A Change of Financial Perspective

The few months before our wedding were a complete whirlwind. Not only were we secretly engaged, but Kyle was laid off in February and took a new job in Dallas in April. Because I had no idea where I wanted to work once I got here, I was left completely dependent on another person (and another salary) for three months.

After college, I had been working and living on my own, with roommates, for three years. My money was mine to do with what I pleased. It took me a very short amount of time to realize that what I wanted was to pay off my student loans, so I did. All $16,000 of them. I had extra money to shop and play and dine and drive and create. What was mine was mine.

There’s a strange thing that happens when you’re dependent on someone else at age 27. There was a huge mind hurdle I had to jump through to understand that mine is no longer mine, but that his is ours. I felt weird and guilty and lazy and bad every time I had to spend money on something. Until I didn’t any longer.

I learned to spend and be fine- we needed what we needed, and I stopped feeling bad about the extra $3 on the Target receipt for dark red nail polish. Sometimes I bought things from the store that I wanted, even if Kyle didn’t want them. I was becoming liberated. Now? I’m earning a paycheck, small as it may be for the part time I’m working, but suddenly I’m having to shift again.

So what’s mine is mine, and what’s his is ours. Right?

Wrong.

Learning to share in Kindergarden is one thing, but learning to share in adult life is even harder. The last few months have been a struggle as we work to undo years of independent living, independent households and cars and belongings and habits. Some days I still feel like I should write my name inside all my books or under my dishes, just so I will remember that they were once mine.

We continue to struggle through sharing so many things: emotions, belongings, time, holidays, last names. We’re working to find a balance between who we once were and who we are together. One book at a time.

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To Be a Housewife

NOTE: This post does not apply to stay-at-home moms. We salute you.

So I don’t have a job.

My husband moved to Dallas 2 months before we got married, and I was told I could either come with him after the wedding or give the ring back. So I quit my job, packed all my things, and opened them again in this tiny home. And home has a much different meaning when you never leave.

For any of you who have ever been accidental (or on purpose) housewives, I think you’ll relate to this. (Unless you live in Orange County and live your life on a reality tv show with people to do your laundry and run your errands.) There’s a minor glitch in the time-space continuum that settles over the homes of unsuspecting housewives, stealing their ability to be productive in any fashion. More time equals less productivity. Your husband sets out into the workplace, leaving his home and a few instructions confidently in your hands. And yet you find yourself coming up with 8 other things to do during the day, watching the clock for 5:45, at which time you’ll hurriedly toss your lunch dishes in the sink, turn off Gilmore Girls, throw on some jeans, and apply just enough makeup to make it look like you’ve actually needed it for some outing that day. My only hope for burying the sense of shame is to make it sound like EVERYTHING was a big deal. See below.

Kyle: What did you do today?

Me: Well, I went to the post office to mail those letters and there was a HUGE line, so that took forever…. And then I cleaned out the fridge (threw away a rotten tomato) and so that took up some time. Oh, and I found this really cute pillow from Target that I want to get with our gift card, but I found it online and I don’t think they have it in the store, but it took me so long to figure that out… Technology. Sheesh.

Kyle: Hm. (This is where I know that he’s caught on, even though he doesn’t say anything.)

Me: And tomorrow I’m going to plan our menu for the week. (If I say it confidently enough, he’ll think it’s going to take me all day.)

And in the midst of it, I know he can read right through me. I know what I’m saying sounds completely ridiculous, and yet it’s my only hope to avoid what I now refer to as “Wife Guilt.”

I had 3 things to do today. 1. Apply for two jobs. 2. Write a blog post. 3. Keep the house clean.

And I sit here watching the clock turn 5:37, knowing that my time has come to an end. The sink is full of dishes, the kitchen table is covered with sewing notions, and I haven’t completed an application. Things I have done: Made a shirt, made a rug, and written a blog post. But this post took a really long time to write…

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