Odds and Ends 

The Truth About My “Deadbeat” Stay-at-Home Husband

I am a part of some different Facebook groups, and last week I got a little ruffled over some comments on a thread I was following. Well, ruffled is probably too strong of a word. I’d say I felt defensive for a moment. Why? Because I took it personally. I took personal offense for the love of my life. Wait, I guess I better explain, put it into context for you.

You see, I’m a travel nurse. And I travel in an RV with my family. So I’m a part of several travel nurse, RV, family RV travel, and RV travel nurse groups. Now, if I’ve learned anything in life it’s that the opinion of others isn’t worth my heartache. In other words, not all people will agree with me, and that’s ok. Their opinion doesn’t make me or break me, but I guess it’s a little different when the jab is towards my best friend.

I was scrolling through my feed when I came across a travel nurse asking if any other nurses traveled with their spouse, and wanted to know how their spouse spent their time. There were a lot of answers like mine. Answers of, “my spouse stays home.” And not just housewives either. There were a lot of househusbands. As you would imagine, it didn’t take long for someone to state their opinion about a man not working, and a woman being the primary breadwinner.

A woman commented, “I can’t get over all these deadbeat dudes, and you ladies supporting them. No way I’d put up with that sh*t.”

My heart rate rose as I read the comment. She didn’t know my spouse! She didn’t know he had run his own business for years, working thirteen-hour days, six days a week. She didn’t know the stress of all those years, how hard he had worked to support his growing family. I had to tell her these things. I had to defend his honor!

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You know, that’s the thing about people who aren’t you. They don’t know you, and they don’t know the specifics of your situation. They don’t know the roads you have walked, or even how hard it was to get there. That’s why you have to just let it slip right on by you. Because they don’t know and probably never will. Most people are so fixed on their own opinion that even if you set them straight, they wouldn’t hear you. You have to decide that you don’t care what they think. Too often we value the opinion of others, and it’s the same people who wouldn’t give you a glass of water if you were on fire. It’s the people pointing out the sawdust in your eye when they have a plank in their own. It’s the people who have been wounded, and their opinions and beliefs are often convoluted by their own negative, past experiences. Maybe this lady had been married to a deadbeat once upon a time. It didn’t matter, though.

I didn’t need to say a word to defend my man’s honor. After all, I knew he was amazing. I knew his heart. I knew he homeschooled our children while I worked. I knew he did all the housework, cooking, laundry, vehicle/RV maintenance, and outside work. I knew I didn’t lift a finger when I was home because he had done it all already. I knew what he did was hard work. I was a stay-at-home mom for six or seven years, and I knew there wasn’t a fatigue that compared to child-raising. It’s the kind that made you want to run away or hide in a closet and cry.

I knew my stay-at-home husband worked hard. He worked hard at everything he did for us, whether in the home or out of the home. And I guess, at the end of the day, I was the only one who needed to know that. The opinionated commenter on Facebook had her own opinions of men she had never met, and I’m sure a lot of acquaintances (or even family) I know have their own opinions of my life too. But you know what?

I don’t care what you think. I just don’t have time for that. I’m too busy enjoying quality time with my family.

We live in a strange world. On one hand, we have women everywhere marching for equal rights, but those same women will shun a man who stays home in what has traditionally been a female role. We have women who want to hold tight to traditional and Biblical roles of the man being the provider, but these same women have no qualms about usurping their husband’s authority, domineering the relationship, or ridiculing his opinions for the family unit. We have men and women who lament about not getting enough time together, but these same couples work overtime. We have men and women who want to homeschool or not put their babies in daycare, but these same people can’t find a way to cut the budget to make a one income family unit a reality. I’ve heard so many people say that nowadays it takes both parents working, and I guess that’s true if we consider a huge home, multiple cars, or namebrand clothing a must. Yes, everyone has to work to take a Disney vacation every year. Am I stepping on your toes?

A lot of people may think a man is lazy who stays at home, but I would say he’s loving. He loves his children, and he loves his wife enough to lay down macho stereotypes, worries about his friends or family’s opinion, and his own ego to be labeled a stay-at-home father. It’s not easy being a stay-at-home dad. You fight stereotypes and stupid comments. It’s not easy being a working mom. You face the same. You have to decide you don’t care what people think.

We made a decision collectively as a couple to do what was best for our family. A couple of years ago we both worked, but we still lived paycheck to paycheck. I rarely had a day off with my spouse, and he missed everything. He missed every softball game our eldest daughter played. He was exhausted most days. He never got to accompany us on fun, summer outings or exciting holiday gatherings. We never saw him. I was almost like a single parent. He came home tired where I unloaded the bad behavior of the children. So he was left to spend his minuscule time home disciplining kids or nodding off on the couch while we tried to spend quality time together.

Now we get at least four full days a week off together. We get two weeks of vacation together a few times a year. We take three-day, mini vacays once a month. We rose above the opinion of the status quo and made our happy happen. Instead of us both working ourselves to death we found a way to divide the workload. They say parenting is hard, and yes, it used to be, but now it’s enjoyable. Work used to be so much harder because I fulltime parented basically alone and worked, but no longer. I have never been more content, rested, or relaxed in my life! And that’s with a “deadbeat dude” with me.

I say, no deadbeat here, but I do have an amazing, supportive partner who has the same dreams in life as me. We dream of a happy, relaxed life where you enjoy your children and life with them. A life where you’re not stressed and exhausted. We are truly living that dream. And you know what? I don’t care what anyone thinks of that.

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