We do things differently in our house. I believe the proper way to describe our uncommon family dynamic would be to say we portray non-traditional gender roles in our daily lives.
I work full time. He stays home with the kids. I put in OT and extra pumping sessions at work while he changes diapers and gets dinner on the table.
And for us, it works.
When I was pregnant with our second child people were practically in a state of panic over the children staying home with their FATHER (insert gaping mouth emoji here). Strangers would bemoan, “However will he manage all alone with a toddler and that big ol’ mean baby?!”.
As it turns out, ladies and gentlemen, househusbands manage to take care of children and home in much the same way housewives manage to take care of children and home. They figure it out as they go.
There are good days and bad days. Sometimes I come home to a hot meal served with a kiss and a smile as we sit down together while the toddler eats his mac n cheese and the baby coos in her swing. Other nights, I enter a home filled with chaos; I get handed a screaming baby, we put on a “showie” for the toddler, strap him into his high chair to keep him contained and dad takes a 15 minute break to calm his excruciating headache while I feed the angry infant.
I can honestly say there is just as much chance of peach, love and kombiah at the end of the day when I am home with the kids as when their dad is home with them.
I see so many posts and tweets where we women put down our men. We mock their parenting, their cooking, their housekeeping, their ability to find things… granted that last one is pretty legit.
Have you ever let him parent his way? Have you given him the chance to create his own routine with the rugrats?
I know these simple jests are meant for nothing but a little laugh, but I find it progressively more difficult to laugh at such things when I think about the picture these words paint of how we see our partners and how they may also learn to see themselves.
I was raised by a single father and my partner by a single mother. I wholeheartedly believe that is why our arrangement doesn't feel strange for my partner and myself. We both saw our parents play the part of mother and father in our earliest days: they provided, they nurtured, they taught, they struggled, they PARENTED.
Seeing our all-in-one parents handle business and embracing our own non-traditional roles in the home has allowed us to work more as a team and less as two opposing forces. Each understands the plight of the other and understands the need to get away sometimes.
Ladies, we need to start giving men some credit for what they are capable of as caretakers. As a society we should take some responsibility for expecting very little out of fathers. If we start to expect MORE out of fathers we will get MORE out of fathers.
Don’t just be about female empowerment, be about father empowerment.