Freeville native Amy Dickinson answers your questions on relationships, family, work and more. Look for a new column every day and send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Dear Amy: I am a jazz musician. I’m married with a child. My wife has a stressful 9-to-5 job.
I play at a club several nights a week. My wife and I make OK money, and have always split the bills evenly.
Playing jazz has not made me rich, nor is it ever likely to, but I get by.
My wife’s work is really getting to her, and the stress is affecting me and our daughter.
I have always had days free, and take care of our daughter, make dinner, etc., but I am often not home in the evenings. Now my wife says she is tired of this life. She would like to get a new job, which may pay less.
She wants me home at night, and wants me to have more financial stability.
When we got married, she was fine with our life, but now it seems things have changed.
I can give up the music and get a stable job, but that would be giving up what I love to do the most. Music has been my passion all my life.
I fear that if I did this, I would wind up resenting my wife, but if I stay the course, she will wind up resenting me.
I love my family and want us to stay together, but I don’t see any way out of this.
Dear Torn: You and your wife agreed to this challenging lifestyle. But then something changed: You had a child and realized that life is not all improvisation.
You are fortunate to have the passion, as well as the talent, to make a living as a musician. Your assumption that you would have to drop all of this in order to capitulate to your wife is faulty thinking.
Are there ways for you to transition away from playing at clubs several nights a week and perhaps work as a session musician, teaching, or taking other music-related jobs during the day? If you adjusted your current schedule by even 30 percent, it might have a huge impact on your home life. Surely some of the musicians you work with also have day jobs.
Two parents resigning themselves to make some life and work changes are better than two parents refusing to adjust and resenting one another.
You and your wife both have the right to try to get what you want most in life. And — like every other family with children — you’ll both have to compromise in order to serve your needs and also the needs of the family.