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Am I being unreasonable? Time to call it quits?

 
 
Reply Mon 11 Nov, 2019 05:52 pm
My wife and I have been married 18 years, two kids age 9&10. We are in our mid 30's. I wish to give my wife an ultimatum: Get a job by February working at least 25 hours per week, or make at least $1500 a month if she wants to work at home (with her etsy store). If she doesn't I would finalize the divorce that I filed two years ago.

We were separated for a year, I moved back in Dec. 2018. We had lots of talks about what we thought went wrong, and what we expect out of the relationship. I think she was telling me what I wanted to hear by promising to get a job and seek counseling/therapy to work on herself (i have been going to individual and group counseling, and we have done couples counseling). She did neither of those.

Her unwillingness to contribute financially has been going on for years. When we were first married, she was going to College to become a teacher. She never finished. She worked occasionally as a server or personal assistant, I was in the Navy. It was never agreed that I would be the sole bread winner for the family.

After we had kids, she wanted to be a stay at home mom. I was okay with it because the kids were babies, but now that they are school age, I feel the stay at home mom phase should end.

We live in Coastal Southern California and it is expensive. I have considered moving to another state, but I own my own business and it would mean starting from scratch which would take quite a while and extra money that I don't have. I could work as an employee in another state, but I would make way less, which would defeat the purpose.

Currently we owe the IRS $25k, which I have setup payments for that begin in December. Between the cost of running the business, business loans, gas/fuel etc., the IRS, healthcare, food and living expenses, the math just doesn't add up as far as money goes.

I also have health issues, hyperthyroidism and chronica abdominal and back pain. I have been in the hospital 3 out of the last 4 years at one point or another. Short of working myself to death, I don't see how we can ever get ahead. In fact, we're going backwards.

She insists upon shopping for orgnic food at the Sprouts. I get it, I like clean healthy food too, but can I get some help? I don't want to divorce, but feel like I'm running out of options.

I filed two years ago and really wanted to take time before finalizing to see if anything would ever change. I'm just tired of holding my breath. I've offered to by her a wardbrobe, get her hair and nails done, whatever I can to help boost her confidence. She just wants to be a stay at home mom. I wish I could give her that life, but the reality is that I can't, and trying to do so is killing me.

Is it wrong to throw in the towel over something like this? I wrestle with a lot of guilt regarding the kids. She's a great wife in every other aspect, and a great mother. I just can't get through to her when it comes to the finances. It would be nice if one day the kids could have their own rooms. As of now, I'm cancelling the kids music lessons after their winter recital in lieu of the IRS payments. I'll be paying them for close to a decade. I feel trapped and guilty at the same time. Any advice is appreciated. Apologies if this has been rambling.
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Type: Question • Score: 2 • Views: 590 • Replies: 9
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jespah
 
  2  
Reply Mon 11 Nov, 2019 06:23 pm
@sparrow28,
Divorce can be an expensive proposition. It's probably not going to do anything to your financial problems but worsen them. You are going to be supporting your kids either way and, if she has no career, then she may end up with custody or at least partial. And if she is not working, then guess who gets to pay for a second household?

Buying her a wardrobe isn't going to help your finances. And a makeover won't help, either. This doesn't seem to be something that's skin deep. All you'll end up with is a few grand more in debt and she'll have some nice clothes. Otherwise, you'll be right back where you started from.

You're right to cut back. Of course you need to. This means she has got to be on the same page with you, at least when it comes to the shopping. If she is going to be a SAHM, then shopping is her purview -- and her place to cut back. If she is not doing so, then she is not playing on the same team as you (God, I'm full of metaphors today).

I personally hate ultimatums. They make me dig my heels in and say nope, I'm going to do the opposite. She may feel the same. And I feel it would be something your marriage could not readily recover from. Plus, conditioning things on sales from her store is setting her up for failure, because sales are far from guaranteed, even for established companies where everyone loves and wants the product. Why do you think Disney and Apple advertise? Because profits aren't guaranteed for them, either.

So only push with an ultimatum if you are prepared for your marriage ending and all of the monetary issues that will arise therefrom.

Here's a suggestion.

