Steve has been married for 13 years. He has three primary school-aged children aged ten to five.
Up until recently, Steve’s business saw him out of the house at least ten hours a day. Running a business in events during peak periods, he would often work through weekends and it was normal to work 18 hour days. He missed most of the "day-to-day heavy lifting and logistics involved in running a house and family," Steve tells Mamamia.
This meant "the bulk of the logistics fell to [my wife]," Steve says of his partner, who until recently, worked part-time hours and has always been the primary caregiver in the relationship.
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Everything changed in their household on Friday March 13, when Scott Morrison declared “'non-essential' mass gatherings banned”. Working in large scale live events, Steve’s work dried up overnight with no certainty around when it would pick up again.
"Around the same time, my wife’s role became full time," he says. In that moment, what he describes as "the flip" began, and for the first time he was responsible for the running of the home, children and the mental load. He describes it as "both gratifying and infuriating."
Here's what he's learnt.
My personal needs, they came last
"It dawned on me rather quickly that I had to position myself last in the family, and that was necessary for it to work," Steve recalls. Still, he says he was "surprised at how quickly that came on".
Around the same time that New South Wales schools closed, Steve’s wife started working 12 hour days and across weekends. As her work demands increased "her ability to be present in the house basically stopped and I know what that is like," Steve says. "In the past there have been many times I’ve been home, but not really present and I accepted that had to happen."
"I never fully comprehended the sacrifices she had made to enable me to run my business the way I did," he says. "Even the fact that I could walk out the door whenever I needed to. She had allowed me to be, in some ways, selfish. I hadn’t realised what that took until now."