Family Roles Change
November 15, 2011
My family recently fell victim to the economy and unemployment. In short, my husband lost his job. It was a gut-wrenching shock to my lifestyle. We had always been a family of 2 working, professional parents. We equally shared the responsibilities of providing for our family and physically taking care of our children – sharing the cooking, grocery shopping, driving car pool, and standing on sidelines. We truly were the family that divided and conquered. We both wore 2 hats, parent and professional, all day, every day.
Our family is now no less strong, supportive, or functional, but we are different. We are now a single income family. I am the lone provider. My husband is now the primary caregiver. He has energetically taken on the role of toting the kids, cooking the dinners, washing the clothes; he has willingly and happily become Mr. Mom.
I have had a bit more of an adjustment. I struggled with somewhat of an identity crisis, after all I am “THE Mom”, but I have ultimately learned to embrace our new normal. I get to come home after work and enjoy the kids; I don’t have to rush, do homework, dinner or laundry. There is less chaos, less hurrying, less stress. There is balance to our life. When we both worked we thought it worked, and it did, we shared all responsibilities equally. But, now that we are each primarily responsible for different parts of our family life, we appreciate the other one even more – this new normal works even better for us.
There have been more changes than just roles and responsibilities. We have had to adjust the way we live. We (ahem, I) shop less, coupon more, eat out less, cook more, on the whole we make rather than buy when possible. It is more work. It takes more planning. But it is also more rewarding. And, now with a stay-at-home parent, we find that being a stay-at-home family is worth much more than that second income ever was.