Things have changed over the years.
As recent as the 1970’s, men and women were expected to get married, buy a house and have multiple children…in that order. The woman was to stay home and raise all the kids (not have a job, in the strictest sense of the word) while the husband went to work and “brought home the bacon”.
HA! These days anything goes and it’s so refreshing. Not only are the expectations of “first comes marriage…” long gone, but the roles of parenting have changed drastically-and I believe for the better.
Personally, my husband and I bought a house first, then got married and had three children very soon after (I was pregnant BEFORE my honeymoon…not so all-inclusive was the resort…sigh). So we’re considered fairly traditional…especially since I left my job to stay at home and raise the kids. Mind you, we live in a small community where jobs are sparse and I had my children in a span of less than three years. Can you imagine the cost of daycare for THREE KIDS AT ONCE? I’m pretty sure staying home SAVED us money.
Anyway, being the traditional couple, having three kids with my husband going off to work each day suits us fine. But there is something different about my husband-and more husbands-these days, and that is the level of involvement with raising children. The teamwork.
My husband took nine months of parental leave with each of our children.
Yes, that’s right. The first nine months of each of my children’s lives…he was there. Changing diapers, giving baths, making dinner. He was taking care of the kids so that I could go to the gym…have some alone time…stay sane. He was PRESENT. And it was awesome. We were able to take that time as a family and as cheesy as it sounds, the greatest gift you can give your children is TIME.
As well, more Dads these days are staying home while the Mom goes to work. This role reversal still has a stigma attached to it, and even though my husband’s company says his career hasn’t suffered because of his time away, we know it has. But we also don’t care. Family is more important to us than a job or promotion. And I hope that’s true for most couples that decide to start a family. Every situation is different and you do what you can and what is right for your family.
I believe “thinking outside the box” when it comes to the traditional family roles is fantastic. I can only hope one day we can say goodbye to the stigma of role reversal and truly concentrate on what is important-our children.
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