Dad Gets the Groceries: Becoming a Dual Income Family
In February Hillary picked up a part-time position at our our daughters’ elementary school as a paraprofessional. Neither of us knew it at the time, but this change to a dual income family has changed our marriage and family life in some significant ways.
At the beginning Hillary only worked about one hour a day helping a teacher with iPads in the classroom. With testing and other needs in the school, Hillary quickly started to work more hours. For the past month she has been at school for six hours a day. Before working outside the home, Hillary managed our finances, shopped for our groceries and many other responsibilities around the house.
Now that she works during the day, many of those responsibilities have changed. She no longer has time to get it all done while balancing work and home life. Through the last few months we’ve learned a couple of things about surviving in a dual income family and I think it has actually been a good thing for our marriage and family life.
Here’s an eye into what we’ve learned and are continuing to learn:
Communicate, Communicate, Then Communicate Some More
For this to work Hillary and I both need to communicate honestly about our roles and responsibilities and how the changes have impacted us personally. This is easier said than done when we both have a long day and just want to veg in front of the TV and watch Duck Dynasty. But to thrive and not just survive, we need to communicate daily about our struggles and what needs to be done.
I shopped for the family groceries for the first time since our kids were born. Stay at home dads you can laugh at me now. Hillary gave me the list and I pulled it off and just forgot to get Wheat Thins. This was a huge step for Hillary to hand over the grocery list. It was hard for her to give up control of the list. When our girls were sick I was the one who stayed home so Hillary could work. To make this work, we had to take a look at the family responsibilities and see who could accomplish it even if it meant that I bought the weekly groceries.
No Lazy Dad
It is easy to come home and just let Hillary take care of the girls. Hey, I work all day and deserved to rest. There is so much wrong with this scenario. Honestly, it is just plain selfish if I buy into these ideas. And now that Hillary works with kids all day at school, there definitely isn’t any room for me to just sit back and be the lazy dad. Hillary deserves to rest and get a break. It truly needs to be a partnership at night until the girls go to bed.
Last fall Hillary was struggling to find her purpose and connection to what I was doing in Edgewater. But now that she is working at the school and investing in neighborhood kids, she is finding her purpose. Though it is hard to work with kids all day, she is finding fulfillment in her work and is excelling in her role. In just two months she is known for her encouraging spirit and excellence in the classroom. We are truly a team now in reaching out to the kids in our neighborhood.
After two months as a dual income family, we definitely haven’t arrived in figuring this all out. But as we communicate and change our roles and responsibilities, our marriage and family life is better for it.