As we prepare for the impending arrival of the kids, Ralph and I have started to assume different family roles. But it hasn’t been an easy task.
We decided early on that it would make sense if Ralph is the primary caregiver at home and I continue working fulltime. There were a few reasons for this, the main one being that Ralph works as a nurse, which means he has a lot more flexibility in being able to work casual hours. It also means that he’s well trained to take care of other people!
That was many months ago, but as the news of the twins has sunk in, we have both been surprised at how it has challenged our established views of who we are and what our roles are.
My whole life I’ve only had to take care of myself. I earned a nice wage that allowed me to save whilst buying a completely un-necessary gadget every six months or so. Even while Ralph and I have been together I’ve never had to have more than a passing concern for his finances because he’s able to pay his own way.
But now, for the first time in my life, I’m responsible for supporting other people, and I feel a strong sense that I have to make sure we have a secure home, a good car and a good school lined up. Ralph is more relaxed about this, so it appears that when we divided out the responsibilities, we also seem to have divided out the associated worries.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, it’s just been an unexpected feeling.
Over the past few months I have renovated the kitchen, bought a new car, met with the financial planner and put in place a bit of a budget. Responsibility!
I’ve spoken to a few other guys who have felt the exact same way. My neighbour didn’t sleep for three days when he found out he was going to be a dad because of the weight of responsibility. My old female boss, who went back into the workforce shortly after they had kids, felt she needed to work longer and harder than she had before in order to pay for the school fees that were just around the corner.
And Ralph? Well he’s been feeling the same way but for completely different reasons.
Ralph is worried that he’ll go batty locked up in the house all day long for god-knows how many months. And he doesn’t want to throw away his career either. And at the same time he wants to be the best dad possible, so in the past few months he has read at least five books on raising children, cover to cover. He’ll be such a brilliant dad, I can’t wait.