I am a house-husband. That is, I stay at home with the kids and my wife works full time. We are a non-traditional family, I guess, and it suits me fine most of the time. I get the impression, though, that the pats on the back that I get from people are not always genuine.
People say “I wish I could do that, I hate my job,” or “Good for you, so many dad’s just aren’t around for their kids.” And as much as people are encouraging, I get the feeling that the underlying reality is that they think I should be working.
We have made a lot of sacrifices so that our children would be at home with us rather than at a day care. We have old cars, second hand clothes, a small apartment, and we have to continually evaluate how much we spend on everything. I am the man of the house. The father and husband, and it is up to me to ensure that my family is “provided for.” The same people that encourage me often tell me when a job is available that I could work in to my schedule or suggest opportunities for working from home or ask me what I intend to do once the kids are in school. I don’t think that those things would come up in a conversation with a wife or a mother. There would just be congratulations. Sometimes I am uncomfortable, and I talk about what I am working on so that I don’t sound idle, and maybe it is just my paranoia about not working that makes me feel defensive. I don’t know. I can only hope that my children will grow up feeling comfortable with their stay-at-home-dad.