So here I am, six months into my new career as Househusband. And I have started having dreams.
No, not the recurring dream I’ve had for the last 15 years, where I am in a toy store finding all these rare Transformers, but whenever I get to the checkout my basket is empty. Nor the dream where all the girls I went to High School with think I am now unbearably sexy, but my car breaks down on the way to the orgy. Not even the dream with all the flying teeth, the marmoset and the repeating accordion music.
No, in these dreams I have gone back to work.
The dreams are all pretty much the same. I’ve slunk back to my old place of work in order to take up the career I left behind. I’m trying to do the best I can at my job, whilst anxiously trying to avoid the gaze of my bosses – which come to think of it is what I was always trying to do when I actually did work there (and every other place I was ever employed).
I know what is behind these dreams. It’s not a desire to go back to my old career – its guilt.
That’s right, guilt. I stay at home while my wife goes off to work and it’s getting to me.
I’m wondering if other Househusbands experience this kind of guilt. Perhaps it dates back to the cavemen. The caveman went out during the day, defending the home from sabre-toothed tigers and clubbing huge hairy mammals into submission to bring back for the cavewoman to skin and cook up. And thousands of years later my man instincts are telling me that I should be the provider, making sure there is meat on the table for my woman and offspring. Certainly the few male friends I’ve made since we moved up here have manly jobs – most of them work in the mines. They break rocks while I play dollies with my daughter. Yes I have big plans on how to make money out of our farm, but those will take years to bear fruit. Does that make me the equivalent of an unemployed drummer, living off his girlfriend while he assures her that ‘one day our band is gonna be big baby!’?
All sounds very misogynistic I know, but I don’t think that’s exactly where my brain is coming from. It’s not that I have any problem with my wife working. I don’t feel that she should be at home – it’s I feel I should be out working. When I was the one working, my wife still had income coming into the family home via maternity leave pay. I’ve gone from an annual 6 figure income to a 3 figure one – not exactly a ‘pay off the house’ wage. On the upside it’s helped me keep away from cigarettes, no way can I justify spending my wife’s hard earned money on cancer sticks for myself. On the downside, it means that financially we rely on her completely, which my subconscious tells me is not fair on my beautiful bride.
Maybe it’s a ‘not having a job’ thing. I’ve either being doing educational courses or working (or often both) since I was 16. To not be studying and to not be going to a place of employment – it’s great but again… those dreams.
Part of me is telling my subconscious to shut the hell up. That I enable my wife to be able to work. I make her coffee every morning and pack her lunch. I take care of the kids and the house while she is out and then cook her dinner every night. I make sure she has clean clothes to go to work in, though the one job I always still ask of her is folding and ironing – I’m pretty crap at both.
But then another part of me is saying that that part it is full of shit. My wife could easily make her own coffee & she could go to a cafe during her lunch break. We could get babysitting for the kids on the days they are not at preschool. We could share the cooking, washing and general household chores. That part yells that my wife could still work without me being at home, that I’m just making excuses.
So what is the answer? I don’t know. I certainly can’t go back to my old career – it was in another state and we aint moving again any time soon. Our new location is so remote there are very few jobs to be had and even if there were there are no dedicated daycare facilities for the kids up here. And this farm actually does take a lot of looking after – 120 acres does not just care for itself.
So maybe I need to feed the part of me yelling at my subconscious some rare steak, some raw eggs and a few beers so it can beef up and drag my subconscious into my brains equivalent of a back-alley to kick seven shades of shit out of it. Maybe I need to not be a deep-down misogynist and realise we are not cavepeople and it doesn’t need to be me subduing the sabre-tooth tiger. Maybe I need to take the long view and remember that when both our kids are at school in a couple of years I’ll be in a position that I can bring money into the household once again.
Or maybe I need to stop whining, stop the self-guilt and be grateful for how good I’ve got it.
Are you a Househusband and experienced these feelings? Or maybe you can shed light on this kind of existential drama? Would love to read it in the comments section below!
Random Rants: It’s valid for you to feel stressed