Although we never assumed typical husband and wife duties in our twenty-five year marriage, a change occurred almost ten years ago that resulted in us swapping roles.
When we were courting and first married, I, the man, was the breadwinner. After our two children were born within 22 months of one another, I continued to bringing home the bacon (strange how we use all these food analogies for making money). But when the freelance work I had always relied on became less dependable, my wife decided she would figure out something new for herself as a way to see us through. When she succeeded beyond her wildest dreams, I was suddenly thrust into a new full-time job—a job that entailed seeing our children through the demands of SAT preps and tests, college applications and tours, and the painful navigation of the enormous pressures of the social world of high school.
My new job was mom.
And it was the best job I ever had.
But then, and I can’t say it wasn’t without warning, college acceptances yielded painful realities. In 2008, my 19-year-old son went off to Chicago and, in the fall of 2009, my 18-year-old daughter left for New York City. I saw the dates on the calendar, but I kind of not-so-secretly hoped the day would never come.
But it did and I was devastated. I was out of a job just as millions of Californians were at the time. Unemployment was at about 9% and I was one of them. I didn’t know what to do. And I was 52 years old.
But with perseverance, therapy and a few good pharmaceutical products, I was on the mend. And within a very short amount of time, I actually got a nine-to-five job (my first). It was a job I had very little training for, but I had lots of enthusiasm and great ideas. And I was the boss (which I have to admit I liked). I got it by sheer will, force of determination and networking. I was once again working with children, and I was happy.
And my wife is still the breadwinner.