When we decided almost exactly four years ago — can you believe it?! — that you would stay at home with our children, I’ve got to admit, I had reservations. I’d like to blame it on pregnancy hormones, but it was more than that. This was totally outside the norm, especially in our small, very southern town. I knew you would be a great dad. But, could I go back to work, satisfied with being away from my baby for over nine hours each day? My postpartum depression made it worse. I remember one day, as my too-short maternity leave was drawing to a close when I was literally screaming at you. I didn’t believe you could do it, frankly. I was struggling so badly with the transition to motherhood, and I convinced myself that there was no way you could care for our son when I went to work.
Of course, I was wrong. You are an amazing father. Some days (a lot of days) I wonder if you’re a better parent than I am. You have so much patience with our boys, and I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve ever heard you yell. There are hard days — of course, there are — but you don’t give up. Our kids love you, and every time I see you wrangling them, and loving on them, I fall even more in love with you. Not only are you caring for our boys each and every day, but you’re allowing me to pursue a career that I am so passionate about. You’re my number one supporter.
Not everything is perfect, obviously. Our parenting styles differ pretty often, but we’re figuring it all out as we go. Ultimately, you are the primary caregiver, and I have to let you do what works for you. We’re each struggling with some aspects of the non-traditional roles we’ve taken on: you’re troubled by not contributing financially, and I feel guilty spending any time away from our children outside of my 40 hours a week at work. I hope you know that I try to be deliberate about giving you breaks, and don’t expect the house to be spotless and dinner to be on the table when I arrive at home. But then I hear my stay-at-home-mom friends complain about things their husband do, and I wince because, crap, I’ve definitely done that to you. I’m sorry.
You have taken on the role of stay at home dad and mastered it. My friends spot you around town with a baby strapped to your chest and a toddler pulling you by the hand, and tell me how natural you look. I glow with pride. You are the proof that dads are just as capable as caregivers. You are the example our boys will see of what a dad should be, and how as parents, we are equals. You are one in a million. I don’t say it nearly enough, but thank you. Thank you for taking on the hardest job in the world, with no sick days or vacation time, with no days off, and embracing it. Thank you for loving our boys, and for loving me, even when I make it hard. I love you.