There has been a great reaction to Ross becoming a stay at home daddy and I’m really happy about the situation. I’ve said it before but honestly despite the fact that minding kids full time is a stressful job, I’ve never seen Ross so happy. He was on The Anton Savage show yesterday and some great topics were touched on. It got me thinking that I should do a quick blog as there are regular questions we get asked and here are some of them with my answers:
Do you mind that he is at home?
Hell no – I love that he is at home with the kids! Who better to look after the kids than one of us. That it happens to be Ross is only a health & financial thing. He gives me regular updates and now through his blog I get to see just how much fun they are all having. You don’t get that with a regular childminder.
Is he alright minding the kids?
Of course he is – he is their dad after all! While Ross was working he was a hands on dad and didn’t shy away from many things. Now that he has taken over his confidence with the girls has grown and grown. He would admit that there were certain things that daunted him before especially about bringing the two Nips out but now he is a total pro and even puts me to shame.
Do you mind being the only one bringing in money?
Yes/No – sometimes I feel the pressure of being the sole breadwinner but I’m guessing that is no different to what any parent in that position feels. There is full reliance on me earning money for my family to survive and that’s a big deal for anybody. I guess I get asked that one a lot as it is normally the male in the relationship that traditionally fills this role.
Does he feel bad that he’s not earning?
Again yes and no – so I think pride can sometimes play a part but again I think this is the same for any relationship were one person works and the other doesn’t. He finds his role so fulfilling and let’s face it with childcare costs being what they are – it wasn’t worth him working. So I guess it’s about how you look at it – ok he’s not bringing in a salary however the money he is saving us on childcare costs is his salary and more.
It must be difficult?
Well let me put it like this, either I was going back to work and Ross would be working too which would mean some form of childcare. Or I could go back to work and have the peace of mind that Ross being at home gives me. It’s an easy pick. As all parents will know when your kids are in childcare they will have sick days and then you have to figure out who is going to stay home with them or there are days you are asked to stay late in work and you have to rearrange pick-ups — I don’t have any of those problems anymore. The fact that their dad is at home and available to them all the time makes life very easy. Happy parents – happy kids. On top of that rather than being in after school care or creche Ross can take the girls out on day trips and to dance lessons etc…
Are you guilty that you’re at work all day – missing out on the kids growing up?
Well unless we win the Euro-millions I think it’s safe to say that I will always have to work so Ross being at home doesn’t change that. Yes when I have a particularly busy week at work or when I have to travel I miss them terribly and it breaks my heart but that is what is required to put food on the table, clothes are our backs, pay the mortgage….. I think every modern parent feels guilty about being away from their kids but sometimes that’s just what we have to do. In fact I think it is good for our two daughters to see their mum in this role – we want to teach them to be independent and strong.
Are there any changes in roles at home?
Not really – the kids are still over the moon to see me when I get home and we still do the same things. Nip#1 still calls out for me at night and in the morning. There are of course small differences – like how the house is kept is definitely different to how I did it but that’s ok. My main focus is how happy & healthy are the kids and I can tell you hand on heart that they are flying. I do notice Ross doing things that I used to do like quickly offering to go to the shops just so he can have a few minutes to himself ;o)
How do you fit everything in?
The honest answer is ‘I don’t’. I try really really hard but you are constantly juggling everything, getting to work in the shortest time possible, try to leave work on time which often means coming home around 4pm so I can do the late calls from home, fit in some exercise (when I’m good I do Bikram yoga at 06:30 AM), spend quality time with the kids, make time for both girls individually and Ross too. Plus we are trying to get our book business back up and running….oh yeah and organise our wedding ;o)) Long story short, it’s not easy and I know from my friends that there are a lot of people out there juggling a lot of balls.
So in essence yes there is still some stigma around men staying at home to mind the kids however there is a lot more understanding. Anyone with kids knows the struggle to keep on top of finances, providing for your children, making sure they are safe and happy, spending quality time with them and most of all just doing what you need to to make your lives work smoothly.