Ep7: More on the Family and Being Homebodies (Special Guest: My Wife)

Chad
Welcome back to the show. Today, I have a special guest with me, my wife, Tira. She’s joining us to dive deeper into concepts that I brought up in the last episode regarding the home and the family. This way, you can have her take and perspective on the issues that I can only talk so much about.

This episode is really a bonus and continuation of the last episode. If you didn’t watch the previous episode, definitely go back to watch that so this can all come together.

It’s usually 3 or 4 A.M when I’m recording this, but this time we’re recording at 10:40 P.M. This is because Tira is either sleeping or getting up to nurse at the time that I usually record.

Anyway, this blog post will be set up in the form of an interview. If you’re ready to dive right on in, keep reading!

I want to start today by playing off of something that I brought up last episode regarding how the home is the center of our life. I work out home, we school our kids at home, and you're a stay-at-home mom. In our current phase of life, I’m the primary person working and earning our income. I wanted to talk to you, Tira, about what it’s like to be a stay-at-home mom.

Do you ever feel oppressed? Have you ever had times where you felt like being a mom just wasn’t enough? I think it’s important that people get your perspective on this.

Tira
Honestly, it’s probably the hardest job I’ve ever had. It’s the hardest, but it’s also the most rewarding. When I was working out in the world, I hated getting up for work every single day. Maybe that’s because I didn’t have something that I was super excited about doing. But waking up and being a mom has a few more positive aspects than regular work. That said, it’s still hard.

For example, this entire week I have gotten very little sleep because our baby is breaking through one of his last teeth and it’s been pretty rough. Being a mom pushes out all of your ugly. Just being a parent in general pushes out all of your ugly.

Chad
Whether you’re a dad or a mom, you realize what all your weaknesses are, and you’re forced to face those which can be very uncomfortable. You can go two different ways with it. You can either succumb to your weaknesses and let the monster come out and take you over. Or, you can choose to defeat it and overcome it, turning that weakness into strength.

We have really strived to turn our weaknesses into strengths, but we’ve got a long way to go. There’s a lot of crap that we all have, those sides of us that we don’t like.

Tira
There are things that we don’t even realize are inside of us. But like you touched on, it takes that self-awareness. I’ve seen people who don’t have that self-awareness taking anger and blame out on their kids. But no, you’re a grown adult. Your kids don’t “make” you angry. However, you also do have the right to be anger OVER something that you kids have done.

We’re not perfect by any means but having that self-awareness where you’re checking yourself and realizing your reaction wasn’t good or okay, and then discussing your mistake with your kids, that’s what you need to do.

Sometimes, our four-year old comes to me and says, “mom, I didn’t like how you got angry at me,” or “why are you grumpy?” He holds us accountable. I think that’s helpful, and always saying you’re sorry, and not in a patronizing kind of way, but instead taking time to reflect and really think about why you truly got upset and make sure you’re not just taking emotions out on your kids.
Chad
That’s something I touched on in the last episode a little bit, about how when we do make a mistake, we apologize very quickly, even if we make the same mistakes over and over again. Often as parents, we keep feeling like we’re screwing up our children. We think, “I was just stressed out and I took it out on my kid, and now it’s going to stay with him for the rest of his life.”

But if we apologize quickly every time we make that mistake, he will have confidence that it wasn’t his fault, and he will heal and move on from those moments. Whereas, if we don’t own up to our mistakes, it will hurt our children long-term.

I do want to talk about your role as a mom, and how you’ve come to a resolve about that? Were you ever conflicted about that, or did you ever feel oppressed or feel like being a mom just wasn’t a good enough job to have? What are your thoughts here?

Tira
Sometimes being a stay-at-home mom can feel mundane. It can feel like you’re doing the same thing all day, every day, yet it can simultaneously feel like you're not doing anything significant or making any progress. I have experienced those feelings.

