Saturday, October 1, 2011

Living the Dream

So much has happened in the past few months since I last blogged.  Last summer, when I took a hiatus from writing, I came back announcing I was pregnant.

Well, this year . . . I'm not pregnant.

And I'm still fully employed. 

In fact, not only did I return to my full time job, but I also signed up as a stylist for Stella & Dot. I'm having so much fun selling this fabulous line of jewelry and handbags.  You can check out my online store at http://www.stelladot.com/stephatkins

Before you think I'm a complete slacker, I did guest blog for Grace at Sense and Simplicity once. You can read it here (there's even a video of Noah).

But why haven't I blogged regularly? For one, I've been stressed out and busy! For two, every moment I'm not working or having a trunk show for Stella & Dot, I'm spending time with my children.

But recently, a decision in our family has put my mind at ease and allowed for less stress.

Jason and I have decided that Jason would become a stay at home dad.

Yes, you read that right - Jason left his office job at Cornell, where he worked for 12 years, to stay home full time with Noah and Imani.

I couldn't be more thrilled.


Before you think I'm making gobs of money in my full time sales job, let me just tell you that this decision will force us to follow a budget -- something we started doing with this year's New Year's Resolution, but something we had the luxury of breaking when we really wanted to make a big purchase.

It's requiring some sacrifices like selling Jason's shiny, big pick up truck and cutting back on Direct TV.

When we've told people of our decision, we've received a variety of reactions. Some guys have told Jason that they're jealous -- that they'd love to stay home and have their wives provide financially for their families.  Others have questioned our decision and Jason's manhood.

Even some women who I've told have said it's "crazy" and they couldn't imagine their husbands staying at home.  When we've explained that the cost of daycare for two children makes Jason's take home pay seem meager, it doesn't matter.  For some, working for a paycheck -- no matter how small -- defines you.

These reactions always trouble me.  I can't believe we, as a society, value money more than we value our children.  What job is more important than raising a good, kind, healthy human being? 

And what have we been smoking to believe it's healthier to send our kids off to daycare to be raised by a stranger so we can make a small salary just to say that we work?

Don't get me wrong. I completely understand the need for daycare for many families. I've been there. As a single mom with Imani, I didn't have a choice but to send her to daycare while I worked.  And I understand that for some families, both parents must work to make ends meet.

 I get it.

But I have been utterly shocked by the response in saying my husband is staying home. I know if it had been I who had chosen to stay home, the response from many would have been different. 

To be honest, when I was pregnant and the topic of Jason staying home came up, I was adamantly opposed. "'It would be terrible for our marriage" I'd tell people flatly.  I thought I'd be jealous.

But when Jason took his four week's of paternity leave, I left the house each day happy, confident and focused on my work. I didn't worry about Imani and Noah because I knew they were in loving hands.  When I came home each day, the kids were happy -- Imani had adventures to tell me about and Noah's smile told my heart his day was good.




What's more . . . my house was spotless (have I mentioned Jason has OCD?), the laundry was done and each day I would walk in to the aroma of dinner on the table.
All I had to focus on was spending time with my children.

Did you know that there were roughly 158,000 stay at home dads in the US in 2010 compared to 5.3 million stay at home moms?  The trend for stay at home dads is growing though.  Fortune Magazine reported that over a third of its “50 Most Powerful Women in Business” had a stay-at-home spouse.

I'm blessed to have a husband who is man enough not to measure his worth by his paycheck and who is confident enough to break societal norms to do what we feel is right for our family. 
I'm also blessed to have a job that pays well that I actually enjoy (most of the time) .
Jason has mentioned his desire to contribute financially in some way.  I've suggested he start his own blog on being a stay at home dad but he didn't seem interested.

I've urged him to become a regular writer for Decorating Addiction, but still no response there.

He might pursue artwork (since that's what he went to school for), but he's not sure.

He could always flip houses, or help others with their renovations.

But for now, I'm happy with him just playing 500 Rummy with Imani and changing Noah's diapers.

And don't forget - the man can practically make up his salary in his weekly coupon savings. 
My next blog post might be about how we built an addition on our house out of boxes of toothpaste.

Did you think the couponing had slowed because a baby was born? 
Think again . . . he's only gotten better at his skill!  Yes, this sexy man still holds the title of the Coupon Cowboy.  How lucky am I?



So yeah, we're living the dream -- but this dream isn't about how much money we're making.

We're sacrificing a pick up truck in exchange for not missing out on Noah's first steps.



I might not be able to buy a new pair of heels in two different colors so that Imani can ride the bus home and complete homework in her own house with a dad who cares rather than at an after school program with 50 other kids.  She gets to spend time with her baby brother too.





I have a feeling none of us will ever regret it.



7 comments:

  1. Great to see an update from you! I think it's awesome he's going to be staying home. It's not about daycare or no daycare or how much we make or who does what. It's about being a team, a team to raise these kids in as healthy and happy a way as possible. I have a lot of respect for both of you for making this decision. While both my husband and I have always worked, we have equally shared in who stayed home when our son was sick or had a doctor's appointment or whatever. He has taken off just as much as I have; equal. We're a team. Good luck to you guys and happy couponing!

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  2. I am so thrilled for you all! It's so freeing to make decisions based on what's right for your family vs. what can we afford isn't it? Good for you and Jason!

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  3. Fantastic post , thankyou for sharing & saying what you think !

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  4. Glad to hear from you, and Congratulations! on your decision to have Jason stay at home. It's wonderful when a whole family benefits from decisions that are made with both clear-headedness and heart.

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  5. Congratulations on your decision. I know how tough it can be but WELL worth it.

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  6. I missed this post, but want to commend you for having your husband stay home with the kids. My brother-in-law did it and it worked out so well. He was actually better suited to some of the tedium of taking care of little kids. I think it is a great option and so good for the kids to have someone at home with them. What a great role model he is providing.

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  7. Wow, just found your blog thru Decorchick. This post should be published somewhere, because I'm pretty sure that you are not the only family going thru this. I've seen it on tv. And read on the paper, but I have also seen it with my own two eyes. There is nothing better for a child to have a parent home, and yes, I understand that sometimes that is not possible, but if you can, you should! You can never have those years back, and kids grow up so fast. Kiddos to your husband for taking such a big responsibility, you are a lucky gal.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to visit and comment! I truly appreciate your feedback.

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