Housewife is kind of a loaded term, nowadays.
As someone who used to decry the notion of being a stay-at-home mom (for myself), I know how I pictured that lifestyle: surrounded by children, unable to have communication with adults for most of the day, probably hanging around in sweatpants and not caring what I looked like.
This isn't a very accurate depiction of being a housewife, but, nonetheless, it was the picture I had in my mind.
So, I devoted myself wholeheartedly to my operatic career. I said to myself, my husband will be the kind of man who is fine with me traveling for weeks at a time, or who will come with me so that I can go and perform and he can work remotely or watch the kids. I'll work and and be a mom, but I won't stay at home.
It wasn't until I met my husband that I realized that I was the one who didn't want to leave him for weeks at a time, and that the idea of creating my own schedule so that I could be around to see my children grow up as well as doing something that fulfilled me separately from them was incredibly attractive to me. I could be a wife and a mother and create my own business that offered me flexibility. Becoming a blogger and content creator would allow me to raise my children at home, while also find meaning in my work. But the question of being a housewife remained hanging in the air: wouldn't I get bored sitting with my children, not seeing anyone besides them and my husband for days on end?
It was then that I realized: being a housewife today isn't what it used to be.
The image I had of being a stay-at-home mom was incorrect, but not entirely: you do end up spending much of the day alone with your children removed from other adult contact.
But it wasn't always that way.
When women as a general rule stayed at home to raise the children, there was a built-in community of other women to spend time with during the day. You met up with your friends and your children played while you socialized. There was an element to being a housewife that isn't present now: an "office" of people to spend your day with, doing the same work. That work just happened to be raising a family.
Nowadays, we lack two things. We lack communities generally, and we lack housewives specifically (and I think it's partly because of this specific fear). In the religious Jewish world, and I believe in the religious world overall, these things both still exist. Many women stay home to raise their children while their husbands work. These women have a wonderful group to share their days with, and they can enjoy all the aspects of motherhood that housewives without a community can't.
As a woman who is ambitious and who wants to have a career, albeit of a more flexible sort, I think that it's totally normal to want to pursue something in addition to being a mother. So, when I say housewife, I mean women who are full-time stay-at-home moms, as well as women working from home or working remotely. Both are totally valid versions of the concept. But being a housewife in today's day and age is a totally different animal than it used to be, so of course it seems daunting.
What's the solution? Create a community for yourself. If being a stay-at-home mom is something you want to do, in any sense of the term, reach out to other mothers in your area. Find other women who share the same values that you do and who are looking for someone to spend their time with. Go shopping with a friend and bring the children along. And when you have a community, you also have a push to get up and leave the house; take pride in your appearance; and do all the things that prevent you from feeling lonely.
I say all this not being a mother, but looking forward to becoming one (not at the moment, of course!). And with that in mind, I think it's important to prepare mentally, emotionally, and practically so that I have a community I already love by the time I'm entering that stage of my life. I encourage you to do the same!
Do you have a community of mothers around you? Does the idea of being a housewife seem daunting? Let me know in the comments!
Welcome to another Classically Abby Husband vs. Wife Movie Review!
This week we're doing Avengers: Endgame, a movie that everyone has been dying to see. Check out the video above to hear Jacob and my thoughts!
Have you seen Avengers: Endgame? If you have, what did you think? If you haven't, did this review make you want to? Leave it in the comments below!
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Winter is coming.
Well, actually summer is coming, but in the Game of Thrones universe, it is getting colder and colder every episode! The new season is here, and I've been preparing for the finale with baited breath. Who is going to die? Who will sit on the iron throne? If you've been wanting to host a watch party, but weren't sure exactly how to do it, don't worry. I've got you covered.
And it won't take you too long to pull off, either!
I wanted to put a party together fairly quickly when I came up with the ideas for this event, so you'll see where I was able to cut corners and still have fun being creative.
I knew that I wanted to create a banner showing some of the more important Game of Thrones' houses to hang up in our entryway. So I went online, searched "house sigil Game of Thrones" and found a few designs that I liked. Then I printed them in color, cut them out, and spread them on the table.
