Back when my wife and I were dating (which, increasingly, seems like way back) we had a point of tension which very nearly derailed our relationship. Kyna was coming from a background where her every expectation was that she would have a full-time career and was moving in that direction with her plans. I was coming from a background where the expectation was that a mom’s primary responsibility was to be at home with her kids and that, while not a Biblical mandate, this was certainly the expected norm.
This difference in expectations obviously loomed large as we considered a future together.
In the end, of course, I was right. I mean, that’s how I remember it. Clearly, we decided…wait, what’s the title of this blog? This Dad at Home? Hmmmm.
In truth, Kyna did submit to my strong feelings on the issue; we did get married; we did come to agreement on the vital importance of having a stay-at-home parent and have no issues with Biblical roles in the family. Then the Lord, in his wisdom and perhaps His good humor, led our family to a place where we have a stay-at-home dad rather than a stay-at-home mom.
So here we are. This flip-flop of our expectations (and I think it’s safe to say that her original expectations for what her husband would be doing were flipped just as much as my expectations for a stay-at-home wife) has led to some really great things for our family in many ways we might not have expected. But that’s not what I wanted to write about in this post. What I wanted to write about were some of the interesting and comical situations that can arise from being a stay-at-home, homeschooling dad in a community of primarily stay-at-home, homeschooling moms.
- There has been a learning curve in our homeschool co-ops for anyone addressing the group. Inevitably and frequently, sentences will begin like this: “As homeschool moms, we all know….” and then they see me sitting there with my kids and stutter and backtrack and everyone gets a good laugh. Next time, it’s more like, “As homeschool moms…and dads, we all know….” Everyone still gets a laugh and somehow the humor continues every time the mistake is made. Which is frequently.
- Sometimes, homeschool moms, desperate for a night out away from their kids, will plan outings. You know: organic hummus, crocheting, chick-flicks, sharing pregnancy stories… to be honest, I’m not actually sure what they do. While I’ve been lumped into these invitation emails at least once, somehow I think they’ve learned to mercifully exclude me. Everyone’s much happier that way.
- Speaking of pregnancy stories. I’ve heard a lot of them. I don’t have much to contribute except to say that my experience wasn’t really that bad.
- Now that I think about it, the pregnancy conversation has a similar parallel with my guy friends. They’ve all got these stories about their jobs: coworkers, expectations, travel, complicated buisnessy words and concepts that I have no idea about, etc. I don’t have much to contribute on this front. My coworker is my wife, I only have to travel to the grocery store, there’s not too much complicated lingo to accompany “cook dinner” and “teach addition,” and expectations are pretty low (I’m just a dad after all; not a real mom). Sometimes my “employees” are not nearly as obedient as I’d like them to be, but I can wear sweat pants and a T-shirt all day long if I want. It doesn’t get much better than that.
- Here’s a perk you might not think of: Lines for the bathrooms, at homeschool conferences and the like, are way shorter for me. Oh, and this last summer, when all the other teachers for our cottage school had to share hotel rooms, I got one all to myself.
I’m sure more of these ideas will strike me at some point, and maybe I’ll add them to the “official” list. To be fair, the moms I’ve been surrounded by in this homeschool adventure have always been more than gracious and forgiving of my intrusive maleness. I think they’ve even appreciated it. And though it was certainly not my plan all those years ago, I really appreciate where the Lord has led my family.
Even if I do get called a “mom” in a lot of emails.