When my wife and I were first married, I wasn’t working. I was a stay-at-home-husband doing dishes, cleaning the house and making sure everything was perfect for when she got home. We quickly had our first child and I was working. Being a stay-at-home-dad (SAHD) wasn’t an option at the time, but I thought I would want to at one point. Really, how hard would it be to parent your kids?
With the birth of our third child recently I was fortunate enough to take work off to help with the kids and my wife. Preparing for the time ahead I was planning the many fun events the kids and I would do together: go to the zoo, play at the park, fly kites, basically everything outside.
Of course, since I planned out the time I would have the kids the weather decided these things weren’t going to happen. It rained the entire time and we basically decided indoor activities were now our only option.
If you know me, I get stir crazy and can only stay in the house for so long. That meant I had to change our plans which was pretty simple at first. We went to the mall to get some wiggles out by walking and shopping. Shopping with two toddlers isn’t easy, but we had fun. Quickly money was being spent and that wasn’t was I was expecting. Otherwise, we would have gone to all the indoor activities: aquarium, children’s museum, or indoor pool.
Day two with the kids I thought, instead of just going and walking at the mall, let’s try to get some things we need done too. This was good the first hour, but when the Apple store told me the wait to get an appointment with the genius bar was almost two hours I had to focus on what the kids needed—attention.
By day three I needed to get some cleaning done. My wife was exhausted from getting back on a newborn sleep schedule and she needed more sleep. I love to clean, but when it comes to cleaning with kids it’s difficult. They are constant hurricanes and cleaning up mess after mess gets frustrating. It was at this time that I was finally realizing what it’s like to be a SAHD or stay-at-home-parent in general.
Before staying home, I would come home from work and wonder why my wife was so frustrated with our kids. They need attention and depend on you for everything. When you say they frustrate you and you have had enough of them I never understood what that meant.
It was three days in and completely understood it. Not that I didn’t love and care for my kids, but you do everything you think they’d want and they still weren’t happy. Really, you don’t get it until you go through it yourself. Actually being a parent is a lot of work: physically, mentally, and emotionally. This explains why when you come home and your spouse is completely exhausted.
After a week of being a SAMD I realized just how amazing my wife is. Every single day she is finding things to entertain our very active, fun loving kids. While at the same time trying to care for a newborn. If you are the one staying at home caring for the kids know that I get it. It’s a lot of work and really you are doing an amazing job. Keep up the good work.