Reclaiming Wife: Trading Fear For Gratitude


Being a stay-at-home dad

Reclaiming Wife: Trading Fear For Gratitude | A Practical Weddingby Marina

One evening I turned to my husband and said, “I figured out why this works.” He looked a little wary. I said, “It works because we both feel like the other person is doing us a favor.”

We have started a new phase in our marriage. We’d become parents to a beautiful baby girl a few months before we had this conversation, but while parenting was a momentous change, this was a bigger deal for me: my husband quit his job as a nurse, and I became the primary wage-earner with my oh-so-highly-paid (not) job at a nonprofit organization. And we both love it.

Which surprised me, because this is the situation I was most afraid of back before we got engaged.

Back then, my husband (to be) was a struggling massage therapist. (So, flat broke.) He loved the massage part of his work, but hated the business part, so unfortunately never got the chance to do much of the massage part. I have a lot of deeply ingrained ideas from my family about the value of working a forty-plus-hour week. It was clear to me early in our relationship that my then-boyfriend would be perfectly happy being unemployed as long as he didn’t have to worry about money, whereas I got twitchy when I was working “only” one job while also in college full time. Back then, I saw this as a major failing on his part. I imagined that to feel comfortable building a family, either I needed to be like my parents—my mom took care of my brother and me while my dad worked in an office—or be a modern do-it-all couple and both work so we could afford to put the kids in a fancy Montessori or Waldorf or Reggio Emilio daycare. Instead, I envisioned a future where I would loan him thousands of dollars to start one failed business after another, while he would sit at home and play video games and, I don’t know, eat bon-bons.

But he went to nursing school and worked his ass off. (Seriously, it may not last as long as medical school, but nursing school is no joke.) We got engaged, then married, and the first year we filed joint taxes our double income seemed bogglingly high to me. And then he lost his job, and was unemployed for nine long months. And it was kind of awesome. Don’t get me wrong, he was depressed and I was terrified. I think he’s still a little traumatized. But even with the depression and terror and the soul-crushing task of applying to job after job, my husband lost some of the constant stress I’d gotten used to seeing while he was in school and then working. And I would come home from work to a mug of hot tea and a clean kitchen.

I slowly realized that where I got a deep satisfaction from working, a feeling that even when it was a slog to get through the day I was accomplishing something, he got a similar feeling of accomplishment from doing dishes and laundry. Where I felt like most household tasks were soul-crushing repetitive tasks where as soon as you finished you just had to do them again, he felt similarly about going to work day after day. It became clearer and clearer that this was a fundamental difference between us… and it was a really, really awesome difference.

Eventually he got another job. We both worked full time and saved a bunch of money and only got the kitchen clean when we had guests over. And when I got pregnant, even though his job paid more than mine, the idea of me staying home while he worked full time no longer made sense. So we took a hard look at our expenses and saved as much as we could, and twelve weeks after my daughter was born I kissed her and my husband goodbye and went back to the office.

I was really nervous the first few weeks. I would come home from work and immediately sit down with the baby, leaving my husband to finish cleaning the kitchen or folding laundry (seriously, baby clothes are tiny—how do they create such huge mounds of laundry?) or getting dinner on the table. I kept thinking to myself, isn’t he resentful? Isn’t he upset I’m not doing half the housework? When I asked him to change a diaper in the middle of the night, was he secretly thinking of all the other diapers he changed while I was at my office drinking coffee and having conversations with other adults? But he didn’t seem resentful. He seemed cheerful, sleep deprived but somehow fundamentally relaxed. He was actually apologetic when he didn’t get the house clean on days when the baby refused to nap.

Finally I figured it out. I was grateful that he was washing dishes and doing laundry and responding to an infant’s instant and repetitive needs so that I could go to my office and drink coffee and talk to adults. I felt like he was doing me a big favor. I wanted to make sure he knew how much I appreciated what would feel to me like a major sacrifice. Meanwhile, he was grateful that I was getting up early and fighting through rush hour traffic and sitting at a desk all day so that he could coo nonsense words at his daughter and go on long walks at the park and be on his own schedule. He wanted to make sure I knew how much he appreciated what would feel to him like a major sacrifice.

