be home. be happy.
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A SAHM & Her (Real) Man
_ Zach, my favorite taxi driver in Boston, is from Morocco. While driving me from Cambridge to my hotel in the business district, he asked me what my presentation at Harvard was about. I told him that it was about Stay at Home Mothers. Boy, did he get excited about that! He spent the next twenty minutes telling me that his mother stayed home and that she was always happy about it. He never remembers his parents fighting about her staying home. He never remembers his mother talking about feeling unfulfilled at home. In the USA, he noticed, women do not seem to want or like to stay home. That seemed strange to him.
The last thing Zach asked me was my opinion on the role of the father in the household with a SAHM. What a good question! I said that I think any SAHM that is really good at what she does most likely has a husband that is really happy that she’s home. I think the husband provides for his family’s financial needs, but he is so much more than that. He looks out for everyone in the family. He is strong, yet loving. He doesn’t need to strong-arm anyone to follow him. He’s respected, listened to, and fair. I think he sets the example of expected behavior in the family. Ultimately, it is his family. That was my take, anyway. Let’s look more into your husband’s role in your family.
Your Man's Role
Zach and I talked a lot about the husband's role in a family with a SAHM. Zach highlighted the man's financial support of the family, and no one can deny the importance of that. But what else is there to being a man in this day and age, with a wife and children at home? What kind of pressures, worries, and demands are there? What kinds of joys, dreams, and goals are there?
There are very few more responsible roles a man can have apart from being a husband and father. Sure, there’s a king, president, CEO, Emergency room doctor, or wild rapids tour guide. I think those are pretty responsible jobs. But a husband and father (especially one that is completely providing for his family) has more at stake than those other guys. It’s his most loved ones’ material well-being on his shoulders.
While many people see SAHMs as a dying breed, it’s worth mentioning that her husband is also a rare find as well. We see all kinds of TV shows and movies where men are trying to get out of commitment and responsibility. Boy, do I hate seeing that - especially since I have three boys. Do you want your sons growing up thinking that nothing is expected (or wanted) from them?
Personally, I think it takes a real man to commit to a wife and children on this level. Congratulations, you’ve got yourself a real man. (Note: I don’t think that men whose wives work are not real men. Sometimes circumstances trump desire and wives have to work. Or maybe the wife doesn't want to stay home. But if given the choice, and the man says, “Yah, I want you to stay home and take care of all of us. I will take care of you financially.” I think that says a lot about that man’s character.)
If you're a SAHM, let your husband know what a real man he is! Appreciate what he does for you - and how you think his rogue social status is MANLY!
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