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I've been married over 11 years and my wife has always had a problem with overdoing it when it comes to charity. She spent a big chunk of our income last Christmas handing out secret cash to people in our neighborhood, and over the last 5 or 6 years she's been absolutely obsessed with taking care of every neighbor's child in the neighborhood.

I am the sole provider, I rarely ever miss work, and am on a blue-collar income. We have 3 young children in a very small 2-bedroom house with a big mortgage. My wife babysits 3-4 times a week for 4-6 hours a day for 2-3 different "groups" of children FOR FREE. She changes diapers, and she feeds them. When I get home from work, she's often still babysitting and has no time for me, and we skimp on food so we can feed them too.

I'm all for helping people out, but this has become an obsession. I'm starting to feel like I'm living in Mother Theresa's boarding house. It is extremely hard to work my butt off so my wife can blow our money on feeding the neighbor kids. It makes me so angry that these mothers are so willing to take advantage of my wife. But even angrier that my wife can't just say "no". Some of these parents have offered to pay, but she refuses every time. She could be bringing in money equal to a part time job, but simply won't do it.

I've approached her several times about my disapproval, but she turns it against me, accusing me of being "uncharitable". It's hard to argue against someone who is addicting to being "nice" (except when being nice has something to do with your OWN family).

Help!
 

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Wow this does seem a tad OTT. Could your discuss a compromise?
Maybe babysitting 1 or twice a week. You need to stand up for you and your childrens needs.... because your W doesn't seem able too.
As far as giving away your money... is she aware of your financial situation? Did you know she was doing it?

Personally if I was the sole provider and my spouse was givng away our money (when we are struggling). I'd shut down their access.... and I'm a SAHM. You can't let her send you all to the poor house...not when your working and trying to provide for your family.

Maybe she could get a part-time job to fund all her 'giving'.

PS: I do community work from planting trees on public land to dancing at a retirement home... but i don't give our money away. There is a lot she could do that wouldn't have to break the bank!
 

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First off shut off access to the money. PRONTO.

Secondly if she won't listen to reason you might have to go to these parents and put a stop to at the source. Put them on notice that the head of the household is in charge and isn't going to stand for this anymore. Put them on notice and pull the plug.

If you're not willing to go to the other parents then stop the money flow or make it difficult for her somehow. Cancel cable, the internet, something to make it NOT worth her while. KWIM?
 

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I've been married over 11 years and my wife has always had a problem with overdoing it when it comes to charity. She spent a big chunk of our income last Christmas handing out secret cash to people in our neighborhood, and over the last 5 or 6 years she's been absolutely obsessed with taking care of every neighbor's child in the neighborhood.

I am the sole provider, I rarely ever miss work, and am on a blue-collar income. We have 3 young children in a very small 2-bedroom house with a big mortgage. My wife babysits 3-4 times a week for 4-6 hours a day for 2-3 different "groups" of children FOR FREE. She changes diapers, and she feeds them. When I get home from work, she's often still babysitting and has no time for me, and we skimp on food so we can feed them too.

I'm all for helping people out, but this has become an obsession. I'm starting to feel like I'm living in Mother Theresa's boarding house. It is extremely hard to work my butt off so my wife can blow our money on feeding the neighbor kids. It makes me so angry that these mothers are so willing to take advantage of my wife. But even angrier that my wife can't just say "no". Some of these parents have offered to pay, but she refuses every time. She could be bringing in money equal to a part time job, but simply won't do it.

I've approached her several times about my disapproval, but she turns it against me, accusing me of being "uncharitable". It's hard to argue against someone who is addicting to being "nice" (except when being nice has something to do with your OWN family).

