Dear Snarky – My Husband is Having a Quarantine Midlife Crisis

Dear Snarky,

I love my husband very much but I’m afraid he’s about to ruin his life and our finances. He’s always wanted to be an artist but became an accountant instead. Since he’s been working from home for a month he’s had time to paint and recently announced to me that he would like to quit his job and pursue his dream of painting full time.

I just about lost it. We have two kids and a mortgage. We literally can’t survive without his income. Also, not to be unkind but his art is very abstract. Frankly, I don’t like it.  Back in the day, he even applied to several art schools and didn’t get in.

How can I convince him that we can’t afford for him to follow his dream right now? I don’t want to crush his happiness but keeping a roof over our children’s heads comes before a 37-year-old’s painting aspirations.

Signed, Painted into a corner

Dear Painted,

It’s never easy being the voice of reason or the dream killer but sometimes tough love is required. Was I devastated when my father told me that I would NOT BE  running off to New York City after high school to become a soap opera star? Hell yes, my “All My Children” dreams were off the charts but  it was the right thing to do.

You need to do the next right thing with your spouse and it’s going to take some finesse. The bottom line is you can support his dreams but with limits. As an adult with family responsibilities it’s not exactly doable for him to just flat out throw caution to the wind and start painting full time BUT you can work out a weekend schedule where he can paint uninterrupted and have his creative freedom.

Because you don’t want your marriage to tank and/or have a spouse who is depressed you should also talk about other career options that are more creative. Maybe it’s not that he loves painting maybe it’s more he hates being an accountant.

I think if you combine being open minded along with being realistic the solution to this quarantine midlife career change can be navigated.

P.S. Keep your opinions about your husband’s paintings to yourself. He never needs to know that you’re not exactly a fan.

If you have a question for Dear Snarky – advice with an attitude – email me at snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com. 😉

 

5 thoughts on “Dear Snarky – My Husband is Having a Quarantine Midlife Crisis

  1. Scott says:

    Maybe set some targets for selling some of the side projects (when he’s doing the real job and painting as a focused hobby). As an accountant, he clearly understands numbers. Figure out how much he’d have to make per painting/how often he’d have to sell. Have him figure out how quickly he needs to ramp up, etc. If he’s hitting those targets, then maybe he has a real gift. If, more likely, he’s not, then maybe he can see on his own that his skill isn’t marketable. But the key is for him to set the targets so he’s fully bought in. . .I’d probably approach it like “hey, I see that this is your passion, let’s figure out what it would take to support us . . . let’s start as a side project and see if it takes off. . .etc.. And I fully agree, maybe the real issue is that being an accountant isn’t doing it. So maybe that’s the real focus — what’s a viable alternative that is more enjoyable.

  2. Friends don’t let friends become accountants says:

    Is this art that can be sold on Etsy? At a local gallery? Can he do this as a side hustle? As a fellow accountant I can tell you that it is a soul sucking profession and allows for no creative expression. If he needs that outlet maybe he can find someway to monetize it that works while he continues to work. I take photographs but I realized early on that I didn’t want to do that as a business because I hated being on yet another schedule or having do deal with more clients. I take pictures for me and only when I want to.

    I wish you both the best.

  3. Tina says:

    I too have a very uncreative day job. I started painting three years ago. I work full time and do this before work, after work, and on the weekends. Over three years I’ve gotten better and better. I’d love to paint full time but it’s just not my reality. My plan is to keep doing this as a side gig until I can retire in twelve years. Get my growing pains over without sacrificing what my family needs from me. Then I’ll go where the art takes me.
    My husband is incredibly supportive of this hobby of mine. He even supports my side business I’ve started with my best friend. He even gives me honest critiques of my work without saying he doesn’t like it. It is very possible to do this. Maybe just state what specifically isn’t working in the piece in your opinion. Or make a suggestion on what you feel will make the piece really work. He can take the opinion or not. But at least it will be an honest opinion. You don’t have to say you’re not a fan of his work. He won’t grow from that. You definitely won’t grow together from it either.
    Offer the suggestion of this being his hobby and encourage him to try to get his work into restaurants, businesses, online, start a social media page, sell a few pieces to get his confidence up and watch him flourish. He can get much satisfaction in that. And watch his appreciation of your support in him grow.

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