I may think that if I had a paid job, I’d at least be able to contribute to the family financially. I’d feel like I might really be changing the world that way.
Being a parent can be kind of lackluster sometimes. Which I’m sure you feel, Chad, even having a job. I don’t think this feeling is indicative of being a mom or a dad. But those feelings do come up, and it took a few years for me to finally feel like this is enough. Being a stay-at-home mom is the most important thing I can do right now.

If I were to leave the task of raising my kids in someone else’s hands, and then screw up raising them, sending more broken, confused, and unconfident kids into the world, that does not help the world. It has helped me realize that at this stage of my life, I’m doing honorable work, and I am doing something to change the world.

The way we’ve chosen to raise our kids and school our kids is different from some of our peers, and even different from how our parents raised us. How we’ve chosen to parent is and will be “different.”

Chad
I came to that same realization even though I do have a job and am running the business. I always had tons of career ambitions throughout my life. But much like Tira talked about, I realized that there is no better work than sending confident, qualified, and capable kids into the world. I soon realized that my first ambition is being a parent and a husband.

Second to being a husband and a dad is all the stuff I’m doing for my career. This really helped me get my priorities straight. We talk a lot in this show about priorities and what really matters. We’ve ditched a lot of societal expectations for what we thought mattered in order to get to where we are now.
While there are some days that parenting feels mundane or stressful, there are also plenty of days where it's very joyful and awe-inspiring to watch our kids grow, learn, and ask intelligent questions.

Tira
I think that we get to enjoy our children more this way. You really know your children so well that you can connect with them in ways that could be difficult for parents who work 9 to 5 shifts. Then, there’s only time for dinner, bath time, and bedtime.

Chad
We have realized that the era where our children are young is only a small percentage of our life when we compare it to all the years we’ll exist in this world. So, being parents at home with our children is such a short time span, in retrospective.

As a result, we see that it’s okay to set aside some ambitions and passions for now. Later, we can pursue these passions and goals once our kids are grown and starting their own families or pursuing their own aspirations. It’s okay that right now, our kids take up our time.

Tira
My thing is realizing that this sacrifice is only for a short moment. Even though now I’m getting woken up multiple times throughout the night, eventually, the kids will become more self-sufficient and self-sustaining. While they’ll still need our time and attention, the more physically demanding stuff will turn more into mentally demanding stuff over time.

Chad
We encourage all the parents out there to just really think about how you can embrace parenting as one of your passions and just accept it. If you’re a mom staying at home and you’ve had Tira’s conflict about wondering if you’re doing enough in the world, just know that you have one of the greatest jobs ever.
It requires a lot of skill to be a mom. You’re developing your skill set because really dedicating yourself to being a mother is incredibly demanding.

Further, we want to make it clear that the reason why she’s not working has nothing to do with sexism or chauvinistically thinking. The reason for Tira staying home with the kids is biological. Children need their mommas. My energy as a dad isn’t as comforting.

Tira
When my son was overly tired in the car today, just having my hand on the top of his car seat brought him comfort. I couldn’t fully reach him, so I wasn’t even touching his head or anything. I just had my hand on the car seat, but as soon as I moved it, he started crying again. My hand being visible brought him comfort because he knew that mom was nearby.

Chad
And I made the comment about how if that were me, he wouldn’t find it nearly as comforting. There are times when my kids DO allow me to comfort them, and that’s nice, but there’s something about a mom and child connection that is very spiritual.

It’s also obviously very physical. This kid grew inside the mom’s body, the umbilical cord literally connected them. Then the child is born and starts nursing. That is the child’s whole life source. There’s just a certain connection between moms and children that cannot be replicated by dads.

That said, I do get to have my own special connections with the kids. But mom is known as the snuggler. If you’re a parent, you know what we’re talking about is true. Even as a child yourself, you always wanted your mom when you were sick. So, we just find it very important that mom is home every day with our kids, and not off working at a job somewhere.

We do understand that people have different situations and that they must adapt to those scenarios. We’re not trying to be insensitive to single parents or anything, but if you are in a position where you CAN make this possible, we believe you should.

