When my husband and I decided we were ready to start a family, we had an ongoing conversation about how we wanted to raise our kids. When he said he wanted to be a stay-at-home dad, I was caught completely off guard—and even though we’ve decided it would be the best option for us, I still have mixed feelings.
I’ve always kind of dreamed of being a full-time mom. No matter how ambitious I am with my career or how much I love what I do, I’ve always known I wanted to have kids and imagined I’d be the primary caretaker. While I know it would’ve been really hard for me to give up my professional life while my kids were little, it’s going to take time to adjust to the idea of not being the stay-at-home parent.
I’m worried about how his relationships with his friends will change. Even though they’ll be totally understanding and probably kind of impressed that my husband is opting to leave his career and become a stay-at-home dad, there’s no way his friends will be as close to him as they are now. He’ll be too exhausted to go out, and even if he was able to hang out sometimes, they wouldn’t have much in common anymore.
He’s very career oriented. My husband says he’s ready to leave the corporate world behind, but he’s so passionate and driven about his work that I can’t imagine he’d be satisfied with such a drastic change of pace. He says he can always jump back into the workforce later when the kids are a little older, but I worry about the first decade or so when he’s having to dedicate himself completely to being a stay-at-home parent.
I don’t want to be shut out of my kids’ social lives. I’ve seen other working mothers being shunned by the other parents and even their kids’ schools as if there can only be one “real” parent in a child’s life. I don’t want to be standing in a corner alone at birthday parties when I go to pick my kids up or have to ask my husband to call the school because they only tell him the important stuff.
I’m not sure the other moms will be totally accepting of him either. I get it—it would be weird to be in a PTA group with a ton of other women and then have one random guy show up and throw everyone off. Women (and men) can get very cliquey when they’re together, and I’m worried my husband will be the odd one out, further isolating him after his shifting relationships with his guy friends.
I have a feeling he’ll get bored. Aside from missing his career periodically, it’s hard to imagine he’ll be perfectly content with the daily grind of diapers, school lunches, and cooking dinner. I can’t help but think of how bored housewives of the 1950s and ’60s were, and even though he’ll have the immense fortune to not be subjected to rampant misogyny, being a stay at home parent won’t be fun and games all the time.
I don’t want to get jealous of his relationship with them. I love my job, but I’m honestly not sure how well I’ll handle being the largely absent parent. Watching the relationship between my husband and our kids develop over time and how I’m not really a part of it is already a little devastating to me, and I’m worried it will affect our marriage.
Being the breadwinner and wanting to be present in my kids’ lives is a lot to juggle. Back in the day, men made the income and women took care of the home, and dads didn’t have much of a relationship with their kids until they were older. But just because I’m taking on the role of sole income earner doesn’t mean I’m willing to be absent from my kids’ childhoods. Finding a balance between my work and being equally as important as my husband in my kids’ lives is daunting.
I’m worried how the other parents will treat me. Working moms are a lot more common these days, thank God, but there’s still an unconscious bias about women who have the choice to stay at home and choose to work full-time instead. I’m worried the other parents will think I’m a bad mom for choosing to be the breadwinner.
I know he’ll be an amazing dad, but I want to be an amazing parent too. It shouldn’t be an either/or scenario, but for some reason, I’m worried my husband will be the designated “super parent” and I’ll just be the one in the background who my kids love but aren’t close to. The thought of being anything but adored by them is painful, even though I know it’s impossible to be everything to your children all the time.
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