The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:
I’m a woman in my 30s who works freelance at home. I’m sick of my husband always envying other couples with dual-income households.
He always talks enviously about other couples where the wives work full-time, saying they must be better-off than us.
We have four children, so I’d been a full-time homemaker until recently to take care of them. For the past year, I’ve worked freelance to earn as much as a part-time worker. Although I earn less than a full-time worker, I’m doing my best and can’t work more as our children are still very small.
For me, being a dual-income couple is not how I define success. Some friends of mine who work while doing housework and raising their children seem to have such a hard time that I can’t say they are enviable.
When I told him this, he just said: “Well it’s obvious they’re better-off with that dual income. Are you bad at math or something?”
My husband is always spending time on his smartphone and does no housework, nor does he take care of our children. If I start working outside the home, I’ll probably have to work from morning until night. I’m also concerned my husband’s remarks may have a negative impact on our children. How should I deal with this?
Dear Ms. T:
More and more people these days seem to enjoy sitting on park benches. They all look relaxed, with a peaceful look in their eyes. None of them are tied to their smartphones. They make me feel more relaxed, too.
I suggest you also go to a park in your neighborhood with your children and take a break.
You take care of your children and work as much as you can, but you hear such offensive remarks over and over from your husband. You must be mentally exhausted, too.
So I think you should just forget about him for a moment. It’s a waste of time to consider his faults. The more you think about what he says, the more worked up you get. I think that’s ridiculous.
If you are still concerned about the possible negative impact his remarks could have on your children, however, then you must reeducate him. Tell him firmly that if he has time to envy other working couples, then he has time to bring the relationship into the new era by playing an active role in doing housework and raising the children.
Start a family revolution. While going to the park will help you short-term, reinventing your family would, overall, do far more for you.
Tatsuro Dekune, writer