It’s Not Just Fun and Games All Day, or Hey Dear, Can You Rub My Feet When You Get Home

April 9, 2015

  
It was about 8:30 last night when I realized I hadn’t yet showered.  I don’t know why it continues to surprise me, as this has happened many times since I became a staddy (stay at home daddy, for the lay person) a couple months ago.  I have high standards regarding personal hygiene, and I don’t consider myself lazy, so why would I forget to shower?  Oh, maybe because I’m working about 12+ hours a day, and it isn’t usually a priority.  Let’s get something straight – I’m not complaining at all.  This has has been a very positive and rewarding experience, and I knew going in that it would be challenging.  I just want to make sure people in the working world understand that taking care of children and managing the household is actual work.

I have known a number of guys (I’m sure women do this too, but depending on the source, moms makeup over 90% of the stay at home parent population) over the years who complain about their stommy (you see what I did there, right?) wives.  “How the hell isn’t the house clean?  Why isn’t my dinner ready when I get home from work – where I make all the money, by the way?  She has it so easy!”  Every man over the age of 30 is aware of the stereotype about women watching soap operas and eating bonbons while their kids play and nap all day.  I admit there were times when my wife was off work on maternity leave that I would come home from work and wonder, “Is this it?”  That was when she was home with a helpless, hungry, pooping, crying baby – what an idiot I was!  I totally get it now.  Being a stay at home parent ain’t easy.

Each day is a little different, but a typical day goes something like this (not necessarily in this order):

6:45 – 9:00:  Make coffee, go for a run, make a simple breakfast for the family, make a sack lunch for my son, get my son up and ready for school, clean up the kitchen, take my son to school

9:00 – 9:20:  Relax (coffee me)

9:20 – 11:00:  Start a load of laundry and fold the load that I left sitting in the dryer (LISTEN UP MEN – laundry sucks and never ends, you can only try to keep up.  Two loads a day keep the piles away, but don’t expect to see the bottom of the hamper very often, if ever.  And don’t get me started on the tedious, annoying task of folding/hanging clothes!), art or a game with my daughter, bathe and dress my daughter, shower (sometimes) and dress myself

11:00 – 1:00:  Quality time of some sort outside of the house with my daughter, lunch

1:00 – 2:00:  Grocery shopping, errands, etc.

2:00 – 3:00:  Read books to my daughter and get her to sleep (I will take a short nap myself sometimes – you got something to say about it?)

3:00 – 4:15:  Some kind of household chore (cleaning, vacuuming, etc.), MORE LAUNDRY

4:15 – 4:30:  Pick my son up from school

4:30 – 5:00:  Dinner prep

5:00 – 5:20:  Relax (beer me)

5:20 – 6:15:  Practice sports or some kind of quality time with my son

6:15 – 7:30:  Make dinner, eat, clean up the kitchen (I’ve been slacking on the night-time kitchen cleaning and doing some the next morning, but dishes need to be rinsed, food is put away, counters are wiped down, and so on)

Throw in yard work, home maintenance, unexpected errands, paying bills, kids’ school/sporting events, etc., and it’s a damn full day.  Not to mention that I’m keeping my daughter entertained the entire time. 

I don’t want to imply that my wife doesn’t help, because she does plenty when she gets home and on weekends.  The truth is, though, that I don’t want her to have to do much in the evening after she has been at work all day (she is more than welcome to help on weekends).  This is my job that I want to do right now, and I feel responsible to make sure the things on my list are completed each day – just like I did when I worked a “real” job.  I’m not comparing what I do to the working world, however, because at the end of the day my “clients” are going to love me no matter what.  That takes some pressure off, and also makes it that much more rewarding.

You can go online and find a number of studies that show what a starent (you should get this now) would earn if they were getting paid for the work they do.  I’ve read anywhere from $15,000 (absurdly low) to $150,000 (too high).  Sure, you can estimate and add up what a childcare provider, cook, maid, handyman, etc. would earn, but can you really place a value on what it means to your children to be home with a parent?

Again, I’m not complaining, I’m also not saying what I’m doing is more difficult than working a traditional job or being in a situation where both parents work.  I’m just giving my perspective as a former working dad.  It’s not just fun and games all day.  So to all the breadwinners out there, I commend and thank you.  But guys (and gals), the next time you come home and your starent spouse didn’t get your dry cleaning picked up, please remember that there’s probably a very valid excuse.

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2 Responses to “It’s Not Just Fun and Games All Day, or Hey Dear, Can You Rub My Feet When You Get Home”

  1. facetfully Says:

    Great reply to those who don’t know. Brings back memories…it was all I wanted to do and I am grateful for being able to stay home with my kids. I did a pretty good job for about 12 years..until I didn’t!

  2. Ashley Says:

    Love this Brad! When I’m home with Keane on the two days I’m blessed to be a stommy sometimes my answer to “what did you do all day” is simply “I kept our son alive.” Haha! What a task this is somedays with a 22 month old who’s curious and exploring the world and testing boundaries all while I need to do laundry and dishes and make sure we do something fun and educational and not let the tv babysit. Keep blogging this incredible journey!


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