When Mom Works and Dad Stays Home

October 26, 2016 adopting a boy, adopting as first time parents, October 2016 Feature - Working Moms, stay-at-home dad, working mom 8 Comments

Navigating work and being a mom is tough under the best of circumstances, but it can feel even more daunting when you toss in the complex issues that accompany parenting your newly adopted child. So this month on No Hands But Ours, some been-there-done-that working mamas are here to help, with advice on everything from finding a nanny, to figuring out FMLA. We hope these posts will inspire confidence and offer support to all of you working moms!


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If I’m honest, our plan was never that I’d be the working parent and my husband would be a full-time, stay-at-home dad.

If I’m honest, I wouldn’t have expected to actually enjoy going to work and then coming home and getting to be mama and give my sweet husband a break.

But God knew. He knew long before I laid eyes on my sweet Judah bug that He had a better plan for our lives.

If I’m honest, there are days I don’t feel like I have energy to do all the things I need to do.

If I’m honest, some days I am jealous of my husband and all the firsts I miss that he gets to experience with our son.

But God gives grace. So much grace.

Our story is summed up in three simple words: God knows better.


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My husband, Lucas, and I have been married for three and a half years. Judah is our first son and has been home since February of this year. Prior to becoming a family of three, Lucas had a stable job at an electric sales company. He is a hard worker and had the potential to continue to move up in the company if he wanted. I have been a pharmacist since 2009. While my career had been something I worked hard on, I always felt like when the time came I would be the stay-at-home parent and maybe work 1 or 2 days a week if needed to supplement our income.

When Lucas and I got married, we talked about our plans for children. We both knew we were going to adopt, regardless of our ability to have biological children. If for whatever reason, we were unable to conceive, we were not going to pursue fertility treatment and instead would save that money for adoption.

In November 2014, when he said “Let’s start the adoption process now, why wait?” I was beyond excited. We talked to friends and family and decided that we’d pursue domestic infant adoption as that seemed like the easiest and quickest option to growing our family.

As we worked with our homestudy agency, we found out that domestic adoption in our state would likely take us a long time. We would have been the 13th family waiting for a baby and there hadn’t been a baby placed in over a year. They mentioned that China special needs adoption was taking about a year from start to finish. We didn’t hesitate – if our child was in China, then we would do whatever it took to bring him/her home.

On April 1st, 2015, we started the process that would lead us to our first son, Judah William.

In the months that led up to our travel, Lucas and I started throwing out ideas of how we would handle work. We talked about me working part-time, or possibly full-time while he worked 2 – 3 days a week and then we’d have Judah stay with his Grammie or Nana on the days we were both working. I had recently found a job at an HIV clinic, which is where my heart has been since I did a residency after pharmacy school. I finally felt I had found a place I could make a career. I had good benefits, good time off, and a wonderful boss who respects and values family life. The thought of stepping down from this job just didn’t seem right.

After lots of praying, wise counsel, and long nights of discussion, we decided I would return to work full-time and Lucas would take his FMLA and decide if he wanted to stay home full or part-time. We would see how things went after I returned to work about 6 weeks after we returned from China.

On February 15, 2016, we met Judah for the first time in his hometown of Nanchang. That was one of the sweetest and hardest days of our lives. Friends, hear me when I say adoption is beautiful, but it does not come without pain. The pain of loss of everything the child knows and the pain the parents feel watching their new child struggle through this loss. However, in the days following, Judah latched on to Lucas. It made my heart melt as I saw our son start to trust his Baba and fall in love with him. And I watched my husband take on a parenting role that was clearly part of God’s plan for his life.

When we got home, I loved every day I got to spend with both of my boys. I started to dread going back to work. I didn’t think it would be possible for me to focus on work without missing my baby every single second. Did I make the wrong choice?


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The day came for me to return to work and I held it together until I got to my car. As tears ran down my cheeks, I waved to my husband and son as I backed down the driveway and drove to work. I checked my phone every 5 minutes to see if they were ok. I asked for pictures of all the fun things they did so I wouldn’t miss a minute. (My wonderful husband did SO good at keeping me up to date on their day, and this truly helped me cope with my breaking, torn heart.) I worried that Judah would slowly start to forget about me and we’d take steps back in our attachment.

Walking in the door at the end of that day was one of the most precious moments of my life. I heard Judah yell ‘Mama!’ as he ran up to me to give me a big, drooly kiss and a hug. All the worries I had melted away as I held my sweet baby and heard Lucas tell me that they had a great day.

Each day got easier. I found that we got into a routine and I got to spend quality time with Judah in the evenings, while Lucas got to take a break for a few hours. After the first week, Lucas knew that he wanted to stay at home full-time and he went to his work with Judah to give a letter of resignation.

I’ve learned a lot over the last 6 months: I love being mama to Judah, wife to Lucas, and I love my job. When I wake up each day, regardless of how tired I am, I look forward to work and I look forward to coming home to my two sweet boys. I have to make sure that I do my best to finish work at work so that I can give my full attention to them when I’m home.

I have to choose to take care of Judah when I get home instead of selfishly resting and decompressing after work, leaving all the parenting on my husband even though he deserves a break. I have to make sure I have adult to adult conversation with my husband so that he doesn’t only hear toddler conversation all day long and lose his mind.


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Most importantly, I have to remember to thank God every day for His grace upon grace. Without His grace, there is no way I could do this. His plan has always been that Judah would be our first child and that I’d work while my husband stays at home raising Judah. He provided the stable job for me and a husband who is truly a better parent than I am. 

I am so thankful for grace.

– guest post by Carly




8 responses to “When Mom Works and Dad Stays Home”

  1. LaVerne Brooks says:

    Carly, this is awesome to read. You describe your life so well, your feelings and all. Lucas is doing what I don’t know of another father who could do what he does. And I don’t agree with you that Luke is a better parent because I KNOW you are both great and loving parents. And Judah is such a delight and blessing to all of us. Love you so much – and always keeping you in my prayers.

  2. Amy Hultquist says:

    I love your story Carly!!!! ❤️

  3. Diane Cloud says:

    Such a beautiful post Carly. I love that you look forward to going to work each day. That is a true blessing because if God wasn’t in this, you would dread it as I’m sure I would have! Love your beautiful, growing family!

  4. Aunt Lizie & Uncle Jim says:

    Oh how very special you 2 are & how wonderful God is to each of us. Judah is very blessed to have you as parents. Carly you have a very special way of telling about your innermost feelings that brings tears of joy to our hearts ! We love you and pray for you.

  5. Tina says:

    I bawled my eyes out when I read this, Carly. I haven’t seen you since you were a baby and even without really knowing you, from this, I know you your heart. Your parents are friends and I am so grateful your mom shared this with me. God bless you and Lucas for listening and abiding in God’s plan for you and your precious family. What a wonderful treasure you have in Judah. And he in you two!

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