housewife survival guide. for the newlywed.

 

I have a friend who recently decided to give up the greatest freedom ever in exchange for something called nuptial bliss.  I’m talking single-hood people, not living in America.  My friend and her hubby are all cute and lovey and living in the middle of god-forsaken-nowhere-Montana or some place so they can live off the land and just enjoy being alone together or some delusional romantical jest.  Whatever.

Yesterday on her facebook she posts that they are finally getting television services hooked up to their cabin and how exciting it will be to watch something other than Anderson Cooper’s face through a blanket of grayish snow.  And I was so excited for her because last night was the Season Premier of Parenthood and she should probably get caught up on that show to make the drama of married life seem boring to her.  And because I freaking love it.  Yay for fall TV.

Then this morning I wake up to find her posting about now that they have cable and internet, (and oh my God how has she lived this long without the INTERWEBZ?!?!?!)  she isn’t sure if she should watch TV or play online or *GASP* do housework?  And I am immediately “Oh my god woman! Hasn’t anyone taught you the rules of housewifery yet?  Holy Shit let me break it down for you!”  And so here are the rules you guys.  Please make sure to share this with any single women you know.  I fear I may be too late here and she has already spent the first month of marriage doing crazy domestic dilly-dallying which he now expects and OHMYGODTHERE’SNOTURNINGBACK.  How was I not there for my friend before this mess started!?  HEED MY WISDOM!

Basic Rules of Wifery:

1.  Start slow.  This is the most basic rule there is, ladies.  You must pace yourself when you start this out or, let’s face it, your marriage is doomed.

When cooking, burn at least half of the meals you prepare per week.  You may be God’s gift to fine dining, but you need to give that man a wake-up call that this is not his mama’s house and there’s some rough roads ahead.  An occasional meal of PBJ’s also isn’t a bad idea.  This may feel a little beneath you for a few weeks, but  you just have to hold strong.  He needs to look back on these days in a few months and realize you have worked tirelessly hard to improve your skills for him.

Leave crap laying around the house for a while.  Don’t keep things spotless.  Leave a box of tampons out on the bathroom counter.  Leave his socks on the floor for a couple of days.  This puts simple boundaries in place.  You are marking your territory while simultaneously telling him you are not the effing maid and there will be equal work put in around this joint.

Put off doing laundry as long as possible.  (You may have to sneak a small load of your things in while he’s gone to make sure you can outlast him.)  This will ensure that once you do start doing laundry on the regular, but leave it in baskets rather than putting it away, he will not bitch and quite possibly will help put his own crap away.  This is housewife GOLD here folks.

You get the idea by starting slow.  Give yourself a few months to work up to your true self.  By the time he suffers through this time, he will think you’ve worked so hard to become a Grade A housewife, he’ll buy you diamond earrings for your three month anniversary.  It’s truly a win/win.

2.  Don’t spend your whole day doing crap around the house.  Listen, keeping your palace up to a quality living quarters does not take eight hours a day.  You are more than able to spend the first five hours lounging in your jammies and watching the Real Housewives of Everywhere every single day.  It takes three hours, at most, to shower and make yourself pretty (if you’re in to that sort of thing,) wipe off countertops and throw dishes in the dishwasher.  You can then chop up some veggies and throw them in a pan and by the time he gets home things will be smelling like dinner.  Take a few more minutes to throw some hot dogs on there too and it’s a meal.  This is not rocket science.

3.  {This is a mistake I made out of the chutes.  I fear there’s no turning back.  I also think he may have passed it on to the offspring.  Hear my warning!}  Do not find stuff for him.  If he’s missing some paper work and you know right where it is, just point him in the general direction casually.  Don’t, for any reason, go finding crap.  He will then lose his ever-living brain cells and thenceforward go about expecting you to find everything.  I swear to God in a few weeks he will cease lifting single sheets of paper to look under the stack for his own damn car keys.  You cannot let this happen.  Do not let on that your uterus is truly a navigational system for lost items.  This is a secret we must keep to ourselves or we will spend eternity searching for lost socks and someone’s quarterly report.  It’s just not an existence we want to suffer through!

4.  This is the most  important rule.  Do not start doing a certain chore if it is not something you want to be saddled with for the next fifty years.  Imagine for a moment your hubby has spent the first two years tirelessly mowing, edging and weeding your lawn.  Then one day, he has had a particularly long week at the office and you want to help him out and cut the grass for him.  This is a huge mistake!  Fight the urge to rescue your man and make his life easier.  Whatever you do, don’t give in.  As wives, once we give in and do an extra chore once, they automatically assume we’re just going to take over that job for the rest of forever.  That old “give an inch and they’ll take a mile” thing?  That’s 100% TRUE.

