Today I wanted to take a moment to shed light on something that is very personable to me and my family. I gave birth to my first child January 8,2018, Oliver is the missing piece of my soul. With that being said I returned to work February 2,2018. When I returned to work I got a lot of comments about my choices and I feel the need to give this topic its time in the spotlight.
I was blessed with a husband who treats me with respect and loves me and all my flaws. When we found out I was with child we already knew that I would be the working parent and my husband would stay home to care for our child. I have been a manager since I was 16, I have held down at least 2 jobs at all times. My husband went to the Navy out of high school and has since only worked for a few months at a time. We felt lucky that at least one of us got to be at home with our newborn as we know this is not the reality for most new parents. Only 4.6% of families have a stay at home parent. It wasn’t until after I gave birth during my three week leave that the comments from friends and family started coming in. The reverse roles that my husband and I have are not common in the southern Idaho area. My old school, small community ridiculed me. Some of the most common statements were:
You should be at home with your baby while your husband makes the money
He isn’t a real man if he stays home
Your going to miss everything and resent your husband
You must wear the pants in your relationship
Does your husband breastfeed too
Your baby isn’t even going to know who you are
We also got a lot of comments about how we must live off the state and how nice it would be to do nothing all day and still be able to eat. Keep in mind when I gave birth we lived in an RV park.
I had no idea how truly judgmental people are when you become a parent. Everything you do is judged. I co-sleep, that was a whole bag of worms. I only breastfeed, this was the saddest judgement for me because I have never been in a place and felt completely comfortable. Do not get me wrong I feed my baby anywhere he gets hungry but I hear people passing by and the eyes on me. The first few weeks of having our first child should be the happiest of our lives, and as much joy as our bundle gave us the embarrassment that was forced upon us really took its toll.
Most of the negative comments that came my way all surrounded the idea that somehow I wouldn’t be a good mother, or that I wouldn’t know how to treat my baby because I wasn’t home all the time.When the comments started I could see the effect it had on my husband. The shame he felt staying home broke my heart. The mentality that he wasn’t a man because I worked or that he was some how less because he was the main caregiver of our son. These ideas to me are so OUTDATED! This is 2018, it is not financially responsible for both parents to take any time off, much less 6 full weeks when you don’t have paid maternity leave. Also if one spouse is able to make more money based off skills and resumes then by all means that should be the party that works.
I just want to say this to any couple going into a situation like my own. Do not listen to anyone other than your partner. Yes advice is nice when wanted but it can also be damning when it isn’t welcome. Be the voice for your partner if you hear other pulling them down and judging them. Only those in the home should have a say on how it is run. My husband and I have been married for 5 years and we have never followed the path of life that others take. I will never be common, including myself as a mom. No matter how much time I get to spend with my baby I will always want more. My family is my whole world, my son is my best friend and together we have a blast.
If I would have listened to all the comments, my husband would have gone to a dead end job and made minimum wage. We would have had a lot more negativity to deal with, so remember you can NOT make everyone happy so just start with yourself and see what happens.
Xoxo, Ellie Shots