Make an appointment with your doctor (I mean your GP) and take her along. Never mind if she has been with you before or has heard of your health issues before, etc. Just, take her. And have your doctor explain how the current arrangement has every possibility of sticking you in an early grave. It may sink in more if your GP does it, than if you do. The dynamic is different, plus the doctor has the weight of authority behind him or her.

Your kids are also old enough to be clued in on what is going on, but don't dump on them. When I was 8 years old, my father lost his job, and again when I was 10. I knew about it both times. I was never told to economize, but I knew. Don't keep this from your children, if you are. They deserve to have an idea that things are imperfect.

It will also help, at least a little bit, down the line if you do get a divorce. Imagine your kids' surprise and feelings of shock and betrayal if they were led to believe everything was rosy when it was not? You don't have to open up the guts of your marriage and your finances to them, but they can have at least an inkling. More than an inkling.

Consider what you can get if you sell your business. Maybe you could plow that cash right back into buying a similar business, already established, in a less expensive part of the country. If your business has good will and a decent PAYDEX score then those are assets and they can help you get a better price. In the interests of full disclosure, I work for a company which helps people get business credit and write about PAYDEX and biz cred all the livelong day.

Finally, the usual, I am not a doctor, I am not your lawyer.
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Nov, 2019 10:49 pm
@jespah,
Good advice, as usual, from jespah.

Tossing in random questions/thoughts/observations.

jes is right about making her commit to making x amount of dollars on etsy. Some days, weeks, months are just better than others.
I sell stuff online, and some months I literally make 4 times as much as others. It's not something I count on for running the household. It's more like an emergency fund.
Is that what she is making a month now? If she is, is she spending that money on extras?

I am in agreement with you that since the kids are at school during the day, she has the time to be bringing in extra cash.

You'd like her to bring in $1500 a month for 25 hours a week. That's $15 an hour.

Something I do are lunch/meal delivery gigs.
I'm retired, and refuse to get up early, so it's ideal.

One place I work daily, picking up food from 1 or 2 restaurants, and delivering them to 3 or 4 businesses. I make my first pickup at 11:20, and 90% of the time I'm done by 1pm. For that I make $33 for about and hour and a half of work.
Then, if I have no appointments in the afternoon, and I feel like working, I switch on my Grubhub app and do that for a couple more hours. I don't accept pickups for less than $8, and I usually get 2 an hour. Every day is different, but today I did 3 for $13, $14, and $9.50. So like 36 bucks.
$69 for the day with no stress, wearing whatever I felt like, could stop or continue whenever I wanted.
If you live in a urban area, that's typical.
I like that I don't have to be someonewhere to work on someone else terms, like in a office. I'm female, and have never felt unsafe. During the day, it's mostly delivering to people at work.

I mention this because maybe it's the restrictive aspect of having to be in a formal workplace she doesn't want. Doing gigs to me are no pressure.

Again agreeing with Jes, a divorce would screw you financially.

She won't go to you to a counselor. Does she share with you what's going on?

The kids are off at school, soon they'll be even more independent in high school, and then off to college. What is going to her SAHM status then?
How mature are your children? Could they even drive around with her after school and be trusted not to jump out of the car when she makes stops?

I'm not a mother, but I certainly wouldn't consider it child abuse to tell your kids they could do their homework in the car for an hour while I drove around making a few bucks.

Do you think she really cares that you're working yourself sick?
In the time she's home and the kids are in school, what is she doing? Not making light of it like she's sitting around eating bon bons. Just seems with some adjustments she could make some time.

What does she sell on etsy?
Is it something she could do in the evening?




0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Nov, 2019 10:05 am
Hello - good advice from both - this is what I have to add on -- two things I noticed you said:

"After we had kids, she wanted to be a stay at home mom. I was okay with it because the kids were babies, but now that they are school age, I feel the stay at home mom phase should end."

"She's a great wife in every other aspect, and a great mother."

I am glad you said the second - that makes me feel better. Upon reading the first - I could see her getting upset (maybe I am taking this out of context) but YOU were ok with this - YOU feel this phase should end. What does she feel? Although I agree with you because of the financial situation - you need to make it about both of you and your family -making it about you could cause push back.T

I would say more like I understand why you want to stay home for the kids. I wish we could afford it but the reality is we are going to go bankrupt if we continue this way. Then show everything written down - take emotion out and show the numbers. You cannot fight that. There is no changing the fact that you cannot afford to live as you are.

