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lepid0ptera asked, "Did you plan on Mark being a STAD before you were married? Would you ever have married a man focused on his career? If you had, would you both have continued to work full time?"

Thinking about being married to a driven career guy... that is tough. that is really some parallel universe spacefem idea there.

I kinda dated those guys, and was immediately bored with them. Maybe it's because there's a part of me inside that doesn't like how well I fit in to the corporate world. I want to be different. I imagine what it'd be like living by a river in the woods or as a missionary in some far-off country, then remember I'm really not good with that sort of thing. I like my crafts, but I couldn't sew for 40 hours a week. I can do this business/engineering/ airplane design thing for 40+ hours a week and I'm happy. But even with my happiness the world is too robotic and sterile sometimes, and if I came home to a man who wanted to talk about the latest Harvard Business Review with me, I'd barf.

I'm a bohemian hippie trapped in the body of a middle manager at a fortune 500 company.

So I don't think I would have married a career guy. But for the purposes of this entry let's say I had... I would still really flinch at sending a 6-week old baby to daycare, so my maternity leave would have been way longer, and that would be possible too since we'd have piles and piles of money (that's my fantasy world of what dual income looks like, lol). I had one friend from work who took a whole 12 weeks FMLA leave, then her husband took 12 weeks FMLA leave, so their baby wasn't in daycare for 5 months! Awesome idea. Plus it really set the stage for each of them to be equally competent in the world of parenting, because they'd both experienced plenty of "it's all you" time in the beginning.

Or maybe I would have taken time off from work, and just found great things to do. I would have to have the kid in some kind of childcare part time, like marc does. He send Olive to three different church groups throughout the week so he can attend to his software contracts. Maybe I'd be like that, with my own business.

I just know I always looked at the guys at work around me when I was 23 who had kids, and the ones with spouses at homes, their lives just seemed so nice. Someone to get the groceries, take kids to the doctor, pick them up from school and stay home if a kid is sick. These guys really seemed to take their wives for granted and I thought no that's a HUGE deal and I want a way to have that too. I'm not sure Marc planned it as much, he's not a big planner, and we didn't really talk about it, but it was in my head long before I met Marc. Maybe it subtly added to the attraction too... the fact that he not only didn't have the career prospects I did, but was okay with it, wasn't going to push to be just like me, you'd be surprised how many guys I dated could not be chill about that (or maybe you wouldn't, the world being what it is today).

I just really didn't want that life where two people are arm wrestling over who's going to leave work early today to pick up the kid. It was a running theme at SWE conventions too, when women told their stories... the high achieving women all thanked their husbands for making sacrifices, throttling back, being flexible, moving around. Maybe we wouldn't have even had kids if Marc had a career similar to mine. Just sat around with our piles of money. Making the world a better place, sure, attending swanky high-society fundraisers and bidding on helicopter rides at silent auctions?

Maybe it could have worked out.

I'll close with this quote by Philip Tetlock that I heard on a Freakonomics podcast...

"Our lives are nothing but a quite improbable series of coincidences. Many people find that a somewhat demoralizing philosophy of life. They prefer to think that their lives have deeper meaning. They don’t like to think that the person to whom they’re married, they could have just as easily have wound up happy with 237,000 other people."

Boo Philip Tetlock, see this is why people get mad at scientists, crass statements like that! It was only Marc for me.

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( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 17th, 2016 09:14 pm (UTC)
I would love for my husband to stay home with the kids. I'm a type of person that simply has to work. I have to make money myself. Our childcare is $800/month. If he was home we wouldn't have to pay that. How nice that would be! Of course, he's career driven too so we can't have that. lol. I suppose I could stay home but he doesn't make enough to support us.
May. 17th, 2016 10:40 pm (UTC)
Interesting question and I really like your thought out answer. Something to ponder at least.

I think that I've also got lucky that my Boy's dream is to be a stay at home guy, we just don't have the income to do that. But maybe someday!
May. 17th, 2016 11:47 pm (UTC)
I didn't realize your husband was a SAHD! Mine is as well, and I feel very similarly to you. It feels like a huge gift to be able to live on one income, even if we live modestly, because I LOVE that my son is home with dad, that they have a close relationship, that it adds so much flexibility to my life, that I don't have to feel bad about not doing exactly 50% (or more) of the housework, etc, etc.

It works out really well for us, at least right now. I hope we are able to afford to send the kiddo to at least part time preschool in a few years for a number of reasons, but for now, it's really awesome.
May. 18th, 2016 06:58 am (UTC)
My partner and I both work, but I also was able to stay home full time with my kid for a full 12 months. My middle-management job in the tech sector lets me telecommute from wherever and work flexible hours, so I ended up working part time for the year and doing most of my work between the hours of 9pm and 2am. Neither of us had any paid time off when our son was born, but his birth matched perfectly with the end of my wife-the-teacher's school year and the end of my graduate education, so we were home together for the first two and a half months of newborn craziness. It's been a hectic year, but I feel incredibly lucky to not have had to send him daycare at 6 weeks old.

Sometimes I think it would be nice to have a stay-at-home partner because, like you, I am driven and happy to be working. I think I would want a whole boatload of kids if I didn't have to worry about childcare and/or career sacrifices. Balancing careers and kids and everything else is tough (but so is balancing budgets on one salary!).
May. 18th, 2016 11:08 am (UTC)
I feel like I have the best of all worlds. My husband works from home but our daughter is in full-time nursery (partly subsidized because it's via the university I work at). This means he can take care of household chores, be home to accept grocery deliveries, cook, etc., and since he has a more flexible sick leave policy than I do (when I gotta teach, I gotta teach), he's the default parent for taking care of Gwen if she's sick. But my job has enough flexibility that if he's got a deadline coming up and cannot take her, I can, even if it means she joins me for seminar and spends 1.5 hours at my computer watching Thomas the Tank Engine on youtube and giving us a running commentary... :)

So I have a stay at home husband even if not a stay at home dad, and it's an arrangement that has worked really really well for us the last 4.t years.
May. 18th, 2016 04:19 pm (UTC)
I love having a stay at home dad, but we're having a bit of a challenge transitioning with all the kids in preschool/elementary now. Nathan needs to find his way and things for him to do, and it's a challenge because he isn't driven and has a tough time imposing a schedule on himself. Still, I absolutely could not have the kind of career I do without having a husband who was willing to be flexible about his career and career ambitions. I really hope that I never give him cause to regret the choice, though.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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