I often get asked to write this post, and today I decided to write it. Many people are always intrigued by the fact that my husband is a stay-at-home father. It is not a traditional family structure and there are so many stereotypes that come with it. We get a lot of different questions and comments. Usually, the first question is, “wow, what do you do for work?”. Sometimes it’s fun to give a silly answer that doesn’t make sense.
Some people choose to question my husband’s work ethic, while others tell us how amazing it is that he “helps” out so much. The reality is that he is a very educated man, who holds an MBA, and worked in corporate America for many years. There are a lot of different factors that led to him being a stay-at-home parent, but ultimately it is the best decision for our family. He doesn’t “help” out a lot. He is just their dad, who takes care of the household. He cooks, cleans, entertains, and is, simply put, an amazing father.
Raising Kids Outside of the Box
It’s funny because, to our kids, it is completely normal to have a dad that stays home. They really have never questioned it. He stayed home when we had our first child, went back to work for a few years, and now is home with all four of them. So, when their friends ask them questions, they don’t really understand why. Honestly, sometimes I forget that it is not the norm.
I like to think that raising our kids outside of the traditional family “box” is a contribution to society. It progresses us. We are proof that it’s ok to be different, there doesn’t have to be defined gender roles, and the world is evolving. We show our kids that men can take care of the house and women can have successful careers. But more than anything, we like to show them that they can be whatever they want to be, no matter what anyone tells them.
Addressing the Stigma
Surprisingly, only about 10% of people surveyed said that they think a stay-at-home father can provide a proper support system for a child. That was not shocking for me to read. I mean people ask me if I worry, get anxiety, or give my husband daily instructions. (I just chuckled a little) Of course, I give my husband instructions because I am a woman control freak! He just ignores me most of the time.
My husband may not do things the way that I would, but he does things his way and it all works out. He is fully capable of making decisions for our family and our children. He can cook way better than I can, and anyone who knows us will tell you that he’s the child whisperer. So, the stigma that men can’t run a household is very outdated. In fact, my husband has way more patience than I ever will have, and I could not do what he does (while sane).
How Do I Handle It
The one thing I don’t talk about often is my journey to accepting my role in our family. I am the working mom with a stay-at-home husband. From the moment I gave birth to our first child, I had to embrace being the working parent. There is not really a huge village of women out there who can relate. So, it was a bumpy road.
At first, I would get so upset that I missed out on the daily things and a lot of “firsts”. It was hard for me to accept that my husband could see the first roll over and first steps before me because I was at work. After all, I was the mom and society told me that I was supposed to be the one there filming those moments. There were so many other things to get used to. For example, for years our son wanted my husband when he cried. As his mom, it tore me apart.
It took me many years to embrace being the working parent. Society did not make it easy. Now, we have four kids, and it is just the norm. Of course, I still do all the “mom” things. I schedule, I plan, I set up doctor appointments. But I have accepted that my husband is an amazing stay-at-home dad, and I am a working mom. Really it is 50/50 around here. But, I love my career and I love my family. So, I feel like I get the best of both worlds.
When all is said and done, we love our family set up. It works for us. I hope that sharing a small tid bit of our story will inspire others or help erase the stigma that comes with being a stay-at-home dad. One day, when my husband isn’t chasing kids around, I will sit him down and interview him on his experience. Then I can share his perspective and tips with you all.
-Kristy M., Mommy to Many