When I started blogging, I decided to write a little bit about anything that came to mind to figure out what I really wanted to say that was different from what everyone else was saying. And thank you for hanging around through my wild ramblings and the whiplash I’m sure some of you suffered as I jumped from topic to topic. Through the past several months, I started looking at the posts I’ve most enjoyed writing as well as the posts you all seem to enjoy reading and I finally found myself a niche. (This isn’t to say I’ll stick to it but I’ll start moving more this direction.)
So remember my real life friend Erica from this post? Well, she’s back again today! See, she read my post about why I don’t apologize for my messy house, and she had some really great insight. She started talking to me about it and I said, “You should just write it up for me!” And she did. 🙂 So yay for us!
Oh and in case you forgot, she blogs at Dresses and Spurs all about crafting and she’s awesome at it! So go check her out there when you’re done reading her here.
Long post short: We don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day to improve our marriage.
Wow. Ta-da! My job here is done.
Actually, we decided before we got married to never celebrate Valentine’s Day during the premarriage discussion we had. My idea.
Am I a fun hater? Maybe.
Has it saved us from fights and hurt feelings on more than one occasion? Heck yeah.
See, I’ve never really liked the pressures the world puts on us to buy gifts and do grand gestures so it started out as more of a boycott of “the system” than anything else. We had been married almost a year before we had our first Valentine’s Day and it was then that I saw this was WAY more than a boycott – it was marriage salvation.
Today I’d like to welcome a real life friend of mine to the blog. So far, all my guest posts have come from people I’ve met online through blogging. This one, I ACTUALLY know! And she’s awesome. She runs a crafting blog called Dresses and Spurs and seriously, she could keep up with Martha Stewart. She’s one of those people who can actually do the Pinterest crafts the rest of us envy. But today, she isn’t going to talk to us about crafting. If you want to see that, head here to see her blog of awesomeness. Today, she’s addressing a simple question, “Is bringing home the bacon enough?”
I used to dream about growing up and getting married. In my young mind, one day I’d meet this amazing, handsome man and we’d get married and have children and live in a nice little house in a nice little town and be happy. And that was about all the depth of thought I put into it. I thought I would stumble into this happy life. Turns out, happy marriages and happy families and happy lives have to be grown. Growing a happy marriage takes work, just like growing a garden. (And if you don’t think I know about how much work that takes, give this post a read!)
I recently read this post about how bloggers set unrealistic expectations for wives and mothers in much the same way the pornography industry does, except we do it to the minds of women while typically porn is targeted toward men.
Literally, right after closing it, I saw a blog post about how a woman went 366 days without duplicating her outfit. (I won’t link it because I’m not trying to bash her or her blog. I am a blogger and know it’s hard enough without everyone picking on you.) I don’t have enough clothes to make it 30 days if I started wearing t-shirts over pajamas!
I’m here today to talk to you about how to minimize extended family gifts. For those of you more interested in MAXIMIZING said gifts, move on. You are in the wrong frame of mind to even understand why I would write such craziness. But thanks for clicking on a title you had little interest in. Your support is astounding. 🙂 (P.S. I totally understand where you’re coming from sometimes too! I like other people to get my kids (or me) stuff.)
I’m going to focus mainly on extended family gifts given to our children because not many people complain about getting gifts for themselves. We’re parents. We’ve earned the right for a little duplicity haven’t we?
This post (titled I’m Not My Mother) originally posted on The Daliah Scene a few months ago. I’d still suggest going to check out her excellent site. It has undergone a few minor changes since then so read on for my Ideas of Motherhood.
While growing up, I had grand ideas of motherhood. My mom raised 7 children and seemed to hardly break a sweat! We grew up very rural (like, completely in the country, on a cattle ranch) so we didn’t have any opportunities to take dance classes or soccer. That was one of the changes I thought I might make with my own children because I firmly believed I would grow up to live in middle-class suburbia. Otherwise, I expected I would do everything very much the way my own mom did.
Figure out what the heck you want to attract! Write down a list of qualities you like in others, whether it’s past partners or friends and family members. If you don’t know what you like in people, it will be a lot harder to not only recognize those things in a potential partner (or friend) but also to determine what qualities you want to develop in yourself. Write it down and review it often. This is so important because it’s so easy to get caught up in what other people see as important and forget what YOU care about. If making a lot of money is important to you, write it down. But if it isn’t, don’t let the people around you convince you that it matters. (Or a million other things: cleanliness, strong work ethic, being and having fun, good with kids…) You are allowed your own opinion of what is important and writing it down will keep you from being swayed by people or media or even some random blogger. 🙂
- This is the method we use. In our home, we use my husband’s paycheck to pay for everything. It covers all of our needs and wants. In exchange, it is my job to use the money well (no splurges on $500 shoes for instance) and to take care of the children and home. Now for us, this doesn’t equal no household help from him. But it does mean that I carry the bulk of the load by cleaning and cooking and caring for children while he is at work. Once he comes home, we start sharing jobs. I also put a section in our budget to allot him a little “fun money” to spend on anything he wants. If he wants to go use it all on Mt. Dew, fine by me. If he wants to save it up for horse tack, whatever. It’s his. This keeps him from feeling like he is working all the time without getting to have any fun or freedom or anything for himself. Eventually, I added in a section for my to get a little “fun money” also but it’s a smaller amount…mostly because I HATE spending money.
- Variations of this idea could include:
- Splitting up household or childcare chores. Or perhaps one or the other. If keeping house equals having a full time job, then childcare would be even divided between you both. Or visa versa.
- Finding small ways to either earn or save money that could then become your “fun money.” The more money you save at the grocery store or earn through online survey sites, the more you have to play with.
Two IncomesThere are three main ways that couples can work two incomes: Everything is combined and divided, regardless of inequal sizes of paychecks. It all gets thrown into the household budget and used to cover all expenses, fun money, whatever. There is no smaller fund for you or your husband based on bringing home more or less. Everything is mutual. You kind of live off your own income. This is basically works like it does before you got married but now you would likely split housing costs or divide them up and then use the rest of your paycheck however you want. Or, this is the method we used when I also worked, you live off of one paycheck and save the entirety of the other. We used my husband’s paycheck exactly as we do now and mine got divided between a savings account and our investments. This ended up being a huge blessing to use when we decided to start ranching and were very poor and had a baby on the way. We used that saved up money to pay doctors and the hospital. Of course, this was before I knew how to budget and we weren’t nearly as good with our money. Looking back, we realize we could have lived off of my paycheck and saved his. Eh, you live, you learn!
When both spouses work however, it is VERY important to discuss your roles in home care and child care. The situation will vary based on hours and days you work compared to your spouse but both of you need to agree on chores you will be responsible for. It isn’t fair for both spouses to work 40 hours per week for instance and the wife has to still be in charge of all cleaning, cooking, and child raising. This could easily lead to a cranky, burnt out wife. But in our case, I worked 40 hours a week or less while he usually worked well over 60. It often fell to whoever was the least tired to pick up some slack but I typically cooked dinner because I was home 2 hours earlier and could have it ready when he got home.