A Good Talk...

So, I've just been doing my thing lately...  A lot of the nice, simple, thoughtful sort of stuff we've been talking about in other threads, that you non-ADHDers keep asking for.  I've been trying to focus less on making her happy, and more on doing them simply because they're good things to do and I can do them.

Anyway, in a lot of my recent posts I've complained about my wife's resistance.  She hasn't bothered to learn anything about ADHD, she doesn't want to talk about it at all, she withdraws, she picks fight over insignificant things, and so on.  But...

I think I may be seeing her starting to come around just a little bit.

Last Friday, the kids and I were talking about how we all had Monday off for Labor Day.  My daughter suggested that could we all go visit the zoo together on Monday.  She said it would be nice for the four (me, my wife and the two kids) of us to do something all together, because we haven't for a long time (not since DW moved into the spare bedroom).  Later, I relayed the idea to DW, but she said that a friend of hers from work had invited her (and the kids) to go to the Renaissance Faire (without me).  The kids could go with me to the zoo, or with her to the Ren Faire, I should let her know what I'd prefer.  She had completely missed my point...  that DD wanted to do something together as a family.

Right about then, it dawned on me...  In her way, DD had noticed that DW was excluding me from family outings that she planned and avoiding me in general.

Also, the previous night, DW had told me a story about how a co-worker was having trouble with one of the bosses...  The co-worker had a problem that she tried to talk to the boss about, but during the conversation they were both talking past each other and nothing was resolved (though the boss thought it was).  The co-worker ended up feeling like she wasn't being heard, and that there was no use trying to talk to the boss anymore.  DW acted as a mediator between the two, and helped them sort it out.

It irked me a little that she could deal so well with that sort of situation at work, but at home the same situation would often have her shouting and yelling.

So, I took a chance...

I waited until we had a little privacy to chat, and let her know that I was feeling like the co-worker from her story...  that we were talking past each other, and I wasn't getting heard.  I calmly and respectfully explained about DD's suggestion for the zoo, and that DD's beginning to notice how she's been acting.  I explained that it felt like she was excluding and avoiding me.  I asked if she was doing it on purpose, and if so why? She told me that yeah, she had been, kind of, because:

  1. When she moved to the spare room for space, we'd agreed that we'd both try to spend more time having fun independent of each other.
  2. She sometimes wants to just hang out at home as a family, but everyone's already scattered to the four winds doing their own thing.
  3. In the past, whenever she brought me along to hang out with her friends, I never looked like I was having fun and always ended up acting like kind of a jerk. (Sound familiar? Ha! ;) )

So, I explained:

  1. We did agree to that and both of us are...  But we also agreed to make sure we were still spending time with each other to rebuild our friendship, and also time all together as a family.
  2. She's been as guilty of that as the rest of us... playing video games or watching TV or reading a book alone by herself all night.  She'd could speak up about it! We can always break it up the solitary entertainments and pull everyone together for joint entertainment, if she lets the rest of know she's interested.
  3. I agreed that sometimes it might have looked that way, and (without mentioning ADHD directly) briefly described and explained some of the difficulties I've had with social situations, especially those that include crowds or boisterous environments...  how hard it is to keep up with conversations, how easy it is to say the wrong things at the wrong times, how mentally exhausting it can be to deal with the continuous distractions.  I explained that I'm not trying to be a jerk and that I'm not bored and that I do have fun, but I just occasionally need to step aside to take a break from the action.  I let her know that it was an area that I knew I wasn't terribly good at and needed to improve upon, but also reminded her that she hasn't given me much of a chance to not be a jerk around her friends since she moved to the spare room.

She listened and seemed to accept all that, and said that it was "something we can work toward moving forward."

That sounded fine to me.  I concluded by telling her that I think that I'm doing better...   but that I also appreciate her opinions on what I'm doing right and what I could improve on, because I don't always see it quite the same from my point of view.  I told her that I've been feeling better about myself, that I'm happier with myself, and I want to be able to share that with her.

I've had two or three texting conversations with her about something that was bothering one or the other of us, and they seemed to run along similar lines of respectful communication and understanding.  This was the first time (in a long time) that it happened in a face-to-face conversation. 