5.  This seems like a contradiction of rule number four, but it is actually just a tricky variation on the subject.  Occasionally, you may want to do something around the house that you know he’d like you to take on, but you’re just not willing to shoulder.  Let’s just use the previous example of lawn mowing.  When you cut the grass, do it in a way that has the neighbors wondering what crack-head lawn boy has been butchering your spring green.  Mess up the lines, go in three different direction and maybe take out a shrub or two.  When the hubs has a chance to check out your handiwork, act completely proud of your efforts as well as exhausted.  This will provide a) a chance for him to see that you really do think you’ve done a good job and are completely incapable of EVER doing this again and b)  a reason for him to tell you not to do it again. “Oh honey, that must be a little too strenuous for you, I better keep up on this chore.  WIN/WIN!

I know this may seem a bit underhanded to you newlyweds.  How could one ever be so devious and dishonest in marriage?  Well honey, honesty is the last thing you need in a marriage, trust me!

emotional constipation. it’s a real issue, folks.

Today was the day.  I took my babe and left him in the cold cruel world all alone.  What a horrible feeling.

Well… okay.  Maybe I’m being a little over-dramatic here.  What I did, was take my last born child and drop him off with a super sweet little lady who will begin him on his educational adventure.  There, that sounds less “someone call CPS on this bitch” and more “awwww… that’s a sweet mommy.”

Yesterday Jordan and I were running some errands together and he looks at me and says, “Well, Mom.  This is it.  Tomorrow I’ll be at school and we won’t have any more Mommy dates.  You’ll just be doing this alone and I’ll be at school like Elle.”  {Well thanks for breaking my heart kid!}  He must have sensed my sadness because he followed it up with a “But don’t worry, I still have weekends off so we can have Mommy dates then.”  {Well thank god!}

So we dropped the munchkin off at school (complete with photos and the whole boo-hoo breakfast experience) and he didn’t even blink an eye.  He is so damn ready for school it’s weird.  Jimmie went along with me because this is a big deal.  But also because I think we were both expecting me to have a Sally Field in Steel Magnolias moment and weep on the school sidewalk or something.  I ugly cried a solid ten minutes when Elle started school before I could even pull the car out of the parking spot.  That was just the beginning.

Today? I didn’t shed a tear.  I was not going to blubber all over the place in front of everyone.  So every time I got a lump in my throat I thought of random things  (like army ants or cucumbers) to get my mind off of it until I could just make it to the car.  Then I got to the car and remembered I had to go back to the school office.  So I pulled my shit together and did what I had to do.  When we finally started the drive home Jim was like, “You’re freaking me out.  Why are you not freaking out right now?”  I didn’t know.  I don’t know.  Crap.  I waited too long and stuffed it down to much and it’s dead.  I don’t know!

Then we got home and it hit me.  It is freaking quiet around here.  I cried for about a second.  Then nothing.  Then Jim said we should get a patio set for the back patio so we could sit and have coffee together on the quiet mornings he’s home working, and I lost it.  For about three seconds.

I’m emotionally constipated, you guys!  I feel all of it brooding around inside but it just won’t come out.  I need a good cry so I can get over it, but I just can’t.  What the hell?  Maybe I am just a seasoned vet.  I don’t know.

This is the child that has never had a professional photo taken of him.  He’s the epitome of a second born child and I suck.  I can’t even cry that he’s off in the cruel world alone now!

Maybe it’s just that I know how great this is going to be for him.  Maybe that’s it. Shit. I. Don’t. Know!

one. more. week.

In exactly one week, I’ll be sending off my baby child to the big bad world all by himself.  Someone else will be spending the majority of his awake life with him and I’ll just be the lady that makes him cookies (and wipes his butt when he poops.)  In one week full-time kindergarten begins and I will be all alone.

Okay, I know I’m being melodramatic.  I KNOW, OKAY?!?!  You don’t have to look at me that way.  I realize I am totally a drama queen.  But this isn’t my first rodeo, folks.  I have been here before.

{Holy Shit.  As if right on cue, the little rascal is down there hollering and yelling for me to come wipe his butt.  It’s like he wants me to  lose my mind or something.  Why can’t he just wipe his own ass successfully?}

Uhhh… Where was I?  Oh, right.  I have hardly done more than blink since the last time I had to take a kid and drop her off for her first day of Kindergarten, her cute little braided pig-tails flopping in the wind as we stepped up to the portable to meet her teacher.  Since then, it’s been a blur of Crayola crayons and colored pencils and a few moments of sassy-mouthed homework squabbles that lead to this morning’s talk of why sex is so gross.  All that to say, time freaking flies once they enter school and I am not ready to let my baby go.

Someone else will be teaching him all the cool tricks and holding his attention (hopefully!)  Someone else, who I hope is not prettier than me because he still thinks I’m the prettiest girl he knows, will be taking care of my baby while I sit home alone perusing the internet and trying to make something from bitching online.

Wait.  Why am I so upset here?

Oh, because I love my babe to pieces and I’m scared for him.  I know he’s going to love school.  And by school I mean recess and lunch time.  But I’m a little nervous about the rest of it.  And more than that, I know that once they start school, it’s just a blur of time passing and sooner than I can freaking imagine some little hussy is going to waltz into my house wanting to take him away, AND THEN WHAT BITCHES?

Holy crap I need a Xanax.