Back in 2006 we made a decision for my husband to stay home with the kids. It just made good sense after he had suffered an injury on the job. It gave him the opportunity to recover and make up for some lost time with the kids. As I worked more hours and took on more responsibility in my jobs, he also took on more at home. I think this past year just about put him over the edge. My working 16 hour days, six days a week resulted in many firsts for him – shopping for and preparing Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner for our family and friends, shopping and wrapping all Christmas and birthday gifts. We are inundated with December and January birthdays at our house, so no small feat on his part getting this all done on his own. But he did every bit of it without complaining.
His thought was, if I was working that many hours, he was going to work that many hours at home. The sheer amount of work he has done around our house; building, fixing, maintaining things is unbelievable. Where we live lots of people have someone to do those things for them…I have him…he’s my guy, whether it be gardening, dry wall, house painting, car maintenance, cooking, cleaning. He would spend all this time making my house an awesome place for me to be, when I was awake and not working, all the while creating a nightmare job for him that he couldn’t clock out of and leave at the end of the day. The more he made it right for me, the more of a prison for him it became.
So…if I am taking this year off to sort things out, he is taking this year off as well. The conversations we have had with me trying to convince him to take a break, go ride his bike, or go surf have been infuriating…work and obligation is so ingrained in him! We are going to have to take baby steps to help us through our transition. Big step yesterday though. He packed up our small four wheel drive truck to go to Mammoth, camping and fly fishing his way across the valley on his own-no agenda, no one to have to set camp up for except for himself, no tour guide duties. Just a man happy to get a chance to finally use all those flies he has been tying and hoarding.
If I hadn’t taken this time, he never would have either. The two of us would have continued on, miserable in what we believed to be our obligations. Our last kid leaves the house in three years…if we continued down this path, what frame of mind would we be in by then? We would have checked all the boxes but would have drained ourselves of everything that makes life real.
Leaving his responsibility behind and following his heart, even just for a week, is an important step for him. Fortunately/Unfortunately our family motto has always been “Get Shit Done”, GSD for short. It’s what we do as a family. But now it’s time to get the right shit done…(even though GTRSD isn’t near as catchy). Whether he gets it yet or not, that is precisely what he is doing this week. Can’t wait to hear about his week!