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Mom Talk: Dear Husband, Thank You

Written by Jocelyn Newman

Photography by Jocelyn Newman

When new mother Jocelyn Newman was in the early stages of starting her eco-friendly kids’ apparel brand, First Peak, she knew she could not do it alone. Which is where her husband came in—deciding to become a stay at home dad and focus on their young child, so that she could fully hatch her business plan. Below, she shares her gratitude for her partner, who is one of the growing number of 2.1 million stay at home dads in the U.S. (up 8% since 1989). 

Dear husband,

We’ve made some crazy leaps in the past 12 months: our son turned one. We ended our lease and are seeking a new home. I launched a new business, inspired by our adventures as a family. You left your job and took on full-time child care.

You did this on your own volition, for the bond you wanted to foster with our son. You did this because being a dad was the most rewarding, fulfilling work you could see yourself doing. You did this out of love, devotion, and care. But you did it for me too, implicitly or explicitly.

Your choice gave me space.
The space to pursue a passion project, and turn months of “maybe one day…” into “let’s do this.”
The space to take a risk, and embark on an entrepreneurship journey filled with unknowns.
The space to launch into the high days, feverishly spouting ideas for the business while barely stopping to take a breath.
The space to sink into the low days, and let my negative emotions wash over (and past) me.
The space to wake up too early or stay up too late because a one-woman business can’t grow any other way.
The space to fill all our closets with inventory, notebooks, whiteboards, and fabric samples.
The space to trust that our son was in the absolute best hands every day, learning, exploring, and adventuring.
The space to follow your lead when I felt in doubt of my own abilities as a mom.
The space to appreciate the distinct beauty of family time, one-on-one time, and me time.
The space to learn that following my dream made me a better mom, rather than a selfish one.

Growing a business isn’t all that dissimilar from caring for a young child: both need to be nurtured and tended to. Both require creativity and resilience. Both can exhaust you and fulfill you at the same time. But I would have never had a chance to see those parallels without you.

Thank you for making your choice for yourself, for our son, and for me. Thank you for braving the awkward moments when caretakers gave you the side-eye at the playground. Thank you for laughing it off when you’re asked constantly, “but where’s his mom?” Thank you for being the only dad at play group and finding a way to fit in seamlessly. Thank you for showing our son what a loving, kind, and curious man looks like, and adding nuance and fresh perspective to traditional definitions of masculinity and fatherhood.

We’re better, brighter, calmer people today than 12 months ago, and our son reaps the benefits of those changes every moment. But I also know that we both have so much growth ahead of us, both independently and together, and that my highs, lows, fears, and triumphs are not a thing of the past. I see you; I appreciate you; I can’t wait for all we’ll continue to do side-by-side and arm-in-arm.

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