Sep 03 2007

Are You An Uxorious HouseHusband?

Published by at 9:48 pm under Partners

A long, long time ago, before the kids came along and brought a sudden end to our bohemian lifestyle, Corporate Babe and I were lying on the carpet floor one night, playing a quiet game of Scrabble and drinking bottles of Premium Boags beer, after returning from yet another magnificent dinner in one of the many wonderful restaurants along our local Eat Street.

Seizing an opportunity to unload an “X” and two “U” tiles onto the Scrabble board, I slowly laid out the word “uxorious”, making sure that each tile placement on the board was followed by a flourish and a gloating, knowing grin.

This really got Corporate Babe going. I could hardly add up all of my triple letter points and double word scores with all the noise my wife was making, as she protested the validity, nay … the existence of such a word.

With an encouraging glance from me towards the dictionary, she reached out for The Penguin English Dictionary and started flicking through the pages towards the end of the thick, authoritative tome.

And there it was … the last entry under the letter “U”:

Uxorious – adj (excessively) fond of, or submissive to, one’s wife.

Well, didn’t that just stop Corporate Babe in her tracks! She looked up from the dictionary and asked me “how did you know that word?”

Unable to resist the perfectly scripted opportunity that had just presented itself to me, I simply responded “because, my sweet, beautiful wife, I am excessively fond of you!”

We quickly finished off our bottles of Premium Boags and I then proceeded to demonstrate to my wife what an uxorious husband I really was.

More than ten years later, I am still excessively fond of my wife (and more than occasionally submissive too!). In fact, I am even more in love with her today than ever. The word “uxorious” has become part of our intimate vocabulary, and I often remind her that I am still her uxorious househusband and most grateful that she still loves me despite all of the grey hairs I have given her over the years.

I believe that the first thing to keep in mind for all men wanting to migrate to a happy homebound lifestyle, therefore, should be to remember at all times to remain “uxorious” and to appreciate the fact that, if your wife, or partner has decided to take on the role of becoming the breadwinner and this arrangement works best for everyone involved, then we, loving and devoted househusbands that we are, must support them fully in this role.

The reason I decided to write about this today, is because it’s easy sometimes to lose sight of the fact that, although, we have both agreed to reverse the traditional roles of husband and wife, my wife’s maternal instincts often kick in when she comes home from work and so, she often ends up taking on an extra load anyway. She can’t help it and there’s not much I can do about it. The kids run to her and want her to pay attention to them, feed them, soothe them, sort out their grievances, listen to their stories. Dad’s shift is over!

After Corporate Babe comes home, Destructo, our three-year old, wants mom to change the poo-poo nappie he’s been quietly nursing for her. Exacto, our five-year old son, who has spent all afternoon wrestling and playing rough non-stop with Filosofo, his eight-year old brother, without so much as a wimper, now cries as though he’s been mortally wounded and collapses in a sobbing heap at the slightest provocation from his brothers. Mom, of course, drops everything she’s doing every fifteen seconds or so, to attend to the latest emergency and to rescue them all. The only thing that seems to be required of me after Corporate Babe comes home, is a good night kiss when the boys are in bed.

Sure, I could play with them and give Corporate Babe a break and a chance to rest after work, and maybe after writing this I will start to engage with my kids more in the evenings, but the truth is, by the time my wife comes home, I am zoned out and all I want to do is go hide in my cave (my bedroom office) and get some more unfinished business done.

So, as I write this, I am clearly aware that, at least in my case, I am still struggling in my evolution towards becoming a full-time househusband and stay-at-home dad, because I am currently acting more like a child minder in the sense that I do what I have to for the children do until I can hand them over to my partner, than a father who has truly embraced his role as the primary caregiver and who takes care of his children’s needs all the way from the moment they wake up, to the time they go to bed.

Am I being too hard on myself for thinking that way? May be … my wife seems to think so. She constantly tells me that looking after three boys, one of which is at home all day, is hard enough work, and on top of that, I am still trying to build a business and so I shouldn’t feel bad about handing over the baton when she comes home from work.

All I can say to that, is that I thank the Universe everyday for having brought someone into my life that I can feel excessively fond of, even submissive to, as I journey towards trying to become a more attentive stay-at-home dad, and devoted and uxorious househusband.

The Lazy HouseHusband

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