Sometimes I feel like I’ve been put on this earth just to prove that there’s no cookie cutter shape that everyone fits into.
When my family joined the church when I was about 11 years old, we were different. We stood out, for more than one reason. For one, we looked different. We were the only black members in that ward… probably one of —if not THE only active family in the stake. But it wasn’t just that. My dad worked, and my mom worked. Two working parents wasn’t a total anomaly, but it did make for some awkward feelings whenever the topic of mothers being at home with their kids came up.
I never felt bad about the fact that my mom worked outside the home. In fact, I learned to appreciate it, and see that families work in many different ways. As I grew older, I made it a goal to work hard, to expand upon my education and build a good career. I too wanted to be a working mom.
Whenever I would listen to a lesson about the Family Proclamation, or womanly duties, I'd feel a smug emotion swirling through my bones. I didn’t know why MY primary focus HAD to be on the nurturing of my children. Why wasn't that a joint effort?
I broke a promise to myself when I met and married my husband before I was 25. I was off by nearly 7 years. I did, however, want to wait to have children - 5 years, despite nabs from friends and family that having children was a part of “the plan.” Yeah well, children now or five years from now didn’t seem too big of a difference compared to an eternity and it wasn’t their business anyway.
When five years of marriage approached we realized we had a problem. It wasn't a huge one, by any means, but it was a conflict nonetheless. My husband had been laid off. I had a stable career and great benefits. Given our circumstances, could I give them up to expand our family?
We could wait another year or two and see what situation we were in then, or we could take a leap of faith, and pray everything would work out right for our family.
Now, I’m six months pregnant with our first daughter and more excited than ever to be a mother. I won’t be able to be a stay-at-home mom, at least not for the first while, but my husband will be home with our daughter.
I know it’s backwards from what is perceived as the “normal picture” of a family, but it’s what works for us. I think it’s a blessing that even one of us will be able to be home with our little girl, and I look forward to the time when it will be my turn.
Sometimes I think society makes stay at home fathers seem like lazy men without jobs, but I disagree. Just like moms who stay at home and have tasks to complete, so do stay-at-home fathers.
I think I’ve done the dishes between three and five times in our marriage, and the laundry less than that. We are a little different than the “poster” family, but I think that’s ok. Because you know what? It works for us!
Jennifer, also known as Future Mama, started as a wanna be mom blogger rambling about pre-mommyhood on her blog BabyMakingMachine. September 2009 she decided to make it official, turn the machine on, and she now has a baby on the way. She graduated from BYU and she now works as a journalist in Texas and lives with her husband of five years and their dog Snoop.