Friday, 2 September 2016

ROLE MODELS


One of the reasons we moved to the country was because we wanted to slow down our lives a little. And we both wanted to be more present in the children's lives. We had always made it a priority to not work long hours in our jobs but as we came to appreciate how fast time flies when they are little (and I'm sure at every other stage too!), we decided to rethink our living arrangements. 

It is a common experience amongst our friends in the city that one parent is either the breadwinner and works long hours - leaving the house at 7am and not returning until after dinner - or both parents have to work and the children are in daycare and/or school and before and after school care. And that is not a judgement but an everyday reality for many people. It's often what is necessary to live in the city - mortgages and rents are high, and so is the cost of living.

A few years before we moved to the country my husband sold his manufacturing business and after working out his contract, he technically became the primary carer for the children. But, in reality, it is a responsibility that we both share. Some days I go to the city to do a photo shoot, or even travel interstate, and other days I have deadlines and need to write. But my work is mostly flexible. This means I can write in the evenings, or when the children are at school and preschool. And so once everyone is home, I close the laptop and focus on family activities - even if that's attending to the laundry or making dinner.

But my husband plays a big role in our day-to-day lives. He always has. Often he plans our weekly meals, does the grocery shopping, cooks dinner and vacuums the house. And even when he was working and running his own business with many employees, he still did a lot of these tasks. We both did. Because then I was working too - first at a publishing company in the city, and then as a freelance writer and stylist. As much as possible we share our familial responsibilities. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

I have always felt strongly that there are no "male" and "female" tasks. There are just tasks. Some people do some better than others due to experience and some natural ability. But we can all learn. And I have to admit that my husband is more adept at a range of tasks than I am. For example, he's better at cooking than I am at welding. He's an incredibly well-rounded person, and I have his parents to thank for that. And he's a wonderful role model for our children.

It has always been important to me to have a partner who is just that. Someone who works alongside me and we complement and help each other. And I am conscious that the type of relationship that my husband and I have will play a big role in the types of partners that our children may look for later in life. In particular, I want the girls to have a modern-day role model. I don't want them to think that they have to be the one who cooks, cleans, and is the primary carer for the children, if they don't want to. In fact, it's interesting that on our previous street in the city there were three stay-at-home dads (for want of a better word) within about 100m of our home. And as a side note, one was a writer and award-winning novelist who did the school runs, one had been a banker and the other was my husband, who had run his own business for 10 years. Times are a-changing.

I have always felt that a big component of our job as parents is two-fold. To open our children's eyes to the possibilities of the world. And to also teach them the necessary life skills so that when they become an adult they are able to go forth with confidence and ability. 

And so we have been teaching our son how to cook, knit and sew, and the girls both know how to use a drill and make a fire. We want them to be well-rounded individuals, and what they learn is what they see in the home.


image the indigo crew


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