Here on the show, we also talk about how this lifestyle is more possible than you think, even if you are one person who’s earning all the income. If you’re willing to sacrifice certain career ambitions to make your career more adaptable while your kids are young, you can make this happen, too.

Tira
Like Chad said, we’re not being insensitive to anyone else’s life circumstances. I think the ultimate takeaway from this episode is that whether you’re still together with your child’s other parent or not, being able to stop and think about what you want your family to look like. Do you really want your kids in 10 different sports? Do they really need to be in all these extra classes?

Not everyone wants to live like us, and I’m okay with that because I don’t want to live like everyone else. But ultimately, every family’s main focus should be figuring out what they want their children to have, and what they think their family should look like.

Chad
Also, we don’t believe that there’s anything wrong with occasionally taking time where dad is somewhere else doing something else with friends or colleagues, or mom is out with friends and so forth. We have had those times. But the frequency isn’t weekly. It’s not even monthly.

Tira
You have to examine WHY you’re wanting to go out and do those things. Are you trying to escape problems at home by getting busy with friends? Or are you just like, “hey, it’s been a while since I’ve seen those people, and I have an opportunity to get together with them in a way that won’t interfere with my family’s needs. So, let’s catch up!”

It’s okay to have relationships with people outside your home. I think that too often, people turn to those friendships as a distraction from their family at home. As a result, they get together too often. And then they’re apart from each other too often because they don’t want to face those problems because it’s too uncomfortable.

This even happens to couples who don’t have children. You shouldn’t just take off and go do this or that or go and drop money on things without talking about it first.

Chad
I brought up in the last episode that 2020’s pandemic was a wakeup call to a lot of families. It exposed which families didn’t really like each other, who stayed overbooked with activities to avoid what’s going on inside the home.

These families are only all together when it’s business related, or on the rare family vacation. But again, you’re being distracted by activities then. You don’t have to really sit with each other and face each other.

Like I’ve said before, nothing really changed for us here working at home. The only thing that changed is that my business grew, which is a good thing. But there was an increase in divorce rates in 2020, as well as child abuse reports.

Tira
If you can’t learn how to manage your stress without taking it out on your kids, you’ve got a big problem. If you’re not ready to be a parent, then take precautions to make sure you don’t become a parent.

Chad
I don’t think you have to have kids. It’s okay if you don’t ever want to have kids. That’s your choice. Maybe you just get married and it’s just you and your spouse. That’s your family.

Tira
But even then, finding unity and acting like a family even if you never had children, taking a good hard look at what your future should look like together. Ask, “what do we want to create? What do we want to do?” You’re not dating anymore. You don’t get to have your Friday nights with the buddies while your partner goes out with her friends now. Don’t have a tax-purposes-only marriage.

Chad
If you don’t want that kind of family lifestyle, then you can just keep dating. Nobody’s telling you that you have to get married. But we are big believers that if we’re going to get married, then we need to understand that we’re starting a family together.

If we’re going to have kids, then we’re growing a family even bigger so that the family becomes the top priority.

Something else that I wanted to talk about here with you today is homemaking. This is something else that is interpreted as oppressive, and something that has become politicized. I wanted to talk to you a bit about this and get your perspective on the role of being a homemaker. Is this just for women, or is it something that everyone ought to do?

Tira
If I wanted to go out and make money, I could. I’m on par with Marie Konda. Think of all the success that she’s having, with her own Netflix show, her own product lines. Homemaking is a skill, and unfortunately, it is one that many people don’t have because they’re never at home.

They’re from here to here, so who has time to cook and clean and everything else? People have to hire out those services. If it’s not about the time management aspect, then it’s about breaking a 1950’s stereotype.

