Patriarchy nearly destroyed my family.
It’s hard to tell just how much damage it’s done.
My wife is a badass. While she was staying at home with our young children she not only ran an incredibly tight ship as a domestic engineer but she read every business book that Harvard uses for their business school.
So, when it came time to finally start her career, she’s crushing it.
Meanwhile, my career foundered. I was all over the place, invariably ending up either starting startups for working for them. By the grace of God and sleepless nights I was able to provide for my family. But the stress took its toll on everyone, and continues to do so. There was a lot of anxiety my house. I’ve often thought that perhaps I was never built for the one thing I (sort of) know how to do. It’s worked out, but the scars are there.
Meanwhile, my wife was foundering at home. She couldn’t find her value in childrearing. Postpartum depression haunted us. She always felt undervalued and under appreciated. She wanted to stretch her wings and see how high she could have flown. She speaks often of having given up what could have been for raising children. Now, she is out there getting it done, but she’s way behind in the workforce.
In processing all of this we realized she should have been the one to join the work force early. I am the more nurturing one. I would have loved spending my days playing legos and make believe with the kids. Things definitely wouldn’t have been run quite as well at home. But it would have been a blast. Instead of me sleeping in hotels by myself in Houston, I could have been wrestling with the kids. We both agree it would have been the better path for all of us.
Why? Patriarchy. I wasn’t raised an an overly patriarchal house. My dad wasn’t domineering at all. My wife certainly was raised in a strongly patriarchal society, though my father in law couldn’t be possibly be considered domineering either. It was all unspoken. This is what is done. This is the way. My Christian culture, OUR Christian culture made it an unspoken rule.
We didn’t even think to really question it. We were too young to question those mysterious cultural forces that pressed in on us. Now, we can only try and do cleanup and hopefully help others avoid the same mistakes.
This is why deconstruction is important. Beliefs that are carried along simply “because” can be incredibly harmful.