Careful What You Wish For
That's the warning sent out to men by Sasha Brown-Worsham on Babble a couple of weeks ago. She is speaking to any man who says he would like the opportunity to swap places with his stay-at-home wife. As it turns out, her husband gets laid-off and they get to experience a partial role reversal for 5 weeks. The article covers much of the expected struggles that he faces and does a great job highlighting some of the more difficult aspects of parenting young children.
The author's husband was a motivated father who wanted to be home and to succeed. He brought creativity and energy to the experience but he never got to the same level of competence as his wife. Maybe this was because she remained so available to rescue him.
Regardless, the article does a tremendous job framing up some of the challenges of traditional arrangements, namely, that specializing in either childraising or breadwinning leaves a lot of potential joy on the table from the minimized domain.
As commenters weighed in on the piece it struck me that nobody even referred to my favorite line, which happened to be the last sentence, "And somehow amidst this terrifying economic crisis we have been given a gift we never would have received otherwise: true equality."
Hopefully, other couples given this opportunity will be inspired to reach for this kind of lifestyle beyond the trial period. It's possible, sustainable, and worth the effort.