One of the first questions we are asked when I say that I'm working full-time is: "Who's taking care of the kids?" Logical question yet I think it's worth reflecting on why people only ask that question to moms and not dads.
SPIRITUAL/PHILOSOPHICAL ANSWER :: Since we've been married nearly 10 years, we've had endless conversations about our families of origin, our desired family model, studying biblical imperatives and stories, interviewing countless families on their work/family practices, and sacrifices we're willing to make. So, when we decided that I would continue working full-time there was a lot of thought that went into our family's philosophy. Here are some thoughts about childcare particularly.
- I'm willing to go part-time if we see that our kids need it and I'm overly struggling with work-parenting juggling act.
- Child-rearing is not the primary responsibility of the mother. We both carry this primary responsibility and believe we have equal calling from God to nurture and raise our children. [More about this in a future co-parenting post]
- We would not do a day care center for a bunch of reasons.
- We would only have childcare workers who share our vision for our family and would reinforce our values.
- We passionately believe that it takes a village to raise a child, so we actually WANT for additional voices, hands, and hearts caring for our children. We want for them to experience God and the world through others.
- We need help as parents. We both make better parents when we have breaks, different kinds of work, and others supporting our parenting. This job is way too important and difficult to do in a bubble.
PRACTICAL ANSWER ::
- Sundays are Daddy Days! While I'm working at church, Brian's taking that as a full day with the kiddos.
- 7 hours/week [Tuesday and Wednesday mornings] our kids are in our church's childcare. I LOVE this. My kids are playing down the hall from my office with my friends'/co-workers' kids in a safe environment, and they are cared for by women who love Jesus. To me it's a win-win.
- Brian's working part-time [approx. 25 hours/week], and his work hours are very, very flexible and he works almost exclusively from home.
- My work hours are also very flexible, with the exception of Sundays and some regular meetings. I can go into the office, meet with people, and work from home when I need to. I'm not confined to 9a-5p office hours.
- The rest of the week we figure out. Yes, it's a little chaotic and challenging at times, but it's a tension that we choose to live in.
Granted, this juggling takes a lot of communication and flexibility from Brian and I, too, but it's worth it. We love this work/parenting flow. It's worth acknowledging that this works for us because our work schedules are so flexible and our employers [both Christian organizations] value family.
What works for you? We have found this rhythm because of examples from others. I'd LOVE to hear so we can learn how to do this even better. After all, we are only 2 weeks into this new gig.
Here's a couple pics from last week when I brought my kids to work for a couple hours and they played in our church's infant room. It can work!
He graciously obliged. No wonder they are the sizes they are!