Our Hopes – Part 2
Justin: Last week Sara shared what she hopes to obtain by staying home. Therefore, I thought I would reflect on how I hope our family benefits from Sara’s giving up work to be a full-time mom.
First, I hope that staying home will reduce Sara’s stress level. It is difficult for me to see Sara so exhausted almost every night. Her daily routine of getting up at about 5:00 am, commuting an hour each way to work, then coming home to meet all of Gus’s demands leaves her falling asleep on the couch as she feeds Gus most nights.
I hope that we both have more energy and that it improves our communication. Not only does Sara’s commute leave her exhausted each day, but it leaves many extra duties for me. By the time we both go to work and complete our chores at home, we seem to have very little energy left for one another. It becomes very easy to simply watch TV in order to zone out, rather than expend the energy to inquire about the other person’s day. We used to spend time each night talking when we went to bed. Now we both crawl into bed and pass out. It also becomes very easy to be short with one another and to lack patience. I hope we will have more energy to invest in one another and that we will spend more time each evening talking and more time playing with Gus.
My favorite part of having Sara home when she was on maternity leave was getting off work. I could not wait to get home each day. It was exhilarating to know that my wife and my son would be the ones waiting for me and to be greeted with a kiss. It was the highlight of my day. Obviously I still look forward to getting off work each day, but there is also the sense that I am going home to try to hold down the fort until Sara gets home. I am looking forward to coming home to my wife each night.
Most importantly, I hope that Sara’s presence brings a sense of harmony to the house. Right now the work week is like a five day marathon from which we try to recover during the weekend. If staying home helps Sara to have more balance, I know it will also bring balance to our home. Rather than both trying to wear every hat (provider, care-giver, cook, etc.), we will be able to work as a unit, each focusing on the strengths we bring to family life.
Ultimately, the decision is about allowing both of us to derive more joy from our family life. We are making an investment in family life and simplifying our lives in many respects so that we might engage one another and Gus more completely.