My sister is in dire need of advice, and I simply cannot think of anything to tell her.
She is married, with 3 kids, to a husband who is neither performing well as a father nor a husband. He's a nice guy, but his parents did too much for him over the years, and now he doesn't react responsibly.
Kids - 1 boy, 2.5 years old; 2 twin boys who are turning 1 year in July. She's 35, never graduated high school, but did start taking classes at a junior college. With only 2 more classes and some math classes, she could transfer into a 4 year university. Her work history has been more customer service (not high paying by any means) and she hasn't worked since the birth of her first child.
Him - high school grad - worked in tool and dye. Could be making decent money. Bought a fabricating business with a partner, backed financially by his dad. This is the same man who never stopped paying his auto insurance from when he was in high school.
The problem - the business is not succeeding. He hasn't taken a paycheck consistently in AT LEAST 3 years. Says there is shutting the business is not an option due to his dad being on the hook for paying for it. When he does take money home each week, it's either $105 or $300. (The lesser amount -- not a typo -- is based on partnership return vs w-2). But, there are many weeks he is not taking money home. I goaded her into applying for food stamps, and that helped out for a couple of months, but now they got $$ from their fed'l tax return and that info was sent sent to the state. She is trying to re-qualify which will happen every 6 months or so due to his sporadic paycheck.
He refuses to change anything, and goes to work 6 days a week, from 9-7 or 8, and does virtually nothing around the house. When she presses him for a plan, he says he will 'work harder'. When she continued to press him, his plan B was for her to get a job! Either his mom or mine could switch off and watch the kids.
That is SO not going to work for many reasons. My mother is 66, his mother is older, and the kids wear me out in 2 or 3 hours. And, it's not like my sister would get a good paying job at this point after being off.
Evidently, the tax return went to catch up on the bills. They are current now, but will soon be falling behind again. His other strategy is to pull $$ from his retirement account, thus eating his seed corn, so to speak.
My parents are not in a position to help financially. His parents are, but they use it as a means to control them.
My sister suffered from depression in the past, and is fighting to maintain her sanity.
He literally will stop talking to her. And, even worse, he is not affectionate with the kids, and I don't think he ever bonded with them. Sadly, he's an atheist, and she's a pagan, so there aren't much opportunities to speak with a priest. He refuses counseling, saying he will work on his issues himself.
In the last year or two, I've spent a lot of money on diapers and formula. I give from my heart, but have pulled back on financial support ever since she got food stamps.
The whole situation is depressing, detiorating, and stressful for everyone, esp the wonderful and beautiful kids.
She's vented to me more than once, but I am at a complete loss as to what to counsel her to do. She's been trying to talk with him for the last 2 years, to no avail.
If he got a job in his field, he would have to commute about 1 hour each way to work, but says he doesn't want to drive that far. He's also gotten 'used to working for himself'. However, he complains that thay have no business coming in, and shuts down when she asks him what he does for so many hours away for 6 days a week. This man doesn't even take out the garbage/recycling consistently.
Today, I told her that she needed to sit his father down with both of them, and force a conversation on the future of the business. She told me that she doesn't think it's her place, that it's between him and his father. If he was bringing in $$, I'd agree, but there's no money coming from it. This is impacting her life soo much, that I would think 'who cares'? But, I'm with her at wit's end, and have absolutely no clue what to tell her.
ANY suggestions would be helpful!!