A two-income household becomes a one-income household, and dad stays home! Sure, you’ve heard the stories of stay-at-home-dads before, but now you can read it from the outside in. Husband@Home is one wife and mother’s observations as her family adjusts to having a stay-at-home-dad.
As the wife of a stay-at-home dad, what would you think your worst fear would be? In many ways, responsibilities are reversed, but not roles; however, the reversal or adaptation of those responsibilities bring on different concerns and feelings than those present in your typical or “traditional” household. My career has always been important to me, even though I was not nearly as accomplished in it as I would like to be.
When my husband decided to stay at home with the girls, it became more than my job or career. It changed. The reasons behind my goals changed, although my goals did not. They became intertwined. My worst fear was losing my job, and I felt the weight of it often. It was up to me. It was not just mine, it was our livelihood. God has always had a way of ‘helping’ me address my fears. (If you were sitting across from me drinking a cup of coffee, this is where you would sense the irony and I would give you that look.)
About three years ago, my worst fear was being in a car accident with my new baby in the car. I was paranoid almost to a panic when I drove anywhere with her in the car. She seemed so fragile. I just knew her little bones could not take that kind of trauma. On the way back from my brother’s wedding , my worst fear was realized. We hydroplaned off of the interstate into the woody median. As we spun at what felt like the fastest land speed every recorded, I said out loud, “Oh God, no!” As if by saying it, I could insist the car stop right there! The reality of what was happening hit me harder than the tree my car door finally rested upon. I struggled to remain calm, but to my husband, I was clearly not. I screamed for him to get the baby out of the car and look her over. We both had a million things running through our brains at that moment and I lied to him that I was okay when I really was not sure where the blood was coming from. Instantly a paramedic was at my door (he was driving behind us and saw the whole thing!) Although all the windows had broekn and my daughter’s car seat was filled with glass, there was not one piece of glass on her body. She was completely unharmed as if an angel had thrown himself over her.
I only had eight stitches from that accident and a broken finger. Neither my husband nor my daughter were hurt. I learned that day that when I pray for my family, maybe I should include myself in those prayers, but that my prayers were answered. Considering the severity of what happened… I am sure you see where I am going with this.
When I was called into my Director’s office two weeks ago, and told my position was being eliminated, I felt the world spinning once again. I was hydroplaning with my entire family in the car with me. I was at the wheel this time. They were counting on me! How was I going to handle it this time when the spinning stopped?
When my husband found himself out of work a few months ago and ultimately made the decision to pull the girls out of daycare and become a SAHD, I saw him go through a litany of emotions and thoughts. I remember thinking that I did not understand the full weight of the burden a man feels when he loses his job, but that was before I shouldered the financial weight of providing for my family.*
Something was different this go around though. I could try to tell this story by leaving it out, but I would not be telling you the whole story. Every instance in my life where a fear has crept in and taken over, it has been realized, and ultimately conquered. I have been brought through fear after fear unharmed, relatively unscathed, but a little wiser each time. After the car accident, I added myself to those prayers, and after grieving the emotions of what had happened and feeling the rejection of that day, I had an overwhelming peace about what was in store for us. I know we will be okay. Things may get worse before they get better, but although we might end up with a couple stitches, we will be wiser and probably better off in the end. A dear friend of mine calls this ‘blind faith,’ but I know that the peace that I feel, and the experiences I have been brought through, tell a different story; a real story.
*Note: I still believe that men feel this issue differently than women because of how they are often raised to be the provider for their families (along with other reasons that typically make men inherently different from women). I only make a point here that I ‘got it’ for the first time.
Image credit: B S K, SXC