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.