Not being the breadwinner

I live in a house I could never have dreamt I’d live in, I drive a car I’d never be able to afford. Recently I had one of those moments I occasionally have thinking about my previous life. And I felt slightly odd, almost like I didn’t deserve to be in my current situation. Is this because I’m a man? Then I thought, why on earth am I thinking like this, perhaps it’s guilt? Or perhaps I just occasionally think, had I not met my wife, things for me would be very different.

I only met my wife 6 years ago, had you asked before then where I might be living and what I would be doing in 6 years time, it certainly wouldn’t be what I’m doing now. “Imposter Syndrome” my wife calls it.

I’m a stay at home Dad. So by definition I’m not going to be the breadwinner in our family. It’s a decision me and my wife took together and I have no doubt that it was the best decision we ever made. I get to spend time with my two little girls and be actively involved in their early years, something a lot of men (with older kids) tell me they wish they had experienced.

These days, in over a third of UK couples the female is the breadwinner. Slightly above the European average of 31.1%. So it is not at all unusual for me to be in this position. Yet in 2017 the number of men out of the workplace specifically looking after children or the home fell to a 3 year low; 232,000 down from 241,000 the year before. Is the “novelty” of being a stay at home Dad wearing off? Do men feel that they are only valued for their work role?

Well for me neither is true. I really enjoy being at home looking after the girls and running the house. I did not attach a great value to my previous career as a management accountant. So for me, as the girls get older, I’m starting to get concerned about what I’m going to do when I do decide to return to the workplace.

I still find it hard to get out of the mindset of worrying about not contributing to the family financially. But I remind myself that, being at home, looking after the house and the girls, my contribution is just as important as paying for it all. As always, my amazing wife is tremendously supportive. Not only does she have a stellar career and is an amazing mum, but she is also my biggest supporter. That’s so important.

So whenever I have these “imposter” thoughts, I just think about my amazing wife and family and think how lucky I am.

8 Replies to “Not being the breadwinner”

  1. It’s great that you can spend so much time with your children. You and your wife sound very supportive of one another. I used to work full time and then dropped to part time when my girls were born 7 years ago. I always envisaged that one day I’d go back to being full time, but sadly I was made redundant. I’m lucky that I’ve found another amazing part time job, although it means I now work five days a week instead of two so I won’t be spending the majority of the summer holidays with my girls, but I guess it’s about balance! Thank you sharing and for joining in with #ThatFridayLinky

    1. Thanks Emily, I realise that I really am very lucky as a lot of people don’t get this opportunity. Which I why I want to big up my wife whenever I can.

  2. We see more stay at home dads here now as well. I applaud you! I am the working mom in a two-mom house, and oh, how I envy the position you and my wife hold. What a gift! #thatfridaylinky

  3. Sounds to me like you are a pretty lucky man! I’d like nothing better than to be able to work less and spend more time with my kid. Societal expectations can be tough to shake but slowly I think things are changing #thatfridaylinky

  4. I’m 55 years old and my dad wasn’t the primary breadwinner. My mom was a school teacher and worked until retirement. There were times when my dad worked and others that he didn’t. It really came down to a difference in temperament that made my mom the breadwinner. And I enjoyed having my dad there. I am glad it is becoming more acceptable for either parent to do childcare. Dads have as much to offer their children as moms do. Your kids are lucky to have you there.

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