Have you seen the above movie? The reason I asked is because I haven’t watched it yet. So I’m not sure if it was funny or not? However, I do find the title humorous. Since the idea of a being a “house husband” was something that I remember as a kid to be a butt of a joke (given our innate sense of humor as Filipinos). Growing up, I’ve heard different versions of wacky stories of husbands back in the days as “under de saya” and hence the name “Andres” was given a double meaning, probably due to the popularity of an old movie below.
I do understand that the extent of our culture’s humor can be disrespectful at times, as we have the ability (as Filipinos) to laugh at ourselves and the mess that we are in. If I remember correctly, my Mamang (grandmother) used to share with me a story, that our Papang (grandfather) don’t mind doing the laundry (if she’s unable to do it), as a way of showing his love for her. At such a young age, that lesson stuck with me, which is the reason why I’m open to doing household chores, when needed. Aside from being trained at an early age to do chores (which I’m thankful for), it was clear to me on the onset that those tasks meant (based from our society’s standards) for women or housewives will not make me (or us) less of a man. Going back to the My House Husband movie, considering that I haven’t seen it yet, somehow I can still relate to it. Maybe because of those coincidences that one of the actress in the movie, used to have a telenovela where her character’s name, is what I also fondly calls my ex-girlfriend (Pachuchai or Pachuchay, whichever is the right way to spell it). And her real life husband shares the same first name as mine (his screen name). Or on a more serious note, maybe, back in 2011, when the movie’s trailer was still shown on televisions, I’ve asked and imagined, if I can see myself being a house husband? Did I like the idea? I wasn’t sure, but the thought surely frightened me.
I was afraid of what other people might think, if ever I’ll entertain that idea. I’m also unsure of my capability to be equally as caring as a mother (or be like my wife, who’s capable of multi-tasking), while also trying to still contribute financially. However, given those fears, there’s this greater fear that I have. The long-term consequence, if both of us (my wife and I) will go full-time with work, and the possible impact of having our kids growing with the household help most of their developing years. The latter reason was enough for me to resolve the discussion going through my mind. In the process, I was also reminded that I’m blessed to have a wife who’s very business oriented and career driven. I can easily concede (by now, at first it was a struggle), considering that she’s younger than me, that my wife is more accomplished in our corporate career. Considering the benefits and more stable compensation of her job, it’ll be a wiser decision, if she’ll be the one to continue her career path in the corporate world.
Since then, I tried being a stay at home dad or work at home dad twice already. My first crack at it was back in 2012, for roughly 9 months and the second time was in 2013, for a shorter period of 5 months. Both instances were fuelled by the reasons I’ve mentioned earlier, coupled with a strong desire to get out of the rat race (after being in sales for close to a decade), and a dream to achieve a more balanced life by having a regular family day on Sundays (to start with, and which I’ve deprived my wife and my kids of, for several years). I’ve also envisioned myself being a successful freelance real estate practitioner and having more time with my wife and kids (they were only two back then, Yan was 6 years old and Pey was 3 years old). I can no longer remember exactly how I was able to convinced my wife. What I can remember is how eager I am to change my situation and how it’ll address our concern, with regard to having at least one of us attending to our kids (not just their financial needs).
Looking back at those two attempts (that I both failed), it made me consider going back to the corporate world. Which I did, for three reasons. First is to relieve the guilt that I’m feeling inside. Second is to take the burden off my wife’s shoulders, when it comes to our family’s financial needs. Lastly, because at that point there are also some challenges happening in her corporate career. To cut the story short, I was blessed with an opportunity to work for a corporate post, while my wife focused on a new business and taking care of the kids. Fast forward to 4th quarter of 2015, we got introduced to the idea of home schooling, and decided to enroll our kids to the said program. This particular decision added another challenging chapter in our lives, as we also happen to have a very needy (of her mom) new member of the family. With our youngest daughter (Raya, she was roughly around 3 to 4 months at that time) around, our timetable for the homeschooling suffered.
Despite the challenges, and after assessing our situation, my wife and I mutually decided to push forward with the homeschooling. Hence, I left my flourishing corporate post (after two and a half years) and my journey as a stay at home dad begins anew. Or better yet, our journey as both stay at home parents is just getting started.