I ran across one of those quotes a few years ago, the kind that just sticks with you. It was next to the image of a woman and her daughter and said, “Normal?! Don’t worry, honey, that’s just a setting on the dryer.” If there’s one thing I’ve discovered over the last several years, especially since becoming a parent myself, it’s that families come in all different sizes and structures and it’s okay to be the “non-traditional family”. This morning, here on the blog, one of our iFamilyKC Mom Squad team members, Stephanie, is sharing her family’s journey with us. Take a look…
It’s Okay To Be The Non-Traditional Family
This week’s blog post topic is more personal in nature but it something I want to share with you all in case it’s something you have thought about! I think in order to fully understand everything I need to start at the beginning.
My husband and I met in college and have been together ever since. We’ve always agreed that we both wanted a big family with lots of kids but had never really sat down and thought about the specifics…you know, the expensive childcare, numerous activities the kids would be involved in, the list goes on and on.
My husband has always worked for a company that has offered great insurance/benefits but would work very long hours. I can’t tell you how many family activities, soccer games, etc. that he has missed because of his crazy work schedule. However, because of his work schedule, I’ve always been able to do what I wanted! I’ve done the whole stay at home mom bit. I’ve worked part time so I could be home with the kids more, and I’ve been a full time student – all because of his hard work and dedication.
Now that I’ve gotten into a career that allows me to properly provide for my family, we finally had the talk about making some major family changes. For those who don’t know, I’m a registered nurse and I work night shifts. Working long 12+ hour nights and racing home to relieve the babysitter from our 4 children (all under the age of 6) is exhausting! There were many days I would come home exhausted from work only to get a couple hours of sleep just to wake up and take care of the kids all day and return to work that night to take care of very sick patients. Needless to say, no one was getting me at 100% and I wasn’t happy.
When I first started nursing school a few years ago, we decided my husband would be a stay at home dad once I became a nurse. Well, during my time in nursing school and our family living on one income, we racked up some debt and we just couldn’t afford to have a stay at home parent. Now that it’s been a few years and we’ve worked really hard to pay off debt, we’re finally in a place where we can go back to our original plan of having my husband be a stay at home dad.
When people ask what my husband does and I say he is a stay at home dad, I’ll admit I get “the look” and the “you don’t think that will actually last, do you?” Yes, yes I do! We’ve worked really hard to make this happen and we couldn’t be happier! We’ve had to make some changes with the way we save and spend money, but these changes have made our family much happier!
Don’t get me wrong, there are some drawbacks – some we knew would happen and others we didn’t anticipate. The major issue we had to work with was that we would no longer be covered by his insurance. We’ve had to research different insurance companies and find an alternative to employer-provided insurance. We’ve also had to cut back on our eating out. We still go out and have fun, just not as often. A personal issue is that I struggle with wanting to stay awake to spend time with just my husband while the kids are at school/day care when I know I should be sleeping to prepare for my night shifts. These things will take time to get used to but it’s nothing we can’t handle!
What I’m getting at is that every family is different. What works for one family may not work for another – and that’s ok!! I’ve learned there is no such thing as “normal” anymore. Growing up, I thought everyone had happy, mom-dad, two parent homes where both parents worked 9-5 jobs. While that may work for some families… that would not work for us at all!!
So, if you’ve been thinking about making some major family changes, I recommend doing some research about the pros and cons of the change as well as having a serious heart-to-heart with your family. Being honest has been the only way we’ve gotten through this change and it will continue to be the best way to ensure my family is happy and everything is working how it should.
From iFamily to Yours,