The Father Of My Children Has Changed

IMG_1051A year ago Matt was badly injured while he was on duty. He has been at home trying to heal and adjust ever since.

Being married to a police officer, I knew that this was a possibility, that he could leave for work one day and return with our lives changed – or not return at all. While his new physical limitations break my heart for him, I’m just thankful that he returned to me.

I’ve watched him go from brutal 60-hour work weeks to being home full-time (which also felt a little brutal at first. “He’s. Always. Here,” I remember texting a friend in those first days of more togetherness than I was used to).

I was warned to look for changes in him. Boredom, fear, anger, depression. You tell me to look out for something and I get a little bit hyper-vigilant.

I was looking so closely for the negative that it took me a while to see the positive.

Matt had morphed from a tough-guy cop to an amazing stay at home dad.

Since Chase was born 13 years ago, I had been the primary caregiver parent. I juggled (horribly) working part-time, writing, keeping the house in order (kind of, but not really) and caring for the kids.

IMG_0932With Matt not working, I started working more. I figured I’d have to still handle the majority of the child-rearing and house-running duties because that’s how moms tend to think. That we have to do it all. That we don’t get help.

Because I’m the mom, when Matt instantly started taking on more around the house and with the kids I worried briefly that he wouldn’t “do it right” – and by “right” I meant the way I had always (half-assedly) done it.

Then I thought to myself “Screw it! Let’s see how this goes.”

That’s when I realized that Matt is the better stay at home parent. Hands down. Thumbs up. Without a doubt. With his weekly cleaning schedule as my witness.

Once I got out of the way for a minute, I could see how much he truly loves raising our kids and investing in their lives.

He’s more organized and tidier than I am. He can focus on tasks like doing the laundry; whereas I put a load in the washer and never return to put it in the dryer because I’ve moved on to starting and not finishing the dishes because I realized there was a junk drawer I needed to clean out. Then I get hungry and need a snack. And a nap.

He has discovered Pinterest and has boards for recipes and home projects. Not only does he pin ideas (like I used to), but he actually gives them a try, too. He rarely has a Pinterest fail.

IMG_1403He has the school drop off and pick up routine expertly timed and has a carpool text thread with a mom down the street and a stay at home dad across town.

I worried momentarily how Matt being the primary caregiver parent would affect C.J.’s gender identity and gender expression. Would C.J. feel like he had to be more masculine with a man around more than a woman?

Not at all. Matt has helped him build a fairy garden in the backyard, they watch RuPaul’s Drag Race together and, when I’m not around to have makeup done, C.J. does Matt’s makeup.

Matt takes Chase to the park to fly his drones, the driving range to practice his swing and helps him find videos on YouTube to teach himself to play the guitar.

There’s a new safety, comfort and predictability that the boys and I have enjoyed with Matt home this year. And, Matt enjoys it, too.

“I love staying home, it’s easy, I have it down,” Matt says with a proud, sincere smile — which pisses off some of my stay-at-home mom friends. I have to clarify to them that he means it’s easier than working the streets as a police officer.

Cheers to Matt, and all of the fathers out there who make fatherhood look easy – whether they work or not.

And, if Father’s Day is a hard day for you….I see you and tomorrow this day will be over.

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About raisingmyrainbow

RaisingMyRainbow.com is a blog about the adventures in raising a fabulous, gender creative son.
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23 Responses to The Father Of My Children Has Changed

  1. James Reilly says:

    Reading through, change in life is going to happen, you either accept it or let it get the better of you. Day by day life changes, you seem to be adapting brilliant to every and any situation. When you step back and look at what you have, what you have done and how you are helping future generations, it’s a step back that you can be sure proud and a future you can take on.

    Brilliant Post and shared.

  2. preggoqueer says:

    What an amazing ending to what I’m sure seemed like a massive curve ball from life in the beginning. Here’s hoping that the sailing continues smoothly for all of you!

  3. Lance says:

    Happy belated father’s day to Matt!

  4. Get well!
    Liebe Gruesse Monika

  5. What a great and nice post! It’s remarkable how people can surprise us when we give them a chance to do so. XO

  6. jessionthego says:

    Your family is just so amazing. I really have to say, if you are half as good of a person as you come across on the internet (or maybe this picture is really 100% true!), I think you might be the greatest person on Earth. In addition to just such a wonderful tribute to your kids, your last sentence brought me to tears. Because father’s day was really really hard with our son not here. Thank you so much for seeing everyone and not just the norms of society. Your children are so lucky to have you raising them.

  7. Hillary Whittington says:

    Very sweet post Lori…You have a great dad and hubby! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  8. tinecrane says:

    Excellent post once again. I have a Matt. His name is Bruce. His injury was being in the real estate industry in 2008. (Of course I’m not comparing it to Matt’s real injury.). He is definitely better at schedules and cleaning. There should not be rules on who stays home… It should happen organically. ✨✨✨✨✨ps get well Matt and job well done!

  9. Stephanie says:

    Sounds like your husband has found his true calling! He is contributing to society just as much by raising two confident and happy boys as he was as a police officer. Your kids (and you) are very lucky. Happy Father’s Day to Mr Rainbow.

  10. Chris says:

    I so love hearing about your family’s triumphs. It gives me hope for the future! Thanks to you, Matt, Chase, and C.J. for allowing us to share your lives!

  11. Lisa W. says:

    Thanks for sharing your life with so publicly. For those of us who identify as queer, it’s super heartening to see how much you and Matt love your kids–without any qualifications. After Orlando, I keep trying to remember there’s more love in the world than not, and this post just magnifies all that is good. Thank you so much!

  12. Thanks for this. My kids declared their father dead when I came out.

  13. Ed says:

    Hi Lori
    Thank God that Matt is ok. It’s also nice
    to hear about Chase. He is almost as tall as hid dad. I sincerely hope CJis doing well as well.

  14. The author. says:

    My husband is a stay-at-home Dad and has been for more than a decade. He’s so great in all the ways you describe Matt being. It was hard adjusting at first; I say he is Sheriff Taylor and I’m Barney Fife in our household (you know, he’s the sheriff who is beloved and wise and I’m the eager but bumbling deputy with no bullets) but we make it work. Best of luck on your continued journey to make a family that works for all.

  15. Forget husband, can he be my dad? 🙂 I’m glad this has turned into a good thing for your family. You are such a beautiful family!!

  16. What an awesome tribute to your husband. I have such envy. My husband could never do what yours does in a million years. Kudos to Matt (and to you for picking him!).

  17. I’m sure a hard year of adjustments but it sounds like a boon for everyone!

  18. Dan Woog says:

    I want Matt for my husband.

  19. harriet neal says:

    wondaful!!

  20. Gillian B says:

    A helpmeet.

    A partner.

    Looks like you two are giving your kids a very good basis of what a marriage is – two people helping and holding each other up.

    Hope it all keeps working that well.

  21. You got out of the way and simply allowed. Bravo! And look how the universe is unfolding. 🙂 Nice story and tribute.

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