You’re Safe with a Man in the House

Like a lot of kids, if I woke up scared, I’d head to my parents’ bedroom. Like a lot of parents, they grew annoyed, and began to forbid it. I have memories of them carefully lifting their feet over me, as I lie across the threshold in the morning. Still I felt safe there, closer to them than I did in my own room, which was literally, across the hall.

After my parents divorced, if I woke up scared, I sometimes crept in to sleep with my father. There was plenty of space for me.

My mother remarried, and so, if I woke up scared, and the door wasn’t locked, I could sneak in and lie at the end of bed.

Even as an older kid, I can remember waking up scared and going to their closed door, listening to make sure my dad was snoring.

Because I knew, even then, if there was a man in the house, I was safe.

The years passed by. College took me to the fourth floor, with a nice heavy door and a deadbolt. If I screamed everyone could hear me, except maybe the thrash metal guy below me.
Still, even as a college kid, when my parents began snowbirding, I had trouble sleeping alone in our house. I’d turn on ESPN, and put a body pillow in the recliner with a blanket. This gave the illusion of a man in the house, and I swear, I fell asleep easier.

My first place was a large townhouse, and for the short time I didn’t have roommates, I’d call my not-then MIL when I arrived home late, and she’d stay on the phone with me while I searched the house for Boogey Men.
Eventually, I got a one-bedroom apartment, and it was so small, I slept just fine there. Initially, I worried about my walk-up deck and sliding doors. I had long been told if someone wants in your house, they’ll find a way. Still, I felt like the bar and the glass would at least give me time to jump out the window.

Since The Mister and I got married I’ve always had trouble sleeping while he’s away. Honest to God, I never liked sharing a bed. I need space, air, to breathe. But I got used to him, so the first business trip he took almost killed me. Yes, I missed him, but mostly I thought, omg come home so i can sleep!

We bought our first house, and gave the towhead twins their own room. Sissy couldn’t sleep for about two weeks, because she’d never slept in a room without her brother.
I’d open our bedroom door in the morning, and there she’d be, sleeping at the threshold. She wouldn’t go upstairs or downstairs without me.
As for the boy, well, he suddenly needed a nightlight. Or two. One in his room and one in the hallway and “Leave the bathroom light on!”
Bubba would play alone in his room, but Sissy wouldn’t. Some other kid had to be with her or she wouldn’t go upstairs.

When The Mister reenlisted, he went away in November and came back in June, and I tell you, I’ve never had more insomnia than I did that winter. The winter I tried Ambien. The way the household was set up about drove me crazy. Things that didn’t matter before suddenly did, because there was no man at the house.
I wanted to have the babies in bed with me and the kids on the floor. I wanted them all around me, so I could watch over them and know they were safe. But I’d spent a long time training all the girls to sleep alone…
This is when I let worry and fear take over my life. Sleeplessness and The Baby Daze invited anxiety.

Any noise was surely just a cat. (Or a raccoon.)

I did put a pair of his boots on the front porch, I ain’t even ashamed.


We moved again, and the girls all slept in the same room for a while. As in, Sissy had her own room, but she’d go in and sleep with Sassy instead. It took her a long time to adjust to a new room in a new place.
While we were in Georgia, on a military installation, there were times when men were rare  in our neighborhood. It seemed like nobody had a daddy. It was during this time when Sassy would tell me she didn’t feel safe.
“If they’re all gone, who’s here to protect us?”
Under threat of hurricanes, a tornado nearby, if the power went out, when our neighbors were robbed — anything small children are scared of — she’d wish her daddy was home to keep her safe. She felt better when Bubba was home, she’d say.
I’d tell her we had Homeland Security, MP’s, and well, I could be vicious if needed. Mother Bear and all that.

Before we left Georgia, once we had all the stuff in Moo’s room packed, she slept on Sassy’s floor until we all slept together in the living room.
Moo had trouble sleeping in her room when we first got here, too.
Moo still sleeps in Sassy’s room a lot. If she wakes up scared, she goes there, or to us, in the middle of the night.

In the winter, when it’s dark early, they both ask when Daddy will be home, and will beg to stay up, so they don’t go to bed without him in the house.

Last fall, our nephew Simon went away to college, and his little brother didn’t feel safe anymore. Suddenly darkness was an issue. Since Simon wasn’t upstairs ignoring Ace, he couldn’t go up there. Alone. Drew might be beautiful and demure, but she’s a good shot.
You can guess who’s happiest that his brother is home for the summer.

Almost as happy as I am that my husband won’t be deployed again.

Still, through my back door window, there’s a visible alarm, dog dishes, a baseball bat, what looks like a rifle, a golf club, and Army and Marine Corps photos. If The Mister goes away overnight, you can bet there’ll be a pair of combat boots next to the dog dishes, too.

Do you feel safer with a man in the house? If you’re the man in the house, do you just swell with pride?

