It's hard to understand that sometimes people just fight. People fight for a lot of different reasons. And sometimes it's just because you're together too much and the fact that they are simply breathing annoys the crap out of you.
One of the biggest struggles I've had since quitting my job is feeling like I'm just a housewife with a hobby. It's especially been bad since we've moved into the new house because a lot of what I do relates to the house. Anytime I meet someone new or have a conversation of any sort, I want to be sure people understand that I work. That I do things. I am not just a housewife, damn it! But then it occurred to me, so what if I'm just a housewife? I mean, really, so what? What on Earth is so bad about that?
Sure, it's 100% true that I never in my life thought I'd be anything close to a housewife. I thought I'd have a career, at least in the traditional sense of the word. You know, some job where I answer to people and they pay me and stuff. But life changes. There are plenty of things that I thought I would do or wouldn't do and I'm doing them and not doing them. Ahem. Cough. Cough. Leaving the city and moving back to INDIANA.
I also never thought I'd be running my own creative business either.
But I'm a liberated gal so the word housewife is supposed to be dirty.
We change, we grow, we want different things. That's called growing up. And maybe there are hundreds and millions of people who are doing the exact thing they always thought they would. But I guess I'm just not one of those people. And that's totally OK.
And, seriously, what is so wrong with being a housewife? I keep saying that, I know. But that's because I'm not really sure if I know what's so bad about it. I think we (or I guess maybe I) associate the word housewife with so many negative things. Sell out. Lazy. Dependent. Spoiled. Not in the real world.
But the truth is, I'm none of those. Mr. T and I make incredible sacrifices so I'm able to stay home and devote my time to our home and my creative biz. Sometimes I think about all of the things we could do if I was working. How much money we would have. We wouldn't ever struggle at all. But I wouldn't be happy and we wouldn't have the life we want.
Life is so much more than job titles and a paycheck.
So maybe I am just a housewife. But there's really no just about it. I do a lot of things. I cook, clean, and manage the finances. I organize our house and our life. I make things from scratch so we can eat better. I do these things because I'm good at them and Mr. T is good at professoring. I do these things so Mr. T can do what he loves and focus on that. We both play a role. We both do what we're best at.
If I had a job, I wouldn't question it or feel weird about it. Even if I hated it and it made me a horrible person to be around (because it totally did). I wouldn't feel guilty about going to a job that I hate because it would just feel normal. Because it's what you're supposed to do. But isn't that kind of messed up? And isn't that the same thing as being a housewife just because it's what you're supposed to do? Seriously, it's not any different.
I love what I do. All of the things I do. I'm a housewife. I'm a creative entrepreneur. And I'm a doggie mom. I might never make enough money to support us, but I'm happy. Mr. T is happy. And I'm a hell of a lot more awesome to be around than I was when I had a corporate job.
Women's lib doesn't mean we all have to go out and go to college and get a job and be some career driven corporate gal. It just means we get to choose what we want. We get to decide our path. No one else gets to or has to. There are no rules about what we can and can't do. If you want to work, you get to. If you want to stay at home with the kids, you get to. If you want to stay home to cook, clean, work on your stationery store and blog, and look after your dog, you can. There's nothing wrong with it. And you shouldn't feel weird or bad or anything. Because it's totally OK.
Just do you. Be you. Do what makes you happy. Do what works for you (and your family).
Because life is all about balance and I want to be fun again.
Because I can still read dating books even though I'm married.
My name is Jess Downey and I'm domestic and my fridge is full of kale and yogurt. And I'm totally OK with that. (I think)
I'm a strong woman and I will openly admit that I need my husband. What’s so wrong with that?
So we've established that Mr. T is obsessed with March Madness. And I'm beginning to think that people might think I am too with all of these posts about it. I mean, sheesh. Anyway. Mr. T. He's crazy about March Madness. But this will be my third with him and I still married him so that means I (and we've) successfully navigated it without killing each other. So here are four tips for surviving March Madness when your significant other is a basketball freak (like mine).
If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.
I personally say, watch it with them. The thing about March Madness (and what I've noticed about most of sports) is that it isn't the opera. You can chat and goof around. Have some drinks and food. It's fun to just hang out. So why not? And, of course, when I say chat I don't mean have a deep serious conversation. I just mean it's not like the opera.
I firmly believe that you shouldn't try to steer your boo away from watching. That just causes issues and no one wants that over a basketball game (or, you know, 994 basketball games). So, compromise. Maybe he (or she) doesn't always get to watch it on the big TV. Maybe you get to pick the snacks. Maybe he has to cook you dinner or give you a massage. Whatever.
Just pretend to understand.
