dear you…inspired by a post on a housing google group

Dear Married People,

When posting about your life circumstances, is it really necessary to say things like “our internship”? I mean, is it really both of you who will be doing the internship? I don’t think so. At least, in my experience, companies aren’t in the habit of hiring married couples for one internship.
I get that you are a couple and a family unit and that you do things together, but other spouse…don’t you have other things you will be doing? I mean, does your whole world really so revolve around your interning husband/wife that you can’t just say “his/her internship”. All that this does is make me think that you don’t have a life of your own and that you really do define yourself by what your spouse is doing. Seriously, have a little pride in what you do. There’s nothing wrong with moving somewhere for your husband’s/wife’s internship or job, but don’t pretend that it’s yours, too. (And let’s be honest, I’ve never actually heard a husband say things like this.)
On that note, I also get that when my married classmates were going through school, their spouses were having a unique experience, as well…but I just don’t love it when spouses would say things like “we finish school in two weeks” or “we just got a great job”. Must you define yourself by your spouse’s accomplishments? Is it really so bad to say, “My husband is finishing school in two weeks and I am so excited”? Everyone knows that you helped him get through school. Everyone knows that you probably helped him research all of the companies with which he interviewed. Don’t you have things you’re doing? If you have children and you are a SAHM, don’t you feel like that is a huge accomplishment?
Someone please explain to me why people (well, women) do this. It just seems to undermine our value and abilities and make us seem like we were created just to be an extension of our husbands.
I really do want to understand. Really. But I’m not sure if I ever will.
Sincerely,
A girl who hopes she never turns into a wife and mother who only defines herself by her husband’s and children’s accomplishments

8 thoughts on “dear you…inspired by a post on a housing google group

  1. I totally agree with you, Chloe. This is a major pet peeve of mine as well. When we're with couples from Chad's firm and the wives talk about "when they were in law school," it makes me cringe. Really? Why did I bother going to law school and all of the blood, sweat, tears, humility, $$$$$ it entailed, if all I had to do to was marry a lawyer "we" would have a law degree. I don't know. Maybe I would feel differently if we had been married at the time and I had been holding down the fort while Chad was in school. You're a team and working toward a common goal, but having gone through it, and earning that degree, I guess I want some independent credit for it. I wonder how husbands feel. I'm sure Chad wouldn't be too keen on me taking credit for all of his hard work, as I wouldn't really want him taking credit for mine. And, maybe it's not really taking credit. I don't know. Interesting post. Brave of you to throw it out there.

  2. I appreciate all of the comments everyone shared. I know things always come across stronger in writing and I was taking a bit of a risk by not thinking more about the last post before writing it. I was just frustrated and that was the best way I knew how to deal with it right then. Writing = releasing. In any case, a number of fair points were made with which I whole-heartedly agree. When one person in a couple is in school, the entire family is part of that. And I agree with my cousin, that when her husband finishes school, they will be done with this part of their lives.But in the same way that your husband is not the one who is pregnant and carrying around the extra poundage, you are not taking finals, or studying for tests, or interviewing for jobs. I guess my thoughts are that if you can say "we're in school" then it should be okay for your husband to say "we're pregnant". In reality, when your husband is in classes and studying and taking tests, I am sure that it affects your life. By the same token, when you are pregnant, your husband is dealing with your cravings and hormones and nausea, etc, etc. I completely agree that your life should be his and his life should be yours. And really, school seems like the main period of time when this is an issue. I don't think I've ever heard someone say "we just got a promotion" or "we just ran a marathon". I just think the inconsistency is weird…and I don't see why someone wouldn't just say, "I'm so excited that my husband is almost done with school." But I'm not married and so maybe I would have said things like that.All of that said…I am also an extremely independent person and I really like my own identity and always have been, so I think this post says as much about me as it does about anyone else. Thank you again for all of your comments. It's always good for me to get others' ideas/perspectives on things.