How was I going to tie them together? Well, I didn't have a ball of string, and I really didn't have time to head to the store to buy any. As well, I don't use string that often, so I didn't want to spend the money on something I would only need once.
I thought for a moment, and then realized - I could use dental floss! Dental floss is super strong, so it won't break, and it's white so it isn't a distracting color. I punched wholes in the top of each sigil (if you have a single hole punch, use that; I didn't, so I used a three whole punch and just pushed the paper off to the side), then slid the floss through. Because I didn't want the flags to slide to the middle as soon as I hung up the banner, I taped the dental floss to the back of each one, holding it in place.
And voila! This is the finished banner!
WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
- Printed Sigils
- Dental Floss
- Hole Punch
WHAT TO DO:
1. Find and print out house sigils that you like. Cut them out.
2. Hole punch two holes on the top of the sigil, as shown above.
3. Cut a piece of dental floss long enough for your banner, then slide it through the holes you punched on the top of each sigil. Make sure to hide the dental floss by putting the long side of the string on the backside of your cut-out.
4. Tape the dental floss to the back of each sigil to make sure the whole banner stays in place.
5. Hang it up and enjoy!
I thought it would be fun to play some sort of game before the show started to get everyone excited to see the new episode.
Trivia is fun, plus it's a nice little refresher reminding you of things you may have forgotten. So, I turned to Google and searched for "printable Game of Thrones trivia." Find one that works for your friends' knowledge level - we found many were too easy for us, but if you want to keep it upbeat, then choose something on the easier side! I printed out the questions and answers, since I was going to be the Game Master.
Then I searched online for "Game of Thrones font." You should be able to find something you can download. Then you can make your own Game of Thrones trivia sheet! You can copy what I wrote above, or you can write something different.
We had a blast playing this game, and I hope you do too!
When it came to the food, I was ready to get punny. Dad jokes for the win!
I wanted to display the food in a fun and themed way. The only problem was, I didn't have that much time to prepare. I knew I couldn't whip up a pie or cook up a storm in the kitchen. So I came up with food puns regarding foods that I could buy from the grocery store and display in a really cool way.
I typed up the names of my puns in the Game of Thrones font that I had previously downloaded, then printed them, cut them out, and folded them in half so I could stand them up next to each food that I set out for the guests.
Here are the puns I came up with! Feel free to come up with your own and add them to the fun.
LITTLE LADYFINGERS: Buy some ladyfingers from the store, display them on a round plate.
CHIPS AND SANSA: Buy prepared salsa and tortilla chips!
MINI GOT DOGS: You can usually find these in the frozen section. If you keep kosher, look in the frozen kosher section!
A LANNISTER ALWAYS PAYS HIS BAGUETTES: Buy a sliced baguette from your local bakery. Buy some herbs to combine with butter or margarine. Chop the herbs at home, mash them into your spread, and then reshape and serve next to the baguettes!
Of course, if you have the time, go ahead and bake or cook foods to match these puns! Unfortunately, sometimes you would like to throw a party but don't have a ton of time to prepare. And it's perfectly fine, in my opinion, to serve foods that you haven't made yourself.
Last but not least: the cocktails.
I had a few thoughts when I was coming up with the drinks I wanted to serve, but I ended up realizing a couple of things. First, I chose to keep it simple: all of the cocktails I served had vodka as a base. It's not hard to find a cheap, decent bottle of vodka, whereas many other liquors taste pretty awful at a lower price-range. Plus, needing to have many different liquors on hand can get expensive.
Second, I didn't want to try and design new drinks - instead I went with cocktails most people already knew, then matched their color with a name to fit the Game of Thrones theme. So a red drink, for example, became a Red Witch.
Then I used that same font that I had downloaded, typed up my menu, and printed it on slightly nicer paper!
Here was my cocktail menu:
WHITE WALKER: White Russian
- 1 part Vodka
- 1 part Kahlua
- 1 part Heavy Cream
KISS OF A SANDSNAKE (Shown above): Pink Lemonade
- 1 1/2 ounces Vodka
- 1/2 ounce Triple Sec
- 1 ounce Cranberry Juice
- 1/2 ounce Lemon Juice
- 1/2 ounce Lime Juice
- 4 ounces Sprite
- Lemon Wedge
RED WITCH: Cosmopolitan
- 1 1/2 ounce Vodka (Technically it's Vodka Citron, but nobody at my party knew the difference!)