  • Neither of us got defensive.
  • Neither of us accused or blamed or nagged the other about anything.
  • Neither of us shouted or yelled.
  • Neither of us cried.
  • Neither of us walked out in frustration.
  • There was no disrespect or disdain.
  • There was no huffing or sighing or head-shaking or eye-rolling or otherwise melodramatic gesticulations.
  • We were both genuinely listening to what the other had to say.
  • In the end, we met in the middle and we were both good with it.

It went pretty well, I think...  I hope it continues.

 

Pb.

wish me luck!

Ok - so Kids are in bed, and I am going to launch into Phase One of the Trying to Get A Real Job project.....  Which means I am going to try to approach DH, and get him to talk to me.  He is simultaneously staring at his computer, phone and iPad, but that's what it's like every night, so.... I just have to try.  I'm going to ask him when - a specific time - we can talk about the list I made of goals plus steps I need to take to achieve such goals and the hours each step takes, and actually make a schedule together so we can minimize childcare/babysitting costs while I'm trying to find a job/working.

Congrats on your breakthrough PB.  And I hope you had fun at the zoo if you wound up going. 

Ok, here I go.....

Good luck!

Good luck!  I have to go take my meds now and get some work done FAST so I can go to bed. 

Hey, have you ever seen Samuel L. Jackson's Go the F--- to Sleep video on YouTube?  Hysterical.  As a mom to young kids, you would appreciate it.  But I'm not trying to distract you from the task.  Distracted by the utter lack of dopamine in my brain. 

Meds.  Yes, my precious...

ADHDMomof2

Pbartender's picture

Good Luck!

...Retroactively?

I hope it went well with your hubby.  Let us know how it went.

And we ended up compromising, in a way...  DD (fickle girl!) went to the Faire with DW, and I spent the day with DS at the zoo (he used some of his allowance money to treat me to tickets for one of the special exhibits).  Great fun was had by all.

Later, DW called while they were on their way home and asked if we all wanted to go see a movie together...  But it was too late to see the show everyone wanted to see and everyone was a bit worn out from hiking around all day, so we took a rain check.

 

Pb.

baby steps!

Hey, that sounds like a great start...

as for me, DH and I are in the process of making a schedule, so that i'm not swamped with housework and kids every minute I'm not at work.  So now I can actually have enough time to be prepared for my current jobs so I don't get fired and have some time to apply for MORE jobs.  YAY!

The best part so far:  He's agreed to spend a couple of hours a week taking the kids out so that I can have REAL time to myself to get something done (not just time when i'm hoping my 3 year old doesn't climb on me, hurt herself or make a huge mess while I'm writing cover letters etc...)

Time, Concentration, Prioritizing, Mayhem...

How the hell do you concentrate on cover letters when children are climbing on you?  Rhetorical question, naturally ;)...

That's great about your husband.  So many women I know complain about not getting time from their husbands. 

This is one way I'm lucky, actually.  My husband actually called his Mom so I could get a few hours today; not an unusual move for him...  He's very thoughtful that way.

So now I have to focus myself on cleaning and organizing.  I have taken too many rooms apart trying to get a Goodwill run in today.  Now I have to prioritize and put shit back together.  Why do I do this to myself?  I've started 5 projects today, all because I want less crap in my life.  Now crap is everywhere.  O.K.  Going to dial up Evernote (thank you, YYZ :)) and make a list... AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!  O.K.  Rant over.

ADHDMomof2

Pbartender's picture

Yesterday...

I was feeling pretty crummy with a cold or flu or something...  ended up taking two naps before noon.

I half woke up while my wife was getting ready to leave for work, and I overheard her organizing the kids to tidy up the house so I wouldn't have to and reminding them to have a quiet, low-key day, "because he's not feeling well and I want him to get some rest today".

It was a small thing, but it really made my day just to know that she was thinking of me and cared enough to make my sick-day a little better.  I made sure to thank her for it later.

 

Pb.

Pbartender's picture

Non-ADHDers: Prepping to talk about money...

