Spouses of inventors & hard workers in general

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by strantor, Nov 10, 2011.

  1. strantor

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
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    I am putting a personal issue out here in hopes that some of you older and wiser fellows can give this young buck some advice. I know with all the like minds out here, there has to be somebody who can relate and "been there, done that". so, here it goes:

    (I'm 26, my wife is 21, we have 1 kid and one more on the way)

    I watched a documentary about Edison a while back and I can't stop thinking about what they said about his first wife: "She was young, immature, and ill equipped to be the wife of one of the world's most famous inventors".

    I would never be so vain as to compare myself to Edison, but I do fancy myself as being an "inventor" - more accurately a "tinkerer" at the moment (since I haven't actually invented anything marketable) - but I don't really like that term. I work about 60hrs/week and when I'm not at work, my wife expects me to be spending my time with her; which is understandable, that's what husbands are supposed to do. I can tell (though she won't say it) that in her mind she thinks that anything I do in the garage or on the computer, related to any project of mine, is just to get a "break" from her. She is semi-understanding, and does tolerate a little bit of time spent on my projects; I have found through trial and error that about an hour per day is the unspoken time limit I have, until she starts putting on the pouty face. This is simply not enough time for me. I'm scatterbrained & by the time I get my thoughts in order and caught up from where I left off, my time is almost up.

    See, when I am doing a project, I am learning; I am building skills that I hope one day will pay the bills. I feel I'm trying desperately to pull myself out of slave labor. I fancy that one day I will design something in my garage that will let me give my family a better life. I tried explaining this to her a couple of months ago, and the unintended result was that she drew the conclusion that "She is holding me back from accomplishing my goals and killing my aspiration and it would be better if she just went away."

    I tried getting her involved in my projects, teaching her what I know about electronics & mechanics, but she has absolutely no interest in it, and has declined every offer.

    I have tried ignoring her "unspoken time limit" and found that its more trouble than its worth. The amount of time I have to spend making up for it is more than the amount of time I spent on my project in the first place.

    I would like to go to college and get an engineering degree, but that would require me to reduce my work load, and then I couldn't pay the bills. My wife has no marketable skills, so if she went to work (after the baby is born), the minimum wage job that she would most likey land would barely pay for daycare, so pretty pointless.

    I would like to send her to college, so we can get a 2nd decent income in the house, allowing me to slow down and go to college, but then we go back to the day care thing, +tuition.

    It seems I have to choose between being a good father/husband and struggling my whole life, working until I die, and always feeling that "I could have done better in life" - or - being a father/husband who's never around, apparently loves work (and the garage) more than home/family and lives a more comfortable life.

    So, what's the solution? How can I live a fulfilling life and still make time for my family? Am I being selfish? Am I being a jackass? Please, say whatever is on your mind (really, anything); I won't hold any grudges(promise).
     
  2. strantor

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
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    oops, mods, please move this to off-topic :)
    sorry
     
  3. nerdegutta

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    Dec 15, 2009
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    Congrats!

    I've been in kind of the same situation. Wanted to start my own business, while having a full time job.

    It went well for a time then she started to dislike it. Spending too much time in the office, even she saw the income. Then we made an agreement. After dinner, I spent time with her and the kids, then when the kids had gone to bed, I could go to my office. This worked for quite a long time, but then she wanted too see more of me, so I stared at my homebusiness at 04:00, worked a few hours, went to my daytime job, and back home, had dinner, played with the kids. Put the kids to bed, spent an hour with her and went to my office. I lasted for about a year. Then I had to much sleep to catch up, and now I go to bed at 22:00, no matter what!

    I think you need to be patient and in dialog with the wife, especially during her pregnancy. Some of them are fragile during that time.

    Make agreement with her that, for example, Sunday, you are all hers. There are too many single mams and dads out there...
     