Then maybe ask her what she thinks she would be able to do to make the amount that is needed? I would imagine you could make $15 hour in CA for almost any sort of job. Suggest mother hours - so many places are looking for this I know where I live and I cannot imagine in an expensive area of CA it wouldn't be the same.

Also work out a budget together. You can involve the kids at their appropriate level. Let them know you are working on this so you can afford a place at some point so they can have their own rooms, etc. Suggest to them about cutting some things that are not needed - like the music lessons.

And definitely emphasize what I highlighted second - what a great mother she is and a great wife. Working together is really the only option. This will not work if you don't get her buy in.
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Nov, 2019 07:00 pm
@Linkat,
Linkat wrote:

Suggest mother hours - so many places are looking for this I know where I live and I cannot imagine in an expensive area of CA it wouldn't be the same.




A little off topic (maybe), but I'd like to know more about this.

You mean places of business are actually looking to hire people who are only available during school hours?

I believe you, but I personally have not seen this.

It seems to me that people who would be attracted to apply to a place that advertised it as "mom hours" may not be the type of person whose primary concern is obtaining steady employment where they have to be as responsible as everyone else there for pulling their weight.

The wife in this example doesn't seem to want to work out of the home in the first place. Wouldn't she maybe see "mom hours" and take advantage of the fact that "well, I'm a mom. I have to take off all the time with little or no notice because MOM. Or think that must be what's expected because MOM.

If I had a business with several employees, and decided I needed another part time person, I would fully expect them to be just as deligent at covering their hours and taking care of personal problems that could affect attendence as my full time employees that have kids or other like responsibilites. Of course there are emergencies, sickness, etc. I would want someone working for me that thought mom hours meant whenever it would be convenient for mom to show up or not, not making an attempt to figure something out for her (or him) self. Who picks up the slack?

huh.....what aren't there jobs out there advertised as "dad hours"?

Although thankfully I have never been directly affected by working with someone working "mom hours", I've certainly seen the problems in other departments.

The resulting feelings of others are "I'm a parent too. I figure it out, why can't they? Now the rest of us have to do our own work, and theirs."

It's a slippery thing, finding the right person that needs the different hours, but will commit themselves in the same way to the job as others.





chai2
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Nov, 2019 07:14 pm
@chai2,
Sorry, need to continue.

That's why I mentioned doing gig work. With that you truly only work when it works out for you, or at the least, can be done at your time, as long as the work gets done.

Personally, I've found craigslist to be the best place to find off beat, gig, different hour, varying level of commitment work.

A couple of years ago, I worked for about a year doing billing for a childrens therapy provider. Billing had to be done mid month, and end of month. They didn't care when I did the work, as long as it was done, and done correctly, by the deadline.
Some months, I would literally be working at 2 or 3 in the morning, at my home, because I like being up at that time. I'd be driving over to the 2 locations to drop off the invoices at 3am or after, knowing it was fine as long as they got it by 8am.
I actually stopped working there because I had streamlined enough of the process that it took half the time of when I originally started. I told owner it now took so little time, I could train her assistant to do it. She had time on her hands anyway.

Done some other work, odd job wise, and the common denominator has been low to no stress. It's been fun overall.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Nov, 2019 09:33 am
@chai2,
Yes I have seen it advertised as mother's hours - that would be during school hours.

"Mothers Hours Jobs, Employment in Massachusetts | Indeed ...
https://www.indeed.com › q-Mothers-Hours-l-Massachusetts-jobs
250 Mothers Hours jobs available in Massachusetts on Indeed.com. Apply to Labor and Delivery Nurse, Sales Representative, Childcare Provider and more!"

And if you want to be politically correct - you can do a search for dad's hours as well and get similar results.

Stay At Home Dad Jobs, Employment | Indeed.com
https://www.indeed.com › q-Stay-At-Home-Dad-jobs
147 Stay At Home Dad jobs available on Indeed.com. ... Page 1 of 147 jobs .... student, stay at home mom/dad or anyone looking for a few work hours each day.
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Nov, 2019 10:44 am
@Linkat,
Ok, sure, I get that would be during school hours.