All right, guys, help me get my game face on...  ;)

As I've mentioned before, we've almost never had been in big trouble with money.  We've always found enough to cover the bills, at least, and usually just a little bit extra to spare.  However, that little bit extra has never been very much...  We've got our debts and our bills, and often enough, we're squeaking by from week to week.

There have been times I've tried to make a concerted effort to pay off debts and get some breathing room...  And have gotten awfully close.  Unfortunately, bad luck with emergency expenses always seems to end up with us back at square one.  Plus, I've had a weakness for giving in to requests to buy or do "fun stuff", and to find a way (any way) to pay for it (credit cards, often enough).

For years, I've been paying the majority of the bills.  My wife covers our cell phone bill, her car payment and groceries.  I get everything else.

Last month, she got a promotion with a pretty big raise, and has been enjoying the extra money (I honestly can't blame her for that, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't just a little bit jealous).  The lab I work at, being funded by the Department of Energy, has been on a pay freeze for the last two years and we won't get a raise this year, either.

Since she moved into the spare room, she's been encouraging me to go out and find some friends that I can spend time with independent of her, and to get back into some hobbies on my own.  That's not a bad idea.  I think it would really help decodependentify our relationship, and I've been doing what I can in that regard, but...  Between no raises, generally increased expenses and a few minor emergencies, I'm tapped out financially with the bills, and can barely find enough money to put gas in my car and pay for school lunches for the kids this fall.  I simply don't have any money left for hobbies or hanging out with friends or any of the numerous household projects I'd like to get done.  My daughter's birthday is coming up in a few weeks and I can't even afford to buy her a present.

I'd like to broach the subject of coming up with a new game plan for sharing the bills and dividing up what's left over for "fun money".  But the last few times I approached her to talk about our budget, she kind of shut me down and turned me away.

Do you guys have any thoughts on increasing my chances of success for getting the discussion started and getting her to chip in with the bills a little more?

 

Pb.

How to have the conversation?

How to have the conversation?  I don't know.  Whether to have it?  Definitely!  You're getting ripped off (I think).

Here is what I proposed to my husband, who is the spouse with ADHD, because of my fears and concerns regarding his lack of financial responsibility and his inability to plan:  We split almost all family bills in half.  I physically pay most of them and then ask him for reimbursement.  If I owe him, then I give him reimbursement.  We split in half the following bills:  utilities; cable (includes Internet); expenses for our daughters; property taxes; car and home insurance; health insurance.  My husband pays the entire cellphone bill.  I don't have a cellphone and I was opposed to his plan to buy a Cadillac plan and phones for himself and our daughters.  I have a landline, for which I pay the entire bill.  Neither of us spends much on ourselves.  

Money is difficult for many people.  But go for it!

 

 

Pbartender's picture

Stage Fright?

I'm definitely going to have the conversation.  I'm just worried about all the things that could go wrong (that HAVE gone wrong in the past)...  She could dodge and avoid the discussion altogether before it even happens.  She could agree to talk just to humor me, but refuse to agree to any sort of compromise.  She could defensive.  She could distract me and put me on the defensive by shifting blame (for whatever) toward me.  She could distract me and put me on the defensive by dredging up past financial plans that didn't work out quite as expected.  So on and so on...  I'm going a little nuts with all the ways this could blow up in my face.

I need to be able to stay calm while I discuss it.  I need to encourage her to negotiate.  I need to be able to show her why the current situation is not just unfair, but also detrimental to the family as a whole.  I need to be able to show her that without her thinking that I'm blaming her, or jealous of her promotion/raise, or "whining" about not having enough money.  I need to be able to stay on track with the goal of the discussion, without being distracted by emotional sidetracks.

So, let me ask you this...

Would it be too silly or corny to go at this sort of like a business presentation?  Would something like a PowerPoint presentation with charts and graphs and bullet points and such be too much?  It would certainly help me to remember everything I want to talk about and keep me on track, but I'm not sure if the novelty of it would help diffuse any possible tension or if it would hurt my credibility.

 

Pb.

