Before I get started answering a bunch of the questions that people keep asking me, I am going to tell you a little about myself.
1. I believe in traditional values. Women should stay home if they can, and men should work and provide. Church is not an option. Families have to sit down to a family dinner together, TV off. If your husband works, and you stay home, you should have a hot meal ready or at least on the stove.
2. I also believe in lots of non-traditional stuff. My last name is still my maiden name. My child's name is definitely pretty weird. I really don't like weddings. We really don't celebrate Christmas much (SHOCKER).
Question #1: I get this all the time. Your last name isn't McCracken? Are you two even married?
I go by Jessica McCracken, but my legal name is Jessica Fugunt. I could tell you I didn't change my name because of some obscure statistic, such as women who keep their maiden names earn 27% more over their lifetimes. Here is a good one: Approximately 1/4 of all women in the US keep their maiden names. Changing your name to your husband's last name is a definitively Western tradition. In all of Asia, half of Europe, and most of Africa, women do not change their names.
I wish I could tell you that I kept my name because of some weird belief or value, but it just comes down to sheer laziness. :) I tried to change my name at the beginning of a semester of school. It messed up my student loans. Then, I just never tried again. I would have to go to the Social Security office, fill out a bunch of forms, actually get a copy of my birth certificate, etc... Then I would have to contact everyone to change the name on my lease, bank account, credit cards, loans, send off for a new passport, and all that other fun stuff. That is honestly just a lot of hassel.
I used to worry that my husband would have his feelings hurt. He just doesn't care. Taking his last name is not something that is important to him, and Fugunt sounds way awesomer than McCracken. Besides, there is only one Jessica Fugunt in the world.... (until my brother eventually marries his fabulous girlfriend).
Question #2: Here is a good one. You don't have TV? What do you do at night?
We're not some weirdos who believe TV is of the devil. I promise. My husband was laid-off for a few months. When we moved here, we barely had enough money for the security deposit on our apartment. We needed other things more pressing than TV at 100 bucks a month, like a mattress. We decided that when we got back on our feet, we'd consider TV. We both ended up working full time, opposite shifts. Six months later when we could afford it, we both decided that we didn't miss having cable. We spent a lot more time together doing fun things around town with that money. We'd go to different arts festivals, museums, take walks, go to the beach, and have all kinds of fun day trips. Now that Charlie is here, I don't think we'll have cable again for a while. I like that he doesn't get to see dead people, violence, sex, etc.. while one of us is flipping through channels.
Question #3: You don't get each other gifts for Christmas? You give that money to charity??
Yes. We don't get each other gifts for Christmas. Christmas is so materialistic, and we have everything we need. I just buy it when I need it. Why do I need to wait until Christmas to give Michael some tie or gift I could just give him the month before?
It started back in our first year of marriage. My husband was laid-off at the time, and we couldn't justify buying each other gifts that we didn't really need. We had food, clothes, shelter, and lots of other cushy wants in life (two dogs, heat, sushi, dates, etc). There were people around the world and here in America starving for Christmas. I couldn't stand it. We saved up little scraps of money here and there, cashed in our coins from our coin jar, and we donated all of it to buying chickens to help feed a family/make them money(eggs) in Indonesia. The next year my husband was laid-off again (notice the pattern), so we decided to do the same thing. I didn't need new jewelry, a massage, or anything of the sorts more than someone needs to eat. This year we decided to do the same thing even though he is currently employed.
I still get gifts and participate in gift exchanges, and I will be buying my son gifts. We, as a couple, just choose not to buy each other Christmas gifts. (Besides, we are constantly getting each other stuff throughout the year.)
Insert here: Please donate to your local food bank, especially during the holidays. It is a matter that is very close to my heart!