So there we were, spending every rare minute we had with each other trying our hardest to express our deep appreciation. The things I thought would be hardest on our relationship were actually improving it. Overall, our relationship has become so, so much better during the most sleep-deprived year of our lives. I hope that regardless of how our lives and our family change over the years ahead, this is what I remember: how to be grateful.

Photo from Marina’s personal collection

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  • TeaforTwo

    This is wonderful. I remember reading an Anne Lamott book in which she said that the secret to a good relationship is that each party should secretly think they got the better deal.

    I also appreciate the value that you put on domestic work in this post, even as you acknowledge that you find it tedious. I will admit: I chose 100% the wrong career path when I was fresh out of school, and I am miserable at my desk job. I’ve toughed it out to support my partner who was finishing law school, but now that we’re thinking about starting a family in the next year or so, it’s not the time to go back to school and give up my very good benefits package (that includes 7 months of paid maternity leave at 93% of my salary…sorry, Yankees) etc.

    What I do know is this: I hate the rush hour commute. I hate dealing with my boss. I hate having my blackberry with me all the time and having to be in my office, in pantyhose and make up at the same time every day, and sitting at a desk with no natural light and just about everything about my actual work, too. And I love? Folding laundry that is soft and smells good, figuring out the most economical way to make nourishing meals that will get us through the week, cleaning the kitchen and taking care of people.

    I love that APW is a space where smart (smart!) women talk about building their careers, but my dirty feminist secret is that after we have kids, assuming we can afford it, there is no way I am going back to work. I don’t get enough out of it, and it’s just not worth it to us. That isn’t always easy to admit to 21st century feminists, and I would never push it on anyone else, but it’s nice to hear domestic work appreciated and hear you talk about your partnership as quite equal.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/whitehindu CarolynC

      I’m like you! I hate my day job so much but I’m stuck toughing it out while my husband finishes school (though he’s studying to be a teacher). Once he gets a job, I am out of there and when we have kids (hopefully very soon), I will be staying home with them for sure. I’ve always hated work at an office or store (though I happily run a writing and ebook publishing business in our apartment). And I feel so guilty for hating work! I feel like a scrounger. :( Yet, I cannot wait for this year to be over and I can finally, finally, finally dump my job. The stress and depression it’s giving me are barely survivable. (And it’s not just this particular job. I’ve tried six different jobs in my twenties and grew to hate and resent all of them. Except the writing).

      • lady brett

        yes to everything in both the original post and this comment. excepting that i don’t often write, this is my exact situation. this post is what i daydream about when i can’t bear my job anymore. i don’t know if that daydream will sustain three more years, but it helps keep me from just walking out the door =)

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/whitehindu CarolynC

          I have one year to go and it is a struggle. I try to give myself credit for the fact that I’ve hung onto this job for four years, which is quite a record for me! But yeah, it’s like every day trying to hold myself back from quitting! :)

    • Anon

      I’m rather in the same boat as you and Carolync. I’m really just clinging to my job until I find a good time to escape it. I never thought I’d hate a desk job so much, but it turns out, I do. The worst part is I think this comes down largely to management, with my previous boss I was making excuses that I just couldn’t leave my job right away, since I’d promised him I wouldn’t when he hired me.

      And then every time someone asks to my job and I let slip that I’m actually hating it, the advice is always to go find another job first. Which might be a good theory, except that I’m pretty sure my ex-boss was not just a good boss, but beyond exceptional, and what I have now is about average. I don’t really feel like tackling the job market again with an even more critical eye than I had the first time. So mostly, I’m hoping that sometime in a year or two, I can sneak off to be a stay at home mom. And in the meantime, I will do this job and earn as much money as I can manage for our dual income family.