I would hate a PowerPoint but

I would hate a PowerPoint but I wouldn't mind seeing things written down, if my husband were "presenting" to me.

Pbartender's picture

I thought it might be too much...

...but have always been a sucker for novel theatricality.

So, doing a full-blown presentation with a suit and a tie and a projector and a pointer and PowerPoint and an easel with charts would be over-doing it?  ;)

Fair enough.

But...  If I had notes to show her, either printed out or on computer files, with numbers worked out to back up a list of reasons to rework the budget and some possible plans of action, that would probably work.

 

Pb.

PB the whole idea sounds exciting to me

And that could be because my husband and I have different issues than you and your wife, so take this with a grain of salt, or pepper, or whatever :)

But one of the issues I have is getting my husband involved and excited about things.  He will sit down and talk about the budget, but he hates it and is visibly wanting it to be over.  The reality of there isn't money to just do whatever you'd like to do with it has been hard for him to swallow, and he makes decent money.

If my husband came to me with a chart and a genuine desire to discuss the budget and work things out the best for us both, oh my goodness........I'd swoon in joy LOL

The only thing that would make this a negative experience for me (and keep in mind I do all the money in our family and am the one responsible for not only our personal books but the business too not only because I am better at it but also by default because he just insists he can't do it) would be for him to come to me with an attitude of "I have discovered that you have the budget set up to your benefit and my detriment".......that would get him a swift kick in the pants!

If he genuinely had considered the idea and had a way for everything to work better for us both (we don't have kids but I'd say in your wife's case you have to show a real benefit for the entire family), I'd be so thrilled he was participating.  It sounds like you participate anyway, so you aren't going to get the gold star just for showing up with an idea.  I'd be very VERY careful not to make it look or seem to her like you are saying any version of 'you have worked hard and gotten a nice raise and because of that I feel like I should benefit in the following ways....'

I know you don't mean anything of the sort, PB, But I am saying be very very careful that nothing could be taken that way either.  Make sure to make it about the family and benefiting everyone including benefitting your relationship by being able to do some fun things outside of the house that may not be options as the money split stands now.

There is definitely a feeling among nonADD mates who are deep in anger and frustration that in our marriages it is all ADD all the time (which by extension means it is all about the ADD MATE all the time) and we are just allowed to live in your world.  When you come out of that place, it is easier to see the reality better, but right now your wife isn't sure where she comes down, so make  VERY sure you don't make it look like you need her to benefit you and only you.

I agree with what you are doing btw, and I think there needs to be a more equitable arrangement in your family...........just be careful about the delivery!

Pbartender's picture

"It sounds like you

"It sounds like you participate anyway, so you aren't going to get the gold star just for showing up with an idea."

If anything, I come up with too many ideas.  As I mentioned in another thread, I'm a fixer.  I come up with lots of ideas (and many of them are rather unconventional) to make stuff work better, and try to choose the best one.  It doesn't always work quite as planned...  When it doesn't, I take another look at what went wrong, adjust the plan and keep trying again until I find something that works.  I think DW often sees this simply as a series of failures, rather than a learning progression toward success.  Most often, when I come to her with an idea, her response is something along the lines of, "That's a stupid idea.  Don't."  Well, maybe not those exact words, but that's what it sounds like.

"The only thing that would make this a negative experience for me (and keep in mind I do all the money in our family and am the one responsible for not only our personal books but the business too not only because I am better at it but also by default because he just insists he can't do it) would be for him to come to me with an attitude of "I have discovered that you have the budget set up to your benefit and my detriment".......that would get him a swift kick in the pants!"

"I'd be very VERY careful not to make it look or seem to her like you are saying any version of 'you have worked hard and gotten a nice raise and because of that I feel like I should benefit in the following ways....' I know you don't mean anything of the sort, PB, But I am saying be very very careful that nothing could be taken that way either."

Absolutely...  that's exactly why I'm asking for advice about this.  Because, to be honest, while I don't mean anything of the sort, it sometimes does feel that way just a little bit.  My trouble is that no matter how I look at it, it feels either like I'm being jealous ("You've got more spare money than I do!") or whiny ("I'm paying more bills than you!").

