It’s Not A Job For The Feint Of Heart…
When my husband and I began talking about having a family, it was understood I would stay home with the kids. He had a full time career and I worked part time after getting my masters degree in a restaurant. There wasn’t anything I was particularly tied to, plus being a mom was my ultimate dream job. After graduation, I began my job search but got derailed when we got pregnant. That was the end of that. Frankly, I was ecstatic because my new job was about taking care of my babies.
This was it. I had my full time job in the bag. It didn’t offer a salary but paid in love, hugs, growth, dirty diapers and so much more.
Each day, my husband would leave for work, kiss me and the kids goodbye and go off to be with other adults. When they were little he never once uttered, “what do you do all day?”
It was apparently on dependent our children were on me. The livelihood of our family was in my hands. I was the one changing diapers, cleaning messes, feeding them all day long, and bathing them. On top of all that, I kept up with the gigantic piles of laundry and dishes they produced on a daily basis. There was no doubt in his mind that this job was intense.
But The Kids Are Gone For The Day…
Then they got older, started going to school and became more independent.
Being a stay at home mom with older kids allows more time in my day to do things for me. Guess what? I earned that time after spending five plus years of getting up in the middle of the night, being alert during the day and being at the kids’ beck and call till they started going to school.
Sure, the kids aren’t physically here, but it’s my job to keep the house and our lives in order so chaos doesn’t ensue.
A Day In The Life Of A Stay At Home Parent
When they were gone for hours during the day, he started asking what I had going on for the day? I looked him straight in the eye and said, “Honestly, I’m making life easier for everyone.”
That pretty much shut him up, but then got me thinking about what it is that I truly do. I shouldn’t have done that. The list below doesn’t even cover half of what I do. I had to stop listing things because honestly I thought I was going to have a meltdown.
If our roles were reversed for any given period of time, he would see how what it’s like to be me:
- We never have to worry about taking sick days for our children.
- Doctors appointments can be done any time during the day.
- The kids have new clothes when they grow out of old ones.
- Making sure everyone gets to their activities each night/picked up from school.
- Birthday and Christmas gifts are bought and wrapped.
- Our kids are signed up for activities well before the deadline.
- The calendar is organized with all our events, sports and activities for the month and beyond.
- Everyone has clean clothes in the house without asking.
- Our family is fed because I go grocery shopping when everyone is gone.
- If anyone needs anything for school, sports or life, it’s bought and picked up for them in a timely fashion.
- Everyone is healthy and if they aren’t I can spend all day snuggling them on the couch.
- Bedtimes are a breeze because the kids and I have a routine.
Doing Nothing Is Actually Something
This is just to name a few things. I have never resented my role in our family but would like some acknowledgement now and then about the importance of my job. Yes, it is a job. My mind is constantly thinking about what I need to get done for my family each day.
So in the morning when my husband asked what do you have to do today and I say nothing that doesn’t really mean nothing. What it means is I don’t have stuff to do on top of the other 10 million things that normally get done. Nothing means that everyone is where they are supposed to be and there is nothing extra on the calendar. It doesn’t mean I’m sitting around watching TV all day and eating bonbons.
Most days, I am putting out fires all over the place. Like when I find our white sink covered in red marker (from my ten year old), slime in the carpet (from my twelve year old), syrup all over the kitchen in places I thought syrup could never be (from my six year old) and complaints (from my eight year old) about how he’s still sick and couldn’t possibly go to swim team. These are just a few of the things I have to handle all day long.
Our Roles Help Us Thrive
While it seems by the time my husband gets home, the house looks exactly the same as he left it, a lot has happened. Mostly, cleaned, messed up, and cleaned again. After twelve years of doing this job, I am extremely efficient at it. I’ve created an internal system for getting stuff done in the quickest time possible.
Yes, there are blocks of time where we don’t have a lot going on and I use to spend it doing what I love to do. I have to pause and take time for me because once the kids come back from school, it’s all about them and the mom hat goes right back on.
He doesn’t see the inner workings of this house while he is at work. What he is hoping for is order when he comes home. When he asks what I did today, he doesn’t want a play by play of everything. He wants the highlight reel because I think if he knew all the behind the scenes stuff that goes on, he would probably have a meltdown if I ever asked him to reverse roles.
Of course, if we did this, I’m pretty sure I couldn’t take on his role either. I do not take for granted one iota of what he does for us. While I make sure our family is running smoothly, he definitely makes sure that our house is still standing.
Put your oxygen mask on first. Self care is essential for all parents to make it through the day.
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