  • Blizalef

    Thank you for posting this. It resonated with me deeply. I grew up in a household where, while the word “feminism” wasn’t really thrown around much, my parents did everything they could to keep our family going. This meant that sometimes my dad worked, sometimes my mom worked, sometimes they both worked. For many years, my Dad played “Mr. Mom” — and that was during a time in which he starting the long and daunting process of becoming self-employed. (Maybe one of these years I’ll find my bravery and write a post about all that).
    Anyway, my point is that each household has to find the most effective and efficient way to keep things running smoothly, and that means something different for each family, I’m sure. I think that, when one sets society’s expectations to the side and instead takes a good long look at one’s individual circumstances and needs – and then follows through on meeting those needs – something magically happens! I find it really uplifting to see this concept repeatedly reaffirmed, at APW.

  • Alison O

    The point about recognizing one’s “deeply ingrained ideas” from their family of origin really struck a chord. My parents are great, and I get along with them well; many of my traits, values, etc. are clearly products of them. As I approach 30 and continue to work through my own career and family/life-building journey, however, I can see more clearly where my differences in life philosophy bump up against the assumptions I derived from my parents’ experiences and messages (though they are quite hands off).

    It really is such a marvelous thing to be able to mature and craft one’s own reality, start one’s own family–and to have enough perspective that you can do so consciously. Many people don’t ever recognize and question the “shoulds” and “oughts” passed down to them from parents or gleaned from elsewhere in their social and cultural milieu, which can lead to myriad career, relationship, and general life satisfaction problems. Likewise, many parents have difficulty accepting that their children may be fundamentally different from them, much less fostering their unique development.

    Sometimes I feel acute admiration or envy of other people’s lives, but ultimately I have to parse out the life that is mine to live, which is so worth the confusion and pain the process sometimes brings.

    • em

      So much this! I have been struggling with my mom over the fact that my husband left his job and is working toward a new career on his own. Hes moving slowly, but deliberately, and it makes her worry so much. She keeps telling me about how intolerable this situation will be in the long run, how when we have kids I will resent it if he gets to spend more time with them. At first it really freaked me out–until I started thinking about how different I am from my mother, and my husband it from my father. What wouldn’t work for them may very well work just fine for us –my guess is just as good as hers — and I am actually kind of loving this new life together. In my field, it is a truly amazing gift to have a husband who is willing to let my career be alpha. We are financially stable enough right now, and I feel so overwhelmingly lucky to have his support.

      • Marina

        We totally dealt with this too. It’s become easier with a real child, it’s easy to say “It’s working so well for both of us and the baby lives it!” Before she was born my favorite way was the “Pass the bean dip” method of abruptly changing the conversation, ie “I think it’ll work out for us. Could you pass the bean dip? Nice weather.” It doesn’t change anyone’s mind, but you don’t have to have the same conversation over and over.

      • SamanthaNichole

        This strikes a cord with me and I really feel that in the future this is where my partnership is headed. My soon-to-be (10 days!) husband is currently in school full time. We’ve been living in Brooklyn for a year and a few months now and he has been struggling with unemployment this whole time. He really has no driving passion for any “Career” path. He’s said many times that he just wants a job not a career. He loves making things and doing things with his hands and is getting his degree in business so that some day he can open his own wood shop and make high end custom furnishings, and smaller metalwork objects. I, on the other hand, really enjoy my job – a curator and decorative arts historian and couldn’t see myself leaving work to be home full time when we have kids. I think he would be truly happy staying with the kids and working from a home workshop/ business. I agree it’s very hard to make more traditional family members see that this is a viable option and not that my husband isn’t capable in caring for me or he is taking away my right to stay home with my kids and not work. Also he does most of the cooking, and loves it. I have struggled with the idea that I will definitely be jealous that he gets to spend more time with our kids (some day – far in the future). But I guess jealous doesn’t mean that it is the wrong choice. Anyway, this is just a really interesting discussion.

