Thursday, March 30, 2006

Stay at home dads

After my post about working -vs- stay at home mothers a reader asked,
Why is it when people think of one parent staying home with their children, they always assume the mother will? Fathers are certainly capable of loving and nurturing their children. And children would surely benefit from spending time with both of their parents, not just their mothers. Luckily, my husband and I both have the option of flexible schedules and plan on both spending time homeschooling our children.
I have nothing against work from home dads nor dads homeschooling. My husband is among them. However, stay at home dads while the wife works is a whole different matter all together. As a Christian, I follow the teachings from scripture that call woman to be a "keeper of the home". That includes teaching and training the children. This doesn't absolve the father of responsibilities in the home and with the children. However, his taking on an active role doesn't give me permission to leave my duties on a regular basis and let him do it. As a wife and mother, I don't want my duties conflcted by responsibilitites outside the home.

I made the decision to be a "stay at home wife" long before I became a "stay at home mom". I wrote about that in Choosing Home here's an excerpt,
My career was taking up more and more of my time and I had less time to focus on being his wife. I realized that if it came down to a choice between my husband needing me at home on a given day and my boss needing me at work I would probably choose the job over my husband. After all I reasoned, Steve's a grown man. He can take care of himself. But the tug was still there despite my best efforts to pretend otherwise. I needed to put my marriage ahead of my career even before I had a child to care for. I discussed with Steve my decision to leave my career behind and he was very supportive. We had previously decided that I would work until we had children. This change would mean a substantial loss of income. But he told me to do what God was leading me to do.

So one Monday morning, I went into my boss's office and put in my notice. He was stunned. He questioned why I would leave such a lucrative job and the beginnings of a great career just to be a help mate to my husband. I didn't expect him to uunderstand but his bewilderment was slightly unsettling. He tried to convince me to stay. I felt somewhat doubtful myself to be honest. This did seem kind of foolish. But in the end I knew that I had to "choose home" and trust where God desired me to be. So I held firm and told him I couldn't be persuaded to stay.

A few hours later, my boss came over to my desk. He asked if I could please watch the office for a little while. He seemed kind of agitated. I asked if everything was okay with their new little baby girl. He said yes she was fine but that the babysitter didn't show up and his wife needed to go to work. She needed him to come and watch the baby and find a replacement. As the words were leaving his lips, his face showed a new understanding of my decision. He realized I was choosing to go home to support my husband while his wife was choosing to leave. He got it and I never had to explain my convictions to him again. I had chosen to be home, where a wife needs to be.As for my boss, I found out years later that he and his wife were divorced. For some reason that didn't surprise me.
I believe the family suffers when a wife is divided in her duties. Others are free to disagree but if you decide to comment and express your outrage at my "ancient" ways please be civil about it.

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