A few weeks ago Toby announced that “Boys stay at home, while girls go to work”. At first I was surprised at this statement. Then he explained “Well Daddy, Pa, and Me are boys and we stay at home. You, and Hannah, and Meg, and Nana are girls and you all go to school (my MIL works at the girls school).”
We all had a bit of a laugh because in Toby’s world (if not everywhere else) this is just how it is. Country Boy, and his father both work on the farm, and while they both work incredibly hard, I don’t think Toby really considers it work because he is with them and having fun.
Even before we moved back to the farm, Country Boy was the stay at home parent, while I worked outside the home.
There is no great agenda behind why we do what we do. We knew we wanted some one to be at home with the kids, at least while they were little. Being a teacher, my hours are family friendly, and the pay is relatively good. Country Boy used to work for a large production nursery where he worked long hours (in the Spring I rarely saw him), and a lot of weekends. On top of that he earned a lot less than I did. Me being the one in paid work was really a no brainer for us, even if it did cause a few raised eyebrows among our acquaintances when we first announced our plans.
Nine years later, it still works. Country Boy loves being at home and fits any farm work around the needs of our family. I still (mostly) enjoy working, though I some times wish I could work part time only.
What I want my kids to learn from our decisions is not that boys do one thing, and girls do another or that mum and dad are a bit rebellious (ha – as if) or unusual. I want them to know that both their parents love each other, and them, and we have made choices that are the best for our family. I want them to know that we both work hard, whether it be paid or otherwise, for the benefit of our whole family. Neither of us could do what we do without the support of the other, and that what works for us, doesn’t necessarily work for other families.
So after we finished laughing, that is what I told them.