I will admit it, I don't understand watching basketball for that many hours. It's so many! But I don't really have to. It makes him happy. It's something he enjoys (and enjoyed long before Jess Downey was even a thing in his life). There are plenty of things I do that I am sure he doesn't understand. That's just how it works.
Do your own thing.
If you're really not into it, that's cool too. Your guy or gal shouldn't make you watch anymore than you should make them not watch. So use it as an advantage to get some me time in and do whatever that involves.
And to prove that it's possible (just in case that whole lifetime commitment with marriage thing didn't do it for ya), I am going to have a little recap after each round -- a diary if you will -- of watching March Madness with Mr. T. Be on the look out for the first one next week.
We've all heard about it and some of us may believe we have even experienced it. You meet a guy or gal and they are perfectly perfect. Everything is running smooth until you take things to the next level. You get engaged. You move in together. And suddenly there are all these things you never really noticed about them. They actually seem like a totally different person to you.
It's become known as the bait and switch. But, honestly, I'm not really buying it and I think people use the phrase a little too liberally.
Now, I'm not saying the bait and switch never happens. I'd actually be crazy to say that. I'm sure there are people out there who intentionally misrepresent themselves to snag a guy or gal. But it's equally crazy to assume you have nothing new to learn about a person.
Here's a list of a few things that Mr. T and I didn't know about each other when we moved in together:
- I'm pretty anal. I can look at our coffee table and notice if one little thing is off.
- I organize everything. I even fold my towels a certain way (and maybe group them according to colors).
- I freak out about things. Stupid little things. I once freaked out about a hot dog. I can't even remember why.
- I plan everything. I even make plans for plans.
- He plays games on his phone. A lot. Like when there's a couple minutes until the next TV show starts. Or if he has two seconds to kill before we head out the door. And sometimes he oblivious to the world around him while playing said games.
- He hates to plan and procrastinates everything. Sometimes he even procrastinates playing his phone games.
- He forgets everything (except the important stuff like birthdays and anniversaries, thank goodness).
None of these things were necessarily shockers, but they were things we didn’t notice while we were dating. And it truly didn't have anything to do with any baiting and switching. Neither either of us did it to intentionally be someone we aren't or to convince the other person to like us. But we only saw each other a few times a week. It was easy to push all of that aside. I freaked out about things before I saw him. I scrambled to clean and get things done before he came over. And he played video games when I wasn't around.
When you move in together there is nowhere to hide. Reality sets in. You see everything about each other. Even things that you didn't know existed. This isn't a bad thing. It's actually pretty wonderful. But it can lead to a few new things creeping out.
I kind of think the whole bait and switch thing is something we created. Maybe it's an excuse or comes from fear that we didn't get to know the person as well as we should have. Or that things won't actually work out. So maybe it's easier to call bait and switch. I don’t know.
But what I do know is that it's a problem because it can cause you to ruin something that's perfectly fine because you somehow convince yourself you've been misled or betrayed. And obviously that’s no good.
So instead of freaking out and jumping to conclusions, remind yourself that as your relationship progresses, you're going to also experience changes. But changes (and learning new things about each other) doesn't mean there's something wrong. It just means you have to compromise and adjust a little. Work together. That's part of what love and relationships are about.
I'm letting the coffee table be a little messy and not planning up every second of our lives. He's playing games less and is trying to write things down so he'll remember.
A couple of weeks ago, I saw a story on the news about how this couple had vowed to have sex with each every night for a month. I guess it started because they noticed one day that they hadn't touched each other in over a week. So in an effort to bring back the intimacy, they chose to make sexy time a daily routine.
Now, part of me thought "good for them!". I mean, if you realize there is an issue in your relationship, you should always try to work at it. And, yeah, sex every single night. That's a feat so I give you props and kudos and all of those awesome congratulatory words. But the other part of me doesn't understand how exactly this solves the problem.
Don't get me wrong (and hear me out). Sex is important. Very important. I think unless you have some kind of extraordinary circumstances you should be doing the deed sometimes. So I'm not trying to deny that. I just don’t think sex is the only thing that's important when it comes to intimacy. And that's part of the problem here.
I also think it's unrealistic to have sex with your significant other every night. Sorry, but I do. Sometimes one of you (or both of you) are too tired or just don't feel like it. Sometimes you have a deadline or get home late or want to be an old person and go to sleep at 10pm. It's not really that big of a deal and it doesn't say anything about your relationship or how much you're attracted to each other. It's just real life. Relationships are real life.
And, I also think it's a problem if you are forcing yourself to have sex when you don't want to. I don't care what the issue is. That just isn't right and I don’t see how that's healthy or how it makes anything better. Seriously. If you're treating sex like a chore, how in the world is that helping you to be more intimate with your significant other? Pretty sure that just means you’re having sex more.
