I am a house husband. I think that there is still some social barrier within me that creates a stigma around staying at home with the kids. I create my own stigma, I guess, I still feel a little weird when telling people what I do. Its a lot like telling them that I am unemployed, as in, I can’t find work. That’s what it feels like, but I think it is, in large part, my own perception of my situation that is bleeding through.
My wife and I have talked at length about how healthy it is for us to recognize our roles in the family and to make the best decisions based on our own goals, desires and talents. How many families host miserable adults who hate their jobs and are frustrated with their children all the time because something inside them, like pride, perhaps, inhibits them from recognizing the best scenario and acting on it?
There is a scene in the movie “Toy Story” when Buzz Lightyear has realized that he is not a space man. He is just a toy. He is crushed, and it takes his good friend, the pull-string cowboy, to explain to him that he doesn’t have to be a space man. Being a toy is way better. There is a boy who loves him, and he has a place and a role to fill among the other toys. I am paraphrasing, of course, but you get the idea. He realizes that he does have friends, and that it is more important that he choose to be who he is and do it right than to be the person that he thought he was.
I am not a space man. I am just a toy. And it is hard for me to accept that I am not designed to be a space man, especially when the people around me don’t see me as a toy, but a space man with no ship. It will be the key to my success as the parent who stays at home and raises the kids that I find a way to be the best toy that I can be. I like being a dad and a house-husband, and I hope that I can claim those things not only as occupations but as a way of defining who I am.