I was talking to a pal the other day and she was spewing venom. She’s a full-time working mom married to a stay-at-home dad of their 5 year-old girl. The minute Annie entered kindergarten, the questions started and would not stop: “Oh…now that Annie’s in school, is Chris going to get a job…finally?” “What’s he going to do with his time?” At first, my friend Sarah found herself scrambling to come up with an acceptable answer. Then, she used sarcasm as a crutch – “Oh yeah, tell me about it, we’ll see…hopefully he’ll DO something.” But then she got to thinking. Do working dads get asked the same questions about their wives who stay at home with their kids? Doubtful. Even though stay-at-home dads are much more common now, there’s still a double standards out there.
Then, Sarah got mad. Her friends knew that the couple has had financial trauma the past few years, but are now getting back on their feet. And Chris is still very committed to his ‘job’ as a stay-at-home dad. He picks up Annie from school and they either go to ballet or the park or come home and do homework. That is his role in their family, and Sarah really feels sick of being scrutinized.
Chris, on the other hand, could care less what anyone asks and just says “My job is raising my daughter and I take it very seriously.” (Now THAT attitude is something we all can take a lesson from.)
This story just amplifies the need for all of us to make the choices that are right for us, not compare ourselves to others, and make peace — really and truly — with these choices.
We can’t waste even one minute of our time worrying about what others think. It’s just not worth it.