I lost my job back in 2013 due to a back injury and now I’m a stay-at-home dad. I love being at home with my kids, but it’s slowly killing me. I’ve never been without a job, and now, because of my injury, I can’t provide for my family like I used to. It’s a pride thing: I can no longer hunt, I can’t take on odd jobs, I can’t play with my boys—I feel like I’m not only less of a parent, but less of a man.
My wife works full time, and she’s very high-strung. Her anxiety levels are through the roof these days. After I was hurt, I filed for disability but I was denied. It takes about 14 to 16 months to get a disability hearing, and when I told her that, she got so angry with me. Ninety percent of the time, she thinks I don’t care about the state of our lives because I don’t react to bad news the way she does. But it’s not like anything would get any better if we were both freaking out.
The thing is, there’s a lot more expected of me now that I’m home all the time. When I was working, I never really stopped to consider what it takes to be a stay-at-home parent; it’s demanding. And I guess my wife isn’t really articulating her appreciation for everything I do for her, the kids, and the house. I don’t want a party, but it would be nice to be told once in a while.
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