(I just know there’s gonna be someone on this thread goin on about how cruel my parents were, or how they always let their four kids sleep with them, or how women can protect just as well as men…They obviously don’t know I’m a bad feminist and a wonderful mother!)

About joey

Neurotic Bitch, Mother, Wife, Writer, Word Whore, Foodie and General Go-To-Girl
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35 Responses to You’re Safe with a Man in the House

  1. Josh Wrenn says:

    Women can protect as well as men, however, just someone watching your house and knowing a man lives there as opposed to just a woman or women is an automatic deterrent. Yes, women can shoot as well as men. Yes, women can be just as aggressive. Yes, women can fight. But men are not randomly raped as often. Men (generally) have more strength and (generally) are more inclined to defend. Men (generally) are more violent. Even if it is only because of societal conditioning, it is just the general truth. And since people know that…you are not a bad feminist for acknowledging it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My wife is the same way. Love the bit about Cooter and his beer run.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Benson says:

    Well this is an incredibly candid post. It does take a lot of courage to admit you are afraid. That is all I got. Anything else that can be said is at best a platitude and at worse an insult to your honesty and bravery. Keep the faith.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. meANXIETYme says:

    Before Hub was living with me (in sin) and I was living alone in a 3 story townhouse, I slept with a baseball bat right next the head of my bed. And I knew how to swing that thing. And also I locked my bedroom door at night. Then my townhouse got broken into, so I put bars on the downstairs front windows because it was hidden from open view by a fence (condo design, so I had no choice) and I put a 2nd lock on the front door (I had no back doors because there was another townhouse backed up to mine–part of why I actually bought the place because entry was limited). Then my brother moved in with me after his divorce and I felt better. Then Hub moved in after we were married. I didn’t LIKE being alone at night but I learned to deal with it (all pre-anxiety phase).
    Post anxiety onset, I hated being alone after dark. When Hub traveled, I would stay at my parents to have help with taking care of our dog (I was not entirely mobile and I was ill). I was happy to not have to be alone overnight. Now, even with my parents nearby, I don’t like to be alone in our house after dark. We have TWO BIG BARKY DOGS so if anyone is ever watching our house they KNOW we have big dogs. When Hub is out late late (like a concert–he doesn’t travel anymore), I leave all the hall lights on so if someone is looking through the front of the house, they see it all lit up.
    Unfortunately, Hub WILL be traveling at the end of the summer and I’m debating staying with my parents or not. I WANT to be able to stay alone and be okay, so I might try it and see how it works. Or I might swap my schedule and stay up at night and sleep during the day. 🙂 I can’t imagine having a Hub that deploys for months at a time. Thanks for that sacrifice (and of course thanks to The Mister for putting HIS life on the line for all of us).

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wonder if men who live alone are ever afraid? Maybe they can’t admit to it because of Bro Code? I dunno. I deign to think of living here alone. I couldn’t do it. I’d need to live somewhere small and more protected…
      When The Mister first left, I was tempted to sleep on the sofa. I’d slept on the sofa for many a business trip, but I was also pregnant and pillows were my friend. My military wife friends told me that was no way to live. I needed to sleep in our bed and get used to it. I’m glad I did.
      I’ve done plenty of sleep during the day times, too. Especially with a rash of burglaries one summer. I get it.
      Thanks for sharing 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. hollie says:

    My sister makes me come over and sleep at her house if her husband is out of town. Even though I’m knocked out on ambien she feels better that someone else is there. She still has to check the locks 1,000 times and investigate every noise, though.
    I sleep better next to a man though I’ve not had one consistently in my life to get used to the comfort. I sometimes sleep with my body pillow and on a heating pad, creating the illusion of a warm body to snuggle up to.
    When I went to college my dad gave me a club that had screws screwed into the end of it, and I feel better with it under my bed in case of intruders. My ex husband thought it was stupid, but he would have been useless should an intruder try to get me.
    I rarely let owen into my bed, but if I can’t fall asleep I will go lay in his awhile mostly for a change in location to distract my troubled mind.
    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Dan Antion says:

    My wife is the first responder in our house – seriously, if the dog hears something scary, she goes to my wife. The dog responds fast and loud to the things that don’t matter, the neighbor’s kid, the car across the street, but the other things that go bump usually get the Mrs, then the dog and then me moving. I would handle an intruder better, but I might have to be told that he/she is in the yard.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Anxious Mom says:

    I definitely feel safer with my husband home. Why, I don’t know, since I’m the one who is best with the gun. He has only spent one night away from home since we’ve been married and then I had my brother come stay with me. I don’t do alone well. Anxiety, fear, all of that. One reason why I’d never divorce him.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. rachelwhims says:

    Yes, thanks for saying it! I sleep better when my husband is home. When he’s not at home, I sleep with a butcher knife under my pillow and smaller knives hidden around my bed. Just in case.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I have always hated being on my own, When I first moved into this house with mu daughter just 3 months old it was just the two of us for a few years. It took me ages before I actually managed to sleep at night, as I used to sit up until the very early hours in the morning, I sleep a lot better now with Mr Grump here!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Nagzilla says:

