My husband is a stay at home dad. Never in a million years did I think that I would be a working mom with my husband staying at home. I honestly always wondered, “Who are these guys who stay at home with the kids?” I grew up with a strong mother who, by all intents and purposes, was a single mom. She had the luxury of a two income household with my step-dad, but she did almost everything…worked full time, did all the housework, took care of us kids. Basically, she worked her butt off and never got a free moment to herself, much like many modern women. My 19 year-old, Alanis Morrissette-lovin’ version of myself would probably think this is the stupidest statement ever, but sometimes I think that feminism messed things up for all of us. (I’m sure that if anyone actually read this blog, lol, I’d probably get some nasty comments for that statement.) But seriously, most modern women do everything their mothers and grandmothers did AND we work full-time. But I suppose this could be a whole post on it’s own.
Let’s get back to my husband. About 6 weeks into my maternity leave, he lost his job. I was due to go back to work in 2 weeks and we were both a little devastated I think, though we weren’t completely blind-sided. We knew that it was a possibility with some recent changes in administration at his work. After much discussion and some careful consideration, we decided it would be best for him to stay at home with Evelyn and pursue his Master’s degree while I would go back to work as scheduled.
At first, I was relieved that we wouldn’t have to take Evelyn to child care. At the same time, I was still nervous about leaving my little girl every day, even though it was with her daddy. Having Michael at home has been a blessing in so many ways, but we’ve also had our struggles over it. I would love to be at home every day instead of at work and he feels like he should be out earning money and taking care of his family in that way. We both kind of envy the others’ position. It’s hard for us to talk about it because we both end up with hard feelings, so we try to see the positives in the situation and know that it is only temporary.
When I first started back to work I would worry that Evelyn wouldn’t know me or that she would love him more than me. But now that she is getting a little bit older and more interactive, it makes me feel amazing when I walk through the door at the end of a stressful day and her face lights up. Her little body squirms with excitement and she starts to whine if I don’t pick her up soon enough. It makes my heart melt. At the same time, it has become so hard lately to leave in the morning. I just want to be there with her. all. the. time.
For Evelyn, I know this is a wonderful experience. She has been able to bond with her daddy in a way that I don’t think would have happened if he had been working every day. For that I am truly grateful. Her first utterances were “da da da” and I am completely ok with that. After all, she and I talk about her daddy all the time. I’ll ask her, “Where’s Daddy?” and she turns her head to look for him. Watching the two of them has been so much fun for me. Michael has taken on his role with an enthusiasm I could have never imagined. He takes care of everything around the house, makes sure that Evelyn gets plenty of educational experiences and interactions (we both have an early childhood education background), and he’s even been taking a picture of her every day as part of a 365 photo project. He posts them on facebook every day with silly captions and has developed quite a following of family and friends.
Depending on the day, I suppose I’d tell you that this situation isn’t ideal…or maybe I’d say that it’s perfect. It’s unexpected and not what we’d planned, but that’s where life happens and we’re making the most of where we’ve found ourselves.