Being a stay at home parent is one of the most rewarding jobs in the world, but it’s also one of the most challenging. I understand that it’s not rocket science and we aren’t doing any major heavy lifting but emotionally, it takes a toll being in charge of tiny humans all day. Constant care means that our children’s needs come before our needs- no matter what, and that can be a bit draining. If you have a negative opinion of stay at home parents, you’ve obviously never stayed home with children for hours on end. It’s really, really hard – end of conversation.
Here are some phrases stay at home moms are just tired of hearing, so if you’re trying to stay in our good graces please avoid these comments.
What do you do all day?
Unless you’re genuinely curious about what a stay at home parent’s day looks like, don’t ask this question. It comes across naive, like you think we’re frolicking in a meadow singing to our perfect pig- tailed kids all day. Let me walk you through a typical day in case you are honestly “just curious.”
My day starts at 6:30 in the morning as I try to wake up, dress, force feed and drive my oldest child to school on time. Then it’s back home for cleaning, dinner prep and sometimes grocery shopping or errands before finally realizing it’s time to make lunch. After lunch and in between a few diaper changes, a tantrum here and there about silly things like the wrong colored cup and coffee (lot’s of coffee) it’s time to get back in the car. Then it’s off to take my preschooler to school, pick up my oldest from a different school and head straight back to pick up my preschooler, baby in tow of course. Then i’ts home to cook dinner, clean up (again), make lunches for the following day and of course, homework. After bath time, it’s time for bed or as I call it a hostage negotiation. After the kids are asleep four years later, I lay down in my bed to suddenly remember all the things I forgot to do that day. So, I get up to give the dog her pill, move the laundry along and trip over a toy or two. Then I sleep…well kind of. My kids sleep well for the most part, but some stay at home mom’s I know are up dozens of times a night and are forced to start breakfast at dawn by their early risers. So, please don’t assume that just because we’re home we get to sleep in, we don’t – like ever.
Don’t you get bored?
Let me start by saying HAHAHAHA! I wish I got bored as a stay at home mom, but that is just not the case. I’m in introvert, so I actually love being bored, sadly it’s just not part of my day. When I’m not trying to keep my children alive, clean or educated, I’m worrying about how to do those things. If I did get bored, I would take a relaxing bubble bath (without little hands splashing in the water) or read a book (that doesn’t rhyme) or sleep, yes – I would just sleep. Please don’t say this to a stay at home mom, because frankly, being bored is something we fantasize about.
When do you plan to go back to work?
First of all, taking care of our kids all day is work or daycare’s would cease to exist. Second, if I chose to be home for the rest of my life, then that is my choice. It’s not like kids hit grade school and stop needing parents. What if my kids are sick, or need help with homework, or need someone to take them to soccer practice? If I can be home, If I can be there for them, then that’s something I want to do.
Think about it… growing up did you ever think I wish my mom was at work more? My mom was home a lot and I still found myself wishing she was home more. I’m not knocking working mothers at all, I’m just saying that if I choose to sacrifice money for extra time with my children, I should be supported for it, not belittled. We all contribute something to this world, and I for one am very content knowing that I chose to devote all of myself to my kids.
I could never afford to be a stay at home parent.
This comment is probably the most irritating of them all. Most stay at home moms I’ve met (myself included) have to work very hard at budgeting and sacrificing to be able to make staying home possible. We don’t drive fancy cars or go on luxurious vacations every month. We say no to a lot of things we want to do. We have to focus more on the “needs” in life, than the “wants.”
It’s not about being able to afford staying at home, it’s about sacrificing in other areas so that we can be home with our kids. Let’s also not forget how expensive daycare is (upwards of 1,000 a month). Sometimes, it just makes more financial sense to stay home.
I hope these tips help you and let’s remember to support each other as parents – stay at home, working or otherwise. Motherhood takes a village and we need each other.