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  4. MrChips

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    Oct 2, 2009
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    Man, that's quite a load! The sad part is that you & your wife are not unique in this situation. There are many others like you. I have so much to say but I don't know where to begin. It is sad that you say that she has no marketable skills. Think of all she does for you and your kid. No, you are not a jackass or selfish. You have ambition and you want to be a good provider for your family. I gathered that you were working very hard with all the bills to pay. But that is the problem with "the American Dream". It is becoming increasingly more difficult for young families to live that dream. We all like to fancy that one day we will invent something that will make us rich. Know what, that rarely ever happens. The only advice I can provide at this point is cut back on your working hours, cut back on your spending. Try spending less and live more simply. The most precious thing that you have is your wife and family. Life goes by so quickly. You do not want to grow old and then one day regret that you didn't spend more time with your family. Do simple things that do not require money. Money is an illusion.
     
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  5. Wendy

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    Mar 24, 2008
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    I think I understand, but I am not married so my opinion truly is worthless.

    Here is is anyhow...

    Unless she either expresses an interest or has a skill set that you need I wouldn't bother.

    I would make her the occasional knick knack though, to show your affection (and incidently justify your eccentricies). Might give you the slack you need when you need it. Your daughter also counts in this.

    Wifes have endured their husbands hobbies and passions for generations. I don't see that changing.

    If you do feel you have an invention worth persuing then communicate!

    BTW, I took you up on your opinion this thread needed moved.
     
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  6. sni9er

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    Oct 21, 2011
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    I'm certainly no sage, on the advice front, nor do i have years of experiance, but I can sure relate to your Situation

    like you i work a-lot of hours in a week, to pay the bills, including 2 sideline jobs that consume some home-life time

    she too is fustrated when i spend hours on my PC researching, coding or as she would see it genrally "dicking around" some of this has resulted in some minor but fruitful work

    I am still struggeling to keep the balence, what is currently working for me is to focus on a project for a block of time, say a week of my spare time (still making sure we have meals together and at least 1 day that is entirely work free)

    then the alternating weeks I step away from my projects and spend the evenings with her. (it actually helps me focus more on my projects when i return to them)

    its certainly not a hard-fast alternative, as some projects are time-critical this on occasion goes out of the window

    for the most part it helps me cope, weather she feels the same is another mater entirely haha !

    You are not alone !

    good luck, you are a true hero to be a father working and aspiring !... its inspiring :p
     
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  7. THE_RB

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 11, 2008
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    I'll throw in my 2 cents;

    You are young. Given a choice of raising your skills now, and having a full lifetime of mugh higher income, or the alternative of spending your long full life in minimum income and then raising your skills later... Well I don't think there is much choice.

    Even when I was in a low paying job in the early 1980's I spent my spare time learning specialist skills outside work, how to design things, how to fix things, how to sell things.

    You don't necessarily need formal training to raise your pay grade, but you do need to spend time outside work becoming higher skilled, preferably in skills where you can make money. Uni is one way, night courses are another, but these days you have the internet for free and can learn anything you want in a much more efficienct fashion, ie "sniper" learning rather than the outdated "shotgun" learning taught in Unis where they cover a heap of stuff you don't need.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2011
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  8. elec_mech

    Senior Member

    Nov 12, 2008
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    You get a whole guilt-free hour of tinkering a night?! :eek: You my friend are lucky . . .

    Hmm, that is a tough situation. Family is first, so you've got to keep them happy which will be tough at times. I'd say an hour of tinkering a night is great, so keep that in mind. Depending on how soon you want to get a degree, it will take a lot of time off your schedule, especially while working full-time. Given your current number of work hours, kiss tinkering time and a lot of sleep goodbye, or just skip sleep althogether. Someone told me Edision got by with only a few hours sleep a night, so there is hoping. I'm not telling you to give up tinkering or learning outside of school and work, but I've done the work full time/attend college/be good husband thing for a couple of years before our child was born and that was tough.

    Can your spouse do something from home to bring in income so you can work less and focus on a degree? Mary Kay, Pampered Chef, Tubberware, etc.? Some women can turn that into 5-6 figure income in a matter of years. All depends on her interest and dedication.

    In a perfect world, you could start working on your degree now while your kids are infants and won't miss you too much, get your degree in a few years, then bring them to your shop to learn and play - allowing you to tinker and your wife to get a break from the kids, making you look like a hero. At least, that's my theory. I bring my nearly 2-year-old to play in my shop when I'm alone with him or my wife needs a break and he has a blast. Little harder to concentrate, but worth it for the tinker time.
     
