Yes, this dad tried to be a stay at home mom for a week (and it wasn’t what I thought it would be!)
Before my wife and I were married, we decided that when we were ready to have kids, she would be a stay-at-home mom. As our kids got older, and I was still plugging away at my job, feelings of jealously started to take over that I was missing things. So when Becky had to go away for a conference, this Dad tried to be a stay at home mom for the week.
Along with being a SAHM, she is also a blogger at yourmodernfamily.com and she runs a second site where she teaches bloggers how to blog. While she spends most of the day with the kids, she does most of her blog work when everyone is sleeping. There are many nights when I will head up to bed around 1:00 AM and she is still working hard. As I have come to realize, it seems that many bloggers do a lot of work early in the morning (while the rest of the world sleeps)… because many of them have children.
With that being said, Becky had to go away to plan out her second blog with some other bloggers and she would be gone for several days. I figured I’d just take a week off from work and take over. I mean… how hard could this be? Home all day, running on my own schedule, sleeping in, sippin’ coffee all day, lounging around laughing with the kids…
Here are 5 reasons that I was jealous of my stay at home wife (and the reality of them):
What happened when I tried to stay home for a week.
1- MORNINGS: It is still dark out when I leave for work, and she gets to sleep in.
REALITY: Well this is what I used to think. My wife was always the one that would get up with the kids in the middle of the the night. Not that I wouldn’t, but as the saying goes “I was dead to the world” when it came time to the middle of the night (just about impossible to wake). With a house of 4 kids, trust me when I say someone is up almost every night- She has to be exhausted!
Even though I had to get up for my “9-5 ” job, I only had to get myself out the door in the morning. She still had to get up and make sure all 4 of our kids ate breakfast. She had to be sure that their teeth was brushed, hair was fixed, lunches were ready and in back packs, and all kids were heading in the right direction to school or pre-school.
2- NAPS: Then there was the occasional nap in the middle of the day, that I assumed all SAHM’s took. Wrong again! Family and friends would tell her all the time, “you should take a nap, if the kids take a nap.” Most people know that with little kids and everything else that goes on in the middle of the day, naps are impossible. I tried during that week that I was home. I only had to try it once to see why she doesn’t nap. Our year 2 year old daughter actually fell asleep. However, nap time for dad never happened. The phone rang like 6 times, all from telemarketers “Hi, this is so and so with..would you be interested…” There were delivery trucks, lawnmowers, dogs barking, birds chirping just to list some of the distractions. By the time I would have fallen asleep, our 4 year old was ready to be picked up from preschool. Then there were the other hundred things running through my mind. Will I hear Allie when she gets up? What time do the kids get off the bus? Is the house clean in case someone stops by? Did I leave the coffee pot on? What are we going to have for dinner? Which child has practice tonight? Will I have time to cut the grass later? Is this why my wife never takes a nap in the day?
3- DINNERTIME: I pictured the kids playing quietly while my wife cooked in the kitchen. This does NOT happen. When I was home for those few days without her, it looked more like this: Chicken in the oven, spaghetti noodles over-boiling on the stove because our 2 year old daughter is sitting on my feet asking me to “swing her” while our 4 year old son is chasing our 6 year old son with a pool noodle (it is not pool weather- so I don’t even know where he got it!) and our 8 year old telling me that he doesn’t understand why he has to practice his spelling words when he will get new ones next week anyway.
4- BATH TIME- I figured its all just fun and bubbles and funny hairstyles. Everyone laughs and washes up and then my wife gets to snuggle with them when they are fresh in their pajamas.
REALITY- Allie (2) cries when her hair gets wet because she wants it “pretty”. Ethan (4) will dump a whole container of soap into the bathtub water while you are washing Allie’s hair. Jack & Beau dump shampoo on the shower floor to make a ‘skating rink’ and then fall down and end up crying. When I go to get the towels, I realize that I started washing the whites earlier in the day… and they are still in the wash. Yep. That about covers bath time.
5- SNACK TIME: Everyone has a snack before bed. My wife sits to eat her daily dish of ice cream and drink her diet coke. Everyone is happy because they are eating a snack and hearing a story or laughing about things at the table.
REALITY- I had to hide in the pantry to eat any food because if they saw me, they would attack me like a pack of wolves. They would hound me until they had it all gone and I was left with nothing.
In the end… while I was picturing a laid back day LIKE THIS ONE:
I realized that while it looks easy, it is all run by my wife (even if she isn’t front & center all the time- she’s behind the scenes running it like a well-oiled machine) and I’m glad!
And…. Well, after 11 years of working in the office, I’m going to start working from home… but I’m not ready to have her pass on the torch just yet. I have some learning to do! I still want to be with the kids and with her more, which is why I will be working from home, but I can see how HARD being a stay-at-home-parent is now!
I can see how hard it can be when everyone needs you at one time. I can see how it WEARS ON YOUR PATIENCE when you have to be 4 places at one time and you are late for everything. So to my wife, great job! I don’t know how you do it, but you make it look easier than when I was doing it! (that goes for all stay at home parents out there… moms & dads!) Pat on the back to you!
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