So now you know our big secret, that we kind of* subscribe to an Equally Shared Parenting method of life, work and family. Last time I talked about how we aren't so big on traditional gender roles (though I've recently taken on more cooking responsibilities, which has resulted in, shall we say, a minor existential crisis), but today I want to talk about how we parent the brilliant little people.
*I say "kind of" because we're still learning and growing and I'm not meaning this as a specific endorsement of ESP
Real men pre-soak cloth nappies
When our second child was 6 months old, Matt resigned his job to raise support full-time and I began a part-time job till we left for the field. This meant Matt was (mostly) home full-time, I was away from home part-time, and we began to experiment with equally sharing parenting duties. For instance, when I was at work, Matt fed the baby and took Jack to preschool. When Matt made calls or had meetings, those duties became mine.
Starting back then and throughout our time in Ireland until now, we've been living, working and parenting this way. There are sacrifices, obviously, as we didn't go into church work for the money and knew our lifestyle might look, again, weird. But the benefits outweigh the weirdness.
Because we were based at home while both working flexible, complementary schedules outside of the home, we both could be at Christmas plays, trade off school parties, and take turns getting up in the night. We shared the child-caring, disciplining, cooking, cleaning, and carpooling. There are times when we spend equal amounts of time alone with the kiddos, but also times when he is gone for a full week and it's just me. One other fantastic perk: we almost never have to take all three grocery shopping! That alone is worth the sacrifice!
Like I said before, today it looks different than it did this time last year, or the year before that. (Actually, we are currently transitioning into a slightly more traditional arrangement - me home mostly and matt out and about working, networking & support raising... this in itself will become it's own blog post soon enough!) It's a tricky thing, to be sure, but both being there for our kids on a nearly full-time basis is blessing of a thing that being in ministry has afforded us.
If you're a parent, where do you find yourself now? Are you struggling in managing all your duties? Or are you thriving in finding an approach that suits you and your family? I would really love to hear about it!
(hope you enjoy all these matt photos... i'm usually always the one with the camera... and he's just a super awesome dad)