Jeremy & Kathleen: Q&A

Earlier this week we chatted with David Austin, Emily’s main squeeze and partner in work and life, on the podcast. So I thought it would be fun to interview my husband, Jeremy Shannon, here about how we blend work and life, manage our money, and ultimately support each other in our career goals. Jeremy works a day job while I obviously enjoy being my own boss, and in so many ways we couldn’t be more opposite but somehow always find a way to get on the same page when it comes to our life hustle. My marriage is something I’m usually incredibly protective of. I actually don’t share a lot about Jeremy and our relationship—so today I’m giving you a little peek behind the curtains of what a conversation between us looks like.

Kathleen: Hi. Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?

Jeremy: Sure! I’m Jeremy Shannon. I’m an electronics engineer by trade but I’m trying to shift my career trajectory toward software application development. I’m mostly reserved, but I don’t take myself seriously in the least. Maybe think of me like the nerd who’s trying to be cool. Does that sound accurate?

Kathleen: Ha! Well, you’re the hottest nerd I know. Okay so, you are really quiet in real life. Would you consider yourself an introvert?

Jeremy: I consider myself a weirdo. Ha! Really, though, I think I’m extroverted at my core, because I like to be around people and have deep conversations. I’m just awful at small talk, and until I get comfortable with someone, I’ll tend to hold my tongue because I have a real propensity to stick my foot in my mouth.

Kathleen: So I actually asked my therapist about this this week and she said that what you describe here is still a characteristic of an introvert. But I agree; I think you’re kind of a weird, quiet blend of the two. What are your favorite things to have a deep conversation about?

Jeremy: Oh, probably politics. Although I only REALLY get into politics with my mom, and that’s probably because it’s so easy to convince her to see things my way. Haha! I also like talking about the past and the… not-nice things I’ve done. There’s something truly liberating about putting your asshole-dom right out on the table. I refuse to speak ill of other people, but I’ll speak ill of myself until I’m blue in the face. People really do love a good asshole.

Kathleen: Hey now, that’s my man you’re talking about! You’re not an asshole (even if you did steal me from my ex). But changing subjects… What do you like best about being married to a “live-out-loud” creative who seems to love the taste of her own foot? What’s hard about it?

Jeremy: If there’s one thing I can’t stand (ok, maybe there’s a few), it’s not knowing where I stand with someone because they are too polite and don’t say what they mean. I mean, I get it, I’m guilty of it, but I hate it. You are the opposite of that. People always know where they stand with you. There’s always a goal. There’s always a direction. It’s abrasive at times (most times), but I welcome it. Always have.

Kathleen: We both work full time jobs. Even though I am my own boss, in a lot of ways, I have less flexibility when it comes to meetings and deadlines. Meanwhile, you work a day job and do have a boss to report to. Can you talk a little bit about how we co-parent? Do you think it’s really 50/50 or do you think one of us takes on the role as “lead parent”?

Jeremy: Well, there’s no way to say how evenly we split parenting duties, but I bet it’s probably pretty close to 50-50 most of the time. And the roles we play in the care of Fox are different enough that it would be hard to determine some sort of apples-to-apples comparison. Of course, I don’t travel for work, so I end up being single parent for several days every now and then. Thankfully, Fox seems to know that he should cut daddy some slack when that happens, so it’s really not that bad. I’ve never felt like I was getting the short end of the stick when it’s been both of us, though. Probably more the opposite.

Kathleen: Okay and what about around the house? You are by nature super organized and tidy. Meanwhile, I’m a little bit of a mess. In fact, I think once you called me your little tornado and that you come behind me cleaning up like FEMA. Ha! Can you share a little bit about how we found our rhythm around chores?

Jeremy: I can’t say that’s the case with housework, though. Basically, you cook and I do everything else (dishes, laundry, garbage, general picking up the house—but we have a housekeeper once a week for the deeper cleaning stuff). I do at times get a little resentful that I’m picking up too much of those duties. That again, though, is just my nature. I loathe disorder and getting behind on chores, while you literally won’t even see a mess until it causes you some sort of problem directly. And that’s what I have to remember—you are just NOT an orderly person by nature. If in my mind you’re not helping enough, it’s not because you’re lazy or because you think it ought to be my job, necessarily. Your mind is just somewhere else. So after the last time I got resentful about chores, I decided a better approach when I’m feeling overburdened would be to just let the mess sit until you decide to do something about it… which does eventually happen.

