spoiled" and "lazy," maybe consider the fact that your household and cultural presumptions don't translate. That doesn't mean there isn't room for OP and his wife to improve, or an underlying problem with consumption to address. However, this "I/my spouse does X, so you're ridiculous" doesn't make a lot of sense here.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2017, 10:15:29 AM by FIFoFum »

PJ

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #181 on: February 17, 2017, 10:13:59 AM »
Adding to the part about cultural differences, Israel has a 6 day work week. Americans take for granted having a Sat-Sun weekend. In Israel, Sunday is a regular work/school day (that's why the daycare would be 6 days/wk). Sat is Shabbat, so depending on how observant the OP is and/or where they live, it's simply not possible to do household chores or errands (and outside shopping) on this day. Transit shuts down. Stores are closed. etc. This is a really big deal.

... And not just Saturday for Shabbat.  When we were there, it seemed like by mid-afternoon on Friday, everything was starting to wind down, because Shabbat starts at sunset.  Maybe varies by time of year, but when we were there, nothing much on the tour was planned after lunch on Friday.

calimom

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #182 on: February 17, 2017, 10:25:05 AM »
Quote
Those childcare places are horrible places though. If we are struggling to look after our beloved 2 kids, how do we expect an uneducated underpaid woman to look after 8-12 of them?  What sort of care they provide?

I'm an early childhood researcher. I spend most of my professional working hours studying early care and education. It's not often I get to pull out my expert cred, but I'm definitely going to do it now to state that this is an absolute falsehood. If you want to stay home with your kids, great!, I'm glad you have the opportunity to structure your family in a way that works for you. Keep the rest of your judgemental, offensive and utterly ignorant opinions about other people's life choices to yourself.

Bee21's post was bizarre, to say the least. It starts out commending the OP for being respectful when referring to his wife (very nice) and then devolves into a sexist tirade painting broad strokes about how horrible "those childcare places" are.

Isn't the who works/who takes care of the children the job of all parents? And speaking from my own experience, the "childcare places" my own kids attended had both male and female employees. Primarily female yes, and not terribly well paid, but some really, really wonderful people are involved in early childhood education. It's great to stay home and take care of your kids if you can afford to and that's what you want. And it' also OK to work full time, part time, whatever works for you and your own family circumstance. Whether you're a male or female parent. Sheesh. This never ends.

FIFoFum

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #183 on: February 17, 2017, 10:26:40 AM »
Adding to the part about cultural differences, Israel has a 6 day work week. Americans take for granted having a Sat-Sun weekend. In Israel, Sunday is a regular work/school day (that's why the daycare would be 6 days/wk). Sat is Shabbat, so depending on how observant the OP is and/or where they live, it's simply not possible to do household chores or errands (and outside shopping) on this day. Transit shuts down. Stores are closed. etc. This is a really big deal.

... And not just Saturday for Shabbat.  When we were there, it seemed like by mid-afternoon on Friday, everything was starting to wind down, because Shabbat starts at sunset.  Maybe varies by time of year, but when we were there, nothing much on the tour was planned after lunch on Friday.

Yup, things begin to shut down on Friday afternoon. How early/late depends on season.

For people who observe Shabbat, Friday (and even Thurs night) is a time for preparation. Shopping, cooking, etc. (because you can't cook on Shabbat). Then it is normative to host guests and eat festive style multi-course meals. This is not true for everyone, but many observant families will basically prep the equivalent of an American holiday meal every single week.

This influences how time is spent and how money is spent. There is an attitude that things should be nicer for Shabbat - food, clothing, specialty or decorative items used directly or indirectly for ritual purposes. On one hand, I understand how spiritual experiences are elevated. On the other hand, I witnessed a lot of crass consumption and materialism that is justified as though the religion mandates it, as opposed to cultural norms (<- hardly the only religious group to do this!)

StarBright

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #184 on: February 17, 2017, 10:48:54 AM »

 For all the posters calling the OP's wife "spoiled" and "lazy," maybe consider the fact that your household and cultural presumptions don't translate. That doesn't mean there isn't room for OP and his wife to improve, or an underlying problem with consumption to address. However, this "I/my spouse does X, so you're ridiculous" doesn't make a lot of sense here.

