I live in this little bubble in our community. We live in a city of nearly 300,000 people. Not too small. Diverse for its size. A place where my kids are never really looked at twice when it comes to skin color. Yeah, we get questions. But, generally they’re people telling us that their cousin/aunt/niece/mother’s cousin’s friend adopted too. Sometimes we get questions that are more personal, like questions about how we could possibly “afford” to have so many kids, especially when people see us both at home during the day.
A lot of times FPD and I hang out together during the day. That’s right, he’s home during the day! I know! Scandalous! Sometimes, he even stays home…with our kids… while I go to work. That’s right, me, the woman, goes to work! WHAT?!? FPD and I split shift parent in a very odd way. He works nights and I run my businesses from home during the day and go to work at our local hospital in the evening. Sometimes, if I have a meeting during the day for the child care centers I run, he will be the one to volunteer in the Kindergarten classroom. Or, he might be the one to go on the field trip to the pumpkin patch. Sometimes, *gasp* we BOTH go. I know. I know.
People often assume that because we have so many kids that FPD must be a business mogul who earns this huge salary. FPD does great, thank you very much. But, so do I, thank you very much. We’re very blessed to have the careers that we do. And, most of all, we make solid financial decisions. Our kids know we’re not rich (well, ShyGuy would have told you differently up until we hammered him with lessons on gratitude. He’s better now, thank goodness). They also know that we have enough that we will always be okay.
I never thought too much of our arrangement until the last couple of weeks. When one exits their little bubble they tend to remember that, to others, their situation may not seem so normal. My husband is, by no means, a “stay at home” dad. People think he is, and lately, he has been criticized for it. FPD just works odd hours. And, you live in 1952 if you think your wife can’t (or shouldn’t) work if she wants to. If it’s a choice a family makes to have a stay at home mom, do you get flack for it? Probably not. If you do, that’s wrong too. It’s a life choice. You shouldn’t get flack for life choices and doing what you believe is best for your family, even if that does mean you have a stay at home dad. It shouldn’t be different for us. It’s not that FPD can’t provide for us. I have just chosen to contribute so that he can be home more. While I may complain about going to work some days, I like my job. I like contributing to the finances and health insurance. It’s a personal choice.
FPD and I started our parenting adventure with one small African-American son. His birth mom was clear that she had chosen us, largely, because FPD was going to be so involved. She was making an adoption plan because she didn’t have a partner, and she felt she couldn’t do it all alone. He promised her he would be very involved. He doesn’t take this lightly. Then, we added another son. She chose us because FPD was so involved. Do you see the theme? These women wanted a strong male influence for their boys. Then, we had a third son. FPD chose to exit his corporate job because it just wasn’t worth it anymore. I wanted to go back to work, just a little, and his job didn’t allow for that. He wanted to stay home a little more, and his job didn’t allow for that either. We prayed. The current arrangement is what we came up with. We feel very lucky to be able to make it work. Our boys, and now our girls, are all the better for it.
When Giggles came, she thought that FPD did “woman’s work” because he cooks. She learned quickly what a partnership means. I could do all the work at home, and go to work outside the home, but I would be exhausted. It would make me a really lousy mom. FPD makes me a better mom by being a partner in every sense of the word. I hope this helps our girls understand what to expect in a relationship when they choose a guy, and I know this has helped my boys understand what it means to be a dad. This is what is most important to me.
who feels very lucky to have such a great guy.