My husband is awesome! In a few hours I will board a flight for my first job talk. It’s just a quick trip; I’ll be back by Wednesday afternoon. However, as always, I could not have done this without my right-hand-man. Together, for the last year and a half, we have manufactured a completely non-traditional, “traditional” (read hetero-normative and nuclear) family. He left corporate America when I left for my “dream job” “in-between” job, a postdoc at my alma mater. He also took on the enormous task of caring for our two children under three during the day last year, though the older of those two is now in pre-school. He also supervises homework completion for our oldest son, which can sometimes feel like a full-time job by itself. I am home more than the typical working mom, as I only go into the office an average of about three times a week. However, he bears the heavy load. He is also the better cook, so he cooks, and he dared me to do laundry the other day, that’s how infrequently I do it.
We live in a larger traditional world and I know that our unconventional ways must be making a few silent waves out there in the universe. Though no one has explicitly told us yet that what we’re doing is too out-the-box, I know that the situation as is might leave one wondering about his macho and my . . . . ?domineering?
The other day he told me in the politest way possible that he can not wait until I’m settled (meaning in a tenure-track Assistant Professorship with firm roots planted in a particular location) so that he can pursue his own dreams. I was moved by this. There are ways in which my entire family, and my husband and oldest son in particular, have been left “hanging” by my own intellectual and career pursuits. This has affected my son especially, because he has been my “roll dawg” since Junior year of college. There are ways in which we have all benefited, myself the most, from me putting me first.
I wonder how many men would be willing to sacrifice pursuing their goals for the goals of their partner and/or children?
4 thoughts on ““on the go” mom/”stay-at-home” dad”
This is awesome! My class discussed Frances E. Watkins Harper’s “Two Offers” (two marriage offers and two paths available to women) today and my students were expressing their awareness of gender/work/family issues. I tried to tell them how challenging it is to make all the parts move at the same time. I heard the seeds of anxiety in their comments, but they still maintained their expectations that they could be whole and happy and fulfilled in all the areas of their lives. I warned them, though, that most men are not socialized to work in concert with them in building equitable, balanced lives. So, I say all of that to say that having men who are willing to make the same kinds of sacrifices that women have always made is really key. So is, I think, shifting the balance back and forth every now and then.
It’s wonderful that your husband is willing to sacrifice right now. I think mine is somewhat doing the same, although he does work, I’m sure he’d be doing something else if I wasn’t here getting these degrees. I think it is an indication of a good marriage, that we see things as we, not me.
“there are ways in which we have all benefited, MYSELF the most, from ME putting ME first.”
So it’s all about you? Imagine if a man had said the same thing. You wonder how many men are willing to sacrifice their careers? Why? Are you willing to sacrifice yours? Obviously not. So why expect men to do something you’re not willing to do? Shouldn’t men expect their partner to do the sacrificing the same way you expect your partner to? Shouldn’t a man be entitled to think putting his career first will benefit the whole family, the same way you think putting yourself first benefits your family? Why do you expect men to do something you’re not willing to do yourself? When you sacrifice your own career for your husband’s, then you can lecture others about doing the same. Otherwise it’s total hypocrisy.
@Steel Magnolia: you think it’s awesome that one partner gives up their career? Great. I’m sure you’re telling the female students that you think it would be assume for them to give up their own careers in favor of their husbands. Because that would really be “awesome” wouldn’t it? As for the usual male bashing/man hating in the comment: “…most men are not socialized to work in convert with them in building equitable, balanced lives.,” while I realize anti male bigotry is acceptable, if not mandatory today, it seems rather out of place to condemn men for not wanting “equitable” relationships while at the same time praising a woman who doesn’t have one. It may be that women have made “sacrifices” in the past, but since for the last 50 years we have been told that those “sacrifices” made women miserable, depressed, unfulfilled, dependent, and vulnerable, it’s kind of hard to now tell men they should be willing to accept the same fate.
@LaToya. You think it’s “wonderful” that her husband is willing to “sacrifice”? Do you also think it’s wonderful when women “sacrifice”? Do you encourage women to sacrifice their careers? Do you praise them if they do?
“we see things as we, not me.” He’s the one sacrificing so how is it “we”?
@Dyson: if a man had said the same thing, acknowledging that what his wife was doing was a sacrifice, I think we would be praising her for making such a sacrifice. The point is that most men, and society, do not recognize that when a women takes a job that is less than what her credentials can demand, or stays home with the children full time, that it is a sacrifice. This has nothing to do with men bashing. Obviously both people in the relationship cannot sacrifice at the same time – no one would make money that way. One person sacrifices and then the other does – that is what makes a marriage work. I praise anyone who does what’s best for their family. Who said otherwise? Why are you so insecure about people sacrificing for each other in a loving, stable marriage, where two people, obviously having separate jobs, but make decisions as “we”?