This is what I was trying to get at and you said it so much more eloquently - thanks!

little_brown_dog

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #185 on: February 17, 2017, 11:05:52 AM »

 For all the posters calling the OP's wife "spoiled" and "lazy," maybe consider the fact that your household and cultural presumptions don't translate. That doesn't mean there isn't room for OP and his wife to improve, or an underlying problem with consumption to address. However, this "I/my spouse does X, so you're ridiculous" doesn't make a lot of sense here.

This is what I was trying to get at and you said it so much more eloquently - thanks!

Hmmm…I guess given the cultural differences a better question for the OP is:

How normal is it for stay at home Israeli moms to have weekly maids and 6 day daycare? Is that the standard/typical expectation for non working parents in Israel?  If such an arrangement is still extravagant by Israeli standards, then unfortunately OP still has a problem with his wife's unrealistic expectations. If it is standard for stay at home parents to have these arrangements, then it makes sense she feels like these are “must haves”.

PharmaStache

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #186 on: February 17, 2017, 11:27:00 AM »
So people with full time jobs work 6 days a week in Israel?  That's why daycares are open 6 days a week? 

There's absolutely nothing wrong with the OP working full time while his wife stays home, sends their toddlers to daycare and has a maid  as long as everyone is happy.  Since someone is not happy (the wife), then they need to change something.  Lots of options have been discussed here.  I'm interested to see what the OP's wife thinks of our ideas?

marcela

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #187 on: February 17, 2017, 11:32:57 AM »

 For all the posters calling the OP's wife "spoiled" and "lazy," maybe consider the fact that your household and cultural presumptions don't translate. That doesn't mean there isn't room for OP and his wife to improve, or an underlying problem with consumption to address. However, this "I/my spouse does X, so you're ridiculous" doesn't make a lot of sense here.

This is what I was trying to get at and you said it so much more eloquently - thanks!

OP- I feel like your post could have been written about my sister. I am from Brazil which seems similar to the cultural forces at play with your family. My sister and brother in law have 2 kids. He works a high level, well paid job with a lot of hours and my sister is a SAHM. My niece and nephew are in school from 6:30am to 1:00pm Monday through Friday and they have a domestic helper who comes in 4 days a week to help with the grocery shopping, cooking, laundry etc.

This is considered 100% normal in Brazil. I started school just before my 2nd birthday. My nieces and nephews who still live there are all going through the same. It isn't comparable to a daycare in that you aren't just paying someone to take care of your kids, your children are in classes learning. There is homework. It's considered important for the children to be socialized and to start learning. My friends' kids here in the US seem terribly behind to me when I compare them to my siblings's kids in Brazil.

Everything takes longer, from shopping for food, to laundry and keeping the house clean. There's no central air so windows are kept open and the pollution/ dirt comes in so you have to clean everyday. Supermarkets are small and you often will visit several stores to be able to purchase what you need. My sister has a washer/dryer, but its a combined one so no starting a 2nd load in the wash while the first one is in the dryer. The fabric used in making clothes is different than here so a lot of things have to be line dried and almost everything has to be ironed.

So yes, while the MMM forums/lifestyle is all about bucking cultural norms and swimming upstream and whatever, there can be huge systemic forces in play that many are ignoring.

EJH- When talking to your wife about saving, could you talk instead about the increase in your networth? I will often get discouraged by how little I can lower our household expenses. It took months to get us to consistently get our grocery budget to our new $10 cheaper target. I felt like I was putting in so much effort- meal planning, searching sales flyers, couponing, but the outcome was so little money saved. If you have a good mix of investments/ savings, the increases in net worth can feel like a much more impact amount on a monthly basis.
Good luck with everything!

Stache it Away

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #188 on: February 17, 2017, 02:21:07 PM »
I tend to find that when we see people behave in ways we think are ludicrous that it is eye-opening to ultimately find out where others are coming from and they always do have a rationale for why they do things (even though we might find their logic flawed).  We have 2 incomes and a 3 year old who goes to preschool.  We love the setup and talk often that we would struggle with a one income/SAHP situation.  We have seen the tendency toward the income earner feeling like they control the money since they make it and the SAHP feels powerless. 

Here are 2 of my observations:
1.  I think that you both have preconceived notions of what men and women should be doing for the family.  It sounds like you are somewhat flexible as long as she is happy, but you may have some biases you have shared along the way to let her know you also think she should stay at home.  Many parents are not built to stay at home with kids and we have had several friends struggle with depression because they were trying to fill a role that doesn't fit them.  I agree with an earlier post that this struggle can be very tough for women who often are told from birth that is what they are made to do.  Try to talk to her about what truly makes her happy.