It’s about taking responsibility for your stewardship. We don’t own a house, we still rent. But we treat the places that we rent as if we own them. We take care of them, and we take pride in the cleanliness and the repair, and in all the different aspects that a lot of people don’t care about, especially when they’re renting.
That said, even homeowners do not take that kind of pride in taking care of things and keeping them in order. I wouldn’t say that this is a “woman thing.” If a mom is home all day, then yes, she’ll do her best. But also, if the husband comes home and gets off work and the house is a disaster, don’t criticize her thinking she’s done nothing. If she hasn’t killed the kids, she’s done a lot!

Instead of judging your wife, get up off your butt and offer to make dinner or pick something up.

Chad
My parents are actually a great example of this construct. My dad was actually the homemaker growing up. My mom didn’t have a lot of confidence in booking or even managing a house. She was a wonderful mom still. She made her kids her priority, which I really admired her for. And that influenced us as well with making our kids a priority.

It is possible that you can manage a house and the kids at the same time, but to us, it already seemed normal that a dad is part of this, cooking, cleaning, and everything else. We realized after talking that this is something that should not be a gender issue to begin with.

If you own something, if you live somewhere, be a steward of that thing and be responsible for it. It just comes down to taking care of your stuff. If you’re keeping your house in order and fixing things, cleaning it up, and cooking, that’s you taking care of your family and your body.

It’s unfortunate that these things have been so gendered and politicized. We both have our own roles and yes, Tira takes on more of the homemaking aspects than I do, but it’s not that she’s just taking that all on because I say so or because she’s the wife.

She has certain skills to do things very quickly, and we’re okay that she has her skills and I have mine. I can’t have every skill and can’t spend time developing every skill. We’re okay to divide up various roles where I barely ever do laundry. My four-year old son is better at me at folding laundry. I could learn how to do it, but they’re both better at it than I am, so that’s one of their skills and tasks to take on.

Every couple just has to figure that out for themselves. Overall, you’re still taking on the role together. You just have to figure out what works best for each person.

Tira
I think it's open dialogue. You see your spouse is stressed, talk about it. Say, “I feel like you’re stressed here, or maybe I’ve been slacking here, how can I help? How can we work together? How can we create systems in our house that’ll make this flow better?”

When we first got together, I did have those stereotypical expectations because I grew up in a household where mom did it all, and dad comes home from work, and that’s it. Me realizing that Chad is here and is willing to help, and me actually asking for that help is my biggest struggle.

Chad
It’s trusting someone else to do the job. It’s mostly your perfectionism.

Tira
That’s ultimately my problem. I think it’s important to share that load and to recognize it when one spouse is struggling or having a hard time. I’ve had bouts of depression and different things where I don't really care what gets done. I don’t want to do it. And you’ve helped pick up the slack. It’s important to keep that kind of running dialogue.

Chad
We are homebodies and homemakers, and we’re proud of that. We’ve been able to rework our life a little bit so that we can get our priorities straight. We are homebodies to the extent that Tira birthed our kids at home. The whole theme of this show overall is just how much power you can have in your life and how much success you can have when you make the home the center of your life. That doesn’t mean that you never leave your house.

It also doesn’t mean that you don’t have other associations in your neighborhood and community and so forth. Running a household and operating a family is its own business. And it has to be a business that constantly has meetings, discussing how to improve the systems, and what both the parent’s needs and the children’s needs are. Having a successful family is hard work.

Tira
I think it’s about making sure we don’t include anything in our lives that will detract or deter us from what we are trying to accomplish as a family. We can’t be off doing things in the middle of the week, for example. It would throw off our entire dinner schedule.

People have to let go of the societal expectations, the family expectations, the community expectations, and wherever else these expectations are coming from. Even if it’s yourself, you need to be okay with not meeting those expectations.

You need to be able to say no. No, we don’t need to be in that activity. We don’t need to be doing everything and be having all these different experiences that people say we need to be doing in order to enjoy life.

There’s plenty of ways to be well-rounded in the home without having to explore those other expectations. There can be a lot of fulfillment within the home, and within a marriage.

