Working Mom, Stay-at-Home Dad: Part 1

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stay at home dad 1

“I could see myself being a stay-at-home dad.” It had to have been one of the first conversations Luke and I had, back in 2008 when we were 19- and 21-years-old and working at a local pet supply store. We were newly acquainted coworkers then, so I don’t remember the context of his statement, but I remember thinking it was odd. I had never heard a man consider staying at home with children.

Fast forward to 2012. We were married, living 500 miles away from any and all family, Luke was active duty in the Air Force, I had a fresh career in television, and we had a newborn. Of course, it wasn’t an option for Luke to be a stay-at-home-dad at that time, cause, ya know, military contracts are pretty binding. I actually started my career while I was pregnant; I had just gotten my foot in the door, so if I stepped into stay-at-home-mom territory, I was worried that career door would slam shut. So, we sent our six-week-old baby girl to full-time daycare, and it sucked. I was grateful for the opportunity to have a career I had worked my entire life for, interact with adults on a daily basis and for my little girl to spend time with a great, licensed provider that only had one other baby at her in-home daycare, but it still just sucked.

Our life really became anxiety-ridden when my daughter turned one and moved to a traditional daycare center filled with hundred of kids and a class of ten two-year-olds. She got sent home for the illness-of-the-moment at least once a month, which meant I had to miss work. As far as I’ve experienced, there’s no guilt greater than missing work to take care of a sick kiddo. I felt guilty for missing work, and felt even more guilty for feeling guilty about taking care of my own child while she was ill.  I know tons of families have kids and two parents working full-time while living in different states (and countries!) from family, but, holy cow, it’s HARD.

It’s all you can do to keep your head (or even just your nose, you only need one nostril to breathe, right?) above water. I would high-tail it out of work the minute the clock struck five. I was paranoid about minutes away from my daughter, not just hours or days; I actually cried on occasion when I would hit red lights during the drive to pick her up from daycare because it was taking away those precious minutes. That was when my husband and I decided we didn’t want to live like this. Luke always planned on finishing his six-year enlistment and then getting out of the Air Force and going back to school; I always planned on having a full-time career. Luckily, these plans meshed together well, and also opened the door for Luke being a stay-at-home dad.

When Luke’s enlistment was near it’s end and we were getting ready to move to Colorado, we knew it’d be hard financially to have Luke stay at home. Our income was cut significantly and the cost of living in Colorado Springs is much higher than Abilene, Texas, but we figured we’d give the single-income life a shot, and we could always make different decisions as life went on (a key life-lesson we learned early on in our marriage). I’ve always been of the persuasion that I would rather have more time together, even if that meant less money in our bank accounts, and this decision was a true test of that belief.

 

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Sara was born in Colorado Springs, and lived here her entire life until she attended college at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. There, she earned her degree in Journalism and Political Science. Sara met her husband, Luke, in the summer of 2008 while working at Wag N Wash Healthy Pet Center, although they didn't start dating until 2011 - after Sara had graduated from college and Luke had joined the Air Force. They married in 2012, when Luke was stationed in a small town in West Texas. Shortly after moving to the Lone Star State, Sara started her career in local television. She did everything from running the cameras, to producing the five o'clock news, to creating marketing campaigns for local businesses. Sara's daughter Cora was born in 2013, and Sara got her first taste of being a full-time working mom while living over 600 miles from her own parents. Luke's Air Force enlistment ended in the summer of 2015, so they high-tailed it back to Colorado Springs. Now, Sara lives near Old Colorado City and works in the marketing department of a law firm in Downtown Colorado Springs. She loves spending time with her family, cooking, biking, photography and playing with makeup (that’ll happen after working in television in Texas).