My point was that this could attract people who aren't going to commit to a job. Honestly? To my ears sounds like a recipe for having someone abusing taking time off because "I'm a MOM/DAD!"

IMO, broadly speaking on this specific thing, I've seen employees w/kids or such fall on either side of a divde.

Those who of course occassionally have to take off because of family responsibilites, while knowing they made a commitment to their work and co-workers (even though of course family comes first). Those are most people, and one hand watches the other so to speak with their co-workers. If they have to put out money, or the equiv. of this, they realize it's the cost of business, so to speak (having a family, and working)

Those who, in this area, feel like since they were hired for "mom" hours, anything "mom" that turns out precludes having any backup plan that would still involve them coming to work.

Legal questions during an interview that could cover this would include:
(this is a cut and paste)
Do you have any restrictions that would prevent you from traveling?
Do you have any commitments that will conflict with your work schedule?
Do you anticipate any absences from work on a regular basis?

That last one? "Regular" basis? If I were interviewing I'd follow that up with explaining something like that absences on a regular basis would be like once a month, or whatever number is appropriate.

Heh, even saying to an applicant that wouldn't be responsible might scare them off, and good riddance.

There's a reason not everyone who applies for a job gets it. It's not that this really fantastic person is found a lot of the time, but that eliminating those who you pick up will be an attendance problem (or other) in the future are taken out of the mix.

I'm getting that this woman is one that really isn't into working outside the home at all. That makes the chances higher that absentee rate would be unacceptable.

It's not just about the person needing to work to make money for the household. The employers interest needs to be considered too. They have a commitment to their clients/mission, and a poor fit will jeapordize that, create resentment and poor morale, etc.

Being pragmatic, in a case like this, the woman isn't looking to be hired at a management level. More something like a receptionist, clerk etc. They are very vital to an organizations running smoothly, and needs someone who wants, and is willing to organize and plan their life to a reasonable extent to be there when needed.

I don't think that's this woman.
I think she would totally show her hand during any interview that would make a decent interviewer check off items on the negative side.

I think she's more suited to "make your own hours" type of things. Could be much happier with that too.

Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Nov, 2019 11:24 am
@chai2,
Well typically this is to attract workers during a time when it is difficult to hire people - they are targeting this audience by advertising it as such.

I am sure they release potential pitfalls due to their being a stay at home parent.

Kind of why I suggested she look at that. Where I live it seems they are always looking for workers in the lower paid area - those either students, looking for a second income - not the "bread" winners. I would think that the school hours would be the toughest to hire - usually you can hire high school or college kids after school hours and on weekends....but during the day it is a bit harder to hire for those types of positions.

One way to tap into it is to advertise being flexible for stay at home parents - I know some too that have advertised for retired people -

Sounds like a win-win to me. You get someone more mature to work during those hours that are more difficult to hire.

As far as kid issues - being sick or so forth --- what is the difference between that and you being sick or having an older parent that might need some one in an emergency situation?

As we have discussed at work before with people taking time off - everyone has personal "stuff" - I have given someone a day off to mourn for their dog for example. So as long as you treat all your employees equally - meaning someone else's personal stuff does not trump the other person's - all is well.

I look at this way - these are typically jobs and times it is more difficult to hire someone - so you get someone in that is more mature; maybe here and there cannot make it because their kid has a runny nose. Better to have them 80% of their scheduled time than 0%.

My daughter has one of these jobs - on afterschool/weekend part of it. She tries to be clear on how much she can work, but then they will overschedule her - I tell -- tell the manager your parents will not let you work all those hours because you have to have time to do your school work - they still keep her because she is a good worker and the need is so great. You have so much turnover in these jobs - they are desperate.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Nov, 2019 11:28 am
@chai2,
And many of these stay at home parents jobs are flexible hours - not just school hours.

For the school hours too - often times they are flexible with the school vacation weeks and summers because then they get the high schoolers and college students (summer - teachers as well) that fill in.My college student did this with target - she worked just the summer - they look for people to help fill in during high vacation times.

This sort of thing though completely depends on where you live and the need for these sorts of employees - where I live there is a huge need. I would imagine an expensive area of CA would be similar.
0 Replies
 
 

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