    • Shiri

      Pressing exactly wasn’t enough. Yes, this. This this this. I’m working so hard on only recognizing the “shoulds” I have from my family, not letting them change my actions.

    • https://twitter.com/SnippetsofSarah Sarah E

      When it comes to running a household and building my own lifestyle, I feel like I’m almost always walking the line between “Just because Mom did it this way, doesn’t mean I have to” and “Just because Mom did it this way, doesn’t mean I have to push so strongly against it.” Ah, adulthood.

      • em

        Exactly! Not report! Sorry!

    • Josie

      you couldn’t have said it any better. I am in the same boat :)

  • Sike

    I LOVED this post, and have been waiting for just this post for months! I am 7 months pregnant, my husband has been on disability for a couple of years due to a back injury and is just at the cusp of going back to work. (My husband also went to massage therapy school, but never worked in that field).
    But I LOVE having him home, and while he also gets depressed and frustrated for similar reasons that I think your husband probably did, he does not HATE being home like I would. With a baby on the way, and the cost of child care in our area equal to a year of in-state college tuition, we’ve decided that he will stay home instead of going to back to work through workman’s comp. He will be happy being home with her, and I would hate it – for the same reasons you would.

    I am so happy to hear your story of working this out, I really, really needed to hear this. Thank you for sharing your story!

  • Anonymous

    The description of your husband and his attitude towards work really hit home for me. My husband is the hardest worker, but he hasn’t been loving the hard work he does. In fact, its been basically non-stop struggles but because its his passion, I’ve been steady in encouraging and empathizing with him, but discouraging talk of quitting because I hate to see him give up on his dream – even though I think we both see the dream isn’t coming true.

    This so made me feel better just now – and I can’t believe it. We’re trying to get pregnant and could easily have a kid within a year – and then what? I’ve been trying not to get anxious about it, but with basically no local support system, childcare is going to basically be on the two of us and anyone we can afford to pay/trust with our child. We’ve only ever joked about him quitting and raising the kids, but I’m feeling more and more confident that this is the best, real solution to a future problem. I’m going to talk to him about it this week and maybe we can start making plans, saving money, and getting ready for this. Thank you so much OP for sharing your story.

  • BB

    I can really identify with this story. I also grew up in a highly motivated hard working (at a job) family, and it always subtly bothered me that my boyfriend (now husband) didn’t work much in college; I worried that it would be a predictor of the future (no doubt influence from my parents). Yet things have changed. Even though he doesn’t make much money (he recently switched fields and it takes a while to build back up to a decent salary), he works really hard and enjoys what he does. We have discussed a number of times that he would love to work part time and take care of future kids and the home, and you know, I could really get on board with that. This summer his work has been really slow and he has done 80% of the chores, and cooks dinner nearly every night. It has been such a treat! Although I grew up in a household that valued the “two working parent” model, I don’t know if that will be play out the same for my husband and I, and I am simultaneously liberated by the idea that we can do what works best for us, and nervous about dealing with family pressure. I just keep reminding myself that what matters most is what works for us as a couple, not what worked for my parents.

  • Kat R

    Thank you so much for this post! I make considerably more than my fiancé now (I have two jobs, he works and goes to school part time) and I have been terrified of that continuing into our marriage, especially when we have children. I’ve worried so much about resenting him if he ended up staying home while I worked. That may end up being our dynamic and it’s not how I was raised or ever pictured my life. even though I like my work and I think I’d go crazy staying home.

    Your post gives me hope that it can work. I really like my work and I think I’d go crazy at home. And fiancé being less busy means that he takes care of a lot of our meals and little chores that I hate anyway. This reminded me that I can’t be afraid of not living up to a relationship dynamic that I don’t even really want.

  • rys

    It’s refreshing to hear a counter-narrative in which money didn’t serve as the deciding factor in household decision-making. I know too many women who love what they do at work but ruefully say that since their husbands earn more, they had to cut back or stay at home for financial reasons.

