Today’s featured photo was taken from our car as we drove through Italy, on the way north. It’s a place called Silandro/Schlanders, and it’s in the Sud Tyrolean region. I’m thinking I’d like to go there with Bill, which I can easily do, since I’m a childfree homemaker.
Before I get too cranked up with today’s post, I want to thank those who took the time to read yesterday’s post, which did get some decent traffic. I got a few nice Facebook comments that were also much appreciated. Honestly, yesterday’s post was created out of my lack of a burning topic to write about, other than politics and religion. I just didn’t feel like going there yesterday, although I know there is a lot I could discuss.
Like, for instance, yesterday I did read a story about how some guy broke into a Latter-day Saint meetinghouse in Provo, Utah, where he proceeded to steal and eat four chicken nuggets. For this crime, he is now facing a third degree felony charge of burglary. Yes, it’s ridiculous, and yes I could rant about it… and maybe I eventually will.
The problem is, that kind of post has a limited shelf life. Moreover, while I could write about how ironic it is that the Mormons, who usually pride themselves on helping the down and out, are pressing charges against an apparently hungry man, I just don’t feel like it today. I do agree that it was wrong for the guy to break into the church and steal chicken nuggets. But I also hope the local prosecutor has some common sense.
Anyway, moving on to today’s actual topic…
Yesterday, I happened to see an Am I the Asshole (AITA) post on “God’s” Facebook page that made me pause. It was about a guy who asked if he was the asshole for mocking his date for wanting to be a “childfree housewife”. If you know me, you know why I stopped to read the post and its comments. Basically, that’s been my life situation since 2002.
Below is the original Reddit post:
I hasten to add, being a childfree housewife was never my goal. I did plan to have a career, and I also wanted children. That just isn’t how my life went. I realize that the way my situation turned out isn’t the norm, but it’s not completely unheard of, either. While I can understand why the guy on Reddit chuckled at the woman he was dating, I also think people who mock other people– especially when they clearly haven’t done a lot of thinking about the reason they’re mocking– are usually assholes. And in this case, I can see why this fellow is still looking for a wife.
I read quite a few comments, many of which seemed to come from men who claim that this arrangement would be totally unfair. Other comments came from women who seemed angry, and were kind of seething about it, as if they were envious. A few people were reasonable. One lady said she’d like to be a “stay at home dog mom” and wondered if that’s a thing. I’m here to tell her that yes, indeed, being a dog mom is a thing for some of us.
I didn’t really want to share my story, because I knew it would likely invite shitty comments from people. So I just wrote:
“It’s not a bad gig.”
And it’s not, in my case. I pretty much do what I like most days, although I do have housekeeping chores that I stick to. I’m not expected or required to do these things. It’s not like Bill will come home and scream at me if I forget to wash the sheets or something. I do the chores because they keep the house running smoothly and help us maintain basic hygiene. Bill and I aren’t neat freaks, but we do like our environment to be basically clean and pleasant. So yes, I do housework. So does he, when he’s available. He also does most of the cooking, although I taught him a lot of what he knows.
I woke up to a comment from some chick named Jodi who decided to tell me off. Here’s what she wrote, unedited:
Being stuck with no funds and under the financial control of someone who knows you depend on them to keep a roof over your head isn’t a great gig. Being a guy’s maid/cook/therapist/errand-runner/personal assistant and bang maid, all unpaid, sounds like utter hell. Dudes wouldn’t jump at this situation as much as they do, if they didn’t plan on taking full advantage of it and benefitting from it themselves.
Wow… I think Jodi’s been hanging around the wrong kinds of men. Below is my response:
It really depends on the situation and the people involved, doesn’t it? Not all men are like that.
I hadn’t planned to be a “stay at home wife” when I met my husband, but he was in the Army, and we moved constantly… I’m talking 5 times in 7 years! And we don’t have children because he had them in his first marriage and got snipped. Then we moved to Europe, where he works as a contractor, and it’s not so easy for a spouse to get a career type job if they don’t have a military background (which I don’t).
But we’re celebrating 21 years in November. We get along beautifully and have a great life. And no, I don’t sit on my ass all day and eat bon-bons, nor am I stuck with no funds and no say in anything. We are a partnership, and function as such. I know my situation is not the norm, but it’s probably not as uncommon as some folks on this post seem to think.
I mean, there’s a whole lot more to my story than that. If you’ve been reading my blog, you probably already know some of it. When I was younger, I certainly didn’t aspire to do what I do in 2023. I did want to be a writer, but I never expected that writing would actually be how I earn what little money I do make. I probably could make more money if I tried. In the past, I made over $40 an hour writing and researching for different organizations. But that was as a freelancer in the Washington, DC area. Obviously I don’t live there anymore, and when you move all the time, it becomes very difficult to make connections. I’m not proud of it but, with Bill’s blessing, I eventually quit trying. Much to my surprise, it’s all worked out fine.
