Being a House-Husband

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Bryan is an artist, father, husband, and son (not really in that order). He works for the Department of Vetern's Affairs and writes and administers The Fireside Post with his father, Ohg Rea Tone. His writings have not been published, though they have been printed a lot.

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Being a House-Husband

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.

There Are 2 Responses So Far. »

  1. Good look.

    I hear you on this one. I sometimes go with the ‘I do web design’ or usually the other person mentions it. But I’m looking forward to the awkwardness you mentioned. We can encourage one another.

  2. Hey, i can very much relate to all that you’ve posted…i too am also a house-husband. Yeah, i also feel the same way as you do when people give me a pat at the back for saying “that they can’t do what i am doing as house-husband, staying home and taking care of the kids”, i very much agree with you when you said that it doesn’t feel genuine on their part.

    I also feel somehow awkward when friends who i haven’t bumped into for a long time ask me “what i do for a living”.
    Blame this “husband should be breadwinner of the family” mentality to social norms. But i have to admit that it sometimes makes me feel inadequate and lowers my self-esteem when i tell them that i am a house-husband.

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