Last week on Twitter, I asked for some volunteer guest posters and “met” Jordan. He offered to write about the discussions that he and his wife are having about who will stay home with their kids. I think his perspective is really great- and it might just surprise you!
My wife and I are about to celebrate our first year of marriage. In this first year, we have done a lot; she started Law School, I finished my Master’s Thesis and landed a job, and we moved twice. One thing that has also kept coming up in our first year is the baby talk. We both want children, but with her in Law School aspiring to be a lawyer (a time intensive job) we have also had the talk of who will watch our children if she decides to work full time.
This is a question that to some men might sound easy; the man works, the woman takes care of the house. While there is nothing wrong for those that wish to do this, I am not traditional in that way. I know my wife has wanted to be a lawyer since high school. She’s bright, intelligent, and has a passion for the work she wants to do. But she is also caring, loving, and nurturing, and a mother being with the children through their first year or so is extremely important. As I said, I am not tethered to traditional gender roles, and I love the thought of being a dad that can stay at home and watch his children grow.
On the other hand, we have also discussed what it would be like to forgo that income, and if that is a decision we can make. To be honest, my wife being a lawyer brings a lot of earning potential, probably more than mine. However, I know how important it is for my wife to be there for our children, and it is a hard decision to make. With the extra income also comes more that we can provide for our children down the road. So it really is a trade off.
The conversations are hard, and they can leave you confused on the right one to make. But my wife and I have also learned a lot through this process of asking ourselves these questions. This has been an important process for us because I want my wife to know that I support her. That while I have been raised to be “the man of the house,” that doesn’t mean that I can’t be flexible. I know that my wife, like many other women, are multi-faceted and have multiple goals. Often times these decisions are forced upon women to make. That’s why people for so long have justified unequal working environments for women. On the other hand, I know she wants to be a mother so badly, and that I shouldn’t put pressure on her to work and take away what she really wants.
The lessons that I have learned in this process is how to be a better man, and a better husband. I have been told my entire life that my job as a man is to take care of my wife, and I do. Although, I have realized that taking care of someone doesn’t mean making tons of money, or buying things that they want. Taking care of her means I make it possible for her to be the best version of herself she wants to be. It’s not about having a large ego, or being obsessed with optimizing my income, but rather it’s about making sure that we have a loving family, and one in which all members have support to become the person they want to be.
Life’s all about lessons, and I must say I rather enjoy this latest one.
Thanks for sharing this perspective, Jordan!
For those of you that stay home with your kids, was that a tough decision? For those of you who don’t, can you relate to these conversations? Let me just state that no matter WHO stays with your kids, being parents is TOUGH. I just really enjoyed this take on the popular topic.
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