Adulting, Bills, Life
Growing up we had these strong women role models on television and in music. So, when I pictured my adulting life, Destiny’s Child “Bills, Bills, Bills” was on repeat in my head. I was determined to be this independent woman, who don’t need anyone else to rely on. I’ve strayed from that mindset seeking a companion early in my adult life but the stubborn mentality has stayed.
What do I mean by the mentality has stayed? Even though I am now a stay at home parent I feel as though I am not contributing. I miss having my own money and control over my life. I’ve taken on so much as the stay at home parent that I feel that I am slowly losing my identity and becoming a person I don’t recognize. I don’t ask my partner for help because I have that “independent woman” mindset. I don’t like that I have to rely on my husband’s income to pay our bills.
Don’t get me wrong, I am extremely grateful for the role I play in our family. The problem is that I cannot see myself in the traditional role of stay at home life. The perfect housewife, clean house, kids are taken care of, working out, and have a martini ready at the end of the day. That is just not me, I’m a hot mess of stress because I cannot live up to that level of perfection.
My Husband’s View
My husband grew up very privileged. His parents aren’t divorced, his mom cleaned house until 2 AM every night, and he always had fresh home cooked meals every day. For me, life was not quite like that. Once my parents got divorced I became the “mom” of the house. No, I didn’t pay bills for my dad but I did have to make sure everyone was fed and chores were done. Our house was never cleaned to perfection and we ate a lot of boxed/frozen food. It was a lot for a 12-year-old, because of that I swore I would never be subservient as an adult.
My husband on the other hand always pictured his wife would be more like Destiny’s Child “Cater 2 U.” He doesn’t actively express his wishes or disappointment, but I feel it. I feel inadequate every time I go to my mother in laws house, which is always clean even though she swears it isn’t. Every time he asks where something is instead of looking for it, because “I ask because I never know if it’s put away,” I hear, “You are always behind in the house.”
He doesn’t even try to make me feel that way, I just feel that is what he expects because of his childhood. Everything comes easy to him, he didn’t really have to work for anything. Now he has an amazing job and is thriving in that environment so I feel that I should make his home life easy too. But is that really fair? Is it fair for me to set aside my feelings and to stress about his?
He is a really great husband and he loves his family. I don’t ever want to change that but I do wish he would pick up his laundry and just make my job a little easier. I don’t feel like I ask too much of him and I check in often to make sure he is happy. My problem with that is that I am so overwhelmed with my life I don’t think. Sometimes I come across with that “Bills, Bills, Bills” mentality. As if he doesn’t do enough or isn’t enough, but he is.
Finding the Compromise
Taking a step back this past weekend I realized what I was doing to him, what he was doing to me, and made a point to communicate how I was feeling. I’m sure to my husband I came across a little like Jennifer Lopez’s “Ain’t Your Mama,” but it sparked a change in the both of us.
We spent all of Sunday getting our home ready for the homeschool season. We are finally working as a team! Sunday he was knocking out housework while I was in another room getting things done. IT WAS AMAZING! Then all of a sudden I heard the washing machine and he was washing his own clothes! That sound was like a wave that washed over me. A wave that made me feel relaxed for the first time in a while.
We are both finally getting this adulting thing down. We are creating a rhythm that works for our family and growing as we do so. He loves mountain biking and I love having a break on the weekends. So we compromised and are finding moments that he can ride but also be present at home. Our finances aren’t perfect but we are both finally on board with them. He takes his lunch to work every day without me nagging him about it. In return, I try to keep the main living areas clean for when he gets home.
Sometimes, I think, it takes stepping back from your life to improve it. Taking a moment to be vulnerable and tell yourself that it’s ok to rely on someone else. Marriage is all about compromise and working together to create a family. I think we are finally getting there and it feels really good!
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