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role reversed parenting, podcast

Welcome to the very first episode of the Our Bird Has Flown podcast hosted by me, Paul M Bowers, and my wife, Indra Gardiner Bowers.

Listen every Thursday for discussions about role reversed parenting, fatherhood, experts, mom life and the teen perspective.

Ten years ago, Indra went to the first Blog World conference and while the idea of starting a blog was appealing we quickly realized we couldn’t handle it because of all the stresses of businesses and family.

Ten years later and here we are with our very first episode. Our son Jesse is going to college soon so what better time to start than now? Speaking of our son, we have a very different way of parenting which is, we had role reversed parenting jobs. In this episode, we discuss how the journey has been and the challenges we’ve faced along the way.

This Episode Includes:

  • The short story of how we finally started this podcast
  • A little bit about Indra’s job
  • What our website is about and how we’re actively finding our tribe
  • Our role reversed parenting journey
  • Paul’s journey of parenting at home
  • Advice to any couple thinking of role reversed parenting
  • Things Paul would change

Proudly Sponsored by:

Green Fresh Florals:

National Conflict Resolution Center (NCRC):

And here’s the transcript (we provide this because it’s ADA compliant AND gives us great SEO juice!)

  • View Transcript

    From the Dusty Urban Ham Shack studio of WB6QWD this is the Our Bird Has Flown podcast.


    Hey and welcome to the Our Bird Has Flown podcast. My name is Paul M Bowers and I’m here with Indra Gardiner Bowers.

    Indra Bowers: Hi everybody.

    Paul M Bowers: So what are we doing here?

    Indra Bowers: Oh we are launching our first pod.

    Paul M Bowers: Our first pod, is it some sort of space device?

    Indra Bowers: Get with the lingo, this is a pod which is short for podcast.

    Paul M Bowers: And what does one do in a podcast is it like radio? WQ6WB.

    Indra Bowers:Sort of, kind of but only better because we do it ourselves at our house.

    Paul M Bowers: Well I have been doing ham radios out of our house for a long time.

    Indra Bowers:Wait, what?

    Paul M Bowers:Yeah, we’ve got a couple of ham radios.

    Indra Bowers:At our house?

    Paul M Bowers:Yeah, it was those little walkie-talkies that I had when I went motorcycling, those are ham radios.

    Indra Bowers: Oh, I didn’t realize you were doing ham radio out of our house.

    Paul M Bowers:Would you not have married me because you think I was some sort of a geek?

    Indra Bowers: I feel so geeky now.

    Paul M Bowers:Oh no, its good and a matter of fact we are in our studio, the studios of WB6QWD where it’s lit by one single 60 watt Edison bulb from a cord hanging from the ceiling and these devices, these radios they are vintage Swan radios a 600t and a 600r, it’s a matched set.

    Indra Bowers:Paul tells stories.

    Paul M Bowers:Ok, so tell me why we are here? [music]

    Indra Bowers:Wait you forgot something.

    Paul M Bowers:What did I forget? Oh…

    Indra Bowers:Our sponsor.

    Paul M Bowers:I’m glad that sound is there because it’s time for me to talk about Green Florals. Our Bird has Flown podcast is sponsored by our friends at Green Florals. Carlos is a friend though, Carlos is the genius behind Green Fresh Florals and has been one of San Diego’s leading floral designers for decades, this is a great guy.

    For Weddings, Parties, Corporate events, just flowers or anything, Green Fresh Florals should be your first call 619-544-0504 at that number or even better visit and that’s your web destination to order online for fast special services in the greater San Diego area, or even better stop by, at Green Fresh Florals at 3785 4th Avenue.

    Indra Bowers:San Diego…

    Paul M Bowers:San Diego, I’ve given you a lot of flowers from Carlos huh?

    Indra Bowers:Beautiful.

    Paul M Bowers:You know what he does a great job.

    Indra Bowers:He has a beautiful aesthetic.

    Paul M Bowers: And I understand that he’s getting a married.

    Indra Bowers:Oh, I don’t know if we are supposed to talk about that.

    Paul M Bowers: Oh, is it top secret?

    Indra Bowers: Shhh! Yeah I think you might have just blown something. I can only imagine the flower at whatever they’re going to do.