    • Tamar

      I think that was my favorite part about this story- that they looked deeply into what would make each of them feel fulfilled and created a family that works with those needs. Each couple is unique and another might choose the same lifestyle for different reasons (one partner earning more than the other is a big consideration when you need the money), but I really appreciate that, through strategic planning, they were able to knock money down from the top slot of decision-making importance.

    • Paranoid Libra

      For me it would be that opposite set up. I would love to stay home for at least a few years, but I am the breadwinner (to the extent that my husband doesn’t even make half of what I make). Our benefits are through me so for financial reasons I won’t be able to stay home. Although it might be possible for me to be on a more part time basis when the time comes so it’s an idea.

      We got a 2 year deadline on when we will definitely start trying so maybe in 2 years my husband will also have a job where I work, which would be ideal. Then I could figure out if I want to stay or do something else.

  • Jessica

    This post really resonated with me as well. I am in grad school, so I spent last year not working. When I got to my internship this summer, I was quickly reminded of how deeply satisfying I find work. I enjoy work, actually like coming in early and staying late, and seem to rack up the hours at work pretty quickly without feeling drained. Instead I feel engaged and energized. It was this summer that I realized I probably wouldn’t want to stay home with children even if I had the option, because I find work deeply satisfying. My fiancé is a hard worker too, but more keen on balance between work and home than I am. But anyway, cheers to you for finding something that works for both of you!

  • Paige

    I love hearing about other couples who are challenging the male-breadwinner paradigm. Currently I work 40+ hours a week in an office, and husband stays at home and takes care of the house, chores, shopping, etc. It works really well for us, we’re both happy, and we both feel like we’re getting the better end of the bargain. But we constantly face questions and skepticism from family and friends about this choice – that it’s somehow not ideal, or that it’s hard for us to only have one income, or that I should be staying home and he should be working. I’m so glad that APW has (again) shown me that our choices are the right choices because they’re ours.

    • Joann

      Hi PAIGE,

      Can I ask you what helps you deal with people’s reaction?

      I guess I am not as worried about people in general but my family. In our household I bring most of the income even though my fiance is really hard working. I also know that he enjoys being at home way more than me and he is also more efficient at house chores. We plan to start a family in two years or so and I can see me working full time while he works PT and stays home the rest. I am already terrified at the conversations that my parents will bring up about this. People looks at it from the outside as if the guy that stays home is lazy, takes advantage of his partner, has no ambition etc…when in reality I am just grateful that our family life takes priority and we can both contribute in the best way possible even if it doesn’t mean the traditional working dad and housewife.

      Any advice will be so helpful!

      • del678

        What Boy says when people challenge our plans (or anything in our relationship for that matter) is to say, the only evidence you need is how happy Del is. If they try and counter-argue, they will be saying they don’t see happiness as the most important thing or they don’t care about my happiness. Works vice-versa too depending on who’s being challenged.

        • Marina

          Totally agree, this is my favorite method too. At this point the baby is healthy and happy and more than meeting milestones, so it’s pretty easy to say “All three of us love the setup” and leave it at that. I suppose if the baby wasn’t healthy or happy or was delayed in some way it would feel a lot harder emotionally. Before she was born, though, I honestly mostly avoided the whole conversation. I would go as far as “We’ll try it and see how it goes” but then change the subject completely. If I’m not going to consider someone’s input when I’m making a decision, there is absolutely no point trying to convince them that I’m making the right choice. Nine times out of ten its just not worth having the conversation.

  • http://Rippingback.wordpress.com Amber

    This is also our plan – I’m 7 weeks pregnant, and after my maternity leave is up, my husband will quit his job to be a stay-at-home dad. It makes financial sense for us (I make a little more money & have better benefits, while most of his salary would be going for child care) but it’s mostly based on the fact that I like my job, and having a job (conversations with adults ftw!) but he hates his and would much rather be home. We both feel like the other is doing us a favor!

