May 6, 2015

"Why I won't let my wife quit her job."

A headline at USA Today that comes with this photograph that makes you want to skip the article and read the thoughts on the bride's mind:



Anyway, here's the article, and the point is that the wife went through a stage when she was tempted to leave work and the husband pushed her through and now she's very happy with it, but the headline isn't "Why I wouldn't let my wife quit her job" and that makes a big difference. He's in a continuing state of denying her this permission (which, of course, contains the assumption that he has veto power). He says:
I do wonder a lot whether I'm a bad man for pushing her to [work] even though she says she wants to stay home with the kids. I'm just terrified she'll lose her drive.
See? He wants a wife with "drive." It's about her and his preference for a Maximized Her (as opposed to money or what's best for the children).
The happiest times I have seen my wife (besides with the kids) is when she has achieved professionally. I don't want her to look back and say, "I could have done 'this' with my degree."... I'm scared my wife will feel inferior to me — and resent me.
So his seeming male dominance melts away into hammy posturing in The Theater of Male Feminism.

He proceeds to talk about his daughter, and how he likes that she dreams of "going to Mars or being the first female president" and not "becoming a trophy wife or stay-at-home mom." He doesn't want to pay her to go to college "just to see her walk away and let a man take care of her."

The key word "let" appears again. He won't let his wife let him take care of her. Who's letting whom here? He doesn't want to let his daughter let a man take care of her.

3 4 5 6 more things:

1. Everyone walks away from college.

2. In a truly egalitarian marriage, the 2 individuals would talk to each other continually and make decisions together.

3. The single-earner family with a division of labor can make economic and emotional sense, and people ought to think clearly about it as a rational option. I recommend transcending all the propaganda and polemics and understanding yourself and your own idea of the good.

4. Why are little girls always having the same old dreams, dreams that sound like they could have been written by a hack writer for Ms. in 1972? Why is it always President and astronaut? And isn't there a big inconsistency between Scientist Girl and dreaminess? If you'd really like the child to become a scientist, lay off the ideology.

5. If that girl is dreaming of being the first female president, I guess she's dreaming that Hillary will lose...

6. What if Hillary would like to stay home with granddaughter Charlotte and Bill won't let her quit?

79 comments:

traditionalguy said...

I for one am glad to see that job prospects for stay at home trophy wives are rising as the supply is cut.

Bob Ellison said...

The picture suggests that she might have a tendency to settle too low.

tim maguire said...

People get lost in therapy-speak. Trying to discover their true motivation from their words can be impossible.

Tank said...

@Bob

My thought too.

Answer: She has issues?

sparrow said...

Nicely stated Ann. One point he fails to address is that, if his wife would prefer to stay at home she may grow to resent his insistence that she work. It's too much about what he alone wants here, which is never a good thing for the marriage or family.

Anonymous said...

I wonder what she would say if he wanted to quit his job to stay home with the kids.

paminwi said...

The whole "I won't LET my wife" statement made me think, who the hell would want to be MARRIED to a guy like that?

pm317 said...

Mrs. Ted Cruz (yeah, that senator's wife) said it best -- (paraphrasing) it is not about the money, it is just that that is what the woman wants to do, (to have a job/career).

Some of us (as individuals) just want to go about our lives the way we see fit without interference, (from anywhere/anybody including husbands).

pm317 said...

'I will let my wife do what she wants' is as offensive as I won't let my wife..

Laslo Spatula said...

"A headline at USA Today that comes with this photograph that makes you want to skip the article and read the thoughts on the bride's mind:"

She is already planning what to do after the divorce.


I am Laslo.

Tank said...

You can never get back the time you did not spend with your kids when they are young. If that is what she wanted to do, she likely will regret not doing it.

Laslo Spatula said...

"Why are little girls always having the same old dreams, dreams that sound like they could have been written by a hack writer for Ms. in 1972?"

As long as they still go through their All American High School Cheerleader phase I am OK with whatever dandelions blow through their little heads.