    Paul M Bowers:I know, who’s going to do the flowers for them.

    Indra Bowers:Ah! All the other people that work there hopefully, not him.

    Paul M Bowers:Yeah, I guess not. Now can I ask you, what are we doing here how did we get here?

    Indra Bowers:Okay, well an origin story is that ok?

    Paul M Bowers:Yeah, origin story sounds fine to me.

    Indra Bowers: So I’m going to start with how we got here then we will go to the way back machine to how Paul and I got here.

     Paul M Bowers:Well we got here in our cars.

    Indra Bowers:I’m not talking about that.

    Paul M Bowers:Okay.

    Indra Bowers:So about ten years ago I went to my first Blog World conference and I came back very excited saying Paul we need to start a blog and we came up with all those ideas and at the time we had a seven year old and we were running businesses and realized no, we are not going to do this now. And I went to another one and then I said Paul I want to start a blog and we didn’t do it and here we are ten years later and now we feel like we have the space and the time to do it and a part of why is because our son is grown and leaving for college.

    Paul M Bowers:Wait, wait, wait you went to all these conference why were you at conferences?

    Indra Bowers:Because I own a Marketing Agency and that’s a part of what we do, we go to conferences so we can tell our clients about them.

    Paul M Bowers:Oh, that’s what you do at work you go to conferences?

    Indra Bowers: Oh brother, here we go.

    Paul M Bowers:Okay.

    Indra Bowers:Yeah, that’s what I do, I go to conferences.

    Paul M Bowers:Okay excellent.

    Indra Bowers:[Laughter] Okay, so anyway we finally decided to start our own blog but when I went to friends who were really into social media, I was like hey, I’m finally going to start the blog, they looked at me and said “you mean your podcast?”, no we are going to start a blog, “you mean your podcast?!” and so we decided okay, on top of doing the blog Our Bird Has Flown we are also doing the pod.

    Paul M Bowers:Well I guess its helpful that Jesse is flying off to college and already driving around and already acting like our third roommate. So my burden at home and volunteering at school is a lot lighter than it was ten years ago so I’m able to have a little more bandwidth and I still have quite a few businesses, I still have a photography business, I’m still doing videos and I’m still kind of keeping busy and it’s going to change pretty quickly and now would be the time to start getting our blog and podcast together, so we launched our website. How long ago did we launch our website?

    Indra Bowers:About two weeks ago.

    Paul M Bowers:Two weeks and how is that going?

    Indra Bowers:I think pretty well, I’m happy with the response we are getting and I have confidence that we are going to find our tribe.

    Paul M Bowers: Good, so what’s our blog about?

    Indra Bowers:It’s a lot of thing but primarily it’s the journey of a role reversed family, where Paul was a stay at home dad and me, Indra, was a working mom and how we raised our son and now the next four years’ journey of him moving out to the other side of the country and what that feels like and we’ve learned and finding our tribe that’s going through the same thing.

    Paul M Bowers:And we have found a few people like Mom 2, like two weeks ago and how was that for you?

    Indra Bowers:I absolutely loved it, I felt really encouraged by what we are embarking on and I learned a ton and also on top of that Brene Brown was there and so that was just the cherry on top for me.

    Paul M Bowers:Oh yeah, I remember her, something about shame or something, she researches shame.

    Indra Bowers:And vulnerability.

    Paul M Bowers:Vulnerability, I don’t know anything about vulnerability. [Cross talking]

    Indra Bowers: Yes you do.

    Paul M Bowers: I’m deeply honored.

    Indra Bowers:No actually I completely believe that you related to what she had to say because you have saida lot of those things to me yourself.

    Paul Bowers:Nah, chick stuff.

    Indra Bowers:Yeah, so I’m going to give a little nugget tip on what Brene laid down us, what I though was absolutely beautiful and that was talk to yourself just as you would talk to someone you love. That was a big one for me I  always try to remember that.

    Paul Bowers:[Mumbling].

    Indra Bowesr:Get rid of the negative self-talk.

    Paul M Bowers:I’m not negative I’m a guy so I [inaudible]. Nevertheless it sounded like a good thing and you enjoyed it and it was how many days at some fancy hotel or was it another conference, is that what you guys at a conference is like?

