Since having my son 2 years ago, I am reminded everyday how it really does take a village to raise a child. Our multigenerational approach to raising our son leaves me with a deep sense of gratitude for Kai’s many care givers who continue to express unconditional love and patience (for all of us)! Somewhere along the “American Dream” storyline, this country confused the harmony of tight-knit interdependent families with a lack of financial status.
But the truth is that my mom, Wendy, and our multigenerational living situation has allowed us to work together in creating a supportive family environment for my son, and for everyone in the family unit. We are a proud, non-traditional, multigenerational household, and not one that does this for financial reasons. We’ve taken a firm stand against the linear trajectory of life, and have moved back to the circle of life mentality where all family members serve different, yet EQUALLY VALUED roles throughout our human experience.
When I had my son, I was a National Director of Sales for McGraw Hill Higher Education. This position required 75% travel. Many people would look at me puzzled, confused, (sometimes appalled.) “You have a baby and you TRAVEL?? How do you do THAT?!” (Note: no one asked my husband how he was planning to do his job as a new FATHER, but we will save that discussion for another post).
Then when I accepted an even more demanding position as President of Career TEAM’s education division when he just was 9 months old…YIKES! I have had countless (sometimes defeating) conversations trying to explain the benefits, financial and otherwise, of my choice to work.
Without my mom, Wendy (AKA the Granny Nanny, Nay Nay or General Manager), all the demands of running the household would escalate stress levels to a point that would undoubtedly have a negative emotional impact on my husband, myself, and most importantly, our son, Kai. With an extra set of hands on deck, we are able to spend more quality time with our son, keep the stress levels in-check, all while exceling in our careers.
There is no right or wrong way of doing life. There are simply choices with positive and negative consequences. Yes, I do miss some of the “firsts.” But if I had given up my career to stay home with my son, I will admit that I would have resented him for it…
There are many women that make that transition gladly and never look back. I admire and respect them deeply as this is the path chosen by many of my closest friends. And a path chosen from a place of empowerment. I, on the other hand, have the self awareness to know that I am just not one of them. Had I made a choice from obligation or guilt, I am certain that becoming an unhappy mother, present (physically) 100% of the time would have had far more negative outcomes for all involved.
Raising Kai in a multigenerational environment has allowed him to develop a deep sense of security as he is surrounded by unconditional and consistent love. Everyone is excited when it is their turn to care for with him, and because our time is so precious, we spend it together wisely…not sweating the small stuff along the way.
The term “Modern Family” continues to evolve as traditional gender roles shift and technology changes the way we work. Since the economic meltdown of 2008 and also believe we’ve been challenged as a society to think differently about what it means to live the American Dream. We’ve picked a definition that works for our family and support our friends in doing the same – no matter WHAT it looks like!