It isn’t 1950. But you may be surprised to know how many gender roles seem to be set in stone. Not a lot has changed in the public’s mindset since then, apparently.
Our household is fairly used to the confused looks. My husband is a stay-at-home dad. He is a great dad. He does it well. I work, and he does not.
To be honest, we are both very open-minded people. We had both taken off time at the birth of my son, our first child, and when it came time to return to the workforce, we were torn about who should do so.
In fairness, we decided we’d both go to a job fair. Whoever could come out of the fair employed would be the one to return to the career world. In the end, that was me.
When my son was just 3 months old, I headed to a new job. I worked full-time, and my husband cared for our son full-time. I toted a breast pump along with a briefcase. I missed my son terribly, but I was providing for my family.
It worked, for us, and we found a great balance for our household. Now, almost six years later, we still keep the same routine.
I need to be a well-rounded person to be a good mom. I need to be a lot of things, to wear a lot of hats, and having a balanced life for me means being a better mom for my children.
It is a personal choice, and living in the 2000s, you’d think that would be pretty well accepted these days, but it really isn’t.
When we go out, many people ask us, as a couple, what we do professionally. My husband seldom feels comfortable leaving it at “stay-at-home dad.” He usually adds, which is true, that he also freelance writes or has his real estate license. The truth is, he is a dad 99 percent of the time, and we love that, but society doesn’t.
Look around your community. There are loads of “Mommy and Me” classes. I’ve not once seen a class for a dad and child.
Our school hosts an annual Father-Daughter dance. The Home and School Association, comprising all moms, I might add, figures the dads need time with their children. They say since the dads are working, and moms have so much more time with them, that it is key to have a dad-centric event.
Just going to the meetings, with which I am very involved, frustrates me. I hate to go and see a room full of women. Where are the dads? Why can’t they be the ones laying out the yearbook or organizing the next fundraiser?
We get many questions about our home’s setup. Our neighborhoods are filled with stay-at-home moms, but not many would consider meeting my husband for a late-morning coffee. Somehow, that would be odd to them.
Men often assume my husband would love to be out of the house, working. On the contrary, he loves being home and spending quality time with his kids every day.
Women assume I am somehow selfish in my desire to work out of my home— that simply having a desire to have a well-balanced life means I can’t be as good of a mom. I get a lot of guilt-trips about having time to myself, girls’ nights out or just going to work.
Even my parents are confused about how my husband makes money. Why does he need to? If these roles were reversed, we’d seldom have an odd look. Instead, since these are not the typical “Ward and June”-style roles, we are questioned quite often.
I’m not concerned. We aren’t like the Cleavers in about 10,000 other ways, so why worry now?