When we lived in Silicon Valley, we did what a lot of what Silicon Valley parents do. We had the double income, two mortgages and two car payments. We also had two kids with two childcare bills. The American Dream, right?
We struggled. We were miserable and knew it wasn’t for us anymore. It was hard to let go because we were both born and raised in San Jose, before the term “Silicon Valley” became so popular. We wanted something different from the norm and California was too expensive to raise our kids on our terms. It took us a few years to decide to relocate. We relocated to Arizona before we had kids and then moved back to the Bay Area. After we had kids, we realized we couldn’t make it work there and the costs were a constant struggle.
Between my layoff and husband’s corporate burnout the timing was right to take that leap. He wanted a break and I wanted to get back to work. We planned to switch rolls. I would head back to the office and he’d stay home to help get the kids settled in our new town and their school.
What we didn’t realize was we were bucking the trend, taking a course a lot of people didn’t get and carving our own path. Cool to us, bizarre to them. Women are supposed to stay home and take care of the kids, right? Wrong.
In fact, research shows how traditional roles of mom at home have evolved significantly. Over 40% of women in the workplace are the breadwinners or primary salary earners in the dual income family. Dads are opting out while moms are becoming the breadwinners who thrive at work. It’s been three years since the move and while the choices we made aren’t easy, we’ve made them work.
Here’s why stay-at-home dads are changing the world:
- They’re past the old norms that women stay home.
- They put family before ego.
- They reinvent themselves to help their families.
- They help with housework, homework and cooking to support the mom who works.
- They’re trend setters.
The transition was not easy and some days it’s still hard for both of us. The kids love having their dad at home and they know he’s there for them while mom is at work. Their bond is growing each day and they’re learning from me being the one who works.
I find it funny to watch the expression on people’s faces when we tell them he stays home. My husband and I laugh because of the reactions. We both have a good attitude when we hear rude remarks and get unsolicited opinions. In the end, it’s not anyone else’s business how we manage our home.
There’s no right formula or a cookie cutter answer for how we raise our kids, who will work and who won’t. Having dad stay home isn’t the answer for everyone. That’s the great part though. We have choices and the choices we make should be based on what’s right for our own families.