I am Laslo.

tim in vermont said...

He sort of looks like a vampire sucking the life out of a pretty young woman.

But hey, I am a stupid old conservative who believes that the only thing in life we have is the freedom to make choices.

tim in vermont said...

Even the pose is like an assertion of ownership.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Somehow, I think that a "Why I wouldn't let my husband quit his job" article would not get this kind of negative attention.

AprilApple said...

Grrrls, here are your choices:
1) Astronaut- trip to Mars
2) President
3) Trophy wife

I'd add 4) - Ballerina

Just to make it real.

Scott said...

"Why is it always President and astronaut?"

I know a soon-to-be-former President who ought to lead the first mission to Mars. He would be the fifteenth black astronaut in space.

Psota said...

The Smug, it is strong in this one.

PatHMV said...

Here's the absolutely most insulting part of the article that's filled with insults:

"Yes, being a stay-at-home mom has many benefits for the entire family... But I want better for my wife."

Wow. What a judgmental, asinine statement. Are you sure this isn't Amanda Marcotte writing under a pen name?

Look, it's one thing if, in conversation with his wife, he persuaded her that she would have fewer regrets if she worked (given what a big deal her college degree was for her and her family, etc.), but that "better" value judgment, right up front, betrays his real motives, that it's all about him.

He wants to brag about having the superwoman, do-it-all wife. His friends all think he's a jerk because, well, he is one.

Look, I have a 2 year old daughter. My wife stays at home and raises her. His "better" comment is a judgment on the choices my wife and I have made. His claim that seeing mom at home will limit his daughter's choices is just stupid. If he thinks a woman staying home and raising children all day is "letting a man take care of her," well, he's a moron.

How would he like it if I started insulting his choices? Will the strangers in the day care do a better job of raising his daughter than her wife would? If his little girl will be programmed into accepting the "lesser" status of being "taken care of" by a man just by seeing her mom stay with her all day, doing the mentally and physically arduous job of raising a human being, what will the impact on his daughter be of spending all day seeing women at the day care get paid fairly low wages to take care of her and a bunch of other little kids all day long?

He claims at the end of the article to "respect" women who like being stay-at-home moms. But you don't respect people who you think you are "better" than.

What a tremendous asshole.

Anonymous said...

Eh....

People are making a mountain out of a molehill. I think I get what he's saying.... Kind of. There's a whole lot of "equality pablum" in there but really....

Work sucks...like totally sucks. Work is hard, not fun, and by definition work. One hundred and twenty years ago, men and women both "worked" whether it was one on the farm and the other at domestic items, the domestic work, laundry, sewing, cooking, cleaning, was a 14 hour day.

If one "can" quit work it can be very hard to continue working, even if one's "highest and best use" is work.

In many professional jobs the desire to be free from work is present in most workers at least once a month, men typically because of societal pressure can not just quit because they don't feel like working anymore. However, the societal pressure to stay home for many women is actually fairly high, don't you know your kids will be better off if you sit on the same couch watching tv for two extra hours a day as opposed to having the kids playing after hours in the school after school program.

I "let" my wife quit work because she really wanted to about 5 years ago, which was kind of okay, but after about 9 months at home she was bored, and wished she hadn't quit her job. Now when she voices the desire to leave on rare occasion, I make a point to remind her about that past.

Humans forget, all we "feel" is the fierce desire of what we want now, community, a spouse, friends, help us remember the broad arc of our life so that we choose to do what is best at the end of the day. For some people, that's staying home to do domestic work, for some thats working an 8 hour day, but a good spouse reminds their spouse of the abilities and consequences of past choices so that best family choices can be made in the present, even when temptations, of all sorts, arise.

Larry J said...

My wife worked hard for most of our marriage. Three years ago, I encouraged her to retire early. The stresses of her work was ruining her health. She's much happier and healthier now. We aren't getting slammed so much on taxes, either, which is a bonus.

