“If you could only eat one thing for a week, what would it be?”
Lavender and/or rose ice cream from Fenocchio in Nice, France. This was an awesome little ice cream place we discovered on our honeymoon and they had over 90 different flavors of ice cream! The rose and lavender were just heavenly. That’s not something I get to eat everyday, so I would totally gorge myself on it given the chance.
“I’d like to know where you see yourself in 10 years–financially, emotionally, what you envision your lifestyle as, where you see yourself living, career, etc, and do you have any certain goals you’d like to hit along the way? Likewise, when you look back five years, are you now where you thought you’d be then?”
10 years feels like a long way away! Imagining Simone as a 13-year-old is practically incomprehensible to me. Honestly, in 10 years I imagine my life will be very similar to what it is now, but with more savings and hopefully less mommy guilt (something I indulge in way too frequently). I want to write more fiction and creative nonfiction over the next decade, and really put my writing out there for publication. It’s just a matter of buckling down and doing it. I’m also hoping that within the next few years we’ll be able to leave Louisville and move to New England.
As for looking back five years…in March of 2007 I was a senior in high school and making a big old mess of myself. I had no idea what kind of person I truly was, what kind of person I wanted to be, what I wanted out of my life, or who I wanted in my life. I definitely did not anticipate getting married or having kids(!) anytime soon. Meeting Jason cleared up so much for me.
“I’d like to hear more about your child-rearing philosophies – the first post on your blog I ever read was “Our Feminist Household” or something like that, which someone had linked to, and I was taken with your writing style immediately. Now that you have a boy and a girl, I’d like to hear how you plan to handle gender differences, both innate and assumed, that will pop up.”
Mostly, I just don’t plan to make a big deal out of gender differences. I want to see my children for who they are, not who the world thinks they should be. Right now Simone is going through a huge pink phase, and that’s fine. Pink is a fun color. I just try to let her know that she is allowed to like other colors, too. I tell her she’s beautiful all the time, but I also tell her she’s smart, funny, strong, and kind. Likewise, I don’t intend to be less affectionate with James or pressure him to suppress his emotions because he’s a boy. I figure we’ll take their differences in stride, no matter where they stem from.
“I have never tried a single Indian dish at all, and I tend to be a pretty picky eater. What dishes do you recommend and/or advice do you have for me if I want to check out my local Indian place?”
If the creamy sauces intimidate you, go with Tandoori Chicken. If you’re feeling brave, Chicken Tikka Masala is a pretty basic Indian dish, and it’s delicious–it was the first thing I ever tried. If you’re a vegetarian, I’d recommend something with paneer (a fabulous Indian cheese). And don’t forget that you can always ask to have dishes mild or hot, whatever your preference.
“Sometimes, articles I read that are written from a feminist perspective seem to poo-hoo the choice to stay home because the authors believe that we ought to be accomplishing more important things. What are your thoughts on this as a stay-at-home feminist?”
I think that’s just silly, at least from an “accomplishing more important things” perspective. I think there are plenty of important, valid pursuits outside the home, but I don’t think homemaking is inherently small-minded or anything like that. I think there’s a real danger to painting the home and traditionally feminine pursuits as “less than”…kind of how shopping and beauty and other “feminine” things are always characterized as frivolous but sports aren’t, you know? But I do understand that stay-at-home moms need to take care of themselves financially, and I think that’s a whole different point of view than the “staying home isn’t a valid choice” thing.
“As someone who worked (mostly part-time) while my daughter was growing up, but who didn’t get a degree and didn’t work in an field that brought in much money, I now worry about young women who might end up in the same boat I am: getting older, now single (I happen to be divorced, but it can happen through death as well) with not many money making prospects, a diminished retirement fund and a not huge Social Security. Retirement savings that were good for a couple are now split two ways. I know Jason is a total darling, but the world is strange. I thought my husband was the most honest and kind person I knew and yet, here I am. So, I guess this question is both a question and kind of a warning to take care of yourself, to have contingency skills and savings.”
My mom stayed home with my sister and me for about a decade, and when my parents divorced, she was in bad shape, even with a college degree and a history of being in the army. We were happy, but times were tight and it caused her an undue amount of stress. (She is now happily remarried). So I’ve thought a lot about this, though I don’t have all the answers. In the awful case of Jason’s death, he has plenty of life insurance, which would allow me to pay off our house and still have a fair bit left over. As for jobs (whether he died or we broke up), I’m less sure. I often think about my options and come up short, usually landing on returning to work as a nanny, or multiplying my freelance writing projects, etc. This is definitely an area I don’t have all figured out.
“Cate, I would love for you to share a list of your favorite blogs. Sometimes I feel as though I have searched the entire inter-webs for blogs that truly reflect who I am, but I inevitably come up short. I follow Frugal Girl, Soule Mama, Rebecca Woolf, and Katy Wolk-Stanley among others. Though there are components to all of their blogs that I really relate to, yours is by far my favorite. Frugality, literary pursuits, homemaking, cloth diapering, left leaning values, an absence of religion, no snark or judgement, failures acknowledged- that sort of thing! So who are some other like-minded bloggers who most closely match up to your values, family and economic situation, and blogging style?”
As far as blogs that are similar to mine in terms of content, Small Notebook is one of my very favorite blogs. I also love The Frugal Girl and The Non-Consumer Advocate, which you mentioned. American Dream Finder, written by my friend Catherine, is a great read and so is The Feminist Housewife. Honestly, I read a lot of blogs. A few random favorites are Wardrobe Oxygen, Annie’s Eats, Pigtail Pals, Short Stop, Young House Love, and iHeart Organizing. But I know I’m probably forgetting a bunch.
“I’d love to know know how your family/friends reacted to you getting married young (I’m not sure exactly how old you are, but I’m guessing around 19 give or take a year). I know first hand that society doesn’t really react well to that these days.”
Thankfully, I didn’t face very many issues with this. I met Jason when I was 17, and while I definitely had my issues during high school, I was generally well-behaved, hardworking, and less ridiculous than many of my peers, so my parents didn’t have any doubts about my maturity. My mom and stepdad loved Jason from the moment they met him, and they were perfectly thrilled when we got engaged a couple days before my 18th birthday. My dad was more skeptical. I actually found this classic tidbit in an old email:
“As for the wedding, are either of you or both terminally ill? Just wondering why there is such a rush to get married. Do you know something – is global warming going to create the end of the world soon, thus necessitating a May wedding????? Seriously though, why the rush to get married?” [We ended up marrying in June]. But he came around after meeting Jason and realizing I wasn’t going to change my mind.
My friends were pretty cool with my engagement/marriage, though one close friend insisted I was too young to know my mind and was making a mistake. (Needless to say, we are no longer friends). People get married pretty young here, so I wasn’t too unusual. I got married at 18 and now many of my former classmates are getting married and having kids, so I just did it a little earlier than most. I’m not as close with many of my high school friends as I used to be simply because our life paths have diverged so drastically, and I do have regrets about that. I wish I’d tried a little harder to keep in touch.