How do I ask her to contribute more, now that she can, without sounding like a jerk?

"When you come out of that place, it is easier to see the reality better, but right now your wife isn't sure where she comes down, so make  VERY sure you don't make it look like you need her to benefit you and only you."

I'm trying to look at it from the "(Regardless of how we feel about each other and how things turn out in the end...) We all live together as a family in the same house, and we all need to help out to make things work," angle.  We've used variations of it before with regards to the kids and their chores, and it'd be a sentiment she'd relate to, I think.

I need to think about my approach, a little bit here...  but thanks, guys.  This is some good advice, so far.

 

Pb.

I'm with Aspen!

I'd be all for my DH doing a formal pitch!  Are you kidding? PowerPoint presentation + charts + graphs + suit & tie (x Ellamenno's nerd fetish) = instant happiness.  But... I am the ADD spouse, so I guess that's typical 'brightly colored shiny objects' for me.  And I'm terrible with finances and I'd LOVE to get a clue. 

I have NO idea how you should approach your DW other than very, very carefully and definitely lead with something family related, as Aspen said.

Speaking of broaching conversations with nonADD spouses, I've got a schedule somewhat worked out with DH - there are many, many things that are not there yet that should be - but it's coming together.  When I got home from work tonight the kids were in bed and he'd cleaned up the kitchen.  This is HUGE.  it is a FIRST.  Normally, if i've got to work and he's got the kids from after school time until bedtime I'll come home to a mess on the stove and plates still on the dinner table.  I'd always felt like he resented me when he'd have to watch the kids.  It seemed like he felt I wasn't earning enough, so he'd leave the clean up  for me since it's 'my job.'  

Anyway, good luck and keep us posted!

Pbartender's picture

Number Crunching...

Okay, *grumble-grumble*...

The kids were running low on lunch tickets (and my car is practically out of gas) and unless I decided to pay one or more bills late this week, I didn't have the money to buy more.  I asked DW for help with the lunches.  She grudgingly bought them a week's worth...  but then complained about not having enough money to go to a rummage sale with DD (they went anyway) and told a friend that she wasn't sure if they could go out for a lunch date (she went anyway) because I "dropped the ball on the kids' lunch tickets".

So, I ran the numbers.  Without posting the actual numbers***, here's what I found...

I am responsible for about 72% of the family expenses, and she's responsible for about 28%.

Before her promotion, this was mostly fair:  I was making about 70% of the family income, and she was making about 30%.  I had about 2% of my personal income left after bills, and she had about 12% of hers.

After the promotion, less so: Now, I'm making about 57% of the family income, and she's making about 43%.  I still have only 2% of my personal income left after bills, but now she has about 49% of hers...  Dollar-wise, she has nearly 20 times the "fun money" I do every month.

But, the real point is that what I've got left is so small, that I effectively have no margin for error.  This summer, I had to save up for three months to pay for the kids' school registration, fixing the toilet fiasco put me more than two months behind, and there were at least two months where the electric bill went over budget...  I have a grand total of $22 to spend on school lunches and gas money until the end of October.

Anyway, perhaps this can be the excuse I need to open the conversation...  "I know you were frustrated about the school lunches last Friday, but I could use a little more help from you with the family budget.  Let me show you why..."

***Granted, I don't know exact numbers for her income or some of her bills, but I made educated guesses and tried to guess high on her bills and low on her income, to give her the benefit of the doubt.

 

Pb.

In my book, Pb, family (i.e.,

In my book, Pb, family (i.e., children's) expenses always come first.  That means that neither spouse should have any fun money until all the expenses for the children are fully and fairly funded.  (Sorry about all those "f" words!)  (Just to confirm, the children are not your wife's stepchildren, are they?  Not that this would necessarily make a difference, but if there was an ex-spouse involved, it probably would make a difference.)

This is where my brain goes *snap*crackle*pop

You don't know what your wife's expenses are......that is bad.  You don't know what your wife's income in.........that is horrible.  Is is possible that she has credit cards or other expenses that you are completely unaware of?