Each family needs to make their own decisions about such things. It's really no one else's business. For many families, having a mother work outside the home may not even break even financially when you factor in the higher taxes, cost of child care, and other employment related expenses. Every family needs to do their own calculations and make their own decision.

Bryan C said...

This guy sounds like kind of a dope. But I'd hope that quitting a job would be the sort of thing both people in a committed relationship (especially with kids) would agree to before taking action.

You've previously chosen to allow other people to share in making certain decisions about your life, and vice-versa. That's a pretty major decision.

Jessica said...

He implies that they have the means to thrive on one income. But he'd rather have a wife with "drive" (and chaos, and stress, and guilt) than give his children a stable, peaceful, loving home to grow up in.

I've commented here before (I'm the former BigLaw attorney who escaped from a $200,000+ income to happily stay home with my children.) My husband and I both continue to love our decision and I have no desire to go back to work.

Hagar said...

This is an area where prospective couples should make sure they are on the same page before they tie the knot.

And if they are in agreement, it is none of your beeswax.

Eleanor said...

Why does he need to share how controlling he is with other people? Is he hoping his rant will control other women, too? Because making his own wife bend to him isn't enough?

PatHMV said...

There's 24 hours in a day. Let's assume the kid sleeps for about 10 hours (before they hit school age). That's 14 hours left. If mom's working for 9 hours (7 to 4), that leaves mom and dad together only 5 hours. That's a day care employee spending 4 more hours per day with your child than either of you... and the employee's time is split among a lot more children.

That's not to knock day care employees or people who send their kids to day care. For some, it's an economic necessity, for others a choice. Either way, it's a perfectly valid option. It's just insulting for a guy like this to claim that his choice is "better," and that women who stay at home to raise the kids are lesser or are "wasting" their college degree.

Why not "let" his wife take a few years off, and get back on the working track after all the kids are in school? Will that make it impossible for her to find professional fulfillment? Will she be so stifled by a 6-8 year stint of raising children that she will be forever left unsatisfied? Sheesh....

tds said...

It is easier to predict where a wife with a job will be at a given moment.

Hence, it is much easier to predict where she won't be.

Hence, it is much easier to have an affair.

I Callahan said...

Pat HMV wins the thread. The guy is a complete asshole, like most male feminists are.

Allow me to be blunt: the most important job a woman can do is be a mother. The fact that this guy thinks working a paid job is more important just proves he's an asshole.

damikesc said...

Why would a woman want a wet napkin like him anyway?

SGT Ted said...

Yea, why would you want your kids raised by their mom?

Laslo Spatula said...

I hope he realizes that That Guy in the Office Who Likes to Bang Married Chicks now has her squarely in his sights.

That Guy in the Office Who Likes to Bang Married Chicks knows that banging the single Office Girls is a losing proposition: they will inevitably want commitment and emotional support; the Married Ones need to keep it cool and off-the-radar, It Is A Secret.

First there will be little knowing smiles, perhaps a faux-shy nod. Then, he will return to the Office one afternoon and happen to have for her a Starbucks beverage just the way she likes it: he has been paying attention.

Soon it will be time for the Innocent Lunch, where he will be sympathetic to her new stresses of Marriage and she will inevitably say something she will wish she hadn't. Women in these situations ALWAYS say something they wish they hadn't.

It will be awkward for a day or two, but then that awkwardness starts a frisson of its own: he acts like nothing has happened, and she likes that he can act like nothing has happened: this will be important in The Future.

Soon there will be more lunches: an accidental brushing of arms, a light touch of understanding on the leg. Her husband hasn't made note that she is wearing a lot of the Cleavage Clothing from her wardrobe lately.

The kiss in the darkened conference room is a given.

The next step is that hotel down the road where they have Clients stay; again -- awkward at first -- but soon he is banging her doggy-style while she clutches at the sheets while wearing that cheap necklace her Husband had bought her for some silly reason or another.

Now, That Guy in the Office Who Likes to Bang Married Chicks is getting blow-jobs in the Supply Room and has let her know he wants Anal.

