Life Tracking

How did your parents and grandparents handle work responsibilities and finances?

9.20.21

Life Tracking

C. Derick Miller – Head Writer

Your Stories on Video

Most people I know seem to have their life under control. Looking back, I recall it always being that way. Now, those people are always where I thought they would be when I looked at them decades ago. I knew who would be successful, who would be struggling, and who would be incarcerated somewhere for something hideous. What kind of author would I be if I didn’t have that figured out about people? I make up characters for a living!

My life, on the other hand, has been a huge enigma from day one. I always wondered where I’d be as an adult and what I’d be doing. My mind would immediately jump to ‘dead’ or at least living in the streets. As you guessed it, I didn’t have much faith in myself as a kid. Honestly, I still don’t today. I’m shocked when good things happen to me or if someone compliments me on one of my accomplishments. I’m not sure how I got that way, but whatever it was stuck with me.

As a wondering teenager, I never thought in a million years that I would’ve joined the military, had a law enforcement career, or became a published novelist a dozen times over. These are things my mullet wearing, heavy metal listening psyche would’ve rejected in 1992 if my future self ever showed up to explain how my life would turn out. I never would’ve believed me!

Some of the things going on in my life stem from my upbringing though. I come from a long line of self-made men who were the bread winners in our family. They all worked their fingers to the bone daily and ultimately had little to show for it. Still, no one was starving, no one went without, and no one outside the family knew of our struggles. On the outside, we were all copasetic.

It was forced into my mind from a very young age that the man is the head of the household. He worked the hardest, made all the money, and was responsible for many of the decisions. Everything fell onto his shoulders, and I prepared myself for that responsibility just as soon as I was old enough to comprehend the role of a husband/father. This all rang true during my relationships prior to my current marriage and no one on the other side of things seemed to mind it too much. Heck, why would they? A little help would’ve been nice but…it wasn’t their responsibility, remember?

Now comes the biggest conundrum of my life so far. Well, I say it’s a conundrum, but it’s really not. I just have to quickly learn to get over myself and unlearn everything I’ve been taught as a southern man since birth. Still, to make the dream come true, I think I can. At least, I’m pretty sure I can. Time will tell, but I’m quickly running out of that. I’ll more than likely just accept it and move on.

My wife was unexpectedly offered a job as a corporate general manager in her field of expertise and now she is by far the head of our household! Due to my upbringing, I can’t help but feel a little frightened and like things are out of control, but I know they’re not. They’re good. In fact, they’re the best they’ve ever been! So, why is this a problem? It’s not, I guess. It’s just a battle with my internal programming.

I had a big issue with this when I first joined the Army. Of course, the Army doesn’t care because they tear you down and build you back up in the image they see fit. I’m not so sure this is an option with my current predicament. Both of my grandfathers were raised in a different time when the men of the household could work, and that money would be enough to level out the family finances without the other person in the relationship having to encure a full-time job as well. This stopped being the case when my father’s generation came along and it sure isn’t an option in today’s lifestyle. We’re all lucky if two incomes can cut it these days!

Still, the man of the house worked from sunup to sundown and the woman in the relationship did the housework, raised the children, and kept things tidy. Times, change, I guess, and I have no choice but to accept it. I love my wife with all my heart, and I know she’s doing all of this for the betterment of herself and our family. So…

At some point in the near future, I’m going to become house husband. I will continue to write but without the time-consuming burden of a full-time job. I will basically be vacating my career in the fine art industry and become C. Derick Miller, full time writer. I will also be taking on most of the responsibility with our home and my stepson. For the first time in my life, or in my wildest imagination, I will be stepping into the traditional role of the wife and mother of the family.

I know this is no longer how things should be viewed and, for sure, I’ve removed that rank structure from my mind many years ago, but some little voice inside of me can’t help but wonder how the men of my family would think of me. They’re all gone now, but somehow, someway, I feel as though they’ll know. I daydream about what they’d think of this sudden role reversal, but I can’t seem to come up with any feeling which reveals how they’d take it.

Regardless of that karma, I can’t wait to drive my stepson to school every morning, grab a smoothie, pump out ten miles on my bike before the Texas sun has a chance to scorch the air, and write every single day of my life until my fingers are sore from typing. I swear I will flood the horror shelves with enough books to choke Stephen King!

To my readers of these passages, what are your thoughts on all of this? Here at Your Stories on Video, we want to know! How did your parents and grandparents handle work responsibilities and finances? Was it something along the lines of what my own family did in generations gone by or were your ancestors more understanding? How do you feel about role reversal in the parental structure as opposed to modern society’s pre-determined destinies? Feel free to comment below!

Until next time…

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