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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Reflections of a Househusband

The following is a fictional narration. It important to mention that I know very little about stay-at-home fathers and child-raising in general, so I take a great deal of freedom in imagining how it might be like. This in response to a comment I read on a online forum to my favorite anime Hourou Musuko: 
Japan is famous for being one of the most "male chauvinist" countries of the world, after mexico.

As far as i know gender stereotypes are something very important in japan.

Females are often expected to be housewifes and never try to be equal as males.

And of course, males have their pride. [Link]
I was not always a stay-at-home-dad. After college, I actually sustain a steady career in sales division of a retail store. One day, my manager assigned me to a joint with the lone female employee. Everybody else was uncomfortable working with her because they did not expect that she would actively compete against them in getting promotions. This was my first time I had ever worked with her, and the first thing she did was lay down the ground rules of working with her. Mostly, she demanded my respect in her ability to work and that flirtations of any kind were unwanted.

I did not care with whom I worked as long as the work got done. It was probably this indifference that made her enjoy working with me more than anyone else in the company. After the project, she requested from the manager that we have another project together. The manager was really surprised, and so was I. The manager agreed and after the first day on this new project, she invited me to go to a pub after work. Normally, I went with other employees, of course all male. It was kind of strange going with just her instead of a bunch of guys.

Well, needless to say, she became my wife. We continued to go to work for awhile after our engagement. When we told everyone at work about us getting married, some were in utter disbelief while others, like the manager, claimed to have known this already.

A year passed, a inner desire welled-up inside me. I longed to have children with her, but I had refrained from asking because she was making such progress in her career. I lacked her drive to succeed in the business world, but felt very afraid to take away her dreams by making her a mother. When I finally brought the subject up, she sympathized with me but was unwilling yet to become committed to having a pregnancy.

Finally we decided on adoption, but that was not all. After long discussion not just with my wife but my family, I decided to quit my job in order to raise our new child so that my wife could continue with her career. People at work again were surprised, for they were expecting her to become like there wives. My parents thought at first that something must be wrong with me since I lacked this drive take home the bacon. I think they believed it was the influence of my wife and her "unwomanly" obsession with her profession which led to my "unnatural" decision.

While visiting possible children to adopt, I discovered that my wife had actually wanted a child greatly too. I think the reason she did not want become a housewife was because she felt that would be denying part of herself, her dreams and aspirations.

We found a nice eight-year-girl, and all during the adoption process I struggled to adjust to housework. My mother-in-law proved an invaluable source of advice on cooking and child-raising. I join the PTA group to our new daughter's school and went shopping with her in order to buy her all that she might need in terms of clothes and toys. During the summer, we moved a new apartment since we felt our old one was just not big enough for us.

The one thing I most miss about work is all the friends I had. Now, the other mothers think of me as a curiosity or unmanly. They do not seem to be able to sympathize with my decision to become a stay-at-home dad. I cannot go to a bar like I used to after work now since I have a child to take care of. Despite all this, I feel like I made the right decision.

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