The Secret Confessions Of A Househusband!

I am a househusband!

There, I said it.

This wasn’t a decision I made willingly, but in ‘06, after parting ways with a mission organization I worked for, I decided to become a self-employed public speaker. I figured after 35 years of faithful ministry among Muslims, with my level of education and experience, I should be able to make a living by doing what I love most, teaching—Noooooot.

Speaking engagements didn’t materialized as I’d pictured they would. In fact, after reading my book, a friend of mine, an ex-president of a Bible college told me, “Shah, the American church is not interested in what you have to offer. Have you thought about becoming a comedian?”

Having to face cancer and two operations in a three-month period, and not being able to get a job anywhere didn’t help either. Not that I didn’t try. Lord, I tried! But I couldn’t get a job even as a Walmart greeter. At my age, do you know how humiliating it is to apply for a seasonal minimum wage part-time job, and lose out to a kid half your son’s age?

I will never forget the day I was interviewed by a store manager my daughter’s age. I could tell all the man was thinking about was, “Dang, if I give this old fart a job, in two weeks, with his education and experience, he will have my job.” So, gradually, I found myself doing more and more housework, and eventually, becoming a full-time househusband. By the way, according to one study, the number of husbands who are at home for any reason has nearly doubled since 1989.

I wish every man would experience what I’ve learned as a househusband these past eight years.

The job of a househusband is like the quarterback who couldn’t throw, but boy, he couldn’t run either—the work is hard and demanding, but the pay is non-existent. Housework is probably the most unending and unrewarding job.

In all the years she was a homemaker and a mom, I hardly realized how hard my wife, Karen, worked. I used to punch in at 8 am and punch out at 5 pm. Once I left my office, I was on my own, but that’s not how housework is. You’re always at your office. There’s no punching out. The job of cleaning, cooking, washing, shopping, yard work, and taking care of the dog never ends. There’s always something else staring at you that needs your immediate attention…dog hair everywhere.

At the office, my good efforts are often noticed, and rewarded, (depending on how secure your boss is) but this is not so with housework. When the dishes pile up in the sink, it’s ever so noticeable. I mean even a blind man can point it out, just by smelling the air; however, not too many people notice an empty sink after all the dishes are washed, and put away. After all, sinks are always supposed to be empty. Hair/dust bunnies are extremely noticeable on a hardwood floor. Every time you open the front door, the bunnies glide from one side of the floor to the other as if they’re riding on one of those hoverboards like in the movie, Back to the Future. However, a clean and mopped floor is hardly ever (really, more like NEVER) is noticed.

I guess what makes the above even worse is the lack of reward for your hard work. I used to get a paycheck for my 8 to 5 job. However, housework is unrewarding. There’s no money in it. You’re just a housewife, or in my case, just a househusband who’s home all day and doesn’t deserve to get paid.

Being a househusband has been a humbling experience for me. I am no longer the breadwinner. We live off my wife’s paycheck. I still pay all the bills and manage our finances, but I can’t help notice how almost all the mail in our mailbox is now addressed to Karen.

There are days when watching Karen carrying the responsibility of taking care of us is quite hard. After all, I believe God created the man to be a protector and a provider. Please don’t go PC on me here. I’m not saying that women shouldn’t or can’t be providers. Dear God, I’m absolutely amazed at how single moms are capable of working a full-time job and running a household at the same time. All I’m saying is that I believe worrying about these things should be the man’s responsibility.

Now, let me tell you the benefits of being a househusband.

I actually wrote and published my first book, Shame On You!

I’ve become an excellent cook.

As I started to stay at home, I began cooking. There are very a few things that give me more pleasure than to watch my wife walk into the house after a hard day’s work, and say, “It smells so good in here. I’m famished. What’s for dinner?” I began experimenting by going online for new recipes. I now can cook Persian, Chinese, Thai, Italian, and American food that you would want to come back for more. My BBQs are out of this world. All this is greatly rewarding. Of course, I also get disappointed when Karen doesn’t let me know how good dinner was—I’m extremely in touch with my feminine side.

For me, one of the primary benefits of being a househusband has to be the opportunity of knowing my neighbors. I’m not talking about just the neighbors surrounding our house. I’d known them long before that. I’m talking about knowing the whole block.

