We have a one income family. That means that right now, James is working at a job outside the home, and I am staying at home to raise our children. There are many, many reasons we have chosen this course for our family. There are benefits and downfalls which we weighed in making our decision. None of the reasons had anything to do specifically with a "career" but were instead about "providing": we have a vision of what kind of life we provide to our children, and our decision reflects those desires.
I have to say that the following two reasons have come to light more recently through some readings, and neither were ones that I had considered before. They are more about how what the other person is doing benefits me. Usually my arguments are about what I am doing and why it is good for my children. But I hadn't considered how what I am doing is good for my husband (and vice versa.) The benefits of his job, for me, and my job for him.
My husband's primary focus is providing financially for our family. That means most of his days are spent out of our home, running his business. He is responsible for having a job, keeping that job, and providing for our family the necessities of our physical lives: shelter, food, clothing. We are blessed to also have a bit of an abundance that also allows for some wants. Because of my job (staying at home) he is able to focus his attention on his. If the kids are sick, I am home. He doesn't have to worry about getting time off work, rushing back from the city to pick someone up from school, or even exposing himself to the illness and risk getting sick himself. When he comes home from work, he doesn't face more hours of house work, meal prep, cleaning, tidying. Those hours he was at his job, I was at work keeping things in order at home. While we do work as a team once he gets in, he doesn't have to worry that we are both pulling in at 6pm and still have to face laundry and dinner and homework. If we need to schedule a repair person, he doesn't need to be home "between the hours of 12pm and 6pm" waiting. Part of my job is that I'm already here. Because of my job at home, he can rest assured that things are running relatively smoothly, the details are taken care of, and he can focus his attention entirely on his work.
My primary focus is providing a home setting for our family. I take care of the daily house work, the shopping, the cleaning, the cooking. I take care of getting the kids ready and out the door, helping with homework, and general instruction in helping the kids learn and grow at home. Because of my husband's job (providing financially) I can focus my attention on our children. If one of them is sick, I can be the nurse. If one of them has a hard day, I can sit and listen without the cloud of outside work hanging over me. My husband's job gives me the gift of time. If I need to think clearly and ponder over an issue with a child, I can take the time. If I need to spend some extra one-on-one time teaching a specific principle, moral or lesson to a child, I can take the time. If we need to celebrate a child "just because" or attend a school concert or provide support for a daytime event, I can do it without any hassle. As a mother, my primary role is to nurture my family, and nurturing takes unclouded time. Because of my husband's job in providing financially, I can focus on the nurturing of my family.
Family dynamics are different in every house you enter, and how mothers and fathers are providing for their children changes from family to family, and even from year to year within the same family. I'm so grateful that we are able to have the kind of setup we desire. I'm appreciating it a little more today.