Compared to the trophy wife culture, the trophy husband label is fairly new. However, this stereotype is capable of causing the same damages to its bearer while also being fit for change and evolution. I offer this piece to all the hardworking house husbands and stay-at-home dads.
What accomplished women want
An alpha-woman of substance expects a ‘for better or worse’ type of partnership. A worthy husband is a natural caregiver who is not intimidated by women power, who is capable of both logistic and emotional support so that she outperforms professionally, and importantly, who is a connoisseur in childcare. An alpha-woman of ego desires a multipurpose personal assistant who has serious household skills, doubles as a youngish sexual partner, bodyguard, and travel companion, and most importantly, who cleans up so good that her entourage dies from sheer envy. An alpha-woman of outlandish standards believes that academic backgrounds and good looks are not sufficient because what she seeks is sentimental, sexual, and mental compatibility. Whoever fills the gap of alpha-women’s needs gets to be the trophy husband.
The ‘trophy husband’ surge
Romantic ideals are grounded in economic realities, and today’s reality, when it comes to peer-marriages, is that the recession and the increase in women’s education/workplace integration levels are feeding the role-reversal phenomenon and other shifts in cultural norms. Taking on the half normalized role of a house husband is triggered by wedding an out-earning wife who is climbing the corporate ladder, and achieved by deprogramming one’s inherited perception of gender roles in order to adjust to the new task at hand. Although most men are not trained to run a household and oversee the most organic part of parenting, a great number of them are succeeding in raising a child and setting a budget. As couples shift bread-winning roles and arrangements around, generations are being born into untraditional marital patterns.
Challenges and compromises
Alpha-alpha pairings where male partners become house husbands (by choice or through circumstance) may turn sour on three main levels. Historically, men have linked their self-worth to their ability to financially provide for their families, so when the funding ceases, they feel deflated, powerless, and alienated from the productive and active world of working adults. On the other end of the bench, the wives who have adored their husbands for being nurturing and for sacrificing their own profession to raise the kids may, after a while, feel like their spouses are neither pulling their weight nor reaching their full potential. Facing that bench, society stands frigid and belts comments that leave the two discouraged… the husband feeling like he is benefiting more from the arrangement, and the wife feeling less of an involved or a loving mother.
The benefits of being a stay-at-home dad
With a stay-at-home parent, the parenting process becomes easier, safer, and more cost-effective when you consider how costly it is to acquire professional nanny care, which is also very often an impersonal service. Not only is it healthy for kids to be driven to school or tucked into bed by a concerned dad, it is also just as healthy for them to be brought up by a man who redefines masculinity. It is also beneficial for a husband to acknowledge having his wife as the better option between two capable breadwinners, one who sacrifices his traditional macho status to give his woman a chance to take on the outside world. This type of man sends a message of gender equality and male evolvement. Moreover, when both genders walk in each other’s shoes, a deeper sense of respect arises.
Could there be a light at the end of the tunnel?
The union of a skilled and inventive house husband with a driven and ambitious career woman can be a match made in heaven if both parties do their best to impede feelings of worthlessness and resentment. This becomes possible if the husband maintains a certain type of labor-related occupation (a part-time job, freelance job, or work-from-home opportunity), which proves that he does not intend to live off his wife’s earnings and that he may be preparing for a business in the long run. To complete the circle, the wife needs to maintain an open dialogue in which they periodically check if their venture is still working.
Truth be told, there is something very refreshing and gratifying in being able to throw out these dated and unconstructive assumptions about the socially dictated male ego, the untapped female potential, and the marital/parental habits that value men over women and recreational play over parenting. I truly believe that things are changing for the better, and for our kids to grow blissfully, we all need to pitch in.