After 9 years of me being the “primary caregiver”, hubby and I are now swapping roles! It’s definitely a new beginning and a new chapter for us.
A year ago we set the goal of my business (Go to Girl Social Media & Networking) making enough money to enable Matt to resign from his job before our third child started school. Our incentive was so that he can spend more time with the kids and to allow him time to follow his own business dreams.
Now it’s actually happened! Well we just squeaked in (with Matt having his last day of work the day the kids started school holidays) but at least we’ve got to have him home all summer! And any mum juggling kids over the school holidays knows how precious it is to have dad around to help and enjoy during the 6-week break.
I’ve always loved the concept of ‘lifestyle design’ whereby you create that ‘dream board’ or vision of how you want things to be and then tweak things in your life to make those things and experiences actually happen.
And of course, as we go along the parenting journey, what we “want” actually changes. For me, when our three kids were younger, I had no interest in working full-time and Matt had no interest in being a home-dad. Now, I feel like I’m ready, but still on my own terms. Being my own boss, I get to decide how many hours I’m working and when, which means school assembly, hip-hop practice and everything else is still do-able. Only now I’m getting more help to “juggle the motherload”.
I think part of the tricky thing is as parents we’re often so busy being busy that we don’t make the time to step back and have a look at what we would like things to look like. We’re so busy tagging in and out with the kids and updating each other on the schedule that we sometimes forget what we actually LOVE to do and how we would like things to be.
In my book If Only They’d Told Me we have a few activities that help with that, one of them being the concept of having a “Love Budget” whereby you literally set up a separate account (or glass jar) and every week you put money into it, that goes towards a regular date night or annual weekend-away. And because the money is sitting there, the “we-can’t-afford-it” becomes less of an objection.
Now with 2016 underway, if you haven’t already, I invite (or challenge) you to have a chat as a couple about how you’d love things to be and then taking the action-steps to making them happen. It’s amazing how sometimes just saying something out loud and setting the intention can get the ball rolling. Remember, the “perfect time” doesn’t exist, so yes, you need to plan for things but sometimes it’s a case of taking action and enjoying the journey.
If anyone else has experience around “swapping roles” or having dad as “house husband” then I would love to hear from you about what works and what doesn’t. For now, we’re just finding our own way.