I know other couples do it differently, but I don't see how you can be on the same page as far as moving together in a committed relationship toward shared goals (you do have these right?!?! ) when you don't have agreement on money.  What you spend on money is showing where your current priority is in your family and serves as a fairly good gauge in hindsight on how you are doing in working toward your goals in my opinion.  When we have gone over budget, I have to look at the expenses and say "well here is the problem-- we went out to eat 12 times this month". 

Now since that wasn't in accord with what the joint goals we agreed on in the budget for the month are, we have to figure out where we dropped the ball and why.  Clearly at the moment of decision of whether or not to eat out, we decided to prioritize it higher than was represented in the budget, but it is the discussing of our joint budget (before the month begins and a review after the month ends) that keeps us on track goal wise.

In our case a raise or extra work on either part of us goes into the joint budget to be analyzed.......if it is extra work and we don't have other unexpected expenses, the extra money goes to the one doing the extra work to do with as they choose.  We each have "fun money" that we receive, and it is pretty much the same amt for each that comes automatically and we do financial rewards for meeting other goals (because they seem to help hubby most....frankly I don't care that much.)  Neither of us would ever consider getting extra money from a job and keeping it to ourselves especially if there was a family expense that was struggling to get paid.

Now I do have some friends who keep their money separate and just each pay certain bills out of their checks.......I have to admit that I do not get it and would never be happy living in that situation, BUT it does seem to work for them.  In their cases you pay according to the percentage of income that you bring in.....so if you make 47% of the income that is roughly the % of expenses you would take care of.  If you can't agree on an expense category, for example I want to spend 100 on entertainment and you want to spend 200, that is resolved in the initial discussion of "what are all our expenses?" before they get carved up.  After all expenses are paid, the rest becomes savings and/or fun money; but the only time I have seen one of my friends angry about money was when she was diligently saving her extra and her hubby was diligently spending his, and then coming to her to ask her to pay for new tires because his vehicle wasn't safe, and she later found out that right after she agreed, he spent an equivalent amount of money on some toy/sound system/whatever for himself.

He just knew she was saving well and manipulated her into letting him have his cake and eat it too (ie maintain his vehicle and he still gets toys--about all she did was roll her eyes at him, but I'd have taken some serious action there )  I think their main issue seems to be that they each are working on solo goals with their extra money which keeps their lives from really being fully on the same page in my opinion, but they like it, and they are the only ones that have to.

If your wife has 20 times the fun money you have and is complaining about paying lunches for her children because it might mean she can't go to a yard sale?!?!?  I wouldn't wait even one more day to have that conversation.......I think the way you posted above about starting it sounds good!

 

Pbartender's picture

"Now I do have some friends

"Now I do have some friends who keep their money separate and just each pay certain bills out of their checks.......I have to admit that I do not get it and would never be happy living in that situation, BUT it does seem to work for them."

I hate it.  It bugs the hell out of me.  There's the perception of "her money" and "my money" (or rather, "her money" and "our money...), when we should be looking at all of it as "our money", first.

"In their cases you pay according to the percentage of income that you bring in.....so if you make 47% of the income that is roughly the % of expenses you would take care of."

Which is why I hadn't complained about it before...  I didn't like the system, but it was fair enough.

"After all expenses are paid, the rest becomes savings and/or fun money..."

Which is, essentially, what I'd like to do... 

Right now, we've got a joint checking account that my check goes into and from which I pay the bills.  She's got her own checking account that her check goes into, and a savings account that's perpetually empty.

Ideally, we'd each contribute a fair amount into the joint account (with a little extra for emergencies and savings), which one of us would have responsibility for, and all the bills get paid from there.  What's left would get divided up between the two of us for each of us to spend as we like...  It wouldn't even require much change.  I'd need to get my own account, and she'd need to transfer a set amount to the joint account every week.

Thanks again, guys.

 

Pb.

Pbartender's picture

What can I do if she refuses?

She was working late yesterday, so I didn't get a chance to bring it up yet.  But something else occurred to me this morning...

