With her Maternity Leave concluded one month early, Amber is back at work today after almost a year at home with the little humans. It’s going to be an adjustment for all of us. Today is the first day of this adjustment. So far, so good.
When Amber accepted this job, one she identified as a dream job years ago, we were met with questions of “what will Matthew do?”. With his schooling being mobile, this is a relatively fluid move for Matthew – with one major change: it means there are a few days a week when Matthew will spend the bulk of the day at home with the kids. Before images of Daddy Daycare go flashing through your mind, we admit that how Matthew parents when solo looks differently than how Amber parents on her own. What is new is the introduction to stay-at-home-dad stereotypes that we had yet to encounter personally.
Times are a changin’, but we’ve picked up on the surprise people try to hide when they find out a husband has moved for the betterment of the wife’s career. We’ve always viewed ourselves as partners. There are times when we may be pursuing an opportunity for one more than the other, but in the end we do what is life-giving for us as a whole (compounded now by consideration for our children’s well-being). This move is simply the out-working of our teamwork. It’s not a counter-cultural statement, it’s a natural move for partners.
It was a lonely day on the playground today as the moms congregated together (perhaps a dad there at midday is new for them too), but Matthew is excited for a season of concentrated time with the kids while they are young. There will be stressful days. We know this. We are not reinventing the wheel nor do we feel the need for new terminology such as “Mr.Mom”.
There is already a word for when a male parents – fatherhood. We’re good with that.