Help!
OK. There are several sane ways to approach this. #1 is liability. Definitely a home day care setup would be a good idea in order to have liability coverage. To pay for the liability coverage, she needs to charge. #2 If she earns her own income from the day care, she can have more of her own money to give to charity as she pleases. #3 maybe encourage her to invest the money in micro-lending. Once she sees the additional do-good power that income gives her, she will be more apt to want to earn it herself. #4 dollar matching. For every dollar she earns net profiit, you can match it, up to a cap. Make it less than what it is you are 'donating' now, maybe about 1/4. You'll still come out ahead. #5 If she's fixing all those meals, maybe she can also take that to the next level! Since she's so competent, maybe while she's making dinner for your household, she could make dinner for the moms who are working, for take-away. Those moms could take turns providing the ingredients, also the basics for the kiddos during the day. That way you have all your groceries coming into the house and pretty much no food expense.

The thing is, it will be difficult to fight something like this. For whatever reason, your W is an extreme co-dependent either that or she likes the control she has over kids (my mom was like that, incompetent with anyone she couldn't 'help' therefore she liked to attract kids and also people who were dependent on her or could be made dependent on her.) If you take away your wife's 'fix' then you'll replace it with other problems.

You could find an organization to take her in, like a homeless shelter manager or a community day care manager. I suppose if your homeowner's insurance company or the town zoning board found out about this operation, or the state day care licensing discovered all those kids being cared for without proper records and immunization records and first aid training and all that, there would be more barriers to the home set up thing and easier for her to think about moving her operations outside the home and being put on a regular schedule.
 

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Time for a family budget plan.

If youre not into spreadsheets just put pen to paper, list outgoings on one side and incoming on the other. As well as the rent/mortgage, credit card payments, auto loans, utilities, gas phone, cable etc dont forget to also estimate realistically for family gifts, holidays, and putting a bit aside for rainy days and pension savings. Maybe small charitable donation can be added to the outgoings list if you both want to.

If there is anything left, thats the fun money and you can decide then if you will share or split between you both. She may want to give all hers away but it doesnt sound like you do and its your right to do with your fun money as you please.

If there is more going out than coming in then YOU HAVE A PROBLEM, it should be your first priority to cut till it does balance. If you have credit card debt, auto loans or other loans apart from a mortgage then you should be clearing those first.

And get some backbone man, insist that no more be given away until you have both sat down and checked on paper that there is money in the household budget to donate. It may be tough but you are enabling her if you dont put your foot down.

Its not about you not being charitable, or whether she wants to babysit every waking moment, its about whether the figures add up and it sounds like they dont. It does seem like she is overcompensating and that can be addressed after you see if her habit is affordable. If by chance you find out you can afford it, then even though you are the earner and maybe dont approve, its not your call if its her fun money.
 

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She is putting others before you. I would suggest you go to counseling and maybe a counselor will help her see that her family should come first.
 

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How much time is your wife giving to your children?

Does she take your children to places that they should go to like to the playground, museums, and other cultural/educational things around town? Or is she giving most of her time to these other kids?

Your wife has a need to do thing for people to feel that she has value. Doing this for people who can pay is not really charity.
 

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Your wife has a need to do thing for people to feel that she has value. Doing this for people who can pay is not really charity.
These people are using her and therefore they've likely given her some sob story at some point either that or she volunteered.

Had a friend who when she was going through her nasty divorce claimed to not have money to buy food for her kids. She played on people's sympathy to get money and free services. And yet she had money to shop and buy cigarettes.

I'm so cynical. These people that continue to take advantage of your wife make me sick. If I were them and she was watching my kids I'd give the money to the husband if she wouldn't take it. And if he didn't take it I'd use the money to buy supplies. I'd find a way to make her take money but these people? Nope and that makes them users in my book.
 

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I think more of a mental stress; it is a financial issue that needs attention. I agree charity is good but it should always start from own house. She just cannot let the home money to be spent on neighbor children. Up to some extent, it may be acceptable but beyond a limit it becomes an obsession. Try exchanging you clear view with her that you are not against charity but your financial conditions do not allow to spend on such things. Ask her to charge reasonable from the able parents who are willing to pay for her care towards their children but remain charitable to parents who cannot afford to. This way, she can bring in some money for the family while fulfilling her desire to help society. If at all its about the time and attention you need from her, ask her up frontally, it’s your right. Whatever you do, remember to be polite and kind to her.Save My Marriage
 
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