She doesn't want that, not really, but she can't just let That Guy in the Office Who Likes to Bang Married Chicks go: she has invested too much Secret Currency in the situation, so: Anal it is.

Now That Guy in the Office Who Likes to Bang Married Chicks has had anal sex with her while her own husband hasn't: She feels like a Dirty Girl, but an Exciting Exhilarated Dirty Girl.

Meanwhile, the Husband has begun to notice a distance in her eyes, a distracted quality he can't quite put her finger on. He puts it off as Nothing; he is trying to bang a Single Chick at the Office, with no success.

So that's what will happen, pretty much.


I am Laslo.

Rick said...

paminwi said...
The whole "I won't LET my wife" statement made me think, who the hell would want to be MARRIED to a guy like that?


It made me think: I wonder if she would describe events with the same emphasis, and if not whose description is more correct?

Chris N said...

If they both want to quit, stay at home with the kids and be women, or men, that's ok, too.

Todd said...

5. If that girl is dreaming of being the first female president, I guess she's dreaming that Hillary will lose...

Aren't we all?

P.S. About Hillary!, don't you think she looks tired?

MayBee said...

"I respect my wife so much, I know what she needs more than she does"

MayBee said...

We all know the real translation is: When she ultimately divorces me, I don't want to have to pay spousal support.

MayBee said...

Hagar-
" And if they are in agreement, it is none of your beeswax."

Well....until they write an Op-Ed in USA Today about their choice. Beeswax On.

Ann Althouse said...

Laslo at 8:40. Perfect.

David said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David said...

Manquitting is less popular in the overall society.


Trust me, I did it. Very few, least of all those who benefitted from my income, thought very highly of it.

rhhardin said...

Compare Men with Tools over at Lem's place, for a note on traditional sexual difference, not to say time-tested.

Birches said...

However, the societal pressure to stay home for many women is actually fairly high, don't you know your kids will be better off if you sit on the same couch watching tv for two extra hours a day as opposed to having the kids playing after hours in the school after school program.

Ha! I can't remember the last time I watched TV before 8PM. Try again.

Allow me to be blunt: the most important job a woman can do is be a mother.

And the most important job a man can do is to be a father. Someone in the marriage has to provide the resources to function, but trust me, my spouse would much rather stay home with us all day too. The fact that there are people out there who derive all their worth and satisfaction from "work" kind of scares me.

Carol said...

Even the pose is like an assertion of ownership.

Meh. Looks like a lame stock photo. Why do people think that showy peck on the cheek demonstrates "true love"? Yet every schlub knows to do that for the camera.

Gahrie said...

Reverse the genders:

Would Althouse still have a problem with the chosen verbs?

Meade said...

Ann Althouse said...
"Laslo at 8:40. Perfect."

Perfect? Oh? How about his penultimate paragraph? Whose finger?

MadisonMan said...

Allow me to be blunt: the most important job a woman can do is be a mother. The fact that this guy thinks working a paid job is more important just proves he's an asshole.

You oversimplify things.

Not all women are great mothers. Don't ignore variations in ability. Is it better to stay home with kids if you resent their presence?

Married couples should make their decisions based on what is best for their family. If that includes one or both parents working, the rest of the world can abide by that decision.

campy said...

"The guy is a complete asshole, like most male feminists are."

A male feminist is like a black klansman.

Basil said...

I have, for years, "let" my wife work full time and make more money.
However, she repeatedly worked part time and spent lots of time with the kids.

I would have loved to have had more money.

Sexism!!!!!!

Meade said...

"Not all women are great mothers."

Very true. I'd even argue that most women are terrible mothers.

Kyzernick said...

Laslo, that was hysterical.

A good reason to always be attentive and loving to your wife. I see the author's point, but he makes it clumsily, and it comes off wrong in several places.

Kyzernick said...

I would think it is a woman's job to, should she carry her child to term and keep it, work hard to become a good, or at least passable, mother. If most mothers truly are terrible, that does not bode well for the future.

