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?