How’s Married Life?- Well, Aren’t You Gonna Do Those Dishes?

Big confession, well maybe not so big, because anyone who knows me up close and personal knows this. I abhor housework I really do. I know of people who find housework and cleaning relaxing, I don’t, I find it tedious. One of the reasons I wrote this series is because I want people who may be wandering what it’s like to be in an interracial marriage, whether it is different, do we have marital issues involving race, and stuff like that to that we are normal couples. Yes, we have a regular marriage and other than ‘the incident’ which occurred the other day and only represents about .01% of our marriage, it’s a regular marriage with regular issues.

So how do you divide household chores, do you just go for the standard man’s work, woman’s work? Do you try to figure out who likes doing what? Do you go household work halfsies?

Well, the best and most obvious answer is do what works for you. Although that’s a good diplomatic answer real life sometimes present us with other challenges. With more and more couples both parties are now working and when two tired folks come home dividing up household chores can be difficult. Now you’d think as a housewife I’d have some kind jones for cleaning or feel it is something I must do because I stay home. No such luck, I don’t feel guilty if I don’t play Hazel the maid everyday. There are a lot of things I do during the day besides sitting home, I take care of household business mine and his, I attend a lot of doctor’s appointments as well as just take care of myself. I do housework on occasion to be honest but since there’s only two of us in the household it’s not really taxing. The most I do for my husband is pick up his dirty clothes & toss them in the laundry for him to wash. I don’t wash his clothes because I don’t wash anyone else’s clothes with my own. Habit forged in childhood. If he has clothes to wash and maybe I have a smaller load, I’ll use his as a filler. I don’t do dishes but we have a dishwasher, thank goodness. He does the trash, I change the bags. We switch up on who vacuums, I usually do it because it’s easier with him out of the way. I clean the bathroom because for some odd reason I like doing that in the middle of the night. We both cook, I like to cook and he likes to cook. Don’t tell him I told you this but I think he’s the better cook. I really do try my best to cook during the week, I know he’s been working hard, or at least order in for us on the days I’m not feeling my best. If we ever get a house, he’ll be doing the mowing. We have had some minor disagreements about housework. But we’ve resolved them. What my husband is really good at is fixing things and putting things together, he is an engineer. The best thing about when he fixes or puts stuff together is he never does a half-ass job he wants perfection and it’s always done well.

So how do you decide in today’s modern couples who does what? If you both work, I’d say be equal and watch out if you start to feel resentful towards your partner regarding housework. I don’t think that resentment always comes because people feel like they may be doing more but because what they do isn’t appreciated. A ‘thank you’ to your partner for what they do around the house can go a long way. My husband and I are people who both give thanks to each other freely. Housework can be diffucult and even if your wife stays home and has time for housework, thank her. I thank my husband for going to work, tell him how proud I am of him all the time. He thanks me for all I do taking care of our family and home. A little appreciation goes a long way. Do some things together, surprisingly some housework chores can be a good time to talk and connect after a long day. Cooking together or washing dishes together can great time to create intimacy. There are times when my husband and I cook together and it’s fun and brings us closer. You can use yard work as a time for connection, messing around the garden can be a good time for that. So in all the work you do around the house, you may find that housework doesn’t have to be a divider it can bring couples together. Also do the parts of housework you enjoy, the part you do well. My husband is great at the handy stuff and I enjoy cleaning the bathroom, who knew, but doing the part you enjoy certainly takes stuff off the list. When he cooks, I load the dishwasher and put the food away, when I cook we switch. Be flexible about chores, makes things easier also lets your partner know you’re not taking them for granted. So work out your housework and don’t forget to show each other appreciation for what you do around your home, it will certainly make it happier and cleaner.

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You Deserve More Than A Scrap Man

Women with chronic illness and disabilities deserve a wonderful man just like any other woman. Don’t take male scraps because you think no one will ever get over your chronic illness or disability. Someone will love you just for who you are.

The Present Moment-The Pain Experience

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I’m going to start a short series on living in the present moment and the things I’ve learned from doing so. I know we all think that we live in the present but for most of us, we don’t do that at all. Living in the present is not really an automatic thing for us that live in the first world of busy, bustling lives. Living in the present actually takes practice and needs to be done consciously. When I first heard about present living as I like to call it, I was in my therapist office, we were discussing my tendency to worry a lot and the panic and anxiety I sometimes experience when I do that. He said something  I’d never heard before, he told me many of us spend the majority of our lives ruminating over the past or obsessing about the future. We always miss the present. We miss the beauty of the present, the sadness of the present, the joy of the present, we just miss it. We miss our lives.

After that session I went home to think about how many times I had really enjoyed the present moments in my life. I was astounded to find my being ‘in the moment’ at important times in my life was practically non-existent, that saddened me. Because I knew I had been a part of some wonderful times and even sad ones but was I really there? Did I really experience that present moment?

