I haven't taken much time to read my favorite blogs lately, so in catching up I was interested to read about a new phenomenon: no adults working outside of the home. Yes, one of my favorite bloggers, Mandy, keeps a very interesting website called "Organizing Your Way." Her husband had worked for many years to support their ever-expanding family. In Mandy's last post on her personal website she mentioned that the hubs was selling his business to come home, become a stay-at-home dad, and assist her with home-schooling their four? five? daughters. Apparently her blog generates enough income to support the family. And I am impressed. I will be further interested to follow how this plan works for this family.
Admittedly, I was a fan of "Jon & Kate Plus Eight." When Jon was able to quit his job and come home to help raise the family, I thought it was brilliant. Despite the anti-social arguments to people becoming completely home-based, I think it is an ideal situation for raising young children. Ryan and I decided long ago that it would be optimal for our family if I were to be home with kiddos. I enjoy observing the milestones and playing at Gymboree. I wouldn't trade this time for the world. It has given me an entirely new, more enthusiastic perspective on life. Having said that, wouldn't it be special for Ryan to have the opportunity to partake in these moments? While I know that his contributions to our children's lives would be distinctly different from mine (rough-housing, playing ball, etc.,) I do believe it would be well worth the time spent to engage in all of the daily routines.
Here's the downside. First of all, it is a difficult task to accomplish. In order to enjoy the full effects of two stay-at-home parents, at least one parent would have to have a part-time, home-based occupation that generated a substantial income. While this is quite possible, it is an exercise in both creativity (to find the task,) patience (to build the business,) and discipline (to create a balance.)
The other potential downside of both parents at home is the way it COULD affect the husband's perception of his role. Men often identify themselves by their professions. They pride themselves on the money and accolades awarded by an employer. In my opinion, this was one of the two fatal flaws in the Gosselins' plans. Jon seemed to lose his sense of identity when he no longer worked outside of the home. He sought to reconnect with the man he remembered being prior to his role of "Daddy" consuming his identity. I think this could be tough for any man to overcome. More often than is mentioned, it is also tough for some women to overcome.
Nevertheless, I will eagerly follow Mandy and her family as they explore how this new arrangement works for them. For now, for OUR family, divided roles give us a satisfying balance, but I can imagine a day when these roles will change. It will be a new and exciting adventure, for sure!
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