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.
Our daughters sleep in the same room, in two adorable little wooden toddler beds. I would like to tell you that they sleep like little cherubs with visions of sugarplums, but it would not be accurate. Although they do resemble little angels when they sleep, it is only after their exorcisms. The battle to get the girls to sleep is what seems to trigger these alter-egos or spirits to come out of my children. I’m not sure how the demons are getting in to the house (I blocked all the windows and doors), but I knew they were there when the girls’ heads would spin and they would get a purplish hue to their skin.
My husband usually performs the nightly ceremony of casting out the demons. His booming voice seems to exorcise these evil spirits more quickly and efficiently than mine; so I began enlisting his help in this process more and more frequently. Regardless of what he was doing or where he was, Daddy had to come to my rescue and perform his ceremony.
When I was laid-off, the transformation in our roles with respect to the children was complete. Dad staying home with the girls was normal, routine. When I lost my job, I began looking for a job full time while he continued carrying most of the load at home. As my looking for a job became less time-consuming, the duties evened out a bit. Things were irrevocably different though than they had been pre-SAHD (stay-at-home Dad). Now I solicited his help any time the kids seemed out of control or when I knew his methods worked better than mine in that particular area.
What I did not realize was that I was being careless of his time and personal space. When I needed him, I gave no consideration that he was at a neighbor’s watching a football game. As far as I was concerned, what I needed was about our children and that took precedence over his personal time! Whoa! Wait a minute! Did he call me when I was out with my girlfriends or over at a neighbor’s house to come home and take care of things? No, he did not any more. He assures me that he has everything under control and I could go and enjoy my Girls Night Out! It was after I started working again and had a couple Girls Only holiday events when I realized how he was treating me, how I was treating him, and the huge canyon in between.
We have always valued personal time and encouraged each other to take personal time away from the kids, either alone or with a friend. I had become disrespectful of his personal time, all the while expecting it myself. How rude! When he brought this to my attention, I was completely offended (of course), but then went rapidly through the 5 steps of grieving: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and ultimately acceptance. Once this 30 minute process was done, I realized I owed my husband a big apology.
I never wanted to be a “Wait till your father gets home!” type of mom. I set boundaries and follow through with discipline, but my children are incredibly stubborn, and I gave up too easily and tapped out. I am recommitting to be more stubborn than my children, to follow through as many times and as consistently as possible even when it is inconvenient for me, and to be respectful of my husband’s personal time. I have learned that a relationship with co-dependence is not a healthy one, and the closer we can stand, each as independent, self-reliant, accountable individuals, the better for our marriage, and thus better the foundation for our children.
It may take a little longer for me to perform my nightly ceremony; I am firm, then soft, playing good cop and bad cop, praying over them and reciting incantations, but the demons eventually go and the angel of sleep takes over and restores them to their angelic selves.