I am Mr. Mom everyday – the story of a quitter

Posted on December 3, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Think it’s a sin to quit a job? Conventional wisdom is “never quit your job, unless you have another one.” Plus, the Bible tells us that “those who will not work, should not eat.” Yet, there is also scripture about quitting one’s vocation and taking up another. 2 years ago, I began a new journey as a stay-at-home dad. At first, my daughters were in a pre-school, but 6 months later, we brought them home. Now, I am their primary caregiver and my wife works.

Who in the Bible quit their job? No less than the closest human beings to Jesus, his disciples. “And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. ” – The Book of Matthew Chapter 4. These two disciples didn’t even work a 2 week notice or train their replacements. They just dropped the nets and followed.

We must challenge ourselves to think of work roles and home roles in new ways in this ever-changing society. As the corporate world strives to balance the scales of gender and racial diversity, so long tipped in favor of Caucasian males (like me), more and more men are joining the ranks of stay-at-home dads. Why should we fight this trend? If it is better for one’s family to let the wife continue her career, may God bless that home. I cherish the extra time I am getting with my kids.

But there are some who struggle with the idea of a stay-at-home dad. Last week, the man who bagged my groceries commented “playing Mr. Mom today?” I replied, “I am Mr. Mom every day”. I could see by the look on his face, this rocked his world. He finally let loose “Oh, you are unemployed.” So, even though I told him I did this by choice and that it was mostly fun, his expression showed his doubt. I thanked him for his efforts and we went about our business. People can get locked into thinking one way, until they read some words like “They just dropped their nets and followed.”

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2 Responses to “I am Mr. Mom everyday – the story of a quitter”

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Why should we fight this trend? Well for the same reason that women like Betty Friedan fought the trend of stay at home moms. Because they believed that women would be far better off having their own careers rather than being dependent on their husbands. Were they wrong to fight the trend?

“…it was mostly fun”

It’s “fun” to have no income and be dependent on your spouse? Well why do you think so few women want to have “fun” these days? Why have the numbers of women who are stay at home moms so drastically reduced from the past? I mean if it’s so much “fun” I would think every women would want to do it. Perhaps being an adult isn’t about having fun. Perhaps there’s a time to grow up. Or perhaps if it’s so much fun why isn’t you’re wife staying home? Why are you the only one having fun?

Do you think all the women pursuing careers and all the young women in college preparing for careers are doing something wrong? I mean wouldn’t they be better off having fun like you by staying at home? What do you think the reasons are that they think they need to have careers, and why do you think those same reasons would not apply to men?

Haloran, thanks for your comment. My wife and I view our marriage as a partnership. My income is my wife’s income and my wife’s income is my income. My wife’s first priority when she had our first child was to take some time off from work to be with the child. When we first married, this discussion prompted our first real disagreement. Alas, my views changed and by the time we had our first child, we had prepared the way to let her stay at home, bond and be a full-time mom.

The number of stay-at-home moms and dads is pretty high. As high as 45% if you consider children under 2. I would not define 45% as “few”. In 2007, CBS reported that fewer professional women are returning to work after having children. The same is true for dads.

As a father of two girls and a supporter of equal rights for all genders, I do not think that women who are in college preparing for careers are doing something wrong. If I did, I probably would not have married one. 🙂 My time as a stay-at-home-dad is not my way of leading women or men down the path of an at-home-parent. However, my post is a brief statement of my conviction about the path and its legitimacy. While feminism was challenged and attacked furiously by some in the recent past, the idea of a stay-at-home dad is also attacked.

The work ethic and it’s long roots in American society blind some people to the value of full-time parenting. Too much focus on the acquisition of titles, money and things can harm our relationships between us and our children. Shortly after we had our second child, my employer starting asking me why I wasn’t working 50-60 hours a week instead of the 40 I was being paid to work. I think the control that we have allowed employers to have over our lives is damaging our families beyond repair in some cases. In fact, the man who had asked me the question has recently had serious problems within his own family.

Whether women or men choose to have careers when they have children is ideally a choice. Hopefully, for the sake our our families, a balance is struck between income and time together that is beneficial to all. Certainly, women should be able to enjoy a vocation, hopefully many in their lives. The same goes for men. Jobs give us a way to help others and contribute to society at large. I have held a job much of my adult life and I expect to hold a job again. But while my kids are small, I am glad I have the opportunity to take some time away from my career and be a full-time dad. It’s hardest job I’ve ever loved.

Thanks again for your comment.

Peace.


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    A rebel dad's blog (a.k.a. stay-at-home dad). A wiper of noses, I cook and I clean.

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