Every morning at 6:30 am I take Cocoa, our chocolate lab, to the park about a quarter of a mile from our house. Invariably, I greet, and wave to no less than seven or eight neighbors on the way to the park, at the park, and on the way home. They may not remember my name, but everyone knows Cocoa’s name. She’s a neighbor-magnet. In fact, at times when Karen takes her for a walk, after saying, “Hi Cocoa!”, neighbors that Karen doesn’t know, ask her, “How’s your husband?” You can only appreciate the gravity of this blessing if you live in the LA area where most people don’t know their next-door neighbor who’s lived there for the last five years.

I’d like to finish the post with this. Although I was always grateful to my wife for the years that she was a stay-at-home mom, I don’t think I was grateful enough. So, may take this opportunity to thank and recognize her and all the housewives (I know some people take offense to this term also, but it matches househusband) and stay-at-home moms for all their unappreciated hard work. I pray the day will come when you’ll be more appreciated not only by your mates, but also by society in general.

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34 thoughts on “The Secret Confessions Of A Househusband!

  1. Shah you are amazing, you have always been someone I think very highly of and admire!! You have accomplished very much in your life and should be proud, I know your family is proud. This article was so entertaining, loved it!!

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  2. Hi Shah,
    How lovely that you wrote this thoughtful piece. It brought me back to when we were neighbors and our kids were little together. Karen always kept a perfect house, putting me to shame. She always made us welcome even after she started working and I went back to school. I never figured out how she managed, but always appreciated that she put her family and others first. Now I wish we still lived near by so I could come down for coffee with you and congratulate you on your beautiful floors and Persian cooking (but not sure about the Italian ;-})
    Miss you guys,
    Nina

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  3. Nina, you’re too kind. Thank you so much for your gracious comments. I know we can’t recreate the past, but it would have been great if we still live next-door to each other. Yes, the Italian food part was a bit exaggerated, oh you mighty queen of Italian food.

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  4. I, too, appreciate the decades my mate,Cheilon, invested as the woman of our house. When she had surgery for cancer in 2000 I picked up the reins she had to release. Like you I learned good cooking and took on responsibility for the household chores. To all the housewives and moms, you have my admiration. Nothing is more foundational than what you do.Shah, you are an important man.

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  5. Loren, I am honored. The first time I ever watched a food network was at your house. We didn’t have cable at our house, so I didn’t even know such a thing existed. But what made is so interesting was that of all the people inn your household, it was your son who was watching it. My hats off to you for being such a great caregiver to Cheilon. Your daughter and Karen get along very well at work, which makes me very happy.

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  6. Love it!!! Karen makes the best baklava I’ve ever tasted. Are you making it now? I know how you feel about walking the dog. Most of my neighbors never said hi until I adopted a dog that was abandoned in the church foyer.
    Just finished reading a great book called “Learning from Islam how to live as a Christian” by Kamal al-Kanady (the perfect Canadian). His dad is my mom’s neighbor. Very enlightening!

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  7. I can’t imagine how humbling your transition to househusband was, Shah. I feel for you friend. My transition was much easier (pension). After almost 4 years of househusbanding, I have found that I am totally incapable of doing the job as well as Marla did for so many years. Looking around the house now while Marla is at work, I think I should probably be doing some cleaning of some sort. Perhaps I’ll time things so I’m doing the dishes when she arrives home.
    Keep up the good work, Shah! I always enjoy reading your offerings and I will plan to enjoy your cooking next time we make it to LA.

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  8. I guess the next step would be a top rate restaurateur, not only providing top rate food but an atmosphere of constant jokes and hilarity with a good and rewarding pay. Just a joke I guess!!! 🙂

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  9. Great read Shah! As someone who doesn’t have a 9 to 5 job anymore and stays home with our business, I can definitely relate to most of this!

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  10. Dear Pastor Shahrokh, you are not alone in this valley and I appreciate your humer as well as your humility. After 35 years of ministering to others, you can now relax and be ministered to at the church and also pay back the time you borrowed from your family at home.

    Blessings

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  11. Loved this Shah…..you would make a great comedian by the way 🙂 Walmart missed out on you! I feel for you, anyone in ministry trying to make a living struggles. I would have obtained speaking engagements for you had I had the opportunity. Sometimes it works out, and sometimes it doesn’t. I’ll always have my ears open for you though, your book was really amazing, I mean that. I read a lot and your book taught me so much! I didn’t even realize how much I was learning because I laughed all the way through. What a life saver your book was at a time when my mother-in-law was dying, it kept me spiritually focused and uplifted during that difficult time.

