Mr. Mom Puts Family Ahead Of Career
In the 21st century, it is not uncommon for gender roles to be split right down the middle, as they relate to household chores and parental duties. However, some cultures still put extra emphasis on the importance of mothers staying at home to tend to their children while fathers bring home the bacon. In the Samoan culture, traditionally, it was men who did the cooking, and women played key roles in the confines of their own homes.
In the case of Kaipo Hussey and wife Jenny, their roles are reversed. Culture plays a minor role in the couple’s decision to make Kaipo a full-time stay-at-home dad and Jenny the breadwinner.
“Since the seventh grade, I already knew I would be a pharmacist. We are fortunate that my career provides great income for our family so that my husband can stay home and raise our children,” says Jenny. Her 34-year-old husband takes his nickname “Mr. Mom” very seriously. As a boy, he had always dreamed of being a fireman when he grew up. Never in his wildest dreams did he ever think he would be married to a “Mrs. Dad” and doing what he calls “mommy duties.”
Kaipo isn’t your typical father. He has taken on his wife’s last name legally and is known as Kaipo Matsumoto-Hussey. He is in charge of nurturing, feeding and most other child-rearing responsibilities. The decision to give up his career was made in 2007.
“I worked at Ala Moana Hotel when Jenny was pregnant. When she gave birth to Rory, she wanted to go back to her career and asked me to give up mine so I could stay home with our baby girl,” explains Kaipo.
Jenny learned how to change diapers in the hospital, but Kaipo was a veteran. He grew up with six siblings and helped his mother with the kids she baby-sat, so caring for Rory came naturally to him.
“I think it is awesome. As a pharmacist, I have a very stressful job. It is difficult for me to have enough energy to do more work after hours. So when I come home to a clean house and folded laundry, I feel relieved to unwind and spend quality time with our three children and our new foster baby,” she says.
Their other children, Raylene (age 3) and Lucas (age 2), were foster kids they adopted. Thanks to Jenny’s career, her income is equivalent to two paychecks, giving her stay-at-home dad the opportunity to raise their family and other children of troubled young mothers.
“We have so much more than the average family, so why not share what we have with foster children?” says Jenny.
Kaipo says everything works swimmingly because, while Jenny excels in her career, Kaipo is defining his father-hood role and their family is expanding.
“I don’t have a problem with not being the breadwinner. I had chores growing up and we had to learn to cook, wash clothes, do the dishes and all that good stuff,” he explains.
Aside from his household, personal coach and chauffeur duties, he manages to keep physically fit.
“I exercise at home while Raylene and Lucas are taking their naps. I have a punching bag, dumbbells and do my push-ups and jump rope during quiet times,” he says. “I am patient with the kids. The routine is taking the eldest to school, exercising, playing games, running around and going to the park daily with our other two.”
In fact, his play group consists of hanging out with stay-at-home moms and their toddlers.
“We watch the kids interact and take them to their swim lessons and sports practices,” he says.
Jenny considers her husband a superhero: “He never just sits at home watching television. He is an amazing multitasker. Before he drops Rory off at school, he leaves our house 45 minutes early and trains her to run drills and practice soccer on the basketball court so that she is good at the sport. He makes good use of her time. Rory’s teacher went up to Kaipo to tell him that it’s hard to keep her interested in PE because she is so good at every sport. I credit Kaipo for that.”
After school, Kaipo continues to run drills at the park with Rory and has her jump rope. She is an accomplished defender on her soccer team and is so good that, as an 8-year-old, she practices with the age 10 division after school. Her younger sister Raylene also now is being coached by Dad, running the same drills before she starts soccer for the first time next month.
“Kaipo reads them books all day long. He practically home-schools Raylene and Lucas, and they enjoy it,” Jenny says.
Kaipo feeds his children oatmeal for breakfast and peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches for lunch — every day.
“Oatmeal is a great way to start their day. It’s good for their brains, their cholesterol and provides their bodies the fiber they need. The PBJ sandwiches are what the kids enjoy eating,” explains the pharmacist.
Kaipo is creative with dinners. He makes a mean shoyu chicken, and has mastered homemade chili and spaghetti. By popular demand, he is super good at preparing corn dogs, fish sticks and chicken nuggets.
“He’s the perfect Mr. Mom to raise our beautiful children. He takes them to church every Sunday, leads by example, keeps them physically fit and shows them love constantly,” praises Jenny.
Kaipo’s commitment to being the family primary caretaker is an inspiration to all. Today’s Island Matters is a salute to Kaipo and other Mr. Moms out there!