What if she refuses to help out?  I can't exactly make her pay a bigger share of the bills, if she decides not to. 

I can't just stop paying the bills...  that'd be throwing out the baby with the bath water, and would hurt me and the kids as much as her.

I could stop paying the bills that I pay that belong to her alone. -- her student loan, her auto insurance, etc.  But in comparison to the shared "family" bills -- the mortgage, utilities, etc. -- they don't add up to a whole lot.

I could tell her to move out, but the house is in both our names.  And likewise, how would I make her go, if she refuses to?

I'm very reluctant to leave myself (though, it would save me a TON of money if I did, and it would FORCE her to pay ALL the bills herself)...  I can't imagine moving away from the kids.  Secondarily, my mother gave us the down payment for the house, and I've invested a lot of time and money into it since we moved in.

 

Pb.

slow down....

Nobody's moving right now....  You're catastrophizing a little here, my friend... I should know:  I do it every day!

No you can't MAKE her do anything, but you need to have this talk and show her the numbers and just calmly explain that the kids come first.  What can she possibly say if it's right there on paper?  No, you don't know what her expenses are, but whatever they are they don't come before the kids, and if you're tapped out because of all the extra stuff, she needs to know that.

I know some people who have separate money, too and it seems like a lot of extra work (& bank fees for extra accounts).

Also, if my husband told his friend - within earshot of me - that I had 'dropped the ball' on something, I would call him out.  Especially if I had NOT in fact dropped anything, but more importantly, I would let him know he'd hurt my feelings and that he CANNOT speak that way about me right under my nose.  Jeez, LOUISE!!!

fingers crossed, PB.  Let us know how it goes!

Pbartender's picture

"Hope for the best, but plan for the worst..."

Maybe a very little catastrophizing, but...  I'm am terribly out of practice at respectfully sticking up for myself in these sorts of situations.  I've been always "wrong" for so long, and focused on trying to make her happy for so long, that I need practice and I need to plan ahead.

Otherwise, if something like this DOES happen (and I know her track record on this...  the chances of her being belligerently defensive and obstructionist are not zero) and things start going wrong, I'll be more likely to react badly without at least an idea of how I want to respond (I know my track record on this, too).

No, nobody's moving out.  What I'm trying to figure out is:  Do I have any "firepower" with which to enforce a compromise, if she decides to not play along?  Or am I at her mercy, melodramatically speaking?

In other news:

After the lunch tickets and the rummage sale and lunch with her friend...  This morning, on my way out the door to work, she asked me if I had $5 she could borrow, because she had less gas in her car than she thought.  I was completely taken aback.  I actually had to stop and take a deep breath or two to keep from going off half-cocked...

"Sorry, no.  Of course I don't.   I've got all of 66 cents until this Friday...  and that includes the change in my pocket.  I spent my last five dollars so I'd have enough gas to get to work this morning.  If I had enough to loan you five dollars, I wouldn't have had to ask you for help with the kids' lunch tickets."  I had to leave then, before I started saying something truly mean, which wouldn't have helped anything.

 

Pb.

I think the "other news" is

I think the "other news" is THE news.  It sounds as though your wife just doesn't have enough information about your family's finances.  I understand your concern about her blowing up, but I think you need to present her with complete information about what things cost and how much you make ASAP.

Pbartender's picture

I absolutely agree... I'm not

I absolutely agree...

I'm not sure she really has enough information about her own finances, even.  It sometimes seems like her financial acumen is like an ADHDer's sense of time...  She has money or no-money, with little real concept of how much she (or I) actually has available or how the cost of things affect that availability.  It certainly bolsters my sense of indignation. 

My "concern about her blowing up" is simply an old, unreasoning fear based on past experience.  Like much of what we all do here, I need to work through, and it'll take time to unlearn it...  Right now, I'd just rather not have this discussion in front of the kids, and finding time where DW and I are both available and both the kids are otherwise occupied is tricky.

 

Pb.