    Indra Bowers:It was not a conference, this one was two and a half days up in Pasadena with about five hundred women and twelve men [laughter] which was fun for you.

    Paul M Bowers:[Laughter] Yeha I was one. So let’s back pedal a little bit about this, we were reversed, you went to work every day and I worked and stayed at home every day. I did my volunteering, I went to the P.T.A foundation, I walked to school every morning, picked up from school every evening. So how did that work out for you?

    Indra Bowers:We are still here; we are still married going on twenty years.

    Paul Bowers:Its hardly a ringing endorsement.

    Indra Bowers:Okay let me try that again, it was awesome, it was great and not always easy. I think that we were a part of a pioneering group of families and we decided that we would change roles and no one understood it or was comfortable with it and I think it really worked for us and I know what really worked for our son.

    Paul M Bowers:Well it worked really well for both of us and I know that you have a post on our podcast, that www.ourbirdhasflown.comand you have a post about someone shit talking about our arrangement saying that I was taking advantage of you, which reminds me of a Bill Withers song.

    Indra Bowers:Yes, so that post is called Role Reversal is Hard for Other People and It was kind of shocking when this so-called friend was telling me that people were speaking badly about you and couldn’t really get out of her who other than her.

    Paul M Bowers: Was it her secret army ?

    Indra Bowers:But it was very enlightening in terms of seeing when you think the people who would be open minded about changing stereotypes and breaking old norms, really was having a hard time with it and couldn’t understand it and so were other people. They go negative and decided oh so, this would be him taking advantage of you as if I was stupid thank you very much, that was pretty insulting. [laughter]

    Paul Bowers:I would get back to this [sound] that time means that it’s time for our second sponsor National Conflict Resolution Center.

    Indra Bowers:The Our Bird Has Flown Podcast is proud to be sponsored by the National Conflict Resolution Centre or NCRC and its extensive programs and mediation, conflict resolution and training. NCRC works with thousands of individuals across the globe to help resolve all level of society with unique and effective training programs. NCRC also offer mediation services to the public and legal solutions for the community, divorce mediation for individuals and families and conflict resolution services for community-based disputes.

    To learn more about this organization, and I mean truly it is a great organization, and its work for resolving conflict on a global and community scale visit their website, we love NCRC.

    Paul M

    Indra Bowers:We love NCRC.

    Paul M Bowers:We do.

    Indra Bowers:Good people.

    Paul M Bowers:We’ve done a lot of work with them and you can see examples on my videos at Am I a sponsor?

    Indra Bowers: You are now. [laughter]

    Paul M Bowers:I certainly think so. So we were talking about a person’s reaction to a topsy-turvy lifestyle and I got to say it spanned both sides of the political fence. My very conservative motorcycle riding buddies didn’t understand it either. Well some of them did but some of them were like yeah, God I would like the chance to do that, or more important or more telling I wish my father had done that and then you think about that and I wish that I had a father that did that, so what are we doing but on the other side of the fence, the liberal side, that is over on your microphone, there were similar results. I would have thought that the more liberal community would be more down with it but certainly hanging out with the moms at the playground it was like I had been a failure and so we had to default into this upside down lifestyle.

    Indra Bowers:Right, not as much as acceptance as you would of thought. It almost seems as if you were a perpetrator coming into their den and they weren’t ready for that.

    Paul M Bowers:No I don’t think so and I don’t exactly figure out why, a lot of it is like why would you choose this?

    Indra Bowers:Because it’s really hard [laughter].

    Paul Bowers:Remember your coming home and you can’t wait to get back to your thirty to fifty-five employees and all the finance you have to handle every day; you were like get me back to that it’s so much easier.

    Indra Bowers:Yeah, it was so much easier.

    Paul Bowers: I certainly have enjoyed it and has obviously been my privilege to do it and I haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about what other people are thinking about it, but it is curious how those people are not nearly as enlightened as they believe they are.  Part of it might be our age because we didn’t have Jesse till I was forty years old. Well they would look at it and say why’s a forty years old doing this?

    Indra Bowers:Yeah that might be a part of it.

    Paul M Bowers:And so there was an age thing as well.

