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Friday
Apr262013

How to Get Around the Working Mom/Stay-at-Home Dad Stigma

FAN QUESTION:

Hello Mrs. Fodder! Just wanted to bend your ear on this stay-at-home dad subject. When my first husband and I were married, we talked a lot about him staying home and taking care of the kids because I earned more money than he did, and it was more beneficial for me to work than for him. I recall being quite all right with this concept and knew he would be a great stay-at-home dad. My only worry was what others would think. Would they think I was not a good mother and that's why we chose dad? Would they think that work was more important to me than my children? Would dad have a closer relationship with them than I would since I would be the one working all day? Have you had these same questions and, if so, how did you deal with them or what conclusion did you reach to help make your decision?

Thanks for your time!

 

ASK THE WIFE RESPONDS:


Thanks so much for your question:

Before Mr. Fodder and I decided to have children, I made it pretty clear that being a mother would never define me. My work is very important to me and once I had children, it wasn’t just the job that was important; it was also the time to myself. A place that I could go to be around adults doing adult things. So my husband knew that I was never going to be the stay-at-home mom that many women (and men) decided to become once they had children. In fact, I bow down to ANYONE who takes on that challenge because I know that I wouldn’t be able to handle it. Now, it’s important to note that my husband isn’t a stay-at-home dad. He actually works two jobs and runs Fodder4Fathers as a 3rd, but if the opportunity was afforded to him, he would LOVE to be a stay-at-home dad and there is nothing that I would love more. Nowadays it has become more socially acceptable to see a man wearing the apron strings (so to speak) and I think it’s great!! While I certainly understand where the “what will others think” idea comes from… the short answer to that one is: I really don’t give a s**t what other people think because what works for some may not work for others. Are there people out there who think I’m not a good mother because I went back to work 5 months after each of my kids were born? Sure. I can actually name a few. My response to them: I don’t give a s**t. I look into the eyes of my 3 year old every day… the way she looks at me. I KNOW I’m a good mother. Her belief in me is all I have really needed. Are there people who think that my job is more important to me than my children? Absolutely... but yup, you guessed it: I don’t give a s**t. While my job is most certainly not more important than my children, I can tell you that my sanity is more important than the opinion of others. Was I worried that dad would have a closer relationship with them than me? O.k. you got me there. I would be lying if I said no. It DOES make me a little sad on the weekends when I hear my kid call for my husband when she wakes up, but the feeling passes as soon as I realize that I get to stay in bed while he gets up and goes to her room. ;-)


Here’s the thing… In all seriousness I have come to a major realization being a working mom and passing off some of the stereotypical “motherly” responsibilities to my husband. It really isn’t about quantity, it’s about quality. When I’m with my kids I’m THERE. I’m attentive and alert and I show them more love than I can describe. Everyone is going to have his or her own opinion. But opinions are like a** holes… EVERYONE has one and it’s up to each person to do what works for them. I am so lucky that I have a husband who loves the idea of being a stay-at-home dad… God bless him cause lord knows that’s one of the hardest jobs in the world! And sure, there will always be those moments when I question my decisions and the choices I have made. What will people think? Am I a bad mother? Will my kids end up resenting me? But during those moments I take a deep breath, and say: “Honey… DD is awake… she’s calling for you… time to get up!” then I roll over and hit the snooze button. ;-)

Thanks again for your question.

April 22, 2013

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