I'm considering getting a full time job. I haven't worked more than 15 hours in a week since before my daughter was born. I'm a little bit terrified. My husband would take my place at home and get a part time job in the evening. I don't know how I'll deal with him making the majority of parenting decisions. I'm also not used to the dynamic, me being the "breadwinner". But mostly, it's about what happens when he doesn't stack up to mommy? :o/ Does anyone have any experience with this? I could use some advice.
Advice from Stay at Home Dads
I'm a stay-at-home dad, and have been for more of my girls' babyhood, but not all. My wife stayed home until our first was 5 months old, then I stayed home for a year, then she stayed home for a year, and now I'm staying home for the rest of the time until they're both in school.
The thing is, he will never "stack up to mommy." He's just a different parent. There are things that you're great at that he will just never be as good at doing. And there are things that frustrate you or don't work as well for you, that he will likely find natural or easy. You're different parents, with different strengths and weaknesses, and that's okay. The hard part for you, I think, will be learning to let go of the things you want to happen "your way" and just look at the big picture: is your daughter thriving? Is she happy? Are her needs being met? Is she being appropriately disciplined? If not, that's an issue. But if so, I recommend letting some of the details go.
Communication is key... I'm not saying you should entirely stay out of your husband's way, not at all. You should talk with him a lot, let him tell you what kinds of problems he's running into, and help him solve them. Give him some pointers and advice based on your experience. Make sure you're on the same page in terms of general parenting philosophies and such. But I do think it's important to let him be the kind of parent he's best equipped to be. He will never be you, as a parent. But he can be a great parent in his own way.
I often travel for work, and sometimes am gone sunday night until Friday evening. That means DH is responsible 24/7. Does he do everything my way. Heck no! Does he even do everything the way I like it, or think it is best. Heck no! But I am sure there are a lot of things that I do that he doesn't think are the best for our kids either. But if I look at the whole picture, he does a great job. And there are a lot of things that he does better than me. He has more patience for me, for example. So if our son was up for ear infection or cold in the middle of the night, he could handle patiently walking with him hour after hour, whereas I would loose it after 30 min. There are countless other examples.
I think it works because on the whole we are really on the same page. And I saw the dynamics with my own parents - my mom would say she had 100% child responsibility herself and nag and complain, but if my dad tried to get involved, she would remind him how he was doing it wrong or could be better, so he would back off, and she would be back to 100% and resentful. It didn't work, IMO.
I made a conscious effort to do better. So I bit my toungue when my first was a baby. Sometimes, to myself I would think, wow, he should have done x. But half the time I would think, wow, I hadn't thought of that, DH did it differently but the results are just as good, or even better. So I got confidence in him, and stopped worrying about all the little stuff, and let them forge their own way.
If something really bugs me, then I bring it up with him. At night, when DS and DD are both in bed, after I have had time to think about it and am not mad. Then I either convince him, or he convinces me, or we just accept that on issue X we will disagree.
I think the key is if you have confidence in one another. Do you have confidence in your DH, and him in you? If so, it will work. If not, find the confidence, or find another solution.
I decided I just don't feel ready to leave my role at home yet. I have taken on a very part time babysitting job to bring in extra income, and my husband's dealing okay with his job right now. He understands how important it is to me to be home and how important it is for our daughter too. Thanks so much for your input. It helped me let my husband have more opportunities to take on the primary caregiver role when he is home, even though I'm not currently considering working outside of the home.