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  12. Shah, I never knew you had cancer. I identify with your after coming back from the “mission field” and having my jobs taken by younger guys. Then trying to make it in the business world and not making it! I’d better get back to my memoirs and hope someone reads and benefits from them. I did from yours. Be blessed. Your big brother Ray.

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  13. What a great reminder of how important a home is Shah. Creating a home, keeping it clean, providing good meals, and making people feel welcome is really the cornerstone of sustaining and building community. I am eternally grateful to my mom who created a stable, warm, interesting, and loving home for us. It was always nice to know that I had a place where I could retreat from the world and surround myself with loving, caring people. I think it is so important to our society, and is not appreciated enough. Thank you to you and Karen for welcoming me into your home. I have such fond memories of meals shared with engaging, humorous, and thought provoking conversations.

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  14. CK, thank you. Being hospitable is an Iranian trademark. For us, it’s more cultural than biblical. However, just recently, I’ve come to realize how important that trademark is in God’s Kingdom. “Take care to keep open house: because in this way some have had angels as their guests, without being conscious of it.” Heb.13:2
    Thanks for being one of those angels. It was a great pleasure for Karen and myself to have our home open to the group for all those years.

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  15. Don, it’s so good to hear from you. Thank you for your kind comments. I don’t write this post because I wanted people to feel sorry for me. In fact, I wanted to get away from my usual serious stuff and be funny. Pensions? Pensions? I don’t need no stinking pensions. I always think about you when I wash dishes 😉 Thank God only you and I know what that means.

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  16. Yes Ray, I did have cancer, but it’s one of those things that you can’t go around announcing to everyone—”Hi Ray, it’s been a while since I saw you last. How’s life? By the way, I’m a cancer patient 😉
    I know what you’ve been going through, my friend. Getting old is not for faint at heart.
    Yes, please write your memoirs as soon as possible. It doesn’t have to be a long one. In fact, you can start blogging and posting one chapter at a time.

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  17. Thank you so much Kathleen! You’ve always been so encouraging, even though, we’ve never met.This is absolutely amazing.
    I love to make people laugh. I’m still thinking about going to a comedy club on an open mic night.
    Thank you for trying to get me speaking engagements. I don’t expect that from you. However, I expected that from many, many pastor friends whom frequently, especially after 9/11, had me travel, on my own budget, to their cities and speak at their churches. I only heard from a handful of them after I received the left foot of fellowship 😉

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  18. I LOVE this Shah! And as a brand new housewife I relate to a SO much you have written here!! And while the term “housewife” may not be PC, it’s what I am and I am so okay with that. ; )

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  19. I smiled the whole read through. Everything you say is so true and so real. If you’re doing all of that, and appreciating your wife, and making/serving dinners on time, floors mopped, dogs walked while keeping a blog and writing a book I’ve got to say, Sir, I think you’ve found your calling! Remarkable!

    ☀ Memee

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    1. Thanks Memee! As our cool kids would say, You rock! I have so much to be grateful, however, it’s only been within the last a few years that I’ve decided to live for the presence. I can’t do anything about the past, have no power over the future, but the presence, with the help of the Potter, is where I can enjoy life. Thank you again for your encouraging words.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Dear Shah and Karen,
    You are taking it through roads less traveled, coming out more transparent, grateful and with a fullness of life that permeates. Thanks for sharing and the insight!

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  21. Thanks Farhad jaan! It’s so kind of you. Transparency is a less practiced commodity in a great demand, especially in the Iranian community. We’ve tried hard to be so, but at times, at a great price. When you openly talk about your own shortcomings, your “not so friends” can and will take advantage of it. So, you can be accused of being week, not spiritual and dysfunctional. On the other hand, often this attitude brings freedom to your listeners, and set YOU free from pretending to be someone you’re not. Thank you again. Fight the good fight…

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  22. Shah,
    Have you considered doing eulogies?
    Contact a few local funeral homes.
    You may be surprised what they offer you.
    And you will be helping those who are in grief while honoring Christ.
    I know a full time pastor of a large church who did seven funerals in one week.

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    1. Thank you so much for not only reading the post, but also giving me some very good advise. One of my main goals in blogging is to create a community of people who are willing to learn from one another, and help each other. Again, thank you. I’ll check into that.

      Liked by 1 person

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