Television personality Jessi Cruickshank is beloved for her humorous yet authentic outlook on everything from pregnancy to parenthood. A recent mom of twins, she’s writing a new column for FLARE called “Holy Crap. I’m a Mom” to share a no-filter look at motherhood and what it’s “really” like to be a mom of twin boys.
Her first column in the series was published in July and focused on her husband, Evan, and their decision for him to take paternity leave while Jessi returned to work. Before her pregnancy, Jessi didn’t really talk about him in her public life to uphold what she calls “the illusion of being young, carefree and single. Just a strong, independent woman who does it all on her own.” But, as she mentions, she did not get pregnant on her own.
She dedicated her first column on motherhood to her husband in his equally important role, fatherhood, and to fighting the stigma that surrounds stay-at-home dads. Here’s an excerpt:
When I started back at my show, people in our audience couldn’t begin to understand WHO was looking after my newborns!? They couldn’t possibly imagine that my partner in creating them was actually at home raising them. In fact, when I would explain that my husband is “a stay-at-home dad,” I might as well have said my husband is “an unemployed loser who wears sweatpants all day, has no job prospects, no income and nothing better to do than stay at home with our newborns.”
If taking care of my child is considered “girly,” then staying at home with my infant twins for six months must make Evan the patron saint of womanhood. And while I was consumed with the fear of emasculating the father of my children, he was too busy changing, feeding, burping, cuddling and raising said children to even notice.
He ignored the raised eyebrows, brushed off the ‘Mr. Mom’ jokes, and wasn’t remotely embarrassed to be the only dad at our local Mommy and Me class.
He routinely brought the babies to my studio and hung out backstage during tapings, unashamed to talk sports with the crew as he rocked a double stroller and a diaper bag.
About three months in, I looked over at him from on-set. He smiled at me with a baby in each tattooed arm and spit-up running down his white t-shirt. In that moment I realized he didn’t feel emasculated, he felt proud. Proud to be caring for two babies every day, proud to be married to their working mom and proud to be supporting our family in the most vital way possible.
Now I am not sharing this so that we all slow-clap my husband for staying at home for a few months. Nor am I suggesting we reinforce the stigma around stay-at-home dads by celebrating every guy who burps a baby or changes a diaper. I am sharing this to help break that stigma. To stand up and shout out: “My husband was a stay-at-home dad and he still has a career and a sense of identity and self-worth and masculinity and a deep love of beer and sports!”
Read her whole column here.
Interested in learning more about Jessi? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.