Thursday, July 1, 2010

I need voices of other trailing spouses!

Most of the blogs I've found that focus on trailing (I wish there was a different term) are now defunct.  The most commentary I've found was in the comments on the Broadsheet article.  It was good to see that men were commenting on being the TS.  I was really surprised this topic didn't already have 20 successful blogs.

One of the things that stick in my craw is that it seems like I'm forgoing my own identity to follow my spouse. Here's where my gender-neutrality is going to bust.  I'm a lady.  A lady who said she'd never change her name or be under anyone's thumb.  And though I love my spouse and am genuinely excited about the prospect of a new place, I feel like I've slowly slid into a traditional role and can't get out. I am angry at myself for not having a career that would give me some power in this.  I know that trying to both get jobs with advanced degrees would make this harder, but I am mad at myself for being so easy and directionless and way too good at keeping a house.

I was fucking raised to clean and cook and manage a home.  I can't not do it. I can't not clean up a mess or finish a project.  I can't just wait until 8pm and glance in the fridge and throw something together.  I do all the meal planning and grocery shopping, much of the cooking, much of the cleanup.  Dishes are pretty equal between us, but I'm the one mopping up the counters and making sure nothing is growing in the fridge. All the little details that really do matter, but that he never sees.  It probably doesn't help that my mom also passed down some control issues to me.  Don't get me started on towel-folding.  I'm making major progress in that area, actually.

I have an image of my spouse in a wood-paneled room with academics, sniffing brandy and all that "man talk" jazz.  And then I see me in the living room or kitchen talking to all the wives.  Why do I always assume that the academics are men?  My spouse's field is very man-heavy.  Which could still mean some men in the kitchen with me.  I do not dislike women! I just dislike the idea of being known as "the wife of an academic" and him being known as "an academic".  I don't want that life.  I want to be me.

In a new place, my social contacts will, at first, be primarily people I meet through him.  I am sure these will be nice people.  But I've been the new kid so many times before, with my parents' friends introducing me to their kids.  Who will I be introduced to now?

I'll just need to introduce myself.

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