Things I’ve Learned

I wanted to write a brief post about how life has been (which you know) and a few of the things I’ve learned in the last few months as I looked for jobs, learned to housewife, and became a wife.

When life gives you lemons, grab some friends, demand limes, and toss them in some Coronas.

So this is kind of silly, but the point is that the last few months have been somewhat stressful on a personal level. With the lack of a job and the loss of any potential for emergency unemployment income, I was becoming more and more stressed about figuring out how to help support my husband and myself financially.

As you can imagine, it’s at times like those that it helps to have a couple of close girlfriends to lean into and chat with. Now, I will admit to having a couple of Coronas with lime and even a few times where I drank more than beer, but I’ve since come to the conclusion that I really don’t need the liquor anymore.

I do need the girlfriends, though. And they’ve become my supporters and encouragement through this period of finding a new job, starting it, and training for what I’ll really be starting this coming week. It’s been a blessing to have them in my life because I could really use the girl time when I was feeling low.

When you’re short on cash, your standards for food will really stretch and bend. 

This one is kind of a no-brainer, but I thought I’d touch on it because of where I’ve come from and where I am now. I wouldn’t say Fernando and I are so strapped for cash we can’t even buy groceries. Even when I was unemployed, I was still had the means to pay for the more expensive things like fruits and vegetables and even meats that might normally have been more expensive.

So don’t start thinking we were too poor to eat. That’s not what I mean.

What I mean is that I’m so used to a certain standard of food in my parents’ home that it was strange to have to budget for different things. My mom will constantly purchase organic fruits, vegetables, and eggs, which obviously racks up a significant grocery bill. She’ll shop at stores like Fresh Market and Earthfare, which–while full of great options for really delicious meats, organic foods, and those difficult to find specialty foods–tend to have the higher prices that supermarkets like Kroger’s aren’t going to compare to.

Now my standards have changed just a bit. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that some of these are just the results of a more limited budget, some are the results of tips from frugal friends, and some are the results of living with someone who isn’t my parents.

A great example I could give would be with fish. I normally don’t eat a lot of fish, but Fernando loves it. He loves to get the frozen fish from the Kroger’s freezer, and he eats tilapia. My parents, on the other hand, will go to specialty fish shops to pick out fresh fish that is not farmed but is wild caught and purchase things like cod, salmon, and tuna steaks. They would never eat tilapia because you simply can’t find wild caught tilapia, and there’s no way they’d buy the frozen fillets.

Yet here I am buying the frozen fillets weekly. I’ll switch things up with some orange roughy, but Fernando is adamant that he doesn’t like cod. So I haven’t bought that yet, even though it’s one of my favorites.

Another big difference in how I shop now from how I did at my parents’ house? It’s all in where I shop. I still buy fresh produce and eggs, but I get them from the Aldi. I get other specialty items from the Trader Joe’s because of the decent prices. And then I’ll hit the Krogers for additional deals when they come out because I like a bargain.

When you first become a housewife, it’s easy to think you have to do it all yourself.

Fernando works 50 hours a week, and when we first got married, I saw myself having to stay on top of everything around the house in order to make sure I was of value to him.

Yeah…about that…it wasn’t exactly working very well. As much as I’d like to be an excellent wife and homemaker, it just isn’t something I’m a pro at yet. Give me several years, and I may be here telling you everything’s changed, but the truth is: I just don’t know how to do it all myself yet.

So yes, I can do laundry when it needs to get done. And I can make sure that the dishes are put into the dishwasher when they start to pile up.

But I wasn’t very good at it while I was unemployed. Part of that was a clear lack of motivation to do much of anything, honestly. I was depressed about being jobless and unable to bring in any income, and I felt like I was being a burden on Fernando. I just wasn’t taking the opportunities to do things that would be beneficial to either of us. And that was where the problem laid.

Now, however, I’m working again, and I feel the need to stay more on top of things like laundry, groceries, and dishes. Ironically I’ll keep up with those more obsessively than I ever did before. I’ll continuously put dishes in the dishwasher to add up until it’s full for a wash. I watch the towel pile to see when I need to wash towels and make sure I’m keeping track of my clothes for when to wash those.

And even though we’ve discussed groceries already, I’ve got to say that Fernando and I tend to go out together to buy groceries when we can. It’s usually a Sunday afternoon, and it’ll take us out for a weekly trip to the local stores to pick out the things we need.

So maybe I’m not vacuuming once a week or cleaning the bathroom regularly. I’m at least on top of the things that keep the house moving. For now, that’s what counts. And once I’ve mastered all that, I think I’ll try to get on top of the rest of it.

Those are just a few of the things I’ve learned so far as a newlywed. It’s a crazy, fun journey. I just know it’ll be a long adventure, and I’m looking forward to how things change.

– RaeNez

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