- 1/2 ounce Cointreau
- 1/2 ounce Lime Juice
- 1 ounce Cranberry Juice
WILDFIRE: Vodka Gimlet
- 4 parts Vodka
- 1 part Sweetened Lime Juice
Our party turned out really well, and I'm sure we'll host another one at the finale of the series! Will you throw your own Game of Thrones party? If you do, tag me in your pictures on Instagram @ClassicallyAbby! And let me know in the comments below.
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As I was scrolling through YouTube the other day, I found a "tag" I thought was fun. A tag is when someone comes up with an idea for a video and "tags" other YouTubers, saying, "You should do this challenge on your channel too!"
For this tag, YouTubers asked their subscribers, "What are your assumptions about me?" Then they read those assumptions on their channel and confirmed or denied if they were true.
For me, this seemed like a good way to get to know my subscribers and for my subscribers to get to know me.
Do you have any assumptions about me? Let me know in the comments, and I'll try and respond!
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Leggings seem to be a hot topic right now. Ever since a mother wrote an open letter to the student newspaper at Notre Dame critiquing leggings, women have been choosing a side and digging their heels in. Most seem to defend them.
Well, here’s another opinion to add to the mix, and this time by a 25-year-old woman and not a mother of teen boys: I think leggings are inappropriate.
I used to feel differently. Actually, let me rephrase that: I used to want to feel differently. I wanted to be convinced that what I wore was fine, even as I knew that I looked good in leggings and that I was choosing to attract attention to myself in a way that was distracting. But even when I could feel that I was dressing inappropriately, I used the same arguments every other woman has made regarding them. I didn’t want to acknowledge what I already knew: that there's no excuse for wearing leggings outside of the gym, and maybe even at the gym you should throw a pair of shorts over the top.
Now, before I continue, I want to make a couple of things clear. By leggings, I mean all leggings. The argument against too small or sheer leggings doesn't really seem relevant to me, because no woman I know would purposefully wear a pair of leggings that are see-through outside of her home. And by wearing leggings, I mean wearing them without a long sweater or blouse over the top to cover your bum. If you're doing that, that's a bit of a different scenario.
There are two reasons generally cited for why leggings are worn: one, they’re fashionable, and two, they’re comfortable.
As a fashion blogger, I take real issue with reason number one. Leggings aren't fashion! They are meant for exercising. Clothing used to be something people took pride in - it makes me sad that dressing down has become the new norm. So why do women wear leggings to look fashionable? Because if you have a nice pair of leggings, they’re flattering. They pull you in, up, and make everything look better. They match pretty much everything. It's understandable why women want to wear them.
But they’re not fashion. They’re athletic clothing. And if you’re going to call them a fashion item, then you’ll have to explain to me why leggings are any different than a tight, low-cut, high-hemmed, sexy dress. I know that I would never consider wearing something like that, but in my head, I used to think that leggings were a different ball game. Maybe because they didn't actually show any skin, I could tell myself that they were more modest.
But I’ve talked to many men about this very topic, and they’ve all told me that leggings are distracting. It’s not an insult to them that they know their own nature. Men are visual creatures. And the men who voice this are not weak – they’re the men who want to be good, who want to view women as more than their bodies. I know those are the kind of men I'd like to be surrounded with. Of course, that's not to say that a man should immediately treat you as less than a person if you're wearing something like leggings. But it's also not realistic to say that men won't be drawn to the physical when faced with it.
At this point, the conversation usually shifts: we say that leggings are not about fashion, they’re about comfort. But this really gets me. Leggings are comfortable – but no more comfortable than a pair of sweatpants. So there’s no reason for any woman to wear them for comfort’s sake…unless you’re actually wearing them as a fashion item. So we end up back where we started.
