Saturday, January 29, 2011

Slaves to the Lifestyle

            Last week I slagged my neighbor’s marriages, so now I’ll turn a little closer to home, because I don’t cast stones I’m not willing to drop on my own feet.  Tis true, my marriage isn’t perfect.  No-duh, you say?  Yeah, I know, duh, what marriage is perfect?  Though you’d be surprised what liars people can be when commenting on the bliss level of their marriage. 
            Here are some truths:  After 2 kids and 15 years, the sex is infrequent. I’m a huge nag and he’s an asshole.   I get yelled at for not cleaning on the housekeeper’s off-week and I, in turn, ignore him.  I spend too much money.  Work stresses him out and he takes it home.  He thinks I’m not strict enough with the kids.  I think he’s too much of dick about all the little normal kid crap they pull.   But aside from that things are basically good.  He’s a great dad.  He doesn’t belittle my hard work as a stay at home mom and he never forgets that I gave up my career to do it.  I never feel like it’s not equally our money even though I don’t bring home a paycheck.  He’s tall, smart, funny, has a full head of hair and I’m still attracted to him.  I make him laugh all the time and even though I’m not in the same condition in which he found me, he’s a good sport about it.  We are generally happy, except for the quarterly blow-outs which blow-over in about a week’s time.  These are the benefits of a love match.  But the biggest problem since moving to Happy Valley seems to be the financial pressure. 
The Husband and I have found ourselves slaves to high expectations of a lifestyle neither of us particularly wanted….at first.  The trappings of Happy Valley sneak up and before you know it, you are keeping score.  We know people with better, newer, faster cars and more frequent trips to Hawaii, and houses in Deer Valley, and children in fancy private schools and that’s all well and good….as long as we have a nice car, go to Hawaii at least once a year, we ski over 20 days a year in Mammoth, and have our kids in the best public school district.   New economy or not, we don’t want to fall too far behind fabulousness.  I can’t honestly tell you why we care, but we do.  Before we moved here, we were perfectly happy without any of this, but now we feed off it.
            This may be where my personal psychosis plays a part, for I grew up in the Happy Valley of the next county over and it sucked only having one pair of Jordache jeans.   Hearing all the kids talking about their summers in Europe or their horse or their brand new <insert name of now obsolete electronic gadget that will just date me here> was a cruel form of Reagan-era torture.   I know now that that this is a game in which no one can win.  There will always be someone else with way cooler shit.  But the 6th grader in me is fiercely competitive, if not for herself, for my kids (who, by the way, own several pairs True Religion jeans among all the other “right” brands).  And inevitably that means we have to spend more and The Husband has to make more.   Then he’s stressed out.  Then he takes it out on me.  We worry.  We fight.  We resolve to not do that because things are actually okay.  Time passes.  Rinse. Repeat.  
            Yeah, it’s stupid.  And I’m not trying to get anyone to feel sorry for me, because there’s nothing to feel sorry about.  I’m just saying.  

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