What defines a real man in the age of equality?
Today is a pretty momentous day in our household. It’s my husband’s first day back at work after 4 and a half years off and while many women take time off to care for their families when they have young children and a working partner, it’s not all that common for men and it’s something I’m feeling particularly grateful for today.
Four years ago we were living in Sydney and like most households with young children and two working parents, our life was an endless struggle of logistics. When we decided to leave the hustle and bustle of Sydney and move to a farm on the Northern NSW coast, the plan was for my husband to take a year off to spend time with our youngest son before he started school and then see where we went from there.
With my husband at home looking after the kids, me and everything in the house, I was free for the first time since my children were born to really give my business everything. I started working 10 hour days, would take every opportunity that came to me whether interstate or internationally and devoted whatever I could to building Begin Bright into what it could be in my imagination.
When we first started this arrangement it’s amazing the type of feedback that we received. My husband would go out and his friend’s would ask him if his wife had given him enough pocket money for the night. He was asked at a function that we were at if he still feels like a man while staying at home looking after the family. I was asked how I deal with the guilt that I had abandoned my children. I was asked if I still respected my husband now that he didn’t work. Fucking infuriating. Although it did make me think about what defines a man, especially as we're raising two ourselves. And that's exactly why I am celebrating that era in our lives.
I always knew that I wanted a partner in life, not a protector or a provider, but a partner. I wanted someone that I could support and that would support me in return. I wanted someone I could live many different lives with and who was always up for the challenge and excitement to pursue things outside of the box. And he did. It started when he worked full time and I was wanting to build my business so I wouldn’t take any money out for my income as I wanted to keep investing the profits into growth. But that wasn’t enough, I also grabbed anything he had left over and popped that into the business too. He not only supported me, but he encouraged me. I’m not saying there was never any pressure filled times. There are more times than I can remember where he said “For fuck’s sake Tina, are you sure?” and although I was never sure, I always said yes. I wanted to build a business and I knew the sacrifices that we’d both have to make in order to get it there. And build it did - to a National franchise company with over 30 locations around the country. Not for a second do I think that it would have happened had my husband not supported me.