I have an amazing parter of nearly 13 years. He totally gets all the weirdest parts of me, doesn't question my choices, and whole-heartedly supports my every whim, whether it's in regards to my career or parenting choices. I'm thankful to have found him at a time in my life when I never expected to fall in love. We do have this one, tiny issue, thought: there are some things my partner can't understand about being a stay-at-home mom and, honestly, his inability to completely relate kind of bums me out.
Being a stay-at-home mom means taking on numerous roles simultaneously, all while trying to maintain some level of sanity in the process. There's literally nothing I don't do on a typical day, all while my husband works a standard day job outside of the home. He has this one position, whereas I take on multiple (sometimes all at once), so I know it's hard to really understand where I'm coming from unless, of course, you've lived it.
The choice to be home with my kids, for me, wasn't something I had to think on for too long. I always knew that once I had kids I'd be the one here for them during their younger years, at least, and we'd figure the rest out on the financial end. Sometimes "figuring it out" means my partner takes on extra shifts, or that I need to pick up freelance odd jobs along the way. Regardless, no matter how much I love being the one my kids are with all day, it's draining in ways I can't fully explain. With that, here are some of the things my partner can't understand about what I do all day as a stay-at-home mom.
There's No Time To Play Games On My Phone
While I know my partner means well, when he's left home alone with the kids he fails to understand what it takes to run a household in its entirety. Sure, I could probably get away with letting the kids run wild long enough to play Clash of Clans on my phone, but by the time I look up the house will be completely destroyed and the kids may not be in one piece.
I Dressed Myself More Than Once
By the time my partner returns home from work, I probably have stains on my shirt, my shorts, and everywhere else. The thing is, this isn't the outfit I started the day in. It might even be my third (and sometimes fourth) set of clothes I've had to wear in, like, a six hour period. Taking care of kids all day means accepting that, even in my nicest wardrobe pieces, I will get something on them at some point. My partner may not care what I look like at the end of a long day (and never expects me to look a "certain" way), but I wish he'd at least understand the battles I'm fighting and what it took to make it through to the other side.
I Tried To Shower
Along the same lines, practicing self-care is a matter of maneuvering our schedules so, at times, it's not always possible. As I write this, I've needed a solid hair wash for a couple days now, but finding a pocket of time to accomplish it is a super human feat — especially now that school's out and the kids are hanging on my every move.
Usually I bathe at night, simply because it's the easiest. However, I wish my partner understood why even that deserves accolades. Have you ever tried to get a 5 year old in the tub when he flat-out refuses?
The House Was Clean
I spend more time cleaning my house than most spend sitting at their desk while they work their day jobs. Cleaning up after kids is a full-time position in and of itself. I can have the place spotless by noon, only to turn around and see a trail of new messes.
When my partner is in charge, he tends to let more go than I would, but he also can't keep up with it like I do. Plus, if you let too many things pile up, there's no coming back from it. I wish he understood that I do so much more than the dishes, laundry, and random cleanings. I go deeper, like into the toilet and the shower drain and the damn disposal.
Planning Meals Is Stressful
One of my least favorite things to do as a parent is meal planning, shopping, and preparation. I go through phases where I enjoy it, but they quickly pass once the kids refuse to eat anything I've spent my time planning and preparing for them.
My partner has no real idea how much mental strength goes into these things. He simply comes home to enjoy one of those meals without truly understanding what it took to create it. Maybe I didn't farm the vegetables myself, but I did every damn thing else.
There Isn't Enough Time In The Day
I've tried to set solid routines and schedules in order to get everything done each day, but even then and by the time bedtime rolls around there's inevitably something I didn't get to. I'm exhausted all the time, and that exhaustion causes a lot of anxiety. I wish my partner could empathize a bit more about what my to-do list entails. His is always lacking in a few dozen tasks, while mine is, no doubt, overflowing. Being a stay-at-home mom means knowing I'll be overwhelmed, and deciding I'm OK with it.
I Always Feel Like I'm Failing
Of all the things my amazing partner gets, I wish he knew this heavy feeling of failure I carry around. I try to be all the things, to do all the things, but most days I've failed at some of them (a lot of them). There's only so much me to spread, and lately I'm spread pretty thin. With only one job that requires his attention most days, I know it's hard for him to fully understand what I go through, but these are our children (not just mine), and my decision to be a stay-at-home mom requires more understanding and support if we're going to be successful parents. Together.