    I will admit that I feel safer when Jason is here, although I actually sleep better when he’s gone because I’m a light sleeper. But I definitely check the dead bolt twice and leave more lights on when he’s out of town. Especially now that the dog is gone.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. notewords says:

    My husband has always worked shifts for the 36 years we’ve been married, so I just had to get used to being on my own. We have always had dogs, and I think that helps.
    When I was growing up my father was an electrician on a coal mine. He was often called out at night, or came home very late, so it wasn’t something completely unfamiliar.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Sammy D. says:

    Yeah, it’s no wonder sleep disorders plague so many of us. Hub is gone this week; i have a hard time sleeping with his soft snores and I have a hard time sleeping without him beside me. I have no shame in pulling Raqi’s stuffed animals for her visits out of the closet and snuggling with them.

    And I never sleep with the window open when Hub is gone.

    Loved the way you wrote this piece, Joey. Now I’m off to find out why you’re a bad feminist. I have a feeling I’ll be nodding my head as in “me, too!”

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Sammy D. says:

    “Don’t people do these things fir their partners, regardless of gender?”

    Absolutely! I agree with everything about your post. Why does ‘right to choose’ abortion get heavy praise from feminists, but ‘right to choose our roles’ automatically get turned into ‘those evil men’ and ‘those nin-feminist, stay-at-home-Moms.

    Total hypocrisy!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Sammy D. says:

    Oh that was for the bad feminist post. WordPress is misbehaving!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. markbialczak says:

    I think bad-acting, evil men who’d plot and plan and do those things of which you and the kids fear indeed would be more likely to go to a place where they knew there were no men, Joey. So I would never poo-poo those fears. Do I think there are some women in the world who would be better suited to fend off thos bad actors than I, better shots, better trained, better skilled, tougher even? Sure thing. But put in the position, I’d fight my ass off, that’s for sure.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I love that you put the boots out when the Mister’s away! I definitely feel more jumpy when the Hubs is out. I have to pull down all the blinds and draw all the curtains when it’s dark, or I feel like something is out there watching me, and I always have music or TV on to hide those night noises that freak me out.
    I do feel a lot better now that we have a dog (Poppy) although if she barks at the door that freaks me out even more. And come to think of it, if someone came into the flat, she’d probably run up to them and make a fuss and bring them her favourite toy as a gift — so not really the best guard dog!


  17. baldjake70 says:

    I do not like an empty house. I love my solitude, but eventually the silence is too much, and even my deaf ass can hear all manner of things. At night before bed, most of the time, I scan my perimeter with extreme vigilance, and make sure all doors are double secured. I also fear intruders. It stems from the fear of what if they are better than me, and what will happen to the ones I love should that be the case. What I fear even more than that is if my children have to see how fierce I can be if the need arises. We have two other deterrents for intruders. That is the military sticker in the rear van window and the Marine Corp license plate on our vehicle. We also have a ferocious sounding dog that acts as if she will tear down the door to dismantle those that pass by or dare to step on our front porch is equally great.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Sherry says:

    have slept alone for most of my life until the last 15 years, so no, I was never afraid…never as a kid and never as an adult, except for the occasional times when of course there was reason to be afraid…lol…

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Phil Taylor says:

    I’m the man in the house and I travel for work on a semi-regular basis. At first I didn’t really understand my wife’s anxiety. I was an account independent kid and had no trouble sleeping anywhere. I understand it better now though. I’m not afraid, but having the security of what you’re used to is comforting.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I have always slept better when my husband is home and suffered severe insomnia the times he traveled. Now that we are a ‘little’ older, I hear things that he doesn’t and by the time I wake him up to tell him about the noise, I’ve made more noise than whatever it was I was concerned about to begin with. So, I make sure the doors are all locked and hope they go next door to the neighbor who leaves her garage door up.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. suzjones says:

    My ex used to go away and leave the kids and I at home all the time. Used to drive me insane. I was fine through the day but the nights were the worst. I heard every little noise and jumped so much. I slept with the radio on and a light on in the house as well. When I was living on my own, I got used to being on my own but still jumped at every little noise. I had friends on speed dial that I could call out in the middle of the night. Now when the GG goes away (which is rare), the Teen climbs into bed with me. I’ve heard that when I’m away she climbs into bed with Dad as well. Funny how we get used to having those men around hey?

    Liked by 2 people

  22. reocochran says:

    When I was a single Mom, naps and weekends were everyone together. My son became my car starter, garbage and lawn boy along with “map navigator.” We had movie and pizza nights. I stayed home and watched 5 kids for nearly 9 years.
    Family and friends were supportive but I found myself self-sufficient and nurturing.
    I had a great pair of brothers to join us at Cedar Point and Cleveland or Columbus Zoo. I had retired parents who had a camp site in Indiana we went to but our “happy place” was always up on Lake Erie. Where they had a retirement cottage while in their 50’s. 🙂


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