  • Katherine

    Thanks so much for sharing! I too am from a family where everyone had careers, and work was an important part of one’s identity. My husband, on the other hand, works so that he has enough money to live, and needs a lot more down time than I do. Obviously I love my husband, but I have to regularly remind myself that it’s not a character flaw that his isn’t “married to his job.” I also have to remind myself that he’s the one who has been financially independent since 17 and worked his way through college & two graduate degrees, while I’m the one who went to college on my parents’ dime & then lived with them for three years. We both work hard & do what needs to be done; we’re just different people, and that’s good.

    Right now my husband is working part time at a prestigious public library, and I work full time at a prestigious public high school. (Yes, in the Chicago suburbs there are prestigious public institutions…) He made me dinner last night, does the laundry, and cleans up the cat puke. I should probably 1) acknowledge that working someplace high pressure probably isn’t ideal for him & be more sympathetic, 2) stop feeling guilty that I’m not pulling my weight at home, and 3) be grateful that my family seems okay with this this somewhat non-traditional arrangement.

    Also, hi Laura C. :)

    • Joann

      YES! be grateful for 3!!! I think this is the hardest one :S

  • http://readingandthensome.blogspot.com/ Martha

    What a great story. Marriage teaches you all kinds of things – this makes me so excited to join the parenting wagon and see what else we can learn :-)

  • Rachel

    I love this post!!

  • Stephanie

    Your post did something for me that I bet you didn’t anticipate when writing it.

    I’m in my early 20′s, fresh out of nursing school and working in the ICU of a large regional hospital. My serious boyfriend is also working as a nurse in the same department, and we both made some big changes (moving) to get to this place.

    All my life I always knew I wanted to be a wife and a mother, and my own mother was lucky enough to spend her time at home with me and my brother as we grew up.

    With this new job, I struggle. It is emotionally draining, and also switching from 12 hour day shifts to 12 hour night shifts in the same week is a stress on my body. What I struggle with most is something I read in a previous comment – that work doesn’t fulfill me like I want it to. Sure, there are moments when I know I’m doing exactly the right thing, but they are becoming more few and far between. I worked hard for my degree and hate to feel this way, and luckily with nursing there are numerous paths to take. However, I’ve come to accept that when marriage and babies are on the way (already in discussion now), my need to be at home will be stronger than ever.

    Thank you for recognizing that not everyone has that drive to succeed in the world of careers and business, it truly brought me to tears that my desires are okay to have and that I am not alone in my thoughts.

    • http://www.missgiggles.com/blog Giggles

      I got my PhD one month before our baby was born. If I was being honest with people, I’d tell them I wanted to be a “very smart mommy” with my degree. Your degree you worked hard for will not be wasted no matter what you do in the future.

      • Stephanie

        Thank you for your support! Congratulations on the baby AND the PhD! :)

  • http://www.missgiggles.com/blog Giggles

    We’ve talked in our home about how being single all through our 20s taught us to be grateful when we don’t have to do the job and the house thing all on our own any more. However it gets divided, it’s now all divided between the two of us. And we say thank you a lot for that.

  • Julia Canuck

    Thanks so much for sharing your story. This is the life I envision for myself, and I really hope we can make it happen soon. It’s great to see how other people have succeeded in making it work.

  • Marina

    It is so great to hear from people in similar situations and considering similar things! Thank you for the comments, team APW. :)

  • js

    Learning to show appreciation for what the other does in a way that makes the other person feel appreciated and loved is one of the biggest lessons I am continuing to learn in our marriage. Whether I show appreciation for how hard my husband works or he shows appreciation for always having clean underwear doesn’t matter if the message isn’t sent or received properly. I’m like your husband, apologizing that the house isn’t clean when my husband gets home because that’s how I show him I love him. I think it’s wonderful you found a balance that works and that the two of you took the time to understand what the other needs to be happy. Your baby is already very lucky.