Chad
We’re more introverted, so it came easier to us to begin with. We prefer fewer quality relationships over lots of more superficial relationships. But for those who are used to having tons of friends and being part of different social groups, when you have a family, you are making a big sacrifice and you have to examine what is the most important.

Once you’re married, your spouse is now the most important person in your life, and once you have kids, your kids become the most important, and your spouse is second. You have to be okay with letting go of what you did and where you spent your time before.

We haven’t let go of all the friends we had before we got married, but we spend less time with them, and the relationships are different. It’s all about prioritizing. You have to have your priorities straight for the phases of life you’re in.

This doesn’t mean you won’t ever be able to be involved in adult communities in the future. It also doesn’t mean you can’t be involved in these communities now just as long as it doesn’t interfere with your children’s needs. But more families need to examine the sacrifice that they have made by choosing to create a family.
The future of this world depends on children that grew up in homes where they felt loved, and their parents were present in their life. Their parents had the time to ask them questions and get to know them. 2020 was a huge wakeup call from God, or the universe, or whatever you believe in, to reexamine what your life ought to look like and spending more time together as a family.

Your children are going to be the future leaders of this world. You don’t want them growing up thinking their parents were never there and that they were raised by someone else. We know that there are situations where kids have to be in public school, and the mom has to work, but more and more families have to realize that this is possible if you put the brake on some of your personal ambitions.

Tira
And you even need to put the brakes on some of your wants. We could have built a home. We could have this and that and the other, but we realized the priorities were our children. We want our children to be built up rather than us giving them everything right now. It’s a huge sacrifice, especially when the world is telling you that you can have it all. The world says that you can do all of it; you can be a mom, a CEO.

Chad
The world’s telling you that you’re oppressed if you’re a woman and you don’t go and get a job. They’re not empowering you to own that role as one of the most important roles you could ever have.

Tira
I’ve seen people in extended families with moms pursuing careers and becoming very successful. Yes, they have the big house, the big boat, the trucks, the RV, and they go on one or two family vacations a year. But guess what? Their older kids are raising their younger children.

They’re literally the ones who are driving the younger kids to practice, and from here to there. These parents are putting the responsibilities of parenting onto their older kids, just to try and “have it all.” 2020 is a wakeup call to hopefully get these people to start questioning what it really means to have it all.

Chad
Coming back to the financial side of things, you have to think about your career differently. I’ve had that same pressure in my own life where I felt like we needed two incomes in order to support the children. Some people do this solely because of the financial pressure, not because the wife and husband have a certain career ambition. But there are a lot of ways that one person can generate enough income for one family.

I work 20 hours per week. I earn six figures plus per year, working only 20 hours a week. I’m the only one working. It’s possible. I know many people who are doing what I’m doing, too. They are self-employed, building businesses, and taking the road less traveled. Their career is making it possible for them to work less and earn more money to support their family.

You need to stop telling yourself that you have to have two incomes to support a family. You don’t, and here, we will certainly teach you more about how you can do this.

Tira
I think that the other half of that coin is learning how to manage your money. You need to learn how to budget and be a wise steward of that money. You don’t just go buy everything because you want to. There’s stuff we buy that we want, but other times we could only buy what we absolutely needed. Going through difficult financial times either makes you or breaks you, or you keep struggling with it.

Chad
We got into $20,000 of debt. When I was first trying to build my business, we were not managing our money, nor was I earning enough money. We had our own wakeup call for us needing to get on the same page regarding finances, and for Tira realizing that she was actually just as much involved in the money as me. That is a part of our life.

Tira
We’ve always had joint accounts, and we’ve always made financial decisions together, but I realized that I needed to be more involved when it comes to giving my own perspective. That’s another reason why people get married.

There’s a reason why God says marriage is a good thing, because you’re bringing two different thought patterns, life experiences, and points of view together to hopefully upgrade together as a couple. Hold each other accountable, and make sure that one person doesn’t just get to go do whatever they want just because they’re making the money.

