Being a stay at home mom is both the most exhausting, and the most laid back job I’ve ever had. Some days I have the luxury of sitting at home sipping on coffee, cruising Facebook-my son playing in the other room. Other days it feels like I’m expected to do the work of 20 people. I’m running around with my head cut off trying to keep all the balls I’m constantly juggling from hitting the ground. On those days there are a few things I need my partner to understand. I’m only human. I do not have unlimited amounts of patience, and I too get overwhelmed and overstimulated. If I’m speaking to your heart right now read on to learn my list of things you need to understand if you are the partner of a stay at home mom. Spending all your time with your young child can take it’s toll.
-Don’t make me repeat myself. Seriously, just listen when I’m speaking to you please. Chances are if you are a stay at home mom you’ve spent your day being ignored completely while you repeat yourself 100 million times just to complete the simplest tasks. Anyone whose ever tried to get a toddler dressed has an idea of what tasks are like with children. It takes my three year old half an hour to put on three pieces of clothing! Don’t even get me started on the never ending chore of shoes and socks. Kids are on their own agenda-yes they hear you repeatedly asking them to complete that task, no they don’t care to acknowledge or listen to you. This is why I need my partner to LISTEN, and listen good. If he spent all day repeating himself and being ignored by his co-workers he’d understand why I go postal when he asks me to repeat something simple. So please, if you are the partner to a stay at home mom give her the gift of listening to her. Really listen-look her in the eye, acknowledge she’s talking to you, and respond to her. Might be the first time anyone’s done that for her all day. I honestly had no idea what a luxury it was to be listened to before my toddler.
-Watching your own children is NOT babysitting. You are not doing your me a favor by watching the kids. Yes I am the default parent but that does not mean you deserve a parade every time you put your own child to bed so mom can get a few hours with adults. Stay at home moms can’t clock out, there’s no clear work hours and it can feel like you are tethered to your children. I say that in he most loving way I can-my kids awesome, but that doesn’t mean I need to be with him 24-7. Sometimes I’ll go weeks before I realize I haven’t been away from him for one hour, even if your kid is playing in the other room you aren’t getting time for yourself. So if you are the partner to a stay at home mom offer to be the default parent sometimes-let her sleep in, give the kids baths. And do it without expecting a big thank you, because the children are not the responsibility of just one parent. Neither of you are babysitting when you are watching your children, you are parenting. Being in the trenches with the person who is the primary caregiver is part of being a parent.
-Sometimes I just don’t want to be touched and it’s not your fault. I’m still totally turned on by my man. He’s attractive to me in so many ways, yet sometimes the most simple touch can make my skin crawl. I actually find this to be a funny fact of life. To make a child all I wanted was my husband to touch me-now that child is the reason I sometimes want to swat my husbands hand off me. All kids are different but most children I know are touch-o-holics, especially with people they trust and love. As a stay at home mom I’m constantly getting tugged at, poked, bodyslamed, hit, kicked, hugged, scratched, kissed, you name it! Children do not understand personal space, especially when it comes to mom. I love cuddles and affection but this is sometimes to the next level and you feel like your personal bubble is nonexistent. So sometimes by the time my man gets home from work my skin is already crawling. Please don’t take it personally when I occasionally pull away from you-it’s not you, it’s our kid. Sometimes part of supporting a stay at home mom means just giving her the space to be in her bubble again for a moment.
-I am not a housekeeper. This one is important. I’m not sure at what point society decided stay at home moms weren’t doing enough raising their families, but parenting is just the tip of the iceberg with what we are expected to do. We are expected to clean, do chores, run errands, cook, shop, anything and everything our household needs to run falls in our shoulders. Now don’t get me wrong I do think a stay at home mom should have more domestic duties, purely because she is home more. But I’m also not your maid. I am staying at home to give our son the best day to day I can while he’s young. My main priority each day is our son-and it turns out he doesn’t care if there’s dust in the corner, or cobwebs on the ceiling. I’m not the only person living in the home and I’m not gona be the only one who cleans it. Don’t expect your partner who stays home to do all the cleaning. If you want a maid hire a maid, a stay at home mom is there to mother-not clean.
-I don’t always want to be the bad guy. Sometimes I need to be the parent who stays seated-if you know what I mean. I’m pretty sure my husband is also capable of counting to three in a stern tone, yet it is almost always me to discipline. It gets old being the bad guy. Some days are particularly long, they can be a constant battle between my three-nager and I. So when my partner steps up, and calms a tantrum or executes a timeout, it’s a welcome break. Sometimes all I need is to be the one who gets to keep eating my dinner when the tantrum hits. I get that he listens to me easier because I’m the one he deals with 90% of the time-but that doesn’t mean it’s easy for me to always be responsible for disciplining our toddler. Sometimes supporting a stay at home parent just means being the bad cop.
Parenting is no easy task and as exhausting, emotional, and terrifying as it can be; it is ten times more rewarding. The point of this article isn’t to shame either parent for the responsibilities they carry. Running a household and raising children is hard. Being a stay at home mother brings some challenges that are unique to that roll. Understanding the what weighs heavy on your partner is an important part of supporting them. Cheers to all the touched out, tired, time out giving stay at home moms in the trenches of motherhood everyday. And cheers to the partners who support them!