Steve said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve said...

"I'd even argue that most women are terrible mothers."

And they are still better than the strangers that run the daycare.

I Callahan said...

You oversimplify things. Not all women are great mothers. Don't ignore variations in ability.

No, actually I don't. And even if I did, it doesn't change the premise that a woman who has kids should make that her most important job. I know I didn't say either way, but the implication was that women who have kids are the ones who fall into that situation.

Is it better to stay home with kids if you resent their presence?

Hey, you created them. You should have thought about that before you did. Man (or Woman) up and do the job you're made to do. Yes, I said that - what you're MADE to do.

Married couples should make their decisions based on what is best for their family. If that includes one or both parents working, the rest of the world can abide by that decision.

But that's not what we're discussing here. In this case, the man has decided what's best for his wife, even though she disagrees. And if those kids grow up resentful of their parents because they're never around (which happens often), and they become wards of the state or burdens on others, then yes, I DO have some say, at least in a first amendment kind of way.

Look, I don't have an issue with women who decide not to have kids, especially if they think they're going to be terrible mothers. But once you have them, all else should be secondary.

This non-judgmental nonsense is driving me nuts.

I Callahan said...

A male feminist is like a black klansman.

No, they actually exist, and even call themselves feminists.

mccullough said...

I must chide him for assuming his daughter is heterosexual and that she will want to be married.

If she wants to be the first female president of Mars, then I'd advise a life of celibacy.

Stephen A. Meigs said...

I think it is only in the headline where he purportedly speaks of "letting" his wife do something. And aren't some headlines written by editors? Take away the headline and he comes across as someone who excessively thinks laziness is some sort of bad addiction (it probably can be a sign of addiction to drinking, drugs, or excess eating), and who fails to see lazy dreamy non-driven inactivity or behavior can more put one in touch with one's feelings and can offer insights into human nature (by giving insights into oneself). The latter problem is more fixable than being excessively controlling.

SgtPete said...

It is to the benefit of the marriage that a wife works, with exception of raising children (if you go a handful then stay home) for the following:
She gets to keep money earned and spend it the way she desires; she has purpose other than being a wife or mother (women have goals too); she would be less likely to spend the husband money and hence the couple could save more, but the real reason is for her security, for if the husband leaved or dies, employment will feeds her hungry stomach and that of her children.

Todd said...

I Callahan said...
A male feminist is like a black klansman.

No, they actually exist, and even call themselves feminists.

5/6/15, 9:58 AM


True but I believe you spelled it wrong. Isn't the male spelling: E u n u c h?

Sebastian said...

"6. What if Hillary would like to stay home with granddaughter Charlotte and Bill won't let her quit?"

She could just tell him to stay on Jeffrey Epstein's island.

I'd feel for Charlotte, though, and I'm sure the cookies would suck.

I Callahan said...

True but I believe you spelled it wrong. Isn't the male spelling: E u n u c h?

Or, beta, or Pajama-Boy...

:)

Anonymous said...

Ha! I can't remember the last time I watched TV before 8PM. Try again.

Allow me to be blunt: the most important job a woman can do is be a mother.



You're allowed to be blunt, and so, I shall be blunt in response.

The "what it means to be a mother" is far more hard to figure out than we care to admit.

All across this country in thousands of churches this Sunday, preachers will rise to preach on Proverbs 31, in total hundreds of thousands if not millions of women will hear Proverbs 31 preached, and a huge number of them will think because they are staying home with the kids they are being the best mothers they can be because a number of those preachers will echo similar sentiments. My guess is, some number who work might feel the same way, but my guess is that most of those will feel insecure for not staying at home with the kids.