Chad
The money that I earn is not my money, it’s our money as a family. That’s something that's important to realize if you’re the only income earner. The money is part of the whole family. I hope you’ve realized how we operate as a hybrid couple. We hold onto certain traditional values that are important, but I also don’t work 60 hours a week like your typical 1950s man.

I wanted to be a stay-at-home dad, but I also wanted to work, and that’s what I’m doing. I’m working only 20 hours a week. I’m a dad for the rest of that time. And I get involved with my children’s lives on a daily basis.

I play with my son every day, I see what they’re learning in schooling, and I help around the house throughout the week, not just on the weekends.

Tira
Let’s be honest, COVID has really opened many eyes, and it should. Your teenagers need you at home, too. Suicides amongst young children and youth happen so much because parents are gone all day while kids are at home instead of school.

It is really sad. Kids are missing that connection because they usually get it from outside sources like school, friends, and other societal groups. This is a huge wakeup call for parents, showing them that they really need to start being more present for their kids.

We were always going to homeschool our kids, and that classified us as a little strange at first, but then the pandemic happened, and more people started becoming okay with these “strange” methods. We work together, we associate together, and yes, we occasionally have associations outside our home. But we work to create that home space where everyone is taking care of everyone’s needs.

Chad
Self-esteem is based on friends from school. So, when kids are forced to be at home and not see those friends, all of the sudden their self-esteem falls apart.

Tira
They’re not close to their family, they’re not close to their siblings. They’re not close to their parents, and they literally have nothing. I think that’s really sad.
This may not be the last disaster, or pandemic, or issues that creates this kind of dynamic and what we’re going to do differently. How will we approach things? I think it’s about getting back to a simpler way of living.

Chad
We’ve never been parents of teenagers, so we’ll have our own challengers that we’ll hit when it comes to that. As a teenager, kids are seeking more independence and we have no intention to shelter our kids from the world or from other people. We want them to have relationships and associations with others. But we want their self-esteem and their confidence to start in the home.

We want the home to be the foundation where they are able to build that confidence as a sure thing that they can take with them. When friends abandon them, when friends fluctuate, when people come in and out of their lives, we want them to be secure. This way, they will contribute to the outside world in a much bigger way.

Tira
I think that focusing on home being the first and foremost source of connection, knowing and trusting that you and your spouse know what’s best for your family, that’s what’s important. You’ll learn, you’ll grow, and things will change. But if you can stay rooted together, that’s what brings success for your family and for your business.

Chad
Every time we’ve made improvements in our home life, it has positively affected the business and increased our income. Every time we work on problems with our parenting and our household systems, even if that’s just cleaning up the house, it trickles up and affects the business for the better.

When you just focus on making more money, you’re not solving the problems at home, and you hit more walls. You feel like a hamster on a wheel. This is because God and your own self just knows what is really most important.

Your subconscious brain is wired to know what’s important, and it will sabotage you until you finally stop and focus on what’s going wrong within the home. There are times when we are not enjoying each other and we're grumpy at each other. We're human beings, and a week doesn't go by where we don't have a day that is stressful and challenging.

And our kids are throwing curve balls at us. And all of a sudden, we have to switch up our parenting tactics, and it takes constant work. It’s not like we're just every day just perfect. We’re not just joyfully hanging out together with no challenges whatsoever.

No family is perfect. But for example, when we first told our son Oliver to just tell us all of his complaints about us and ask him how we can be better parents to him, it helped tremendously. We would ask him, “what have we done wrong? What can we do better?”

As a result, he opened up to us and told us everything that we could improve on. Afterwards, he told us we should have these meetings more often.

Tira
Also, do not discount your kid’s perspective, no matter their age, and also make sure you’re taking their criticism constructively.

Chad
We’d better get to bed and end tonight’s conversation. I’m sure we’ll be back together in future episodes, but I’m glad we’ve been able to talk to you together tonight about these things that are super important regarding the home. Until next time, we hope you have a great rest of your day, and we’ll see you soon.

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