“How do you feel about your wife not working?”
Someone posed this question to David at a party we attended this past weekend. Trained in survey research, my first instinct was to leave the room so as not to bias David’s response. But I stayed and heard his answer, the same one he delivers whenever this question arises: “It’s great!”
And it is great in many ways for both of us. I’ve taken major responsibility for a lot of the household duties (shopping, cooking, laundry), leaving David more time to do math. We can travel together. I get to devote my full time to writing, and I no longer cry everyday. I’m a lot happier, and this has made us happier as a couple.
But we do miss the monetary ease of our former dual income, no kids (DINK) lifestyle.
One night a couple of months ago, David and I went to a restaurant in our neighborhood for a pre-dinner appetizer. The plan was to have beers and a few oysters (spend $40 tops) and then head home to cook dinner. Of course, this didn’t happen. We ended up ordering an appetizer that was so good we wanted a main course. We ordered a couple more beers and dessert. The final bill came out to well over $100.
Even in our dual-earner times this meal would have been extravagant, but given our current constraints, it felt foolish. The restaurant, an upscale place with a casual vibe, was filled, and I remember looking around the room at the other patrons and feeling a sense of disconnect, like I used to belong in this world but no longer.
We buy our beer at the supermarket rather than a craft beer store now. We buy cheaper coffee. We don’t go out to eat as much, and when we do, we’re more conscientious about what we order. We haven’t had to give up much, and I know how lucky we are that we live comfortably without me working.
I don’t know if it’s sustainable indefinitely, but for now, my not working is working for us. Just ask David. He thinks it’s great.