I never thought much about my life growing up. At times in my adult life when I’ve considered getting married, having kids, I didn’t have anything but my own thoughts at that time to rely on. It’s strange because I’m an obsessive planner for short-term details, but I can’t think of any point in my life when I’ve had a vision for the future.
As a kid I always had dreams of what I wanted to be when I grew up: veterinarian, zoologist, reporter for National Geographic Magazine, but those were always just fleeting childhood whimsies. I never pictured myself married or with children, but I didn’t necessarily picture myself without those things, either. I just didn’t have a clear picture of myself in the future.
The one thing I always knew I would do when I grew up was be my own woman. Maybe I’d have a boy my life or maybe I wouldn’t, but I’d support myself and make my own decisions. It was important to me to prove that I could do anything and didn’t need to rely on anyone else to be a functional adult. That’s one of the reasons why Jon and I didn’t get married straight out of college. I wanted to live on my own (I had a roommate, but that’s because I get lonely, I’d rather have someone around to talk to than be by myself all of the time) for a while.
When Jon and I grew tired of the long distance thing and decided it was time to get married, I had to struggle with something else. It was time for us to divide the household responsibilities, and part of me wanted to give all of the money-related ones to Jon. The other part of me balked.
My parents have always split monetary responsibilities. Mom handles the day-to-day budget but Dad does the taxes. In our home Jon does both, for the most part, and that rankled at first. I didn’t like the idea that I was letting a man handle all of the money; not that I didn’t trust him, but it felt too much like me giving up and letting him handle those affairs because he’s the man. It didn’t help that I was doing the bulk of the chores at home, but that’s because I hadn’t found regular work yet and had the time.
In the end I had to tell myself to stop being silly. If I’m being truly enlightened I look at Jon and I as Person A and Person B. Person A has strong math skills and Person B has always needed help with her taxes. If we’re going just by skill sets, it makes sense for Jon to handle the money.
Jon also installed a budget program on our computer. We both input the purchases that we make in it, and it tells us how much we have left in certain areas. If either of us feels like an area deserves more or less in its budget we talk it over with the other and adjust it accordingly.
It took some time figuring out how we’d balance things in our marriage. I was letting my own biases get in the way, to an extent: I was determined not to follow historical gender roles just because they were stereotypes, but that shouldn’t be the sole reason why I do something. As long as we’re being led by our own skills and interests, not by outdated mores, then we’re doing what’s best.
*(The above image by graur codrin is from freedigitalphotos.net).