  9. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    Communication is the most important. You must negotiate with her, often. I'm sure she can understand that it's all a balancing act, but females give more credit to emotions than men do. Finding the balancing point is difficult, and it will change over time, so the negotiations will be repeated regularly. My instinct is to agree on certain days that you do not work on anything except your marriage. Still, she will have emotions about that. You will be in an endless loop of trying to do the right things, say the right things, and still get some work done. That is the price of marriage.

    Sometimes I say to myself, "Donald Trump and Paul McCartney couldn't keep a woman satisfied, and I am so much less than they are!" That's a very dismal attitude, but it demonstrates that these difficulties affect everyone. I've seen marriages fall apart because the wonderful, kind hearted, attentive husband couldn't figure out that employers expect you to arrive at work on every work day, and on time! Then another where the husband was an excellent worker but he thought that being a good provider was the largest part of being married. Too much work, too little work, both are "fails". It's all in finding the balance. The balance point will change regularly. Communicate!
     
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  10. MrChips

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  11. Georacer

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    Nov 25, 2009
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    Okay, I guess I could give my input too, from the child's perspective.

    While growing up, my father used to work for a pharmaceutical company, in the production line. Pretty standard, 8 to 4 work. When he came home he had time to play with me. My mother is a teacher, so after 2 she was always at home.

    As the years past by, my father got higher and higher in the hierarchy of the corporations he worked for. When my sister was born he wasn't home until 6. By now, he may even come back at 7 or 8 or 9 and has some short business trips.

    Where does that leave my mother? Well, doing household and raising two kids. The father figure is always around, but not for the everyday grindwork.

    Does that mean that my mother has drawn the short straw? Not at all. My parents being a couple of realists, understood that if they wanted to provide me and my sister the best they could, they should have to sacrifice some of their time together and split the workload. So my father takes care of the family income while my mother looks after the everyday issues and household management. Does one of them work more? Hardly, I 'd say. While my father is absent more hours, my mother does the work of a full time housekeeper. I wouldn't look down on that. I 'd say they both work equally hard for the family.

    Do they need more time together? Perhaps, perhaps not. They are married for 25 years now. They being together might not be granted, but it definitely is second nature by now. That means they know they have each other, even if they see each other a few hours a day.

    Strantor, there is not a golden recipe here. I know families with half of what we spend living happily with less. Would they want more money? Sure. Are they willing to sacrifice their current status quo to get it? No.

    In the end it's about what deal you will strike with your partner. My folks have a (silent) agreement that regulates their everyday life and are happy with it. It's a pain to make it, especially if you don't know your other half as good as you think. Can you come to the same agreement with your spouse? The only thing I can say here, is that the best salesman is the persistent and pleasant one.
     
  12. nsaspook

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    Aug 27, 2009
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    Married 25+ years, the secret? Not spending too much time together with everyday mundane chores, having a man cave retreat , good work/hunting/fishing/drinking buddies and clear budget/financial goals. Being exhausted after raising 4 kids helps too.
     
  13. strantor

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
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    I didn't mean to take away from anything that she does; its just that she only has a high school level education and her english is a bit lacking. Statistically, people in that situation don't land high paying jobs
    I know, it sucks these days. My grandfather was able to support his family with a nice house and a car, starting work at a cement plant before he ever graduated high school. I'm renting because I can't get a home loan and I'm driving a loaner from my mother.
    I don't really dream about striking it rich. When I envision my ideal family/work life, I'm working at home, in a little shop outside the house, together with my wife and kids, maybe creating/assembling things and selling them online. Just a little family-run business. That would give me the best of both worlds.
    Thanks MrChips, thats good stuff. I have already sought to eliminate as much expense as possible, but I think the financial situation could stand to be taken back to square 1. I think I can ditch the cable and cell phones, and ride a bike to work. That would probably save me 300$/month or more!

