When I was pregnant with our first son, I had always thought that we would put him in daycare as soon as my maternity leave was over and it was time to get back to real life. When I discussed this with hubby, he didn’t agree.
Although I was normalized to the idea of daycare, he wasn’t, and he said we would be taking care of the baby ourselves. I believe this is a cultural difference between us two since I am American and he is Iraqi. Regardless, I panicked, wondering how I could juggle my job, my baby, and other aspects of life. But we figured it out!
At the time, I was working a fully remote 4-days-a-week communications job, and hubby’s days off on Tuesday and Wednesday coincided with my busiest days at work. On Mondays and Thursdays, before hubby would head off to work, he would take care of the baby while I worked. Then he’d head to his shift and I would take over, finishing out the last few hours of work while taking care of our baby.
When the pandemic happened, we were pregnant with our second son, and while we loosely discussed our plan for childcare, we still had not figured it out. Hubby and I both agreed that we did not want to put our children into childcare/daycare, so we had some decisions to make.
Since I made more money in my communications job, he resigned from his job and became a full-time, stay-at-home dad for the past 2 ½ years. Here is how we make it work:
- Respect one another’s time. I used to do this annoying thing where if work was busy, I would stay past 5 p.m. Not anymore. As soon as 5 p.m. hits, I relieve hubby of dad duties and spend time with the kids while he has a much-needed break until our sons’ dinnertime and bedtime.
- We each get “one day off.” This was hubby’s idea, and it’s genius. Unless we are traveling or spending time together as a family, we each get one “day off” each weekend to focus on other things besides being parents. The other parent flies solo for the day. His day is Saturday, and my day is Sunday. I spend Sundays writing blogs, napping, and catching up with whatever it is I’d like to catch up on.
- Ask for support when parenting gets overwhelming. Yesterday morning is a case in point: I was feeling stressed out by my toddler and needed a break. Hubby slept in, and when he woke up, he gave me an hour to myself. The much-needed me-time was very appreciated!
- Hubby has a man cave. Hubby spends most of his evenings in our detached garage which I have dubbed his “man cave.” He talks to friends, works on his painting projects, and focuses on life outside of us. I think it’s a huge reason why he’s able to be so attentive and hands-on with our boys. Because he has a place to unplug and just be himself!
What I love about this setup is how connected to us our boys are. I cherish the ins and outs (and frustrations) that come with hands-on parenting. This fall our 3-year-old will be attending nursery school three days a week, and our almost 2-year-old likely also will be starting nursery school (likely early next year). As they grow older and more independent, hubby will look at some opportunities to head back to work. But so far, we love how close it’s brought us as a family and the fact that we are privileged enough to take care of our kids in this way. Both hubby and I were raised by stay-at-home moms and it’s something I always wanted for my kids.
Drop comments below if you are a stay-at-home parent or have a similar set-up. How do you make it work?