    Indra Bowers:Yeah and a part of why we are doing this, having these conversations about this on Our Bird Has Flown is because we really want to encourage people to know that there is a pathway out there that you can do this and if you’re a dad thinking about staying home and being with the kids more often; go for it, it is incredibly rewarding and there are women who really shine more at work or can be a better provider to the family and maybe need that break from being around the family all the time and we just want to encourage you to take the path less travelled and know that there are people like us that support you and we see more and more of that happening and that’s the group we are trying to find and connect with and there’s families who are open to different ways of parenting and that it’s all okay and that your path is the path for you and don’t let anyone else judge you about it.

    Paul M Bowers: Yeah and that’s true and particularly for men. I think women get a certain amount of empowerment from having a successful business and providing for a family but to have that opportunity to focus on it and not split and have to dash off at the end of the day to pick up at childcare, you didn’t have to dash off. My thing was take all the time you need and let me know so that I can have dinner ready, that a pretty powerful thing and that’s what it used to be in the 50’s and 60’s – that’s what women did for men.

    Indra Bower:Right.

    Paul M Bowers:And so it was actually my privilege to do that for you and I think that the underrated part of it is a lot of the women at the playground didn’t understand that you came home to a decent meal every night and that you were in control all the time and so if I wanted to go ride my motorcycle one day and you had to go in early for meetings then that was it you had priority. I can’t count the amount of rides, multi-day rides that I had planned and then all of a sudden she had to go out of town, I would just cancel because she had priority. There’s a lot of executive support that comes along with the job it’s not just changing dirty diapers.

    Indra Bowers:So I was very fortunate and in some ways spoiled because when I rushed home I was rushing home because I was going to be with you all, not because there was some deadline that I had to pick up at the day care. So I was very fortunate that I could come straight home and you were here together, I just wanted every minute with you all before he went to bed and that was my emphasis.

    Paul M Bowers:In early days it wasn’t like that because we liked early bed times for him and it worked out well but sometimes you would miss him and sometimes you would have to go in and say hi.

    Indra Bowers:It wasn’t always great, sometimes you felt like you were getting a little robbed of the time but the good news was youwere here, so it wasn’t like a pass off happening you know with a nanny, we were very fortunate that way.

    Paul M Bowers:  The backside of it, what do you have to sacrifice to do that? Well you have just talked about how you have to sacrifice some of the close time and that you would otherwise have issues staying home. I sacrificed all the power that comes with money and that comes along with earning and the economy, I virtually have no economy, well no financial economy [cross talking].

    Indra Bowers:And you know one of the things that you know we are seeing and the definition of male verses female right now and the male definitions are around money, power, control and this is a shift in how we were all raised and think about how relationships are supposed to be. I think that’s healthy, I think it’s time.

    Paul M Bowers:Well healthy or not it has certainly worked out for us and the only thing that I would change is I would start earlier. When I first had Jesse my business was operating a little bit larger, I had employees, I had a big studio. Had I known then what I know now I would have shut down the studio five years before I eventually did.

    Indra Bowers:But then we wouldn’t have had our amazing nanny [laughter].

    Paul M Bowers:That would have to be for another episode but I just think that I would have done it earlier but it was not easy to do. I looked around and said,’ hey I’ve had my business at that point fifteen years or so and I had bought a house, I had cars, I had motorcycles. It was a fun job, it’was a great job and we knew that staying home meant that it would have got smaller but we didn’t realize how much smaller. So it has been a great journey for all of us and we are going to talk more about this on another podcast.

    Coming up on the podcast we are going to have experts, we are going to have our son join us and we will have one or two episodes when he’s joining us far field in his bedroom and then we’ll have some that are far afield coming up pretty soon, but I hear the music coming up so that means it’s the end of episode one of the Our Bird Has Flown podcast. The Our Bird Has Flown podcast comes to you from the Dusty Urban Ham Shack Studio WB6QWD.

    I’m Paul M Bowers and thank you for joining us, the podcast and I have it written down somewhere. Ah, there it is our podcast is remotely produced by Bryan Thomas at Yokai  audio at Kalamazoo Michigan and our sponsors are Green Fresh Florals and the National Conference Resolution Centre, you can visit our website where we talk about our topsy-turvy home life and our college bird Jesse Bowers and thank you for clicking in we will see you soon [music].