And they will be totally butchering what Proverbs 31 seems to be saying. Proverbs 31 extols High Productivity and engaged living. She is mercantile, productive, and effective. Deborah was a mother in Israel, and she was hardly a "stay at home mom" She was one who excelled, in doing. Now some of that doing is raising your kids, but it isn't fooling yourself either that selling Essential Oils, or Sensei products, or making Macaroni Men crafts with your kids, or spending 4 hours to make a loaf of sourdough bread that doesn't taste as well nor bake as consistently as the cost of $3 bread at the supermarket is invariably of the highest of productivity.

I could go on...way on to expound, but suffice it to say, life is harder than "stay at home" OR "go to work." It's about actually making informed choices. If you're in a very anti-your belief culture then yes sending your kids to public school probably a bad idea, if the culture of your public school is consistent to your own then keeping them home to protect them is of less objective value, necessitating an evaluation of public vs homeschool. Life is more complicated than binary, it's about making right choices for the right reasons and evaluating how we get to those choices. That doesn't preach as well Sunday morning, nor is it catchy enough for SJWs to latch onto, but that is the truth.

PatHMV said...

Stephen Meigs, he does say in the article: "I told her that giving up on a real career was not an option."

So that makes the "let" in the headline relatively accurate, I think.

In fairness to the jerk who wrote the article, his talk about how happy his wife seemed when she came home from work (before the 2nd child), how both he and she struggled to allow her to finish college, those bits are good. From that perspective, and cutting him some slack on terminology, I can see the case for claiming that he really was only trying to help her see where her long-term happiness most likely lies.

But I still think the overall structure and tone of the piece reveal him to be a controlling jerk. If it were all about helping her realize what would really make her happy, the article would, frankly, culminate in her finding the happy-making job he says she has now. She pushed through the temporary discomfort and insecurity, thanks to his support for her long-term interests, and found her joy. If a wife wants to quit smoking, we wouldn't consider the husband "controlling" if he pressures her to stick to her initial decision, and fight through the temporary craving for nicotine. No, we'd call that supportive.

But the "better" and the express value judgments made throughout, that belies any such innocent intent, in my view. Despite his obligatory disclaimers, it's very, very clear that he thinks stay-at-home moms are lesser, can't possibly feel the same level of personal satisfaction as the super-mom who both brings home the bacon and fries it up in the pan.

cubanbob said...

Why so much vitriol towards the guy? It's rather obvious aside from the piety he is hedging against an unfavorable divorce outcome, and that is not an unreasonable assumption.

SeanF said...

If that girl is dreaming of being the first female president, I guess she's dreaming that Hillary will lose...

Even better - if Hillary (or Carly, or Sarah...) wins, will his daughter no longer want to be president, because she only dreams of being the first woman president?

lgv said...

Great comments, as is often the case. My first thought was like AprilApple. What a lame false choice.

He DOES think he knows his wife better than she knows herself, and maybe it's true. Let me rephrase his position. He won't let her make a mistake by....

Sometimes you need to let people make their own mistakes.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

If you want to earn the whole $1, you're going to need a spouse who can coach you in your career advancement.

That's what the old corporate wives did. That's what this jarhead is doing.

In the amateur world, the coach get's paid and the athlete works for free, In the professional world, the athlete gets paid more than the coach.

The fact that the husband says he makes enough to support his wife not working doesn't mean he makes more, or will always make more.

Freeman Hunt said...

I thought this was going to be one of those Daily Mail troll articles that are so perfectly crafted in their trollery. Those get huge numbers of hits. I assume USA Today has taken notice.

Alex said...

Why do no girls dream of being engineers?

Freeman Hunt said...

Note that the articles contradicts the headline.

We could handle my wife not going back to work. We spent many nights talking about options for her: work from home, sell crafts — even get involved in one of those "pyramid schemes" — anything.

I was so afraid of my wife becoming stagnant.

Then, she found something. For the past six months, she's been working from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. — and she loves it.


So there was no letting or not letting. She thought about staying home but found a job she loves instead.

All the letting business has been added as a frame to increase hits and linkage.

Brando said...