2.  I hear a hint of "I make the money and here is your allowance" in the posts I have read (even if that is not intended).  I personally think that my wife and I would both struggle with this if we were the sole bread-winner.  It creates a power imbalance that is very hard to overcome.  From her point of view I see that her husband makes the money and all she has the power to do is spend it.  Therefore she can only contribute in a negative way and every time she spends money she feels guilty.  She doesn't sound lazy to me at all, I think she just isn't totally fulfilled by staying at home like some are (which I totally understand).  I would look for ways to empower her if possible.  She is at home and may have more time anyway, why not have her take control of the finances and give you an allowance?  It might be worth a try.  See if she can do a better job with it than you currently are.  I'm sure you married a very capable person who is just struggling with the current role she is playing.  I will also echo that you are probably at the most difficult stage you will be in financially.  Hang in there!

The Happy Philosopher

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #189 on: February 17, 2017, 03:08:56 PM »
Before we tie up his wife and burn her at the stake for being a lazy spoiled princess, lets remember that any time someone comes to the forum they are describing their situation from their point of view. We are hearing the truth from his perspective, but we can't really know all of the issue unless we also hear her perspective.

I'm confident if my wife and I wrote about a conflict we were having the stories would look quite different, even if both of them were true (which they both could be).

Perhaps she is a terrible person worthy of divorce (probably not), but lets give her the benefit of the doubt for now. The fact that she is trying to improve but is becoming frustrated I take as a good sign, it means she cares enough to care about it.

She seems like a typical person to me. She has adapted to a lifestyle and is experiencing pain trying to cut back. She looks at every spending decision as deprivation. YMOYL would be a great book from her to read.

This is a fascinating thread from a psychology perspective.

chesebert

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #190 on: February 17, 2017, 05:01:53 PM »
Living overseas is a bit more complicated. When I was in China, DW stayed home and DD went to daycare/kindergarten 5 days a week. We also had a maid that cooked and cleaned everyday. The maid also did meal planning and grocery shopping. Seems like par for the course for expats, and is certainly the norm when I was there. Many also had drivers, which we did not have.

Back in states now and back to normal :)

All a matter of perspective.

better late

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #191 on: February 17, 2017, 08:37:13 PM »
If I could change one thing about your situation right now, I would get you and  your wife thinking about being grateful.  Your wife is trying to learn how to do something that doesn't come easy to her. The situation is not how she grew up, and all her unexamined assumptions about how to organize a life are being questioned. Make sure she knows how thankful you are that she is doing the best she knows how right now and that furthermore she is willing to change.  And on the other hand, if I had a magic wand I would somehow infuse your wife with a deep gratitude that you are working so hard, and providing so well, that she has the option to stay home with the children. 

SKL-HOU

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #192 on: February 17, 2017, 09:28:12 PM »
Yes things are different in other countries. But not everyone even in those countries have maids, etc, still depends on income levels. In OP's case, there is unhappiness due to low savings and his wife feels she is sacrificing so much (still have no idea what she is sacrificing?) for a little savings. Well there is a solution, which is stay at home with the kids (the reason she quit her job) and $1000/month can be saved. If they are not willing to do that, then they need to just accept their situation. It is not rocket science, if you are not happy with your situation, just change it. This is not one of those things with no other options.

cchrissyy

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #193 on: February 17, 2017, 10:01:43 PM »
I think, if you refrain form having any more children, many things will become easier. 
The daycare expenses will fade away after a few years. Your wife's stress level will decrease because older kids are so much easier to care for.  Just don't have any more babies, and work on making yourselves happy and your relationship stronger.

LadyStache in Baja

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #194 on: February 18, 2017, 07:40:10 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.

I think if your wife isn’t depressed that she isn’t lazy, she might be caught up on the hedonic treadmill (look it up, cool theory). Perhaps she was so overwhelmed, she needed more ease/less work in her life to be happy, so you guys kept adding in ease trying to fix things – more daycare days/day care for both kids/etc, maid service, etc – and now she has adapted to this insanely high level of ease but is still unhappy, so she is searching for happiness elsewhere (ex: being able to spend more/save more/not budget). Like an alcoholic, you can definitely develop tolerance to your level of luxury/ease in life, and end up thinking that you are having a rough go of it even though nothing could be further from the truth. This is how even the most wealthy, stress free, easy living people can end up depressed and feeling shortchanged for no reason. It’s a bizarre human behavior and we all fall into it to some extent, but your wife may have an extreme case because you guys seem to have continued the vicious loop to a much higher level of luxury than most people do (6 days a week in daycare for a SAHM who doesn’t clean!? Holy cow!). As a result, it gets harder and harder for your wife to be content with anything more reasonable, and she gets angry and defensive because she feels she NEEDS this stuff. The truth is, she doesn’t need it, she has just adapted to it and feels like she does, but because this type of life is now her “bare minimum” she is perpetually unhappy. The hedonic treadmill takes something that is generally good – trying to make your life easier/happier – and twists it into something that can be far more damaging than being overworked sometimes.

