My husband and I have a bit of a reversed arrangement, although it is gaining in popularity. He is a stay at home Dad and I work full time outside of the home. Ed owns his own gutter business that he works on the weekends, but mostly he gets to stay home with our children.
When I pictured my life growing up I didn't quite picture this. I imagined I'd have a job where I'd get home the same time as the kids and my husband would come in when I was putting dinner on the table. Not quite how it worked out. Ed is a great Dad. I knew he would be when I chose to marry him (even though 6 months before we got engaged he informed me he was NEVER getting married and absolutely NEVER having children... I just love a challenge!) When we had our first child, Abby, he was working so many hours. He'd leave the house at around 5 am and not return until 12 or sometimes 14 hours later. He missed a lot with Abby. He finally began to realize this and we tried to make some adjustments. Finally, when Abby was about 3 we moved into our first house and decided to have another child. Presto chango, 9 months later we had Molly (yes, 9 months later, what can I say, fertile Myrtle). We tried letting her stay with a babysitter, but that only worked for about 2 months. Abby was in private day care at a Lutheran Church and we had Molly on a waiting list there. We found out she had a spot, but not for a few months. It was around this time one of Ed's childhood friends was killed in the line of duty in a fire. That will make you re-evaluate things. So, considering all this and barring any other real options, I sat down, did the math, and decided we could afford for Ed to stay home, if we were careful. His boss actually agreed to hold his spot for a few months until Molly could start daycare. Whew, all taken care of.
Until...those 2 little pink lines popped up on one of those wonderful home pregnancy tests. YIKES! Molly was barely 8 months old! To say I was shocked is an understatement. We've always been so careful, but I can get pregnant if Ed shakes his pants over the bed! (Note: NuvaRing is NOT your friend!). So OK here we were, a very happy family with the 2 kids we always dreamed of and then you get a curve ball (mind you the most beautiful curve ball you've ever seen).
So we had to rethink things a bit, have you priced day care for 3 kids lately? Let's just say it's not an option for us. Plus, Ed and I always really wanted to have the kids here at home. It's quite a sacrifice. Things get tight and we don't get to travel, live in a huge house or drive really fancy cars, but there is a lot of love under our roof. The kids know they are secure, they feel the love. Ed is able to get Abby off the bus every afternoon (well, except for the one time we forgot about early release day, but that's for another blog). I know we are fortunate. It's how I grew up, but not how Ed did.
He always wanted to be a very involved hands on Dad. His mother died when he was 8, and though his Dad did the best he knew how, he and his sister pretty much raised each other. Ed has always been determined to do all the things with his kids he feels he missed out on, and so far, I think he's done an amazing job. Especially when you realize he is doing it, not by example, but by heart. Does he lose his patience sometimes? Sure. Does he over react to situations at times? Of course, who doesn't? But at the heart of it our kids know they have two parents that would do absolutely anything for them. They know they have a secure, safe home to grow up in. This is what matters. Not the trips, not the big houses or fancy cars. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I don't have my sights set on a new house sooner or later, but we are taking things one day at a time for now.
It is incredibly difficult for me to leave my babies each morning, especially when Zach or Molly are feeling particularly cuddly. But it is a little easier knowing they are cuddled up in their Daddy's loving arms.