“I’d rather dig ditches all day and refill them.” This was a comment Jeremy recently received while at the gym when he told a guy he was a stay-at-home father of twins. We both get lots of comments and questions regarding our decision to have Jeremy stay-at-home. Frankly, it came down to pay and benefits…we could live on mine alone, but not his. For many years, he told people that he got to play in television, while I had the “real job.” He loved his job. He didn’t really want to quit, but when it came down to finding an alternate schedule that would allow him home during the week and still have family time and sleep, quitting was the only option.
In case you were wondering, here are some answers to some of the most common comments and questions we get.
“How is he doing?” – He’s doing well. They have their days, but don’t we all?
“When is he going to go back to work?” – He is working. Between the two of us, his job is way harder. You mean, when is he going to go back for a paycheck? Unless it becomes financially necessary, he’s staying home at least until they go to school, possibly longer.
“Seriously, when is he going back to work?” – Seriously, he’s working.
“Men need to work in order to feel like they have a purpose. Their egos need it.” – You haven’t met my husband, have you? Ego schmego. What better purpose is there in life than to raise your children?
“Doesn’t he miss adult interaction?” – Am I not an adult? He gets out of the house every day to go to the gym, spends time with his friends on the weekends after I go to bed, and has one evening out during the week to play cards. Plus, he doesn’t really like that many people. He worked overnights at a TV station in a dark cave by himself for years…he’s actually around more people now than before we had kids.
“Does he cook and clean?” – Yes, he runs a tight ship when it comes to daily chores. About the only thing he doesn’t do is clean the toilet, but that is related to a long standing agreement between us. He cuts the grass. I clean the toilet.
“Aren’t you sad you are going to miss all their “firsts”? – Really, why would you say that to a mother? Haven’t missed a “first” yet. And, if I do, at least it’s with their dad.
“You are so lucky to be able to have one of you at home.” – I wouldn’t call it luck…more like strategic planning. It might have something to do with the fact that both our cars are paid for, we live in a small house (translate – small mortgage), we don’t have credit card debt, and we live within our means…aka on a budget. Yes, I have a good job, but I also spent many years in school and worked hard in my profession. It’s not luck.
I know this arrangement wouldn’t work for a lot of families, but it’s working for us. Each family has to make choices as to what is best for them. Being a stay-at-home parent is the hardest job out there. I’m thankful I have a husband who is up to the challenge.