Our household has undergone some incredible changes in the last year. We welcomed a second child. We considered our options. We looked at the budget and our income. And much to my surprise, maybe two months before my return to full-time work after maternity leave, my husband told me that what he really wanted to do was to stay home with our kids. Of course we’d talked about the possibility of one of us staying home, but I confess I hadn’t really expected it to be either of us. So, yes, I was surprised that we were really serious about this.
If you know my husband, it makes absolute sense that he would be the right one of us to stay home. I’ve always been the primary earner and the most enthusiastic worker bee. I like to work, and I love to serve – my career allows me to do both. I love my children in a way that continually takes my breath away, but I knew I was not the right stay-at-home candidate. My husband feels strongly in the wellbeing of our family, and has never been as invested in the “things we do to earn a living.” Of course, this was the right decision in so many ways.
I knew that our life was going to change dramatically. And as with all dramatic change, I’ve struggled the most with the feelings and experiences I couldn’t expect, because I didn’t realize how much they would differ from the daycare experience with my first.
- I didn’t realize how much it would bother me to come home and not know when the baby needed to eat next, because I hadn’t been the one to feed her last. DAYCARE EXPERIENCE: We both looked at the paper and saw when she ate last. And we knew she’d need to eat as soon as we got home, guaranteed.
- I didn’t realize how much it would bother me to have a sick child and to NOT get the option to stay home, because it’s not my job. DAYCARE EXPERIENCE: We argue about who has the busier work schedule. I regularly lose on the “getting to take care of the baby” because I’m in a lot more meetings.
- I didn’t realize how much it would bother me to come home tired and know that I’ve got to put on a happy face, shake off the day, and give my husband a well-needed break. DAYCARE EXPERIENCE: Well, we both came home tired, but it somehow seemed like less pressure. We were both the same kind of tired, so it seemed easier to manage that evening space without feeling guilty for giving yourself a break, too.
I didn’t realize how difficult it would be to feel like everything was riding on me not screwing things up at work – only to discover that this is the year when it appears God has decided it’s a good idea for me to learn about missing the mark, losing my confidence, and slogging through relationship mire, over and over and over again.
I didn’t realize how jealous I would be of my husband getting to spend all day playing with them (even though, trust me, I know it isn’t all play) and teaching them new things.
They don’t write a lot of books for a life that looks like ours. We joked about getting the “Power of a Praying Husband/Wife” books and reading the opposite one…
This has been a hard year.