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Trading places: When daddy is always home
There are all kinds of nuclear-family arrangements in the new millennium.
As the CK Reporter concludes a two-part series on stay-at-home dads, we look at a true switching-of-roles. In the McKenzie family, mom works as a certified public accountant, while dad stays at home as Mr. Mom.
After we had our first child, said mother Terri McKenzie, we decided to have a second child pretty quickly. We knew one of us had to stay home.... And I just didnt have the personality for it.
Mrs. McKenzie is a career oriented professional who was recently made a partner in Huddleston, McKenzie and Associates, CPAs, of Silverdale.
Ive been with the firm 12 or 13 years, she said, and didnt want to cut back, or quit. The couples children include an 8-year-old boy and 7-year-old girl. Its worked out beautifully me working while (husband) John stays at home. I can work with the confidence of knowing my kids are getting the best of care.
The McKenzies live in Tracyton, near Silverdale.
He has a natural nurturing instinct. Hes happy being at home. Were happy the way it worked out all the way around.
As a full time stay-at-home dad, John takes care of son Cade and daughter Jenna.
Ive been doing it since 1996, he said. Prior to that, I worked as an electrician at the shipyard, 14 years.
I liked my job, he said, but I was traveling more, and didnt like to be away from home. I love what Im doing now, he said. Though there are days I wish I were punching a time clock.
He was referring to the very full-time status of being the caregiver. Children take a lot of time and energy.
In this job, you work from dawn to dusk sometimes longer, he said.
In discussing their respective roles years ago, it was decided Terri should keep her job because she makes more money. Her hours are more flexible, too, and she works near home with no traveling.
We can go and have lunch with her, said John. Whereas wed never be able to do that with my job.
Mr. McKenzie said The thing I like most about my job, is that I have the flexibility to take the kids and help out relatives such as my Mom and my mother- and father-in-law with various projects.
Plus, he added, the couple used to have rentals they managed. He found it easier to work on those rentals.
Id take the kids and get them to help me.... It was an opportunity to teach them things.
He said now that theyre older, he gets to help out at their school and be involved with their education.
All the household income comes from Mom, he said, but hes no kept man.
I have a couple of dirt bikes I ride. To get the bikes, I didnt have to beg for the money. We have one account for us both, he said.
Early and wise real estate investments have also helped the family.
In doing this job, Ive learned more respect for my mother and for stay-at-home spouses.
He said he doesnt know how couples who both have to work or how single moms handle it all.
Oops, he said during the phone interview, I guess this is a good time to end our discussion one of the kids just came in with a bloody ankle. Time for me to go back to work.