Thursday, August 03, 2017

Coming Out Of The Closet

I won't pretend my announcement carries as much weight as someone that actually comes out of the closet as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or anything else. It was purely meant to grab your attention and to get you to read.

So what is my big announcement?

I think I know what my new identity is. It's house spouse.

I say "think" because I'm still struggling a little bit with the new identity. But after 15 months of being one, it's finally dawning on me that it's okay to be a house spouse.

Let me back up a little bit.

Even though I grew up in a household that was anything but traditional, I was always taught that a man runs the house and earns the money while the woman takes care of the kids and cleans things. And before my mom freaks out, I will clarify that I was never taught this by my parents. It was by society as a whole. Any movie or TV show or book or magazine or some random stranger you'd see in public would always emphasize, either deliberately or subliminally, that the man was the one to earn the money and the woman was meant to take care of him and the house.

Even through college, I saw examples of this in my own family. It was just normal. And that was fine with me. I never questioned it. It's how everyone lived.

But as I got older, more and more people defied that norm. Some did it in their own way, quietly, on their own. Others were more vocal about how they wanted to break with that American caste system. For me, I was happy to support anyone's way of life. For me, I typically earned less than my wife, and while it bothered me that I wasn't the head honcho of money, I never really felt bad about it. Over time I eventually made more than my wife and again, while I felt proud to be successful, I never really felt like I was better than her.

I guess in the end, as a couple, we usually decide on things together as equals.

As I embrace this new identity, I don't feel like I'm less than an equal in my marriage. Sometimes I feel like I'm the one with the better deal in that I can spend more time with my kids, but I don't feel like I'm less of a husband, less of a man, or less of a person just because I make less money than before.

So where does that leave me? Like I said, I've spent the last 15 months as a house spouse. I joked about it in the past but the more I thought about it, the more I realized this really was what my new job was. And since most men identify themselves by their profession, I'm a house spouse.

So there you have it. My big but not so earth-shattering announcement. Most of you already know I had a massive career change last year. This is just me finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and finally recognizing what kind of moth I am now that I've emerged from my cocoon.


AndrewENZ said...

Good on you! I wish I could be a house spouse.

Neil Richard said...

Thanks! Some days are easy, some are hard, but in the end, it's totally worth it.