I was born second in my family. In school, I was usually the Assistant Class Prefect, Assistant Head Girl and so on. Frankly, this has always been fine with me. My contributions get noticed but I was never weighed down with overwhelming pressure to perform. I was the one behind The ONE. I supported and encouraged the main one, but I did not covet the attention nor really cared much that I was not wearing the crown.
Imagine how much a shock to my system it was when life threw me a curve-ball and I had to be the Alpha in my marital home. I am a moderately ambitious person, but during my single days, when I imagined what married life will be like, I automatically assumed I will just be the support system for my husband like I have always been for everyone else all my life. I was perfectly fine with that.
So, I had a regular job, a regular career and was basically just the regular woman with no need to be extraordinary or to prove myself. But things did not turn out like I expected. My husband was unable, even though he tried very hard, to bring home enough bacon to feed us all. Basically, I had to step up, to the limelight, be the Alpha. I had to run the home and run the finances. I had to take charge because that was the only choice I had. I had to let go of my fear and hangups. I had to literally change who I was.
No, it was not easy. Far from it. It was one of the most difficult experiences I have ever had to deal with. I had to become someone different because I NEEDED to. The pressure I avoided all my life was staring me in the face and knocking me on the head every morning. It was not a smooth ride. So, at first, I did what everyone does when they are faced with such huge change, I rebelled. I fought the change and nearly ruined my marriage in the process.
The thing is, my husband was never the most ambitious kind, and that was his personality. No, he was not lazy, he was simply one of those guys who was fine with the basics. Me, I wanted the finer things, not for myself, no, but for my family, my children. I wanted them to go to the best schools, live in the best neighbourhood, get the best toys, you get the idea. Perhaps this was my fault for not noticing this incompatibility before marriage, but whatever the case, I was where I was.
So, yes, I rebelled. Whenever I had a bad day at work, I blamed my husband for not being rich enough so I can quit, even though I know deep within me that financial issue is not the only reason I work. I blamed him when I was overly stressed. Heck, I even blamed him for rainy days. In spite of this, he maintained his patience and kept doing the best he could.
After we had our first child, something shifted. I realised that if I cannot take control as a wife, this beautiful little boy needed me to take control as a mother. I stopped blaming the world and resolved to step up. I became fearless (I think motherhood does that to most of us), I put on my big girl panties, strapped on my working-mum boots and faced life as the bacon bringer, fryer, and server.
Letting go of the fear made things a lot clearer for me. I found out what I was good at and worked hard towards making an income from it. I was constantly thinking and creating new solutions to issues in the homefront. I was soon able to afford beautiful things for my children and that made me very proud. I was made for this and I was good at it. Sure, there were a few challenges here and there, but we sailed through it. All my life, I feared taking the driver’s seat because I was afraid to fail, but I have come to realise that once you take control, get out of your comfort zone and do what you once thought impossible, even if you fail, there is a feeling of satisfaction to having tried.
My son will grow up knowing never to underestimate the power of a determined and strong woman. My daughter will grow up knowing she is capable of so much more than the society expects. She will believe it is okay to have goals and achieve them because she can.
As for how my husband is dealing with all this, today is not the day to get into that, but I will leave this here:
‘The only thing stronger than a man who does the heavy-lifting is a man who uplifts the woman who does the heavy-lifting.’ – Yours Truly.
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