This doesn’t mean that I don’t worry about the future. Bill and I both know that things can change in a heartbeat. For that reason, I’ve been saving and investing money for years. With his blessing, every time Bill gets paid, I invest a few hundred dollars. What started as a one thousand dollar investment is now well over 50 times that. We have several certificates of deposits, a few savings accounts, life insurance policies for both of us, and at least one IRA (Bill handles that part). I also stay out of debt as much as possible. We paid off all of my credit cards and my student loans. I research things so Bill doesn’t have to. For example, it’s because of my insistence that we got German legal insurance, which certainly came in handy for us.
I wanted to have children, and we did try. Bill had his vasectomy reversed. It didn’t work out for us, and we couldn’t/didn’t want to spend the money for help with our fertility issues. In the early years, we struggled for money, and I couldn’t see going further into debt for the chance to have a baby– even though it would have been comparatively inexpensive through the military. However, going through IVF or another treatment also would have been very impractical, as in the years after Bill had the vasectomy reversal surgery, he went to Iraq.
Then, we moved to Germany the first time. That put us in proximity to the Czech Republic, where some Americans have gone for relatively inexpensive fertility treatments. I’ve read that the Czech Republic is actually one of the best places to get affordable and effective fertility treatments. For a variety of reasons, we didn’t want to go that route ourselves. More power to those who did have children that way. I think I just got to the point at which I was getting older and decided that the chance to be someone’s mother wasn’t a deal breaker in our relationship. Frankly, seeing how the world is faring these days makes me glad I didn’t have children, even if people negatively judge me for having that view.
Living in Germany has been good for us financially– Bill is paid well for what he does. He also has a military retirement that will not end for me if he predeceases me. We are also not going to get divorced. I know a lot of people say that, but if you know us, you know we ain’t gonna be splitting up, because we’re just way too compatible. Well… I probably shouldn’t say that, because you know– you should “never say never”, and I don’t want to tempt fate. But we do have a very solid marriage. We get along beautifully and have a lot of fun. Neither of us has any desire to ever date again. So, barring a completely bizarre situation, I highly doubt we’ll ever be divorcing.
The bottom line is, our method is working fine for us. That doesn’t mean it would work for everyone, nor would I necessarily encourage other people to do what we did. The way I fell into this lifestyle was completely ridiculous and very unexpected on every level. I didn’t aspire to be a housewife, nor did I think I’d be married to a guy in the military. I also never dreamed I’d marry such a kind and generous man. But I fell in love, and I wouldn’t trade my husband for a spot in a cubicle. He treats me like gold. I’d be a complete fool to sacrifice our relationship for the sake of my pride. Our lifestyle is simple, because there’s only one career to manage. That means it’s easier to take trips together, which gives me stuff to write about. It’s also easier when we have to move.
When Bill and I met, I was engaged in a dual degree graduate program that I hoped would finally lead me out of jobs in retail and restaurants. Had I not met him, I probably would be working in Atlanta or D.C. or somewhere else I could use my public health and social work background and international skills. Maybe I would have stayed in South Carolina so I could help turn the state purple with my liberal votes (I can dream, can’t I?).
Clearly, as you can see, that’s not what happened. I met Bill, and he was not in a job where we could choose to stay where I had a career, nor would we want to do that. Some military couples do choose to be separate for certain assignments, so they can both tend to their careers. For many reasons, we didn’t want to do that. The main one is that we enjoy each other’s company too much. And yes, I could get a job– probably even here in Wiesbaden– but it would certainly not be the kind of work I’d want to do… and honestly, we don’t currently need the money. However, there are other Americans in the military community here that do need the work. They can have the job I might have taken, if I’d decided to work somewhere.
I’ve done a lot of thinking about my lot in life. When you’re an overeducated housewife, you have the time to do that. 😉 People have judged me a lot for my choices. I’ve gotten a ration of shit from everyone– from people in my family, to complete strangers on the Internet. Some people think I’m an asshole simply for the title of this blog. They don’t know me, nor do they know the path that put me where I am.
The thing is, I can’t really complain about where I am. I live in a safe, beautiful country that is close to other safe, beautiful countries. I have a wonderful, kind, hardworking, compatible husband who loves me and treats me very well, in spite of my obnoxious personality and fluffy figure. We have more than enough for our needs. So, being a “childfree stay at home spouse” works fine for me… at least for now. I don’t think I made the wrong choices. In fact, looking at my life, I can’t say I’ve made a lot of bad choices. They just aren’t the choices we children of the 70s and 80s were told we should be making.
I’m not saying everyone can or should follow my example. I’m just saying there’s more than one way to get through life. Not everyone’s path is going to be the same. Some people are luckier than others are, and some people make the most of what they have to create good situations. I do think I was lucky, but I also do my part to give us a nice lifestyle, and I am every bit as involved as Bill is in the planning of our life together. It’s not all bon-bons, wine boxes, and daytime TV, you know… 😉
So, that’s my commentary for today. Now to finish this post and tend to Noyzi’s bedding… and maybe our own bedding. I’ve got things to do that don’t involve watching Dr. Phil or dining on Hot Pockets. I might do some music today, too. Catch you all tomorrow, barring anything strange or bizarre happening. 😉