Its Friday!!! The start of the weekend and long lies!! Oh no wait I’m a parent! Actually I’m being facetious, in our house we take turns who gets up with the kids so we each get a long lie one day a week! Andrew sometimes chooses to sacrifice his turn of a long lie to go running but that’s his choice. Don’t worry I’m having him checked over by the Doctor incase he’s had a head trauma! Who gives up the chance of a long lie to do exercise I ask you?!
But the chance is there if he wants it! That’s how we generally work, we do things fairly! I do most of the grocery shopping and cooking (well ALL actually, but I’m being nice) and Andrew washes my car and cuts the grass. Funny how my jobs are daily/weekly activities that I have to juggle with two kids and andrew’s are fortnightly activities (again I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt here! It’s more like monthly!) which are very much solitary chores!! Note to self, learn to use the lawn mower!!
I find as a stay at home parent I’m in a constant battle with myself to not do SO much of the housework, workload that I start to feel resentful about it but to have the house to a level of clean and tidiness that i can bare to be in it a good bit of the day, 7 days a week. I don’t want to do EVERYTHING and have a family that takes me for granted! I want them to know that I live here and that I don’t actually work here! That seems to be my catch phrase most the time!! “I don’t bloody work here!!”
I want my kids to be independent so they don’t have a shock when they grow up and find that no one comes in to their houses weekly and searches under their duvet for discarded dirty socks or takes mouldy crockery out from under their bed after a fun treasure hunt of follow the smell!
I know there are loads of mums that do everything and take care of all the housework, cooking, laundry and their others halves let them do it all and thats great if that works for them but it just doesn’t for me. As hard as i try not to, I just feel the resentment building up over time until I get so frustrated I lose the plot with everyone and go on strike!
You’ll notice I called this post “stay at home parent” and not Mum because this isn’t a sex issue! Its not about men being sexist pigs who expect us to clean up after them! I’m not doing no man bashing here! It’s about how a shift in dynamics i.e. from both working to one person being at home and taking care of the children and house full time changes things. I actually know a stay at home dad (who shall remain nameless) who I can almost guarantee does a better job of taking care of the house and kids while his wife is at work than I do! So it’s nothing to do with women being better at “keeping house” and men being better at leaving the kids to go out and “bring home the bacon.” I know plenty of Dads who would give anything to be at home with their kids rather than be out working all day. So what Im rambling on about is, its hard for both working AND stay at home parents for different reasons but for the purposes of this blog post Im writing from my own current perspective.
Ive been a working mum and a stay at home mum and I think both are tough in different ways and both have benefits! When I had to go out to work I would have given anything to be at home with Caitlin! I felt tremendous guilt and sadness about not being able to be a stay at home mum who picked her up from school and let her have friends over after school for playdates! BUT I really appreciated the time we did have together and I used my time much more wisely than I do now! I also had a great sense of pride that I was out earning money to look after my family which was great for my morale! I think my own improved self worth was a very positive message to be sending to my daughter too.
Being a stay at home mum this time has been a real shock to my system! I was really looking forward to it but after Elle was born and the dust had settled and life got into a new routine, I found it really hard!! I found it hard to accept I wasn’t earning my own money anymore for a start! I lost the sense of achievement I got from working and knowing i was doing a good job. Somehow having kids refuse a meal you’ve cooked from scratch or throwing clean, folded clothes back in the dirty washing basket doesn’t fill you with “job” satisfaction! Yeah yeah I know the reward is that you raise your children well, blah blah but seriously that line doesn’t wash when your humming the cbeebies theme tune without realising while picking something out your hair that could be your baby’s dried breakfast or could be their bogies! Also theres the monotony. Sometimes its so like groundhog day I forget what day it is! I have to count how many days it has been since one of the kids had a class to work it out! “Oh Caitlin had swimming yesterday so it must be Tuesday!” When you have days and weeks stretched out in front of you . . of more of the same . . . within the same 4 walls. . . day in and out, it can be overwhelming!! Escaping doesn’t help because the housework will only build up for when you return!
If my old working mum self read this She’d think what a moaning cow, she’s so lucky getting to be at home with her baby! I get that! I am a moaning cow but I think the best thing we can do as humans is share!! Share our feelings, because guess what, there will be someone else feeling the same and you might just make them feel better knowing they’re not alone and they might make you feel better by telling you things that have helped them in the same situation! There will always be good and bad bits in life and some days we focus on the bad but we can help each other by saying, you know what, thats ok to feel that way! Then build each other back up!
After all, we’re all just winging it really!!
Thanks for reading!