Present moments can be full of joy or sadness but even if they are sad you get to experience the feeling and overcome it. Instead of experiencing sadness what most of us are told to do is just get over it, which is just code for repress your pain. But you can’t and shouldn’t repress pain because it always comes out in more destructive patterns. If we actually lived presently and experienced pain and suffering, let those feelings flow in us we’d probably all not be using the other emotional drugs we use on a daily basis because we repressed our suffering. I’m telling black women this specifically stop repressing your pain, your fear, your disappointment, your suffering. It sounds counter-intuitive I think we feel that if we let those feelings flow we’ll just end up depressed. But the opposite is true, because you don’t let those feelings flow you end up depressed anyway. The first time I let myself experience some repressed pain, it was the most cathartic thing I’d ever done. And after I did it, I was able to let the pain really and truly go. I experienced a feeling of release, even some joy. It was amazing, I’ve been doing it ever since. When we repress our pain, our suffering comes out in other destructive ways, we can’t really make suffering go away by ignoring it that doesn’t work. Although you think you’ve escaped it if you aren’t experiencing it in the present as you should be I guarantee your pain is running you in areas of your life. You have to quell that pain and suffering and what better way to do it than with emotional drugs. What are emotional drugs? They are the destructive patterns we use to not experience our pain. They are anger, jealousy, control, co-dependency, narcissism, people-pleasing, judgment, bitterness, self-pity, panic, anxiety, being hyper-competitive and/or being hyper critical of ourselves and others. Oh yes, you may not be covering pain with regular drugs like alcohol and cocaine but you most certainly are self-medicating with emotional drugs. Start to think about what you may be doing to quell your repressed suffering. I’ll be back later to show how you can kick your emotional drug habit.

Next part in my series will be about presently feeling joy.

The Black Housewife

I am an oddity among black women, I have a husband who has a good career so I am a housewife. Now I know a lot of black women who are stay at home moms, they are usually married interracially like myself. But I don’t know a lot of black housewives. Although I know of white, Hispanic, and Asian women who are housewives. Finding another black woman that’s a housewife is like looking for a purple unicorn. It’s so unknown when I googled ‘black housewife’ all the links were for pornos, wow! I think when I tell people that I’m housewife, they think I’m lying or kidding. When I say it to people of all races, I get the oddest kind of looks as if to say ‘well, you’re a black woman, you can’t be a housewife’. I could certainly be a working single mom, I could be a working wife but no, I can’t be a housewife. I think even amongst black women who are stay at home mothers, I’m kind of unbelievable.

Now I stay home because of a chronic disease but I can’t say that even if I could work I would. I like being a housewife, my husband likes me being a housewife, it’s not always exciting but I can take care of all my business and the household business without having to rush and fit it in when I have time. I think it would be acceptable when I showed up at the grocery store to shop midday if I had a child with me, then at least people would say I kind of worked because I had a child. I think it would be okay for folks if I was going to school but I have a bachelor’s and graduate degree. I think for some people what makes this unacceptable and even uncomfortable for them is that I’ve gone to school and I should be working but I’ve made a conscious choice not to. But I have a husband that it is perfectly acceptable to him for me not to work. He is able to take care of us and I have a pretty good life. He takes care of me and I take care of him. I don’t want for anything but I think because I’m black and sitting at home or out and about taking care of business or at lunch, it just rubs folks the wrong way.

Black women are workers, our image has always been that of hard workers and if we don’t work then the alternate image of us is we’re supposed to be on welfare. That’s an acceptable image, that image makes many people feel comfortable. To the white young woman working hard checking groceries, me saying I’m a housewife or I’m on my way home throws her because she really probably thinks I’m in a place she believes she has the right to be. Now I can’t say this for sure but the odd looks, the cutting of eyes I get when I say those words tells me so much. If I ever feel better with more energy I may just volunteer or even join a group of other housewives or stay at home moms but I’m pretty sure I’ll be the only black one.

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I Regret Nothing, Well Maybe I Regret One Thing

A few weeks ago as my husband and I laid out on our sectional watching some random television I looked at him. He was sideways to me so he didn’t notice me watching me. I smiled to myself and just thanked God once again for having such a wonderful partner. He has been such a blessing, but as I thought of him and our marriage I felt a tinge of regret. I never ever thought I wanted children being a diabetic can make the process of pregnancy challenging to say the least. So I always thought it wasn’t for me and really in my first marriage it was less the disease and more the fact that in my heart and mind I never wanted to have children with my first husband. Even if we’d been capable of doing so, I still wouldn’t have done it. My chronic disease was just a good excuse not to, not that he wanted children himself. So no big loss on either of our parts. But as I looked at Matt I started to regret the lost time. I say this a lot and realize it more and more as i get older and it’s true, when time is gone you can never get it back. One of the reasons I write this blog and I’m so candid about some of my mistakes is because I don’t want anyone to go through what I went through, if I have to put my story out there as a warning I’ll do it. Maybe some of my mess can be a good message.

I think Matt would make an awesome Dad and I’d probably make a pretty bitching mom but when we met I was 37 years old and now I’m 40 years old and still a person with a chronic disease. I suddenly got so angry at myself for wasting all those great years of potential child-bearing with my jerk of an ex-husband. Now it probably still would have been a challenge to be pregnant then but it’s like a super challenge now. I say this as a warning when picking a mate, do so carefully. If I had been more careful and wiser I don’t know if I’d picked my ex. And although my previous marriage taught me so much, I do regret the waste of time. I’ve always disliked wasting time, it’s just so dang precious. At this point Matt and I are thinking very seriously about having a baby but there are a lot factors that make this a difficult decision and not one we can take a lot of time with. My age is one, my health is another both of those are potential risk factors for the child and myself. I started to cry as I thought about the fact that maybe my opportunity to be a mom had passed me by. We’ve talked about surrogates but need to investigate that also. But if it had not been for the wasted time, I wouldn’t have to face this difficult challenge and decision. I don’t know what’s going to happen, there’s doctors to consult with and I’m still praying about this decision. The best I can say to you ladies is try your darnedest to pick carefully and right the first time because those things matter in the long run and a bad decision made in your early years can have long lasting adverse effects. It’s sad to think about and it’s the only real thing that I’ve ever had deep regret about. I sure wish I didn’t.

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