Dan and I value country life. We also value having a large family and growing up around animals and gardens. We feel that all these things add to a child’s growing up years and teach them responsibility, hard work, life skills, appreciation for where their food comes from, and many other lessons that I haven’t mentioned. In order to accomplish all these things, Dan and I realize that one of us will have to stay home, especially while the kids are younger until they’re of school age. While we were discussing who would be doing that and Dan quickly volunteered. He very practically pointed out that I have a higher earning potential as Physician Assistant and cheerfully commented that he could do what he always wanted—build our home and have his own cabinetry and furniture making business. If he worked part-time from home, he could make his own schedule around taking care of our children and our farm.
When I was talking about this with some of my classmates, sharing our dreams and excitement, the look on their face obviously showed that there was a lack of respect for our decision and a snide comment was made. Let me tell you that this was not the response I was expecting and my feathers were quickly getting ruffled! I was somewhat upset about the incidence and talked to Dan about it later that evening. He reassured me that he was very comfortable with our decision and didn’t feel that his manhood was threatened. In fact, since he was taking care of our farm he jokingly commented that he would be the one “bringing home the bacon” and “putting food on the table,” literally!
What bothers me so much is the double standard in society. If a woman wants to do the “non-traditional” thing and have a career, everyone is so supportive and it’s a near rally call for equality and justice. If a man decides that he wants to do the “non-traditional” thing and be a full-time dad, he’s looked on with disdain and skepticism. Though, if you look through history, many fathers did exactly what Dan wants to do. Most farming families had fathers who worked from home and spent all day teaching their children how to work and run a farm—think of Charles Ingalls, for example.
I’m so proud of Dan. He knows exactly who he is and always surprises me with how little he’s affected by cultural norms. Instead, he makes the choices that will be best for us, not ones that are most in-step with what society might try to dictate.