Which is kind of a big thing here -- the way we're defining and expressing intimacy. You can't do that just through sex. There are so many other ways to do it. Some of them don't even include touching. Kissing, showering together, holding hands, deep conversations. Those are all ways you can be intimate with your significant other.
But, with all of that said, I know that intimacy can be an issue. It's easy to get stuck in a rut and have it escape. It's so easy to get all wrapped up in the daily routine (and monotony of everything). Jobs, kids, being comfortable, everyday life -- you name it.
And if it is an issue, you need to fix it (if it can be fixed). But that doesn't have to automatically translate into having sex every night. Instead, try to make sure you're being intimate in some way each day. Kiss each other in the morning. Cuddle for a bit before bed. Hold hands at the grocery store. Give each other a little smack on the ass here and there. Do whatever suits your fancy.
Obviously you shouldn't do stuff like that instead of or to replace having sex. Rather, it's stuff to do along with the sex stuff so you're not going several days without even touching each other or feeling the lack of intimacy.
Call me crazy, but I think that's way more realistic and will solve your problem for the long term (rather than just 30 days). It also brings back the fun and flirtiness in your relationship (and that can lead to a little more sexy time too).
I have a confession to make. I compare my relationship to other relationships. I don't really mean to do it. Actually, to be technical, sometimes I don't even realize that I'm doing it. And it's not out of envy or anything like that. It's more that this is uncharted territory for me. I've never been engaged or lived with a significant other before. I don’t know how things are supposed to go here. Also, let's face it. When you've had your own share of failed relationships and seen how others have failed, it makes you aware of relationship epic failure (or failureness if that's a word. I'm sure it’s not). So it just seems logical to start comparing your relationship to others. Others you've had. Others other people currently have or have had. Whatever.
I guess I always thought it was coming from a good place. You know, to make my relationship stronger. To make sure it was good. The best it can be. To make sure it didn't travel down the horrible, awful path of misery and hate.
But what I've realized is that couldn't be farther from the truth. Honestly, no good comes from comparing your relationship to others. No good at all. And it doesn't matter one bit where it's coming from.
What actually results is that you create a whole lot of chaos. You see problems that aren't there. You stress out over things that don't matter. You get way too wrapped up in all the should have, could have, and would haves.
And that's exactly what I've been doing.
Instead of focusing on my relationship and what it is, I'm worrying about whatever it "should" be. How it "should" go. What things are "supposed" to be like as an almost married couple. I', too caught up in making things all pretty, perfect, and shiny that I'm not taking my relationship for what it is -- something wonderful.
Which means I'm totally missing out (and I'm also an idiot). Because, honestly, my relationship is great. It's by no means perfect. It's hard sometimes and there are struggles. But it's pretty awesome and, at the end of the day, there is no one else that I would want to annoy the crap out of me other than Mr. T.
There are no shoulds in a relationship. Mr. T and I make the rules. We decide how things go in our relationship. And maybe things won't look like any other relationship I know or be perfect by anyone else's standards, but that doesn’t matter. As long as we're happy. As long as it's something we both want. That's what matters. That's how a relationship should go.
I'd like to interrupt my usual posts of advice, DIY, recipes, and what have you because there is officially only one more month until I marry Mr. T. Seriously, you guys. One. More. Month. I don't often use that whole one word and then a period thing because it's kind of dumb, but I feel it's excusable here.
I should probably warn you that this post is going to be flooded with emotional sappiness. And a whole lot of babbling. I know technically nothing between Mr. T and me will change, but at the same time everything is changing. (That makes sense, right?)
In one month, my days of being a single lady will officially be over. That sounds weird and I don't even know if I'm supposed to say it like that, but it's true. I will be married. I will be someone's wife. Someone will be my husband. I'll be a Mrs. (though I'm not changing my last name and will talk about that later). But still, a wife and a Mrs. none the less.
I'm not going to lie, the past few months have been emotional and they've made me reflect so much on my life and my time as a single lady. And now that there's just one month left I'm feeling it even more. Coincidentally my three year anniversary with New York was also this month. Seriously, so much reflection happening over here.
I know I've mentioned it before, but I was never really sure if I would get married. I think I always saw myself in a long term relationship of some sort, but there was a part of me that just didn't get the whole marriage thing. I mean, how do you know? I think a part of me also just didn't know if I would ever meet a guy who was worth it. And, yeah, I had my times when I didn't think I was worth it.
