My kids are growing up unaware of the societal expecations of genders, to them we are just mom and dad.
This was never our plan. When we found out I was pregnant again, this time carrying twins, we discussed what we wanted to do and it made the most sense for our toddler to go to school and for us to have at-home care for our twins. With no family around us, it meant that we had to rely on our nanny who had been, up until now, taking care of our son. She was basically part of our family, our kids' third grandma as we called her.
Due to the pandemic's economic crisis, just as his parental leave was ending, my husband was laid off from his job. We had also parted ways with our nanny due to us moving out of the city to keep our family isolated and healthy. We had to reassess our decisions—our son was in school already but the twins were too young to go. So what now? It made the most sense for us for my husband to stay home with them while I continued to work full time.
It wasn't an easy decision. His salary was significantly greater than mine. His industry is far more stable than mine. But also, his patience and cooking skills are enormously better than mine, which meant he could handle being home all day long with rambunctious twins.
Even though this was a thoroughly thought through decision, I still have conflicted feelings about it, probably based on social expectations of what my role in the family should be mixed with a family history of my mom becoming a full-time SAHM after she had me because she "could not bear not being around me."
When people celebrate me for having three kids under 3 and a career, I need to remind them that my husband is taking care of everyone, while I miss dinners, doctor appointments and fun outings. That if it weren't for him, this whole thing I'm doing every week, would not be possible. Because working with kids at home and no childcare (during a pandemic or not) can make my hair turn green from stress.
He received a lot of "wow, are you sure about this?" when he opted to not look for another job in the middle of the pandemic, fully acknowledging that it was too dangerous for him to have an office job—and also who is hiring anyway? Added to that was the fact that if he did get a job, we would still need mine to pay the bills, which would mean we'd need outside help and we still don't feel safe enough to do that, not until everyone has been vaccinated at least.
I find the fact that he chose to stay with our kids and help them grow, as the sexiest thing he could have ever done. My heart melts daily when I see our twins smack his lips and giggle, when he cheers them on as they try to take their first step and console them when they fail and bonk against the floor. I also love the message that he is sending to our kids, especially our son, by breaking down the societal expectations of gender roles. My son will grow up seeing a father change diapers, something my own father didn't even do with me.
It's not easy. Far from it. Being a stay at home parent is hard. Being a working parent is hard. We both navigate waves of stress, defeat, regret, doubt. But at the same time, we both love what we do, and he is more aware than I am that they will not be this little for much longer and that there will be other jobs for him in the future. But for now, and until our family needs it, he will be a stay at home dad, and it fills me with pride every time I say it out loud.