Can Mr. Mom be the head of his household?
I spent a short period of time as “Mr. Mom” in December 2008-January 2009. Close to a full month. I hated every minute.
My wife was working part-time at her long-time place of employment and I was at home with our 2-year-old son. I remember doing dishes in the sink, waiting for a call back on a job that I had applied for, when Elisha ran up to the sink with my cell phone and- SPLASH- dropped it in the water! I was so exasperated that I yelled out loud in anguish! (No children were harmed in the course of my “episode,” promise!)
The problem for me being at home had to do with more than being jobless, without a full-time income, and more than being “the man of the house” who had become the “housemaid.” It was more about me feeling that I wasn’t doing justice by them being at home.
When is a man at his best relationally?
In the current economy, more men are facing the situation that I did a few years ago. Also, it seems that more men are deciding with their spouses that HE is the one that should be at home. I bring up this parenting reality because it is a situation that tests the perceptions of many people and proves the resiliency of the relationships men have with their family members and others.
I’m proposing an interesting picture of how men might be at their best relationally- men are at their best relationally when they can be involved in diverse relations within the family and community.
I’m the “breadwinner” in my family, but I like being involved in child-rearing with my wife. I’m not content being a leader in the home but leaving spiritual leadership just to my wife. In fact we often take turns in such things between discipline at home and spiritual leadership with the kids. In a fulfilled marriage, relationship goes beyond who is “in charge” and who “submits.” It’s an ebb and flow that works when both parents are invested and one is not dominant/passive about roles or tasks (mom doesn’t “own” discipline; dad doesn’t shirk baths or getting out kids’ clothing.)
Sharing is key!
Involvement in planning and decision making creates buy-in for dads to participate in activities that build stronger relationships. Ultimately, this builds fulfilling relationships at home and helps men be at their best!
What do you think? I’ll be doing an additional post on when men are at their best relationally in contexts outside the home.