Even after a decade of being a stay-at-home-dad, I still, on occasion, find myself bothered that I don’t contribute monetarily to our household. I often worry that Erin feels that I don’t pull my weight because the house is not always clean, I sit around a good deal, I have all these problems, and I’m pretty sure I use my depression as a crutch. I have these wild ideas and want to do all these things and she is the one tasked with going to work and making ends meet. I am certain I am being selfish. I’m always spending money and never earning it. This line of thinking plays through my mind time and again when the darkness is leading.
There have been more than a few times over the preceding decade that I threw up my hands and declared I could no longer stay home. That I needed to get a “real job” for I was certain that would solve everything. What I needed was to come to grips with God’s plan, but I was blind to that. When we moved back to Vermont, I started a graphic design business, but I soon found that I no longer liked design and I finally accepted that I am not all that good at it. I also tried my hand at being a health and fitness coach for one of those multilevel marketing companies. I was feeling so good from their program that I wanted to help others feel that way too, and making money while doing that seemed like a good idea. I soon discovered this endeavor was far more time consuming than I thought it would be, I was not a good salesman, and being on social media all the time was not good for me. Neither of these forays made things better for me or the household; in fact, they made both worse.
The first year of Noah’s life I posted to this blog everyday, but by his first birthday I was burned out. Since then I have mostly put writing aside. I’ve continued to write in my journal, work sporadically on my manuscript of poetry, organized and reorganized the mountain of writing ideas that never seemed to make it out of the drawer. I was convinced that my writing was a selfish pursuit because it took away from taking care of the house and it was not making money. In fact, it cost money, because when I entered my manuscript in a competition there was a reading fee. I never thought of writing as a way to help me and thus help the household.
After a lot of therapy, self reflection, talks with Erin and being honest with myself I now know where I stand. I know that God’s plan for me is to be a stay-at-home-dad and to write about my journey with depression. My writing is important, it is not selfish, it is what I am called to do. I am sure there are days Erin may feel I am not pulling my weight, and some days I feel that way about her. That is just a part of marriage, dealing with the little things that drive you nuts about the one you love–but that is just a small part. Far more important is knowing that through it all we are a team with our own strengths and weakness, we are each others support and companions who have made a vow to love and cherish each other. Working together to create a loving household full of lasting memories matters more than who brings home the paycheck and who cleans the toilets.