Vulnerability: The Consequence of Choosing to Stay at Home?
Last summer, when I was nine months pregnant with my second child, I was overcome with feelings of vulnerability. I couldn’t stop thinking about what would happen to me and the children if Mike died. After all, my own father unexpectedly died when I was a toddler, leaving my mom to raise two small children alone.
So even though we had already purchased the maximum life insurance package that Mike’s work offered, I sought out an additional policy, doubling the original amount. This made me feel marginally better, but I’m still haunted by that vulnerable feeling, a vulnerability that goes beyond worries about Mike dying.
I think that one major reason for these feelings is the fact that
that it’s been a year and half since I last earned my own paycheck. For the first time in our marriage, I now depend utterly on Mike’s income. I depend utterly on Mike. As the saying goes, I am one man’s paycheck away from poverty. (Well, it’s not really that dire since we do have savings, but that’s still how I feel.)
This dependency is an unsettling feeling. While I know that legally half of everything Mike makes belongs to me, I still often feel like it’s really Mike’s money, not mine. When I go out to dinner with my grad student girlfriends, I like to grab the check, wave my credit card, and announce, “It’s on Mike tonight!” Of course I’m joking, but a part of me thinks it’s true. My fun evenings, my unnecessary shopping expenditures, my ridiculously expensive graduate classes… my frugal husband funds them all. As I tell him occasionally, he’s my sugar daddy now.
I’m still trying to figure out how to deal with these feelings of vulnerablity and dependency, which have sharpened so considerably since the advent of our second child. Perhaps some of you have some good ways to intellectually approach this situation.
- If you are married, have you experienced feelings of vulnerability and dependency in your marriage? Why or why not?
- Do any of you have advice on how to deal with these feelings?
- Men, do any of you experience these feelings of dependency?