Working out of the home has highlighted an amazing new development in my marriage that I thought I’d share with all of you. Now that I’m the one working out of the house, Dean has taken over the home duties. It’s not to say that he isn’t working – he is! But he is also picking up all the house spouse stuff, and he is SO much better at it all than I ever was. It’s actually in line with what we agreed when we first met. So let me take you on a trip through the past before I explain how awesome Dean is as a house spouse.
I don’t normally like to talk about money. I don’t claim to be some kind of financial guru or to have all the answers to get people out of debt or whatnot. There are plenty of other blogs and sites that can help with that. But, I am pretty good with money, and I thought I’d share something that has made our lives way easier. Dean and I have a budget on Google and it is a lifesaver.
Back in South Africa, Dean was paid a consistent income every month on the 25th. It ran like clockwork. Then we would logon to our internet banking and pay all the bills we paid manually, and a couple days later all the debit orders would come off and we’d see how much money we had left for the month as my income was usually paid on a more irregular basis. It was simple and worked for us. But now, with both of us working as freelancers or contractors or whatever you want to call it, the funds vary a lot more from one month to the next, and it can be hard to keep track of it all. That’s why we have a budget sheet on Google.
This post has been sitting in my drafts for far too long. You see, the amazing Eleanor tagged me in her #RockingMotherhood post, and I’ve been meaning to write mine. As a way to remind myself, I added the title to my drafts folder, and it’s been sitting there, waiting to be written for weeks now. What is it about bragging about the ways I’m rocking this motherhood thing that’s making me totally unable to write? Why can’t I sit and list what’s going well – it’s not that I think I’m bad at motherhood or something, but it’s just been a post that’s sat there, totally refusing to write itself in my head.
Now that school holidays are underway, I’m spending pretty much all day, every day with the kid. And while it’s wonderful in many ways, it’s also really hard to get anything done. But she’s napping now, so why not appreciate the moment. Allow me to pause, breathe and tell you all the ways that I think I’m rocking this motherhood thing.
I’ve been lucky enough to be able to connect with moms from across South Africa and the world. Moms from countries where women are fully equal to men and moms from countries where they are still fighting for every ounce of recognition and appreciation. While almost every woman will assert that she loves her husband, that he is helpful and she couldn’t do it all without him, most are still frustrated by a lack of appreciation for all that they do. Even worse, some partners truly don’t even see what they do. So it’s time for us all put our foot down together, to claim what is our true role – we are the head of the household.
Now, let’s be clear here for a moment. If you’re familiar with American tax law, or just traditional family dynamics, you’ll know that men/husbands are typically considered the head of the household because it refers to the person who pays 50% or more of the household’s expenses. And yes, finances are important and can’t be downplayed – we all need money to live. Without someone earning the money, we wouldn’t have shelter, food, medical attention, education… the list goes on and on. But if money simply poured into a household, it still wouldn’t necessarily be allocated to the right places and life wouldn’t magically be organized for everyone. No, that’s the role of the real head of the household, the woman.
I’ve written about our emigration process before. I talked about when we first started thinking about emigrating, how it was officially a goal for this year and even my ambivalence about really making the decision and feeling sad about leaving our wonderful life behind. I’ve bemoaned how long the admin was taking us and made a bit of a list of logistics I needed to put down so that they wouldn’t keep rattling around in my head. But we’ve hit a major milestone – we heard “Congratulations” at the consulate, and so I wanted to take you with me from start to finish.
Getting Dean’s Green Card has not been easy, and we still aren’t totally done. But I’m taking this milestone as an opportunity to reflect back on the process and talk about some of the big things we’ve gone through. If you’re planning to emigrate in general, or get a Green Card in particular, let me tell you that it is not easy, not for the faint of heart, but hopefully totally worth it. I did a Facebook Live about this as well, if you’re keen to watch me talk about this through Facebook or YouTube.