    Yeah thats pretty much the way I see it. Its a race between learning something of value and getting to old for it to make a difference. I will see if the money I can save per month will allow me to take some classes.

    man, you get less than an hour? :eek: lol, The hour is only there when it's there; I don't get that every day! Most days there's something else I have to do and I dont tinker at all. I should have said "an hour in one day" instead of "an hour per day". Thats a good idea about the mary kay/et. al. I think she would love that. She doesn't have any friends though, and I think that usually starts with selling to friends. I will look into it.

    clear budget/financial goals = :mad:. I know I really need to get on top of the finances, but seems like money talk = fight. gonna have to bite the bullett on this one though.

    So you're saying less time with the wife= better? I don't see how I could make that work, at least not now. maybe in a few years.
     
  14. nsaspook

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    What I mean is less time in each others personal space, like not just hanging around when typical household things are being done. Spontaneity and excitement in long term relationships gets harder and harder so save it for when you both are doing something you like. One other thing, find a nemesis for your wife to blame things on other than you. Have a friend that 'forces' you to do the things your wife is annoyed by.

    And always remember the primary rule: You will never win, so say yes and do what has be done anyway.
    "It's easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to get permission"
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grace_Hopper#Notable_quotation
     
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  15. Georacer

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    Nov 25, 2009
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    That, I don't entirely agree with. I 've tried to play that card for a while now, and I 've noticed that if the opposite person will put two plus two, they will eventually find that they are BSed and be really pissed. And the bad thing is that if you then try to say "Yes, ok, I 'm sorry", guess what will happen.

    So, yes, it is a viable addition to personal relationships arsenal, just don't overuse it. Pick up a fight now and then (not now and then next weekend) to stir things up and change the tune. Something mild and not too memorable.

    Another good stance is to pose always as someone who has a plan. You don't need to disclose every detail of it, just play like you have things figured out. People tend to admire someone with a plan.

    I know that sounds very cold and manipulative, but hey, you came for answers. Remember what god said to Jim Carrey: You can't make others love you.


    Oh, and of course, I might be out of my mind and tell you absolutely useless things that will make your life miserable. Don't hold me to my word. It works for me, but I don't know what good it will do for you.
     
  16. nsaspook

    AAC Fanatic!

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    You're right, the battle override switch should not be abused for trivial things.

    Standard disclamer:
    Take the advice with caution because "Everything I know about relationships I learned from the Flintstones"
     
  17. justtrying

    Active Member

    Mar 9, 2011
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    Do not give up on explaining what it is that you are trying to achieve to here. It is too bad that she is not excited about electronics, but not everyone is. Maybe consider moving computer to the garage as well so that you have a completely isolated work space. Set up some agreed upon hours for work and time together. Since I can relate to scatter-brain, jot down ideas to test instead of interrupting your family time. You will never get back the time with your kids (they grow up, you know).

    What my grandparents did (in a cramped apartment with 3 families) was this - when my grandfather did research (paper, old school) no-one was allowed in his room and my grandmother was generally cooking dinner. He also allowed some extra research time closer to deadlines but they always spent time alone together at least once a month going out and much more when they were younger. So you need to discuss some things with your wive, maybe she wants to take some community courses to enhance her language skills and prepare for further education. Community colleges usually have either evening classes or affirdable daycare.
     
  18. nerdegutta

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    Dec 15, 2009
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    Poor girl.
    Try to put yourself in her shoes. Use 5 minutes and think. How would you feel? The one you love and cherish is always busy working or inventing in the garage. I think its wise to talk with her, make her feel good and special.

    Respect, patience and dialog/communication.
     
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  19. strantor

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    oh, they have daycare at the college? is it like pay by the hour or what? that would be ideal!
     
  20. justtrying

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    Mar 9, 2011
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    I just realized I wrote "evening classes OR affordable daycare" :rolleyes: - nice college

    Anyway, in Canada some community colleges do offer to cage your kids while you are taking a class. I do not know what the situation is like in the US.

    I would also venture out to say that there is too much focus on still trying to build the American Dream, which to me is a foreign concept. The idea always was build on what you got, enjoy the day, spend time with the loved ones, who knows what will happen tomorrow. Respect each other.
     
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