The mother who wrote the letter on this topic wasn’t wrong. She saw three young women at church, at Mass, wearing leggings and crop tops. A place of worship is not a place to either dress unthinkingly or dress with the implicit purpose of drawing attention to the physical. We dress nicely in synagogues and churches to express respect for God, not to show off what our bodies look like. And at this point in my life, I don't really believe that women don’t know that wearing leggings is distracting. If you didn't know before, maybe you'll believe it after reading this. And every time you put on leggings, you’ll have a choice to make.
Do you agree? Let me know in the comments!
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Welcome to Classically Abby's first ever Husband v. Wife Movie Review!
This week we're doing Becket, a movie that premiered in 1964 starring Richard Burton and Peter O'Toole. This movie is incredible, and Jacob and I really delve into why. Check out the video above to hear all about it!
Have you seen Becket? If you have, what did you think? If you haven't, did this review make you want to? Leave it in the comments below!
I have a theory.
For this theory, I'm going to divide people into two groups: those who are intense, and those who are moderate. Let's shorten that to I's and M's. If there are two types of people in the world, that means there are only three types of matches that can result: I+I, I+M, or M+M. Have I lost you with my algebraic equations yet?
Let's define our variables. I's are intense. These are the people with strong opinions, who have a hard time going with the flow, who don't tend to let the little things go. They demand better from the people around them. They are usually pretty extroverted and are comfortable being the center of attention. They fight for what they believe in and don't let people get away with bad behavior.
M's are moderate. These are the people who prefer to take a backseat and often keep their opinions to themselves. They don't mind letting someone else take the lead. They can be more introverted and often follow along in conversations. They're not comfortable with conflict and like listening rather than speaking.
Of course, these are generalities. Not all of this is completely accurate for each group. But it's a good place to start.
So where does the math come in?
I think that there are two kinds of relationships: those that are I+I, and those that are I+M. Earlier, I mentioned M+M. Let's discount that early on. M+M doesn't really exist because someone will assume the role of an I in order to propel the relationship forward. You can have two people who are M's individually, but when they are put together, one of them will take more initiative than the other.
Okay, so with M+M relationships out of the way, let's get to the crux of the matter.
I think fighting in relationships is a positive good. Not fighting and yelling and calling each other names, but disagreeing in a respectful way. Now, I may have this opinion because...wait for it...I'm in an I+I relationship. That means that both my husband and I are very intense. We argue because we expect each other to grow - we are not comfortable with either one of us remaining stagnant. We argue because we disagree on the things that matter and we demand respect from one another. Of course, you have to pick your battles. Fighting over the small things isn't worth the bickering that follows. In those moments, it's good to try to picture an M+M relationship and recognize that some things take time or aren't as important as you think. But I believe that having two I's in a relationship forces each partner to be better, because you're constantly faced with that expectation from your other half.
I+M relationships have their positives, too. There will definitely be less fighting, that I can guarantee, and maybe none at all. Things will be comfortable. Things will remain as they are, for the most part. And these couples will be more comfortable viewing their relationship as M+M (in the times when something insignificant seems worth arguing over) because the M partner is already in that frame of mind. But I think there's one thing lacking in I+M relationships - the pushback from the M to ask that the I partner change. As someone who naturally avoided conflict in the past, I've been the M partner in an I+M relationship. And it's comfortable much of the time because you don't butt heads. But the time will come when your I partner will do something that should be addressed, and as the M, you should find the wherewithal to respond.
I tend to promote I+I relationships because even though things are less comfortable, there is a constant upward motion that is encouraging. There's an awareness that you are both fighting for the best version of yourselves and your relationship. I think mixing in a little I+I into your I+M relationship can be a strong positive good, and I encourage you to try it if you're in the latter.
What kind of relationship are you in? If you're in an I+M relationship, what are the positives that I didn't address? Let me know in the comments!
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I did a poll on Instagram the other day. "Which birthdays are better - birthdays as a kid or birthdays as an adult?" I asked.
The results came back: Kid, 66%; Adult, 34%.
I honestly wasn't sure where the chips would fall when I asked that question. I am a huge fan of celebrating people's birthdays - they come once a year and it's the only time when you aren't selfish if you take some attention for yourself. It was Jacob's birthday this past weekend and I tried my best to make it special by planning him a small surprise get-together during the week and then a couple's retreat for the weekend with a bunch of our friends. He had done the same for me when it was my birthday - he organized all of our friends to surprise me with a chocolate cake, and then bought me a few amazing gifts.
