Written by Trina Mioner
Matt got laid off mid-way through the coronavirus pandemic. We were already having a hard time making ends meet because the kids switched to home-schooling. We were paying someone to child-sit/home-school, so it was not making sense for both of us to work. I happened to be bringing in the larger part of the bacon. Matt getting laid off was a blessing in disguise. The following Monday, our sitter was let go, and Matt became a stay-at-home Dad.
Matt was a traditional type of man. Every part of our marriage went along old-fashioned lines. We dated for a year when he got down on his knees and proposed. We remained engaged for a year, and in our written vows, he committed to providing for his family. When I got a job working in my major, quality control, it was hard for him to adjust to me making more money than him. I found myself constantly reassuring him of his value to our family. For a while, he struggled with alcohol. I allowed myself to be passed over for a promotion to narrow the gap between our paychecks. He was a good husband and loving father, but he was definitely on the macho side.
Monday morning, instead of both of us leaving for work, I kissed my husband goodbye and reminded him that his new job of home-schooling was one I didn’t envy. Closing the front door, he yelled for the kids to fall in. this was a flashback from his military days. The first thing he did was something he called divide and conquer. He sat the three children up in different rooms to eliminate arguments and to keep down computer interference. The youngest child was in the third grade and the oldest the ninth. He was a proud father, and the children exceptionally bright. As expected, they required no help the first half of the day. He prepared lunch, and everything was moving along according to schedule.
“Dad,” the rambunctious third grader called, “my teacher wants us to make a volcano with stuff around the house.”
Within a couple of minutes, the fourth-grader needed help with her spelling words, and the ninth-grader was mumbling something about congruent angles on parallel lines.
“Wait a minute!” he yelled. “I’m only one person.”
He began to smell the Stouffer’s lasagna he had popped in the oven for dinner. The doorbell rang. It was the mailman wanting him to sign for a registered letter. Almost simultaneously, the phone rang. It was me calling to ask how his day was going. He told me everything was going smoothly.
There was flour, baking soda, and newspaper from the paper mache volcano all over the family room floor. His daughter was crying that she did not know her spelling words, and for the life of him, he couldn’t remember the formula for congruent angles. At the same time, he knew the kids would complain about the burnt cheese on the lasagna. He said to himself that he wasn’t cut out for women’s work.
Matt was so glad to see my face when I got home. He quickly sat back in his Lazy Boy with a cold beer. I could not understand why Matt was unable to manage one day with the kids. Looking around, I saw my work here was just beginning. I had a mess to clean up, and my husband needed a mental and physical massage.
“Oh! Yea,” he said, as I finally got a break, “the registered letter? It looks like it’s from my job.”
With excitement, Matt opened the letter and announced, “it’s a call back to work!”
He thought to himself the money did not matter. He just wanted to go back to work. It was apparent that he wasn’t a stay-at-home Dad.