Kathleen: That’s kind of hard to hear. I like truly like a clean house too but maybe just not on the same timeline as you. And yeah, my mind is typically elsewhere for sure. Okay. Changing subjects. What have we created together that you’re most proud of? What would you like to create more of together?

Jeremy: Well, for starters, there’s that baby we created together. He’s a work in progress, but I’m pretty proud of how he’s turned out so far. We won’t get into creating more of those, though. Not yet, anyway.

I feel like we haven’t had the opportunity to truly collaborate on a work project. We’ve had a few, but I was still so new to web and software stuff that it felt like we were barely scratching the surface. I would like to create more projects like that together, but it’s hard to imagine what form they might take.

I’m also proud of the life we’ve created together. When we got together neither of us had been outside the US, and we’ve done so much since then. We’re financially stable (which, of course, I love). And I’m proud of how we communicate, and how supportive we are of one another.

Kathleen: I definitely vote for more travel. And hey, I think Emily would be more than okay if we wanted to get started on that Being Boss app. Ha! So… a lot of creative entrepreneurs struggle with feeling support from their spouse or significant other. I think this stems from their partner feeling afraid or worrying for their small biz spouse. You’ve been confident even when I was feeling scared or uncertain. How is that?

Jeremy: Ah, the questions get tougher…

I could go on and on about how awesome you are here and “how could I NOT be confident in you and support you wholeheartedly?” I’m sure you’d love that. But I think there’s an important variable in the equation that I’d hate to omit, and it goes along the lines of “to love someone you must first love yourself.” I think that I had to be confident in my own role in our relationship and our earning dynamic in order to keep from feeling threatened at the possibility of having a successful wife who makes more money than I do and whose career takes (at least a little) priority. There are also, I think, a lot of dudes out there clinging to their gender role of “provider” and “bread winner.” And even if their motivation is truly that of “protecting my sweet little baby-girl from the big, bad free market,” I think there’s still a good bit of gender bias at play. Isn’t a little failure a good thing, now and then?

Kathleen: I love you for saying that. Your quiet courage inspires me daily. So we recently had a hard conversation about money. I like to spend it, and you like to save it. I love that you’re responsible but I also love my own YOLO! style. I guess my question here is why do you like to save money?

Jeremy: Honestly, I don’t think that my money saving tendencies have so much to do with being a responsible adult, although they do. I think it’s just how I’m hard-wired. My mom loves to tell the story of how every year I’d still have Halloween candy in my little bucket until past Christmas. I think the same reward center that fires in your brain for instant gratification fires in mine for delayed gratification. I love the big payoff after a relatively long period of sacrifice. I don’t necessarily think that saving is inherently better (it’s true – YOLO!). I guess I just ENJOY being a “responsible adult.” At least we both agree that it’s worth spending money on travel, since—ya know—life is all about experiences and all of that stuff.

I think we learned to live modestly when we were younger, and simply resisted the temptation to spend more when we started making more. When you started working for yourself, we were in a position where we could live off of my income alone (and still save, by the way!). Then as your income grew, we didn’t go nuts buying things just because we could afford them. Well, not TOO nuts. Haha!

Kathleen: All of that said, you are super generous. What do you have no problem spending money on?

Jeremy: Gifts for others, for sure. Particularly family. There’s always a big commitment in the budget for Christmas gifts (I aspire to give gifts like my father-in-law one day). Bonus whenever the gifts are purchased from a local boutique shop owned by friends of ours—then I feel like we’re doing DOUBLE good. I also love picking up the check for others at restaurants whenever we can and tipping generously. There’s a difference between being frugal and being cheap and, to me, this is it.

Kathleen: Good tippers turn me on. I’m not sure how to end this interview. Is there anything else you have to say about being a day-jobbing partner of someone who works for themselves? Any final advice for the (life) partners of freelancers or small business owners? Anything else you’re dying to share?

Jeremy: I guess… enjoy the ride, and try not to get too jealous of all the freedom your entreprepartner has. Haha!

Kathleen: I love the phrase “entreprepartner” – haha! Good one. Thanks for joining us for this post. And thanks for all your support. I appreciate you.

Jeremy: Really hoping that one catches on. Thanks for interviewing me. I appreciate you too.

 

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