But why do a majority of people think that birthdays are better as kids?
For one, people hate getting older. As a child, turning 10 is a huge milestone that you can't wait to hit - you're finally in double digits! But hitting 30, for example, is less exciting. You start to feel the anxiety that comes with aging, and you start to feel years slipping away.
I try not to feel that way. I think that getting older is a blessing and that we have the opportunity to live long lives, especially with the medical innovations we've been lucky enough to see in our lifetimes. But it is definitely easy to slip into that negative mindset.
Nostalgia is another reason. Looking back on our childhood memories, we picture them with rosy tones and huge smiles. I know that if I go unchecked, I will remember each and every one of my birthdays as a kid as if it was perfection. With one jog of my memory, though, I'll remember the time that I hid in the kitchen because I thought everyone was having a great time despite my being there. Or another time when I got my hopes too high and ended up crying at the end of my party. Of course, nostalgia is a lovely feeling because it's your brain forcing you to be positive. But with it comes the danger of "the grass is greener" and "wasn't it better when."
But I think the biggest thing is the sense of wonder that we have as children. Even if you don't remember it yourself, if you look at any child around you and the way they view the world, you can see the magic in their eyes. A birthday present isn't just something you've been looking at and planning to buy. It's something totally different, new, and amazing. A birthday cake isn't just something you'll take a small slice of because you're counting calories. It's the sweetest, most delicious treat you've ever eaten.
Everything is wonderful as a child. And when I say wonderful, I mean full of wonder.
So what's the takeaway?
As adults, it's easy to be cynical. We've been kicked by the world a few times, and the pain of what's around us is serious stuff. It's not something to take lightly. But we do have the immense choice before us as adults to embrace wonder, rather than take everything for granted. We've been given an amazing opportunity as humans to live on this earth and experience the majesty of creation. Looking at the world with the eyes of a child means remembering that there is still magic in everything around us, and we are lucky enough to live and experience it.
So make a pact with me this year: try to have a birthday filled with wonder. And tell me then: which birthdays are better?
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!
I think we all have the urge to be victims.
Being a victim in your own mind is incredibly attractive; it removes the onus of responsibility for anything bad you have done or want to do, it allows you to stop making an effort to improve, and it makes everyone else around you a bully for pointing out your shortcomings. Who wouldn't want that?
These are what I like to call the pitfalls of victimhood.
Being a strong woman (and person) is not easy. It's important and ultimately makes you happier than pursuing immediate gratification, but it isn't something you just do. You have to force yourself to face the world instead of cower in front of it, and that takes energy and stamina. In those moments of weakness, it's easiest to simply say, "I'm a victim of something and so-and-so, and that's why I can't deal with this today." But that isn't the solution, and it only makes it harder when you have to face the same circumstances again.
I think a good example of this is the beginning of relationships versus a year or two down the line. When my husband and I first started dating, I used to feel like we never fought. We understood each other deeply. Why? Because when I did something Jacob didn't like or vice versa, we would explain away our behavior based on something that "victimized" us in our past. And at the beginning of a relationship, you accept that as an excuse because you're just excited that your partner is opening up to you.
Now that we've been together for almost two years, I can tell you with perfect honesty that we do fight. And it's because those excuses that we accepted as fact at the beginning of our relationship actually prevented us from growing and being better people. We expect more from each other now because being a victim didn't address the issue at all - it simply put it on hold.
So why shouldn't you embrace victimhood? Here are four reasons:
1. Being a victim doesn't excuse bad behavior. I knew a girl in college who grew up in bad circumstances. She used this behavior as an excuse to treat people callously, men especially. She also drank excessively and skipped classes. It was a bad situation all around. People around her forgave her cruelty because of her past, and that only made things worse. Just because something bad happened to you doesn't mean that you have a lifelong excuse to be mean. You are a sentient being who can choose to be better. And something bad has happened to everyone - maybe not to the same degree, but still something that they could carry around as a "get out of jail" free card with the label "victim."