But, man, if I could go back and talk to my single self. There's so many things I would say. There's so much I would want that gal to know. I would want her to know that she'll meet an amazing guy someday. Someone who wants the things she does and sees her the way she's meant to be seen. That person will make an effort to be with her. They won't keep her guessing or make her feel less than she's worth. They'll be on her side. You'll be a team. And, as corny as it is, genuine love is so worth waiting for. In some weird way it makes all the mistakes and poor dating decisions worth it (not that I encourage those decisions. They’re really dumb).
I still remember the first time Mr. T messaged me. He found me by searching beer on OkCupid. Our first date was at a dive bar. He was wearing a blue sweater. We drank too many beers and scotch (which I technically didn't finish because I was too hungry and told him it would make me throw up). Our fourth date was football, magic, and karaoke. We said I love you at 2am while drunk at a bar. We decided to get married while talking about mustache stirrers.
Our relationship didn't begin in a boring conventional way and it didn't grow in a traditional way either. I love that about him. I love that about us. There are so many things that I love about him and us that I can't fit them all in this post. He's brought so much good in my life and so many new things.
And in one month, I get to marry that guy. It’s pretty exciting. A little scary, but exciting.
My hope for us is that we continue in that same nontraditional way. I hope we'll always be a team. That we take each adventure as it comes. I hope we're always able to accept and respect the other person for who they are even if we don't understand it. And when there are times that we feel like we can't that we'll try to find a way to figure it out. Actually, I hope that no matter what happens that we'll always find a way to figure it out.
I hope we continue to grow as a couple and know when it's necessary to compromise. And that we'll work on not being so stubborn to compromise. And that we'll work on our patience with each other. Is there like a class for that or something?
I hope we'll always be on each other's side.
I hope we still think it's fun to sit on the couch and watch SyFy and drink beers 50 years from now. And that we never lose the desire to share food with each other. I also hope he'll always love to bake and always hates pickles so I can eat them all.
I hope we never do anything that makes either of us want to sue the other one on People's Court. Unless of course we just want to do it for the money and the fame of being on People's Court.
Oh and good lord I hope that man will always be able to make bacon.
I hope we always remember how amazing the other person is and never take that for granted. And that we'll always remember the things that are important.
I hope this isn't too much hope for two people, but we have the rest of our lives to figure that out.
One more month, you guys. One more month.
A while back, Mr. T went to get some lunch for us from Subway. This would be the day after we fought about what to have for lunch (yeah, apparently what's what we do now). I wrote exactly what I wanted on a piece of paper.
The other day Mr. T and I had a fight. It was a stupid fight. I felt overwhelmed and like he didn’t help me enough. He said he would try to do better and I asked him how I knew he would. He said there wasn't any proof, but that I would just have to trust/believe him. He obviously can't prove it until it happens.
Damn him for being so honest. He often says things like that and it's one of the things I adore about him, but sometimes I hate it too. Because in that moment I just want something other than belief. Wait and see. Believe. Trust. Blah Blah. Sometimes I wish he would just lie to me and give me some pretty little answer with sugar and frosting on top. (Not really)
But then I realized how right he is. Relationships, love, all of it takes belief and trust. Because honestly there are no guarantees. There is no proof. It's all belief and trust. And that's not the cynical gal in me talking, that's just the honest truth about life and love.
How do I know that he really loves me? How do I know that he wants to marry me? How do I know that he won't decide it's too hard to put up with my crap and leave me in five years or ten years or sooner? How do I know he won't cheat on me? How do I know that we'll always try to have each other's (and our relationship's) best interest at heart?
The list of questions is a mile long, but the answer is very short. I believe these things to be true. I trust these things to be true. So they are true. There really isn't any proof. It's all belief and trust.
And I can just as easily turn all of those questions on myself. How do I know?
It’s trust. It's faith. It's belief. It's love. And you have to have that in the other person (and in yourself) for it to work.
When referring to settling, people often use examples like a receding hairline or leaving dirty socks on the floor or some equally trivial thing. There's even a commercial for a certain cable company where a woman looks at the hot guy across the street as her balding chubby husband comes up behind her. Are these things actually settling?
I get tired of people talking about settling. I'll go into that in greater detail, but seriously, it's old. The cold hard truth is life (and love) is not a rom com. It's real. You're going to hate stuff about your partner.
A toxic relationship is a toxic relationship. It doesn't matter who it's with -- your mom, your dad, your brother, a cousin, an ex, or a friend. They’re all exactly the same and should be treated exactly the same. You have to remove it from your life. Because if you don't it will interfere with everything single thing that's good in your life.
Love Coups are great. They aren't cheesy like many other love coupon books (unless you want them to be). And the best part? You can score one for free
You don't get to pick and choose what's important to your significant other. Try to support them in whatever they think matters.
Mr. T and I were interviewed by the website Date Night Is.