I agree with you about your

I agree with you about your wife's sense of money.  In our family, I (the nonADHD spouse) have a very good awareness of our finances.  I check the family bank accounts every day, I get daily email messages about the balance on my credit card, and I have imprinted in my memory the prices or costs of a lot of things (how much our cable/Internet bill is, what cereal costs, things like that).  My ADHD husband, not so much.  He gets paid in cash by his dad, for whom he does caregiving work, and he has had a tendency to walk around for weeks with hundreds of dollars in his billfold, even though, obviously, the bills can't get paid from his wallet.

What about a FAMILY financial meeting?

One thing that I think is really lacking in our education system today is personal finance education.  Kids go to college with no knowledge of how to budget for anything, get credit cards, feel like it's 'free money' and get bailed out by their parents and STILL don't understand....

It seems your DW has no idea what the family expenses are, what the budget is, or who pays what....  Since your kids are teens, perhaps it wouldn't be a bad idea to get EVERYBODY together for a look at pie charts & colorful graphs?  That way you don't have to find a time when the kids are occupied and you two are alone.

When I was growing up the etiquette was that nobody talks about money - not even with your parents.  I had no idea how much money my father earned.  My mom stayed home with us, but never went back to work.  We were told it was rude to talk about money.  But I think it's really important to learn about 'the value of a dollar' as they say and the need to save and be careful with money.  Getting an allowance and learning to save up for something and finding out exactly how long it would take to do so and deciding whether or not in the end it's actually worth it.... 

Pbartender's picture

That's a great idea...  I'll

That's a great idea...  I'll have to stick it on the list.  I'm just thinking it might be a better idea to have DW and I on the same page, before we start including the kids.

EDIT: Just noticed that about a $100 of new groceries appeared in the fridge sometime today.   Wait...  What?   Urgh.

 

Pb.

ummmm.....

Ok, I think you really need to have this conversation soon!

 

Pbartender's picture

A Preliminary, but Limited Success...

In the midst of a conversation about something else, I saw an opportunity to sort of sneak into the money talk the other day.  It kind of happened on it's own, and while the results maybe weren't quite what I'd hoped for, it certainly went better than I'd expected.  Here's how it went down:

Earlier, I had been checking up on the website of a nearby comedy club (they have pretty good second-string comics, and have a free admission "good neighbor" night for locals every Thursday), and noticed that a fairly famous comedian was going to be performing there for one night in November.  While chatting with DW, I'd mentioned it simply as a point of interesting "news" I'd run across.

She said that she wasn't interested in seeing him -- not her favorite style of comedy -- but that I should go if I wanted to.  I agreed that it might be fun, but they aren't accepting discounts or passes for his performance and I likely wouldn't have the spare money for tickets and the two drink minimum.  She suggested that she could fund it for me as an "early Christmas present".

Now, I think this particular comedian is funny and it would be fun to see him live, but I'm not a exceptionally big fan and I don't need to see him...  certainly not enough to get tickets to his show for a Christmas present.  At any rate, I told her not to worry about it too much, there's other things and activities I'd rather spend the money on anyway.  I mentioned a few other fun things that I want to do that I've already got planned, but that I'm more interested and fit my current budget (or lack thereof) better.  I talked a little about how I've got a whole list of around-the-house projects and repairs that I'd like to finish, but can't because my budget's so tight with the bills.  I mentioned a few specific things from my To-Do list (some that she's been wanting me to do for a long time), and what they'd cost (most of them, not much) to do.  I told her that if she had money to spare for them, I'm ready, willing and able to get them done, and let it go at that for now.

She didn't say no.  She did, however say that she's got DD's birthday to fund this week, and after that she's got the beef to pay for (we buy a side of beef from a 4H kid we know every year), and after that she's got to start thinking about Christmas presents.  (Oh boy!  She gets to buy birthday and Christmas presents, while I get to buy toilet flanges and replacement door screens!  Yay for me!)

Well, I didn't trot out the numbers yet, but the idea's in her head and she knows my situation.  It's a step in the right direction, and it's another talk that didn't devolve into bickering.  I'd call it a limited success.

I think I'll give it a week or two to percolate, until after the beef gets delivered and paid for, and then pull out the budget numbers.

More Later...

 

Pb.