  • Hannah

    This was, oh, you know, just one of the best things I have ever read about marriage. And I’ve read a lot about marriage. Thanks.

  • Anon for this

    Marina, I’m curious whether your husband pushed back at all at the suggestion that he stay home with the baby. I’ve brought it up casually with my husband before — we’re not planning on having kids anytime in the near future, but when we do, I really think an arrangement like yours could work for us. I love my job/derive a tremendous amount of satisfaction and meaning from my work, and would be incredibly resentful if I felt pressured into staying home. My husband, on the other hand, is not very career-driven. I know, from the times when he’s been between jobs, that he’s generally happier when he can stay home and bake bread, ferment things, and otherwise be his awesome homesteader self. But the idea of being a stay-at-home dad seems to bother him — I think just because of gender norms (he’s from a pretty traditional, stay at home mom, breadwinner dad family). Any thoughts on how I can convince him that it’s ok to quit a job that you hate to do things you love if it better serves your family?

    • Marina

      I don’t have any specific advice–my husband was 100% behind the plan from the start. He’s always said that if he didn’t have to, he wouldn’t work for money. Plus he was already in a traditionally female profession, so maybe that helped it not feel like as big a jump.

      He might feel better if he met other stay at home dads? Even reading some blogs online might help him see that other men who are doing this are just as much men as they were before. It might also help him to hear how much you value the homesteader things, and maybe even find them sexy. ;) I think for a lot of straight men there’s nothing like a girl swooning over something they’ve done to make them feel manly.

  • http://light0a0candle.blogspot.com Kaitlyn

    This sounds like an awesome compromise that works very well! I’m mostly afraid because my fiance doesn’t like working but also doesn’t like housework, and if I left him alone for a full day it’s more likely I would come home to a dirtier house instead of a cleaner one… jealous I guess.

    • Marina

      Heh, I don’t know that my husband would necessarily say he LIKES housework. But we are both very aware that there’s a certain amount of work that has to be done in our family, and we agree that it should be done equitably. We both have to do stuff we don’t like, but wherever there’s something that one of us hates less than the other is a reasonable spot for a trade.

    • em

      Two thoughts:
      #1, a day spent playing video games is not the end of the world. It happens, and I try to remember that he fritters the day away far less often than I would, were I home all day with West Wing on netflix. Sometimes you just need a personal day.

      #2, I find the most useful way to talk about these sorts of issues is speaking in generalities. Of you get sucked into too many specifics, the dynamic goes south really fast. So, when I get overwhelmed, I dont yell at him about dishes or playing video games — I tell him it feels like were not pulling together, and I need us to be a team, moving our baby family forward. He wants to be on my team. He married me. So he usually comes back at me by asking what he can do.

  • http://www.xwebseries.com Cali

    Ha, my husband and I discussed this possibility the other day. At the moment, neither of us are really overly happy with our jobs… but we’ve got another year or so before we start seriously thinking about babies, and I’m trying to get my real career rolling in the meantime. If I succeed, I would most likely be making enough that he could stay home. We both agreed in the event that that happens, he’ll totally be a stay at home dad (actually, he suggested it when we were discussing my career aspirations). Of course, this is all contingent on things actually going the way we want them to… so that’s a pretty big “if”… but it was still awesome to know that he’s game if the situation arises.

  • http://seasofgales.wordpress.com KH_TAS

    Thankyou for this. I also come from a ‘traditional’ home and am in a relationship where the only parent who would be capable of staying home would be the dad, and I’m glad to see others out there.

    Also, I totally hear you on the ‘staying at home playing video games’ fear, because that was (openly) my ex’s plan

  • Mollie

    THIS. ALL OF IT.

  • Gillian

    I needed to hear this. Thank you. My husband and I will someday be in a similar position, and it scares me.

  • http://Www.laughterinelou.com Emma

    I just really like this post. Here, here!

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