They say that being a stay-at-home-mom is a 24/7 job with absolutely no vacations, sick days or breaks. While that rings pretty true to this SAHM, I also feel like that should be a given for any parent, regardless of whether or not they stay at home and regardless of whether or not they identify as "mom" or "dad." Sadly, society doesn't necessarily agree, and in cisgender heteronormative relationships, the burden of most parenting responsibilities falls on the woman. If you're a stay-at-home-mom, this is almost definitely true, but there are things grown-ass men do for stay-at-home moms that quell the tides of every gender stereotype that contributes to the collective "we" thinking a mom's job is parenting, and a father's job is anything but.
Now, this is the part where I concede that every family is different: what works for one couple might not work for another. The constraints of a working parents' job will necessarily limit what he or she will be able to do when it comes to everyday household chores and childcare. This is where I also clarify that, yes, when you're a SAHM, you'll probably (by default) do the majority of the housework and child-rearing. It's really just a matter of logistics and the number of hours in a day, and less about patriarchal strongholds that keep gender stereotypes alive.
Where I take umbrage is the idea that a SAHM's job is 24/7 with no vacations, sick days, or breaks, while her working partner's job has a start time and an end time and when end time arrives and they're home, their work is done. No. Hate to break it to you, would-be Don Drapers of the world, but your job is 24/7 now, too. Because you're a goddamn parent.
The only difference is that, unlike a SAHM, a working parent has their job split between two places and, of course, that is difficult. Your mindset has to shift and your patience (probably) has to be increased and you have to dip into your energy reservoirs to continue to work you do as a parent. I'm sure, for some, it's disheartening to work really hard at a job outside of the home for 8, 10, 15 hours even, only to come home and do more work. But your partner, who has been home all day managing the house and making sure your children are happy and healthy (the latter of which is basically a full-time commitment in and of itself: children are basically adorable little self-destruct buttons with no concept of fear or thoughts of bodily harm), is not asking you to do anything she isn't doing herself. Basically, every parent has it tough and it's a difficult job for all involved, whether they stay at home or work outside of the home. Parents lucky enough to be part of a parenting team, need to work together to make all the difficult aspects of parenting, easier.
So, even if a man is not actually able to do all the things on the following list, due to the particulars of his job or what he and the mother of his children have mutually decided works best for them, there are still things every grown-ass man is willing to do to ensure that his SAHM partner isn't parenting by themselves. Most importantly, a grown-ass man is going to ask what his SAHM partner needs, if it isn't on this list, because, hey, you guys are riding the parenthood train together.
They Do Some Or All Of The End-Of-The-Day Clean Up
Because grown-ass men know that no matter how messy the house is, his SAH partner has very likely already cleaned it about 14 times. If she didn't, there was probably some other, even more pressing task at hand that kept her from doing so. Which is why a grown-ass man won't just kick back while his partner cleans up whatever toys their kids left strewn about the floor before bedtime.
They Help Maintain Whatever Tidiness/Organization Exists
This is also known as not making messes. No leaving random piles of papers, books, mail, shoes, clothes, tools, etc. around the house, insisting, "No, leave that out, I'm going to get to it in a minute." (And then, let's be honest, never, ever getting to it.) Grown-ass men contribute to the order of the home: not the chaos. While one little pile of mail may not seem like a big deal, think about it this way: imagine if one of your co-workers came into your office and routinely left a stack of folders on your desk. Well, that would be pretty rude, right? Like, yeah, it's just one pile, but it's sort of intruding on your work space. You're the one who has to look at it all day and keep moving it around if it's in the way. Certainly SAHMs don't get dibs on where everything goes in the whole house, but as the "home manager," she does know when something is going to get in the way of the household's day-to-day function.
They Assist With Some Of The Overall Clean Up
Because grown-ass men know it's their living space, too. Chances are not all of the big ticket tasks are going to be accomplished with a child/children running all over the place during the hours the non-SAHP isn't home. Grown-ass men split this work with their partners, whether it's cleaning the bathroom or vacuuming or doing another load of seemingly endless laundry.
They'll Do The Dishes Or Cooking
Perhaps it makes much more sense for a SAHM to do the cooking, just so everyone in the family can eat together at a reasonable hour. Or, perhaps cooking isn't really her thing, but she definitely doesn't mind staying up a little longer to do the dishes. Either way, one partner will likely take on one task, while the other will take the other, so everything is equally split and all parties feel like they're being supported. Teamwork, folks.
They'll Happily Initiate Bathtime
Grown-ass men don't see this as simply a task to tick off on the day's "To Do" list. They see this as an opportunity to get some quality time in with their little ones. (Maybe they're even taking on this task while their partner is tidying up after dinner or working on another household task or perhaps just sitting down for the first time since 6 a.m.)
They Take Some Of The Middle-Of-The-Night Wake Ups
Because every grown-ass man is well aware that he is not the only parent who needs to get a decent night's sleep if he's to make it through the following day. As such, this responsibility can and should be split between the two parents as evenly as possible.
They Take Some Of The Morning Wake-Ups
If the kids wake up at 5 a.m., but no one needs to wake up before 7:30 a.m., that doesn't mean the SAHM's day always starts at 5 and her partner's starts at 7:30. A grown-ass man will agree to take turns waking up with the little ones (I personally suggest an "every other day" system.)
They Do Their Own Laundry
Grown-ass men know that if a SAHM is already doing her laundry, the household laundry (towels, sheets, etc), and the kids' laundry, that's pretty much non-stop laundry, so a grown-ass man handles his own business (and will, if he's also awesome, do an additional load or two to lighten hers).
They'll Always Provide A Sympathetic Ear
Grown-ass men know that SAHM life isn't all daytime television and lazy brunch: it's tough. So, just as they will sometimes want their partners to let them bitch about work from time to time, they offer the same opportunity for her without doing something incredibly ridiculous and rude like, "What do you have to complain about?" or, "But what did you even do today? How can you be stressed?"
They Engage Their Partners In Activities And/Or Conversations That Are Not Related To Home, Children, Or Sex
Grown-ass men know there is little more demoralizing or, frankly, dehumanizing to your partner than only ever engaging with them when you have to (in relation to adult responsibilities) or when you want sex. Yes, sex is one way some people engage on a deeper level and recharge their relationship, but it isn't the only way. And, after a full, long day of being pawed at by small children and watching Micky Mouse, SAHMs often want some sort of adult interaction that isn't necessarily an adult interaction. Grown-ass men treat their partners like, well, actual thinking and multifaceted humans.
They'll Occasionally Assume All Responsibilities To Give Partner A Night/Day/Weekend/Week/Yoga Class For Herself
Grown-ass men know that just as their job may give them vacation days, because everyone needs some time away from work, SAHMs need to be afforded the same basic courtesy. A grown-ass man does not complain that he has to, "babysit" his children, so that his partner can go out for drinks with her friends. News flash: fathers aren't babysitters.
They Let Their Partners Know When They Need A Night/Day/Weekend/Week
Because being a grown-ass man is hard! Probably as hard as being a SAHM, since grown-ass men do their best to keep their family responsibilities as equal as possible. Just like stay-at-home moms, hardworking grown-ass men need a break, too.