2. Thinking you're a victim convinces you that you shouldn't try. Have you ever sat down to study for a test and immediately panicked? Maybe you hadn't been in class as often as you should have that semester, or maybe the topic was just something difficult to grasp. In any case, you have the impulse not to study at all. You feel that there is such a slim chance of success that you shouldn't put in useless effort. You feel that you deserve more time to study, even though everyone else in your class had the exact same restrictions as you did. There are studies that show viewing yourself as a victim prevents you from moving forward in the workplace. You don't believe you can achieve more, so you don't. Falling prey to the victim mentality is allowing yourself to think that you deserve more but everyone else is preventing you from accomplishing it. Don't feed into that narrative. There are times that things work out, and there are times that they don't - so take advantage of the times that they do.
3. Victimhood doesn't make everyone around you a bully. You can't be a victim unless someone or something is victimizing you. It can be one specific person, it can be society, it can be fate. But viewing the world as your adversary is an incredibly debilitating perspective. If you just treated your husband badly and he responds with anger and condemnation of your behavior, your husband isn't a bully. Don't be surprised if he doesn't respond with sympathy when you start crying. That's like a bully in the schoolyard crying when his prey punches him back in the nose. You started it, and he has a right to be upset! Your bad behavior doesn't get to be treated with kid gloves.
4. Calling yourself a victim means you don't grow. I think this one is the most personal for me. I have excused my own reactions and thought patterns because of things that have happened to me. But just because you've recognized the source of your behavior doesn't mean that you've done all the heavy lifting - now you have to try and move past the reason and address the current choices you're making. Embracing a victim mentality means that you've traced the source and now accepted that all of your bad actions must happen because of your past. We are human; we have the wherewithal to change.
What do you think? Do you agree with my thoughts on being a victim? Let me know in the comments below!
My husband is a very smart man.
I say that because he pointed something out to me when we met that I hadn't really noticed. Many of my friendships were of the sort that praised supporting each other's decisions rather than pointing out poor choices. It wasn't until Jacob showed me through our relationship that we could ask better of each other that I began to realize how much my friendships lacked.
Since websites like Buzzfeed began touting "you do you" rhetoric, it has become harder and harder to talk to our friends and offer advice. I know that for myself there were times in my life that I didn't want to hear advice that steered me away from bad choices, but, at the same time, a good friend will risk hurting your feelings to push you on the right path. It's incredibly difficult to do, and it means doing something that we have been told not to in this day and age: judge.
Being judgmental can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how you use the term. But using your judgment to notice a friend's bad choice is not bad - it's human. We have been given the opportunity, by God, to see how our decisions affect ourselves and others, and to push away something that raises us above the level of beasts is to be ungrateful for our position in this world.
Let me give you an example. A girl is dating a guy. Both of them know that there is no future there. They enjoy each other's company, and they say they'll break up when the time is right. She says that she's fine, that she can keep her feelings under control, that she's "living her best life." But she talks about him as if they were meant to be; she is envisioning a long-term relationship despite the fact that he doesn't feel the same way. If you are truly her friend, you can see that she's making a choice that will only lead to unhappiness, but instead of mentioning to her that she should be strong and end the relationship before she's in too deep, you "support" her. You tell her that she's being true to herself, that she's being casual, that she knows what's best for her.
And let's take an example on the flip side. A guy is hooking up with a girl whom he knows he'll never have a future with. He tells you that they've spoken about things and that she's aware of the situation, and she's fine with it too. You know that your guy friend is acting in a way that can be cruel, and that he could be leading this girl into a world of hurt, but you don't say anything. You tell him that he's a stud, that he has made everything clear, that he's just having fun.
I know that it's easy to say these things because I've done it myself. But it isn't right, and it isn't fair.
We all deserve better friendships than that. Know your friends - know what truly makes them happy, and support them by giving them the strength to make better decisions. Tell them when they're prolonging their pain, or when they're hurting others. Be honest with them, and use your judgment to make your friends better. Because they should be doing the same for you.
Do you agree? Did you ever have a friend that pushed you in the right direction, or have you done so for a friend? Let me know in the comments!