The faux man-feminist posturing aside, there is good reason to want your spouse to work besides the money. Many people get depressed when they're not working (even if they're busy with household chores or other projects). It's something about having something to do that someone else is willing to pay you for that makes you feel valued in a way that's different from how you're valued in the home. It's one reason why so many retirees get depressed.

Coupe said...

She looks like her father is kissing her...

Beach Brutus said...

One other perspective -- it sounds like he may be a victim of a bait and switch. In college when his wife got pregnant, they apparently agreed that she would continue with college and pursue a profession. He was the one who dropped out and took a full, and two part time jobs. His lost opportunity and dream of a college education a tribute paid to female equality. Now that the agreed plan is in effect, she wants to bail, crawfish, and quit her job and stay at home. Now there will be no college educated breadwinner. A shared financial burden is now his alone. However inartfully he explained himself, I think he has a legitimate beef.

fivewheels said...

"Everyone walks away from college."

Says a woman who's been at a university for decades?

Not criticizing. Just saying. Lots of people don't.

William said...

Has anyone seen the movie, Sad Eyes? The husband took credit for the art of his wife. The Keane paintings were of little girls with large, sad eyes. They were generally regarded as kitsch, but they sold well. The movie takes the side of the husband for appropriating his wife's work......It's a good movie, but I had the idea that another movie on the same subject could be made. The genius was not in the art, but in the merchandising of that art. Think of the husband as a performance artist. The art was in his selling of the drawings, not the drawings themselves. Perhaps it was the wife who exploited her husband's go-go personality rather than the other way around. In any event, she ended up rich and drew all the sad eyed children she wanted to draw. And she got the favorable treatment in the biopic.......Sometimes women choose men for their ability to exploit them. Being used is better than feeling useless.

PatHMV said...

Freeman, you're correct, but that's part of the oddness of the whole piece, to me. There is a lot to like in what he says. In college, she had the default, stereotypical reaction; she would drop out to raise the family so he could go forward with his career. He knew that college was a big, big deal to her and her family, so he said no, he would be the one to do that. And he accepted that choice and lived it. Kudos, I can support and admire that.

If her expressed desire to stay home really was, he suggests, just her wanting to quit because the going was getting too tough, then I can also support him pushing her to really soul search and try to work through the temporary pain and find something better. A spouse who won't let you give up on yourself is awesome!

But then he talks about her "real career" and giving up not being an option. And working being "better" than staying at home with the kids. And the oh-so-plausibly deniable assertion at the end that he (not they) have "different expectations."

When he describes their conversation about alternatives (including the pyramid schemes!), there's no mention of a real discussion of her real motivation for wanting to stay home. Did he show her the respect of accepting that perhaps her longterm desires and goals really did change with the birth of her 2nd child? Or did he just insist that he knew best, that he knew better than she could what her desires really were?

And finally, note some ambiguity as to whether she really is happy now. It is AFTER he describes her as loving this new 7am to 4pm arrangement that he says: "I do wonder a lot whether I'm a bad man for pushing her to do so even though she says she wants to stay home with the kids."

By itself, the use of the present tense "says" could be chalked up to poor writing habits or poor editing. But with the rest of the piece, I'm not so sure.

I remember when I was young, my mother was working toward a PhD (my father already had one). At some point, she became a bit ambivalent about it, couldn't decide whether to finish it or not My father pressured her, hard, to just make up her (damn) mind. He truly didn't think he was trying to control her. But he was, in fact, exceedingly controlling (and remains so, but that's another story). Just the insistence that she decide, the DEMAND that she decide, was controlling. Could he have helped her make up her mind without being controlling? Absolutely. But motivation and approach are crucial in that distinction. Here, this guy's motivation and approach scream "controlling" and "jerk" to me, even while I could see a similar result being appropriate, with a different approach and motivation.

Susan said...

It could be worse, he could be Catholic.

Doug said...

He insists she go back to work. Still needs that 28' Catalina, and he ain't gonna make it on one paycheck.

All I can say is, fail you stooge.

Doug said...

Man! Now I know what Laslo does for a living! Porn Writer!