I was shocked to find out today that my mother in law thinks that I am lazy because I stay home and look after our child and don’t go to work in a traditional sense. I wondered if that is what a lot of people think of a Stay at Home Dad?
She seems to think that we both should work and send our 2 year old to child care (guess who?) or that my wife should stay home or work part time and I should go to work full time.
I know that it is just the baby boomer mentality and that I should be able to tell them to mind their own business but it still cuts deep that they think of me like that.
Funnily enough it doesn’t seem to matter that my wife really wants to go to work full time. She has always been career orientated and has struggled with the lack of independence and structure that comes with the position of stay at home parent.
It doesn’t even matter that we decided long ago that we would make the financial sacrifice and try to make sure that one of us was always at home with our baby in the first three years. Isn’t that the most important time? After that we would reassess.
It doesn’t even seem to matter that I have taken up the stay at home dad job with cheerful enthusiasm. Swimming lessons, kindy gymnastics, gourmet dinners, washing, ironing, cleaning, spelling, counting, reading, playing and singing are all in a days work for superdad.
Additionally, it doesn’t seem to matter that my university graduate wife has a greater earning capacity than me. I find it quite surprising that her parents pushed her so hard to get a degree but then want her to stay at home and not use it?
Everyone says how fast kids grow up and that you have to enjoy every moment when they are little but when you and your wife decide that it’s time for Dad to have a turn at home and see his child for more than one hour a day then suddenly I have become a lazy man who doesn’t want to work? Isn’t looking after a child and family home considered work?
How come a woman can stay at home and only look after a young child and that be considered normal? If she does all the additional housework then she really is a supermum. If Dad does it then there is something wrong with him. Worse still if he enjoys being a stay at home dad then there really is a cause for worry. Isn’t that women’s work?
The fact that I find time to write this blog is further proof to the in laws that I am wasting my time. What good (money) will ever come from writing a stupid little story book? Add to that my artistic leanings (painting, drawing, songwriting and music) and I really am good for nothing in their eyes.
The main problem is that my wife left a job before she had a new one and now is having difficulty finding work and as the financial pressure grows with both of us at home and our savings dwindling, all eyes are looking at me, the man, to become the bread winner again.
In the stay at home parent world equal opportunity is a total myth…