Thanks for your feedback.
Honestly, I would not care for my wife to be making any money at all, if I felt that she cared to do well in her current "job" - a stay at home mom (SAHM). If she just took care of things at home, I would be so happy to go to work, and all my stress from work would just melt away when I come home. What I expect of her as a SAHM are as follows:
1. Help me budget so we can plan our future and make sure we don't go broke. This would involve her reviewing our bank statements, understand where our money goes, and help us be disciplined with our finances. Care to pay bills on time; we had incurred late fees a number of times because she forgot to pay things on time, and at those times I would take-over finances again after few months of her trying again to be on top of things.
2. Plan out her days, making sure daily essentials are done, such as laundry and meal prep. Here, I do not insist on her doing all the work. In face, I do the bulk of grocery shopping for her after my work, and our shopping list is pretty impromptu (as we don't have meal plans). Sure, she can also enroll our children to help her out.
3. Make sure are children are doing well at school. Since we live in such nice ($$$) neighborhood in order to send our kids to good public schools, I feel that our kids should be helped to keep up with their peers, also help them instill self-confidence. My wife does not spend a lot of time with kids on their academics after school. She feels that it's the educator's job. While I agree with that to an extent, kids are taught on their work ethics at home. My kids are at best performing at average or below (according to their teachers). We are not at the point where they need tutoring (or perhaps they do), but that's another expense I would rather not have.
4. Make sure our kids aren't wearing stuff that's just way too small/old; I just found out this morning that our almost 6yr old son is still wearing 2-3T underwear (Yes he's pretty skinny, but come on). I often find our kids wearing socks that are way too small, etc.
That's really all. I don't expect her to be a "supermom", which is the term she often uses to describe some of the moms who seem always active in schools and other activities.
Just to be clear, once she drops off kids at 8:30am, she has a lot of time until 2pm (and 3pm) pickup. All our kids have 1hr piano lessons weekly and a 45 min ballet class for the girl. That's it, plus occasional dental/medical appointments for kids. 3 out of 4 kids get hot lunch at school, so there isn't a lot of meal prep required either (1 has allergies).
My comment about "retiring on my in-law's wealth" was considering how much money we end up spending, without any thoughts to our retirement plan. I thought may be my wife knows something that I don't, so perhaps there will be a nice surprise (?) at the end. (and my FIL was a CEO of multi-national companies in the past and they are retired in Costa Rica in a decent house). I did not marry my wife expecting that I would get a free-ride by any means, as I consider myself a hard-working guy, who has my own ambition of being self-made.
My wife is not evil. I think she grew up in a pretty wealthy household, seeing her mom always having household help, and she was on her path to do what she wanted to study without much financial pressure or to make money. She's really quite naive and innocent, and that was one aspect that I really love about her. What I have discovered over the years is that, she seems paralyzed from knowing what she needs to do in life, while being completely overwhelmed by having 4 little kids. Instead of making plans and taking actions to bring a sense of success in life, she is often hiding behind "being too tired of having to take care of 4 kids", which I don't have much to come back at, except being frustrated. And yes, I can't help but to fight with her about all the things she's not doing well, and of course that makes things worse.
The reason for my post was to see if my "demands" are unreasonable. I married my wife to help us build a future together, where we can look back in 30 yrs and say "we did pretty well", and I would imagine that means having good plans and following through them. I feel that our odds are still against us, even with good plans and intentions, so we are doomed if we can't even get ourselves to set near-term goals and take actions to meet them.
And yes, I won't hide the fact that I can be pretty self-centered too, wanting to ultimately have a life that's good for me. As someone who doesn't believe in after-life, I want to make sure that I get the most out of this life... and I feel I'm being dragged down by my wife's non-actions. My life can't be about simply having to support my wife and family, and I'm dead after working to my bones for decades.
Anyway, I think I said enough to shed some light on what I am expecting in marriage, and please do point out whether I have unreasonable expectations. Thanks.
Financial stress is one thing, but I think you also underestimate the stress of taking care of 4 young kids. It is possible that you are not being realistic either? Women like your wife are highly educated, then give up a bright future to give birth to and take care of young children while their husbands want them to give 100% household support so they can focus on their careers. Then when that is sorted the wife must go and earn money to take the burden of you? WTF!
It is small wonder she has lost self esteem. Yet, expect the woman to then go back to work and still give household support, take care of kids, etc. What does she actually need you for then?
Incidentally whose idea was it to work in a high stress environment in the first place, whose idea was it to have the career you have, you made choices now you want your wife to cover for your bad choices?
I think your stress levels are so high that you do not realise what you are saying. If that is the case carefully sit down with your spread sheets and work out the pros and cons of staying or leaving and discuss with wife. Money cannot compensate for health or relationships.
Ask yourself this question,
1. what value do you bring to your wife? I am sure there are many men out there who would be happy to have a wife with so many kids to stay at home and they would also financially provide.
2. Seems to me like you might be putting too much on your wife. She is expected to balance kids and a new business and support you at the same time, what are you doing for her?
3. Women like to have a man who makes them feel secure financially and emotionally, seems to me you are doing neither.
4. Sounds like you thought you could retire on her parents wealth too or had a woman you could financially rely on also? I think your wife is beginning to see the kind of man you are.
4. If she made demands of you and said, I take care of kids, house, support your career aspirations, etc so get off your bloody high horse and be a man and lead the family, what would you say?
The bottom line is you do not need a wife, you need a personal assistant who can organise your life with spreadsheets, real life doesn't work like that.