The only way to get off the hedonic treadmill is to gain perspective, so you can appreciate what you do have and derive contentment from it. And how do you gain perspective? Well its counter intuitive, but she needs MORE “stress” and responsibility in her life. Yes. If you have daycare 6 days a week, you won’t appreciate it as much as if you only have it 2x a week, and over time, you will derive less and less satisfaction from having time to yourself. If she’s just tooling around not really doing anything constructive with her brain during her free time, she needs to start getting involved in something – part time work, charity/volunteering, etc – so she feels accomplished, and productive, and has variation in her routine. That way, on the days where she can just go out to lunch or relax, she enjoys it more than if she is doing that every day because she has nothing else more productive to do. If she is on the hedonic treadmill, cutting back daycare to 3x a week and forcing her to buck up and be busy on the other days could oddly enough help break her out of her funk.

In my experience, the happiest stay at home parents are those who WORK HARD on a daily basis, not the ones who have it easy with daily nannies, maids, etc and tons of relaxation and “self care” time. These are the ones with lots of kids, the ones who farm, the ones who are always doing some sort of labor – be it child care, home improvements, growing food, etc. It makes no sense at first because these people should be less happy given that they have far more going on, far more responsibility, and far more physicality to their day, but they always seem to be more content than the ones who are more like your wife. This is probably why women like Malum’s wife are so content – they are busy and productive and feel like they are contributing, and so they derive satisfaction from their lives and daily toils even though it is exhausting. Perhaps your wife could take a page out of their book and see if a harder life actually brings more contentment. Seriously, there is nothing to lose. If she can't stand it, she can always go back to daycare every day, but if she tries it for a month and likes it, then you have found a way to save money AND make her feel happier/more fulfilled. The trouble is, people on the hedonic treadmill are almost addicted to their level of luxury and generally balk at any suggestion to forgo what they now consider to be requirements for happiness (maids, daycare, nice things, etc). They only tend to recognize they can be just as happy, or happier, without all this stuff when something in life forces them to make do with less.

Good luck!

+1 This is awesome, and in my experience, so true.  Thanks for the reminder.  And in fact, I'm often overwhelmed with my children and to fix it, I'm considering homeschooling them.  Which is counter-intuitive, but just might work!

farfromfire

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #195 on: February 18, 2017, 08:58:51 AM »

 For all the posters calling the OP's wife "spoiled" and "lazy," maybe consider the fact that your household and cultural presumptions don't translate. That doesn't mean there isn't room for OP and his wife to improve, or an underlying problem with consumption to address. However, this "I/my spouse does X, so you're ridiculous" doesn't make a lot of sense here.

This is what I was trying to get at and you said it so much more eloquently - thanks!

Hmmm…I guess given the cultural differences a better question for the OP is:

How normal is it for stay at home Israeli moms to have weekly maids and 6 day daycare? Is that the standard/typical expectation for non working parents in Israel?  If such an arrangement is still extravagant by Israeli standards, then unfortunately OP still has a problem with his wife's unrealistic expectations. If it is standard for stay at home parents to have these arrangements, then it makes sense she feels like these are “must haves”.

Very very very abnormal.
The minimum wage is approx 1000$, less than what the op spends on daycare iirc, which is a normal amount btw. 250$ should buy 4-5 hours a week of cleaning. After taxes, the median wage is less than 1700$, and even with government assistance 95% of families can barely afford either daycare or a single income.

Most families in Israel cannot even fathom living on one income + maid + daycare. If that is where the OP lives, (a) he should post a case study, and (b) the wife needs a serious reality check.

<The OP has chosen not to comment about where he lives, and I respect that, but what's being said here about Israel so far is pretty anecdotal>
« Last Edit: February 18, 2017, 09:33:20 AM by farfromfire »