Disclaimer: This in NO WAY diminishes parents who work outside the home.
I've always been somewhat in awe of my friends and family who were stay-at-home parents. (Alright, stay-at-home-moms...I'm married to the only stay-at-home-dad I know.) Not because I was insanely jealous, but because I wasn't sure I could be a stay-at-home-mom. I love and adore my children and would do anything for them, but 9 years ago when I became a mom, the thought of being a stay-at-home-mom seemed so scary. At the same time, having a stay-at-home-parent means the family must survive on a single income, at least in most situations. That seemed even scarier back then.
Fast Forward to 2013.
There has been a lot in the media over the past couple of years about stay at home dads. Some good. Some bad. Some thought provoking. Some irrational and irritating. I don't care what anyone else says, I think stay-at-home-parents (no matter the gender) ROCK!
All parents are working parents. Allow me to repeat. All parents are working parents.
It doesn't matter if you work a 40+ hours a week (or 32 hours for our furloughed friends) in a job that requires a daily commute or if you are on-duty inside your own castle 24/7. The moniker of "parent" suggests that work is involved. (Yes, I know there are deadbeat parents, but that is a little red wagon that I'll have to pull another day. Today's little red wagon is sporting a "Stay At Home Rock Star" decal, toting a trucker hat home to my awesome hubby who is a fabulous stay-at-home-dad.)
Having a glimpse into the stay-at-home life while I was on maternity leave (2 months pre-Jeb, 2 months post-Jeb), I readily admit the stay-at-home gig isn't easy. But, I'm really thankful that my husband rocks as a stay-at-home-dad. And, I get really annoyed when people stare as he totes an infant, toddler and 9yo somewhere. If we're all together, no stares. If I happen to separate from my herd for a period of time, 'cause sometimes mommy really does want to buy a box of tampons without input from the entire peanut gallery, it is almost inevitable that I rejoin only to find someone staring at my family like they are from another planet. My husband is more than capable when it comes to rearing our children. No, he isn't babysitting or giving mommy some "me" time. He's the freaking DAD! Yes, he can totally balance the demands of all 3 at the same time while caring for our house, our dog and even me. Guess what? He even cooks, cleans, does the laundry AND takes out the trash. (Go ahead ladies, be jealous :-P)
I'm amazed at how many people take stay-at-home-parents for granted. They look down their noses when a co-worker decides not to return to work after the birth of a child. I've heard it with my own ears, "I guess they just couldn't cut it anymore." What the what? Dude, that job is really, really hard. And the pay sucks. Honestly, how many people do you know that commit to a 168-hour per week job with no monetary incentive? Stay-at-home-parents don't do it for the money or the bragging rights. They do it for the sticky hugs and the sloppy smooches. They do it because they really can heal skinned knees and squished fingers with a simple kiss. Or a big bear hug. Or a loud zerbert. Or a sip [re: gulp] of sweet tea.
I'm the proud wife of a working dad. His job just happens to be in our home and his management team is comprised of a CSO (Chief Spending Officer, age 9), a CCO (Chief Cuteness Officer, age 19 months) and a CHO (Chief Handsome Officer, age 3 months). What more could this girl ask for? Nothing.