Monday, February 9, 2009

Are SAHF's the same as SAHM's, but with different reproductive organs?

Having a stay-at-home husband who cares for the children while I work full time is not the same as a full-time employed man having a stay-at-home wife. It is actually quite different. I thought it would be the same when we decided to try it a few months ago. I was wrong. Working men with stay-at-home wives seem to have carte blanche to travel for work, attend early or late meetings and get their personal needs met (exercise, relaxation, hobbies, etc.). Maybe they don't really, but it supports my indignance to think so. Working women with stay-at-home husbands are still expected to participate in caring for the children and running the household more than working men. While I prefer having my husband stay home than both of us working and putting the kids in daycare for nine hours a day, I still frequently envy my brother-in-law. My sister-in-law never questions his hectic travel schedule, extremely long work hours, weekly massage, daily early morning workouts, lack of help with the kids' homework, and on and on. All I want is to be able to accept the occasional 5:00 p.m. meeting or weekend business trip without hesitation and without a guilt trip. If the situation were reversed, I GUARANTEE I would gladly tolerate these types of impositions to allow my husband the flexibility he would need to earn enough to allow me to comfortably stay home with the children. Why would I do this? Because women don't have the egos that men do.

My husband isn't thrilled about being a SAHF. He enjoys feeling like he's contributing more than he was when he was struggling with his career, but he still thinks he ought to be the one bringing home the money. He won't announce to anyone what his current profession is (because I don't think he considers it a profession) and is very vague when people ask what he does. It drives me crazy. If it were me, I would tell everyone whether they asked or not because I think it is an incredibly noble undertaking worth much bragging.

I don't know if this is going to be a long-term arrangement or not. Some days I hope that he feels increasingly proud of his work and wants to continue to do it for as long as it's needed. Other days I wish he would just get a good job and let me stay home and mold young minds. I never wish that we could put the kids back in daycare and both work full time though, so I guess this is progress.