David Shaw

Web Designer

Location: Somerville, MA

"It was a big leap of faith for us both to start new ventures at the same time, but I couldn't have asked for a better outcome."

My wife and I were both working full-time jobs when our son was born. She took time off to be at home with him while I continued to work. Her company went bankrupt after the first year, but she managed to find a series of consulting jobs that allowed her to work at home.

I was preparing to change jobs, and had begun interviewing for another full-time position, when a group of scientists from my wife's former company asked if she'd like to join them in a technology startup they were getting ready to launch. Even though our son was now old enough for day care, we both knew that the startup would require long hours. One of us would have to negotiate for a schedule flexible enough to allow time for school pickups, doctor's appointments, and all of the little things that crop up when you're raising a child.

I knew my wife wouldn't be handed another opportunity like this. My recent corporate experiences already had me thinking about starting my own web design business, so I dropped the job interviews and concentrated on cultivating a client list. It was rough going at first, learning how to fit my projects around a school schedule, but I gradually figured out how to make it work. Many of our friends started directing clients my way, which made that first year more financially secure.

As my wife's company grew, the demands on her time became greater, so I found myself taking on more of the routine household duties: paying bills, shopping, and cooking. Especially cooking. I had always loved to cook, but now it became a challenge to create weekly menus that didn't repeat the same two dozen meals.

I lost a few clients, our son's school days became longer, and I had some extra time. I started a blog about my cooking experiments and began teaching our boy some basic cooking skills. Now he helps out with the shopping, menu planning and cooking.

My wife's company has spun off two additional businesses, but the demands on her time have lessened a bit. Our son thinks it's completely normal for Dad to stay at home while Mom works. It was a big leap of faith for us both to start new ventures at the same time, but I couldn't have asked for a better outcome.