Despite the recession, my husband voluntarily gave up his job last August to be a full-time dad—and I am the “soul breadwinner”, making a living and helping Mike find his passion.
It wasn’t easy at first. I felt the burden, both financially and emotionally, in dealing with my new family position. I tended to fixate on those goals instead of the life I was trying to cultivate for us.
Although I’ve grown into my new role, and Mike is thriving in his, the reactions from friends, family, and strangers have been less than helpful.
Their resistance hasn't come from a financial perspective—I was prepared to fight those battles.
It's the questions about Mike's ability or desire to be a full-time dad that are most troublesome.
I grew up in a conservative town, but always believed that women and men are equally capable in the fields of career and family. I never gave it a second thought until now.
So when someone raises the question of "how hard it must be for a man to give up his job" or "how difficult it must be for Mike to be with his child all day," I get defensive.
What did people think of me when I made the same decision to stay home with my daughter two years ago? I bet they didn't think much of it. But I did.
It is hard to give up your job. It is really hard to be a full-time parent. It’s also hard to be the financial provider. But that has nothing to do with what's in your pants and everything to do with those being difficult tasks.
The truth is that people expect us to live a certain way, earn money a certain way, and create families a certain way. Maybe because that's how it's always been.
As a woman, I don't believe we can have it all; I don't want it anyhow. But I do believe we can have a lot. Don't think for a second that you have to live the way people expect to be financially stable, a good mom, or have a lucrative career. Figure out what works best for you and then use the resources you have to make it happen.
Fresh perspective. Why do you think it’s tough for men and women to swap roles?
Tara Gentile is a DIY culture & lifestyle design expert who blogs at Scoutie Girl.