Leon's Random Ramblings

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Becoming a Househusband

My 12-year old daughter had me completely surprised a few days ago. I took her for a swimming evaluation in the gym, and for a few minutes, while she was busy swimming, I was privileged to look at her unfocussed, and see her for what she has become. How she is a big girl now, with her own preferences, her own mind, her own style. How she interacts with other people on her own, how she copes without me, yet she wants me nearby because she constantly looks over her shoulder to make eye contact with me.

And I shuddered involuntarily.

I can remember it as clearly as if she was born yesterday. I was the first to hold her, the first to love her. To bath her and wrap her and hold her for a few minutes. She even tried to grasp my finger but her tiny little fingers couldn’t go around all the way. Yes it was yesterday! How quickly did she grow into this young person!

So much has happened since yesterday. I started to think about whether it was worth it? I mean, the investment into my child. Here I am, on a Monday afternoon, sitting on a bench in a gym, and not earning money for the two or three hours. Taking time off from work. Being a taxi-daddy or whatever you call it.

And so my thoughts drifted to the sacrifices I was forced to make along the way. It was a conscious decision back in 2002 to move away from my corporate job and the lovely executive pay, and the commitment it took (time, nerves, absence) to spend more time with her. My wife at that time was a bit younger and she was still climbing the corporate ladder, so this was an ideal time for a role reversal with me slowing down to allow her more freedom to pursue her ideals.

At that time the divorce was not yet on the cards. With Tiffiny’s birth the dynamics in the house changed somewhat and soon afterwards my Ex initiated divorce proceedings, forcing me to make certain times available to fetch my daughter, play with her, or take her to sport. Maybe I made too much time available, almost becoming TOO involved, but it also gave me the opportunity to get very close to my daughter.

Do I have any regrets? No. Did I suffer financially? Yes. Did I enjoy the closeness? Yes. Will I do it again? Yes. The life of a Househusband is not easy but the rewards are intense. This post was in part inspired by Ryan Park in his post talking about being a Stay-At-Home-Dad, and I agree with him on so many levels.

I still believe that the gender inequality, by me becoming the grey and uninteresting nothingness instead of the strong executive, might have been a trigger in the divorce, but that is unimportant. I have gained so much in the process that I will do it again.

Now if only I can stop my little girl from growing up so fast …

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June 2024

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