Post By RelatedRelated Post
In this series entitled Partner Profile, PATRONNÈ MAGAZINE explores the hearts and minds of the men who partner with high-flying women and the keys to their relationship success.
Meet Roy Karp, a 41 year old lawyer turned educator, married for 11 years to Courtney Feeley Karp an Attorney. The couple has an adorable 17 month baby girl named Lucy. More than one year ago, Courtney and Roy faced one of the hardest challenges in their lives – as individuals and as a couple – when their 3 month premature baby girl was born with many health issues. Their new baby girl gave a new rhythm to their lives. Roy talks to PATRONNÈ Magazine about his relationship, his new role as stay-at-home-dad, relationship dynamics and how it helped overcome past and current challenges.
… on Gender Roles
PATRONNÈ: What are your views on traditional gender roles?
Roy Karp: Courtney and I have a very equal partnership. We both have graduate degrees and professional careers, but we often joke about our common “role reversals.” For example, Courtney is the more avid sports fan of the two of us and she also takes the lead in paying bills and managing the household budget, while I do things like sewing buttons. I don’t think we are that far out of the norm for 2016, though it is more equal than marital relationships of our parents’ generation.
PATRONNÈ: Describe a “day in your life” as a Stay-at-home Dad?
RK: Lucy has home nursing four days each week and also has many Early Intervention services in the home. This includes weekly home visits for Development, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech/Feeding Therapy, and Music Therapy, and a weekly swim class for Aqua Therapy. She also has many doctor’s appointments each month, including her pediatrician, pulmonologist, Gastrointestinal/feeding specialist, and ophthalmologist, which has kept us pretty busy. One thing is typical of every day: laundry! I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t do laundry, fold and put away clothing and cloth diapers.
… on Managing their Household
P: How do you & Courtney share the challenges of running your household?
RK: Before our daughter was born, we shared equally in household chores such as cleaning the house, doing laundry, food shopping, and home renovations. Since Lucy was born, as Courtney returns to full time work I have taken on more household chores and greater responsibility for our daughter’s care.
P: How did you arrive at the specific division of labor in your household?
RK: Even before our daughter’s early arrival, motivated by the fact that Courtney is an attorney in private practice, while I work in the non-profit sector, we made the financial decision that I would be a stay-at-home dad and that Courtney would return to work.
…on Managing their Relationship
P: How do you and Courtney make time to “date” amidst busy careers?
RK: Due to our daughter’s significant health care needs, we receive 74 hours per week in home nursing from MassHealth – the state’s public healthcare program. We currently have four day shifts and four overnight shifts. Two nights each week, our night nurse arrives at 7 p.m., so one night each week, we make a point to go out for a dinner date. This has proven to be a really essential respite for us, a break not only from our role as parents, but also a break from all the medical equipment, alarms, and stress of caring for a medically complex child. We typically go to a favorite restaurant, eat great food, share a nice bottle of wine, and catch up with each other.
P: What traits do you possess that make your relationship work?
RK: I think our personalities complement each other very well. We come from very different backgrounds, religious traditions, locations, and ethnicities, and had very different childhoods. This of course impacts the way we see and experience the world. There was a time when these differences would cause conflict, but we have worked through those issues and have come to appreciate our differences and better understand each other’s perspective. At the same time, we share many interests, such as history, literature, politics, film, sports, cooking, and gardening. We also share common values, such as community and social justice.
… on Partnering with an Ambitious Woman
P: What is it like to be partnered with an ambitious / successful woman?
RK: I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am a professional myself, and enjoy having a partner with whom I can discuss my work, as well as literature, theater, art, history, politics, law, education, current events and other common interests.
P: What advice would you give ambitious women looking for the right partner?
RK: You should look for a partner who has deep respect for your intellect and your professional goals and who also shares your values. With those things, you can bridge differences of culture, background, and even religion. (Courtney was raised Catholic and I was raised Jewish, so we are an interfaith couple who found a spiritual home in the Unitarian church.)
“Don’t be intimidated by your partner’s strength. A loving relationship is not a competition. If you feel threatened by a successful and career oriented woman, then you should look inside yourself and ask whether these feelings come from insecurity on your part.”