Monday, June 30, 2014

As The Last Chick Flies The Nest, Husband And Wife Must Decide Which Path To Take

Dear Tazi:

My husband “Montgomery” has decided that, now that the last of our children will be moving away to college this September, he would like to run for political office. He claims that it has always been a dream of his to be a statesman; I say it is a midlife crisis, as he has never talked about this dream in the 22 years that we have been married.

I have been a stay-at-home-mom ever since my children were young, and I have held onto the goal of opening my own patisserie [a bakery that only serves and sells pastries] since before the first of my three children were born. Before I got married, I earned a Culinary Arts degree from Johnson and Wales; my specialty was fine pastries, and I have continued to use my skills and education for personal celebrations as well as profit (I bake cakes and specialty desserts on a very small scale out of my home). To put things another way, my dream has merit! I have experience and a business plan and am prepared to carry out and follow through with my goals. Montgomery, on the other hand, has zero experience in politics – he’s never even put a political sign on our lawn or volunteered to assist a candidate, yet he expects to run a successful campaign for state congress. It is not that I am against him running for political office, but I do have a problem with this plan infringing on my dreams.

Over the years, I have taken my disposable income and put it into a money market account where it has grown into a sizable sum – enough to cover the cost of equipment for a patisserie kitchen and to pay for the first year’s rent on a desirable location. Montgomery has requested the use of this money as “start up funds” for his political campaign! He has promised that it would be written up as a loan, as opposed to a donation, so he could reimburse me with any campaign donations that he received “in excess of what is needed” to run a successful campaign. I was so upset at this request that I was speechless!

Once I found my voice I told Montgomery that there was no way he would be getting his hands on my savings – that while he was using his spending money to play golf with his friends and have a few drinks at the clubhouse, my spending money was earning me interest in the bank. I informed him that I already had plans for the money, and he threatened to use our youngest child’s college savings account to finance his campaign! What kind of selfish man does that to his child? After I flipped out on him, Montgomery apologized and said he would never steal from our child; he was just illustrating the difficult position in which I was placing him.

Tazi, do I – as Montgomery puts it – owe it to him as his wife to support him in his political goals? Am I being selfish by wanting to use my savings as I had planned? Montgomery has commented that if he wins his election my stock will rise along with his, and my business will stand a better chance of succeeding.

Petit Four No Reason?

Dear Petit Four No Reason?:

I do not believe you are being petty, and you do have reasons for being upset with your husband and standing your ground. I understand your decision to put your dream of owning – and running – your own business on hold while your children were growing up. Those who own their own business will tell you it is the business that owns them.

Although your husband never spoke of his dream to run for political office, this does not mean that it has not long been held dear to him. Is he the type to express political opinions or discuss politics with others? Does he attend city/town council meetings? Has he – before this point – expressed a desire to effect change? Many people keep their dreams a secret, out of the fear that others will not support them.

As for your dream, it is obvious from what you say that you have done some long-term investing into it and are ready to make it a reality. This reality could be what is propelling your husband to launch a dream of his own – sponsored with your money. Your husband could be feeling insecure; as he sees you starting on a path that will require long hours away from him and your home, and eventually lead you to financial independence from him.

Often times when the last baby bird flies the next, so to speak, the parents go through the stress of rediscovering each other – and wondering exactly what they still have in common. Your husband’s sudden desire to run for political office would keep the two of you together for long hours (I am assuming you would be working on his campaign) without having to work to fill the empty time and space that the lack of children has created – there is never an empty minute when you are running a political campaign! Before you make any decisions one way or the other, I suggest you do the following:

1. Secure your daughter’s college fund so that it can only be accessed to pay for her college expenses. I do not care that your husband was only trying to prove a point – the suggestion, and his reasoning behind it, were both extremely selfish. It is not you who are putting him in a difficult situation; it is he who chose to put himself there through a lack of proper planning.

2. See to it that the money you have managed to save and invest over the years is also secure. As a married couple, the money technically belongs to both of you; however, from a moral standpoint, only an absolute heel would insist on taking half.

3. Sit down with your husband and openly discuss his goals. Find out how long he has wanted to run for office; ask him what preparations he has made towards the running of a campaign and, if he has not made any in the time he has been thinking about this path, ask him what has held him back. In other words, find out how risky an investment – of time or money – in his campaign would be for you. If you are not comfortable loaning him money, suggest he incorporate his campaign and take out a bank loan; or ask the local state political committee (Republican/Democrat/Green/Etc.) for funding.

4. Ask your husband why he feels that his personal goals are more important that yours at this point in time. It could be that all the years you spent as a stay-at-home-mom has left him with less respect for who you are and the goals you seek to achieve. Your husband’s flimsy excuse that your “stock will rise along with his” sounds uncomfortably corrupt, not to get into how downright insulting it actually is.

Elections occur every two to four years and even though it is only June it is considered by many too far along in the election year cycle to declare a candidacy. Your husband would do well to work as a volunteer this election cycle, just to see all that goes into running a campaign, and start planning his run for office the day after this year’s elections – that is, if he is still interested in running at that point.

5. With regard to your desire to launch a business, consider your local economy. Will it support such a specialized business as a patisserie? Or would waiting a few years until the economy further improves increase your chances for success?

If you would feel more comfortable having a mediator present when you discuss these matters, I would suggest that you make an appointment with a marriage counselor or a clergy member with whom you feel comfortable discussing such matters. Both are trained to moderate marital issues and to assist in keeping them from turning into marital discord. I wish you both all the best in your future endeavors…and look forward to trying your crème fraise!

Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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