Breadwinning Mom: As Maya grows older and becomes less dependent on Daddy, we start to reassess the importance of one parent remaining at home full-time. The dynamic within the household begins to take a different turn. The time has come for Ernesto to contemplate his return to the workplace. Many stay-at-home parents struggle with the decision to return to work because it means a dramatic shift in the household from all aspects. In our case, Ernesto spent the last three years engaged in every aspect of Maya’s daily activities. From morning until evening, he handled it all. With my long work hours, I always enjoyed the flexibility and peace of mind in knowing that he had everything covered, from preparing Maya’s lunch (including mine!), getting her off to school, taking her to doctors appointments and finally, partaking in all after school activities. I will admit, there was a hint of apprehension in my mind, realizing that my ‘comfort zone’ would be altered as a result of this transition. I no longer would have the flexibility to leave work at a ridiculous hour to finish that one last deliverable, but instead, come home, roll up my sleeves and help with the daily household routine. Out of deep respect and admiration for my husband, I know the right thing to do is offer my unconditional support and allow him the opportunity to pursue a career of his own. There’s no question, he will face his own challenges as he enters the work force. Sadly, employers are not as forgiving with stay-at-home parents who’ve taken a hiatus to care for their children. No matter how well you explain your ‘sabbatical’ to a hiring manager, those gaps on a resume can be stifling. But, in the end, we will persevere and I will do everything in my power to help my husband reach his goals and find purpose and fulfillment in whatever he chooses to do…just as he did for me three years ago. That is a true partnership.
Stay-at-Home Dad: My wife, Sheila, has been more than supportive of my intentions to seeking re-entry into the workplace. It has been very rewarding to be so involved in my daughter’s life while not working for the last three years. I would do it all over again, however, if my wife wanted to switch roles, for whatever reason, I would do it in a heartbeat for her. Sheila is such a loving, compassionate and very hardworking person. She has all the qualities of an effective parent! Yes, I will have challenges finding an understanding employer to give me the opportunity to demonstrate all my attributes that I have learned from full-time parenting. With my wife’s continued support and my perseverance, I will make it work. This truly has been a test of my character and I love my family for it!