  3. I read your post yesterday and thought about it for awhile, as I know I am guilty of saying "We are done with school in a year". As a SAHM who could very well have a career of my own if I wanted one, I don't think I say "we" because I want credit for being in school with Blake. I say it because of the fact that Blake is in school, "we" live the student life – no pay check, gross housing, cheap dates, and otherwise a student lifestyle. Truly, by being married to a student, "we" are in school! And when "we" are done with school, it means "we" will have money and a new lifestyle! and that is something "we" both look forward to! I agree with your friend who commented on the "we are having a baby" comments from husbands – of which Blake is guilty of saying the same when I am the one hanging over the toilet and gaining 50 pounds. But again, because of MY being pregnant, HIS life has changed and he definitely feels the effects of the new baby coming, as well. Anyway, I understand your frustration, but I think it's taken out of the context that most people say it in. I don't think SAHMs are desperate to feel an accomplishment outside of their home. At least I don't. Hopefully one day you'll understand that being married means his life is yours and your life is his and that's a good thing! Good luck this summer! Ali

  4. You touched indirectly on one of my biggest, hugest pet peeves EVER. In our house, I have been pregnant 3 times. "WE" have never been pregnant. It's biologically impossible and I hate it when people phrase things in the "we got pregnant" way. Makes my skin crawl. So I think it spills over into when I talk about David's work. He's the one in grad school, not me.

  5. I actually said, "We're moving to . . ." the other day. The person I was talking to (who didn't really know me) said, "Oh, you're married?" Oops. Agree on many points, but maybe the pronoun "we" just comes out sometimes 🙂

  6. I've all of a sudden become rather paranoid about how I phrase things that we, uh, I mean that he does;)I agree a lot with Lisa said (byetheway, Lisa is a good friend of mine, how do you know her?) So many times it's just easier to say "we" when explaining a stage of life or location and I know I do that all the time, but I'm pretty sure I've never told anyone "we" got an internship at Amex.However, when wives do tend to use the pronouns "we","ours" too loosely, I would cut them a little more slack because if you were to ask me right now if my world revolved around my husband's internship? After flying across the country, moving into a 1 bd apartment in a big, unfamiliar city with one infant and one confused toddler, I would tell you, "Heck yes, it does!" And if you were to ask me if I had any pride in what I did after dealing with toddler tantrums in the middle of JFK, getting peed on during our flight, and finding out how much shape I'm going to need to get into before I can walk up 4 flight of stairs with a baby and a stroller (without having to take a break), I'd tell you, "Heck no, lady! The pride is gone!"I think what I'm trying to say is being a wife and SAHM is a hard position that doesn't really get recognized, so when wives do lean on their husbands for a little recognition, it might be their (albeit, slightly insecure) attempt to show others that he has to lean on her too. So how are you? When do you get here? I love your blog and can't wait to start trying out your NYC recommendations. Hopefully, we'll get to see you soon.

  7. I'm trying to think if I ever do this. I don't think so, but if I do it is subconsciously. It's possible that I've said, "We have another year at (company)" before b-school". Or I may have said we're heading to b-school in a year…I guess I could be guilty :).In terms of an explanation, I think your point is completely valid, but I think that (at least in my case) it doesn't really have to do with defining myself by husband's accomplishments. It's more just a fact, that we will be going to business school in a year. The term "business school" for me in that sentence is more talking about a location, not actual admittance into a school, if that makes sense. A stage of life. But, if I were referring to an actual school, I wouldn't say "We got into _____!" I don't know what I'm saying really, haha. I guess I'm just saying that people who say that might not be throwing themselves in to get credit or define themselves intentionally. I definitely think Dave gets ALL the credit for his accomplishments, and I would certainly like to take credit for what I'm doing in our home, haha. It's more just a matter of poor phrasing. I love hearing what people's pet peeves are :).I can assure you now that I will be conscious of whether I say stuff like this or not though :).

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