An Apology To Stay At Home Moms 

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SAHD

I owe an apology to women everywhere. Specifically, to stay at home moms.

I used to be like a lot of men who have this notion that mothers who stay home with the kids all day are either not pulling their weight, or are just sitting around doing nothing the entire day. In the past, I would often get agitated with my wife when certain things around the house didn’t get done by the time I got home from work. I was guilty of thinking more than once that “it must be nice to sit around all day and watch TV”.

How wrong was I? Dead wrong.

Fast forward a few years. My wife is now the one of us that goes to an office all day, and I’m now the stay at home dad. At first, I thought it would be a breeze and I’d get things around the house on a better, more efficient system. In fact, one of the first things I did as a stay at home dad was completely rearrange the cabinets and the fridge. I had everything in the fridge lined up, labels facing out, broken down by type of food, condiments, etc. and I was extremely proud of myself.

Wanna know what my fridge looks like today?

fridge

I got off to a really good start, and thought I could carry on that momentum of keeping the house clean, doing laundry, and having dinner on the table when my wife got home from work. Well, I was able to do that for about a week, and now, looking back, I’m not entirely sure how it lasted as long as it did.

You see, I never factored in the roadblocks and daily challenges that come along with being at home with the kids all day long. So, I will break down a more accurate account of my day to show you what I mean…

6:00 AM: I get up, get my wife coffee, get my son in the shower, get his bag packed, make sure his homework is done, and make sure his teeth are brushed.

6:45 AM: I take my son to the bus stop.

7:01 AM: I walk through the door just in time to hear my three year old whining and crying, begging for pancakes and juice. She likes to eat breakfast in bed, while watching her shows on TV.

7:02 AM: She gets her pancakes and juice and I usually get a thumbs up for approval from my daughter, but not always.

7:15 AM: I THINK about taking a shower. I can’t.

7:30 AM: The wife leaves for work.

7:30 AM – 9:00 AM: This block of time is really up in the air. Sometimes I get back in bed with the girls for a while. If I don’t get in bed with them, they get up at 7:30 A.M, and to be honest, I just can’t deal with two girls and all the drama that comes with them when they are exhausted beyond belief and cranky by noon because they got up so early. Plus I work every night until midnight and sometimes I need the extra sleep. However it’s not always restful when every 15 minutes I’m being kicked, rolled on, jumped on, headbutted or asked for a pacifier.

9:00 AM: I get a request (they think I’m a servant from their favorite restaurant called ‘Daddy’s Cafe’) from my three year old that she wants “Chicken Nuggets and Juice”. After telling her it’s too early for Chicken and Juice, she immediately throws down a five minute tantrum until…*drum roll please*… SHE GETS CHICKEN NUGGETS AND JUICE. She leaves me no tip.

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9:05 AM: I try and sit on the couch with my laptop in a feeble attempt at trying to get some work done.

9:06 AM: My 18 month old is now eating chicken nuggets and drinking juice while sitting on my head.

9:15 AM: I brush chicken crumbs from my hair and off of the couch. Sometimes she eats granola bars, and cleaning that up is an entirely different animal.

9:17 AM: Diaper change.

9:20 AM: I sit back down on the couch.

9:21 AM: I’m requested to turn on Sponge Bob SquarePants. (The Splinter episode – I like how they request certain episodes now.)

10:30 AM: The 18 month old naps while the three year old watches TV, plays with her toys, and asks me a question every 20 seconds.

10:35 AM: I finally take a shower.

10:45 AM: Diaper change (the stinky kind).

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM: I manage to sit down and get a few things done for work.

NOTE: It is now NOON and not one ounce of housework has been done.

12:00 – 12:30 PM: The kids eat lunch (surprise-more chicken!) while I do a modest attempt at trying to keep the kitchen clean while cooking their seven-course meal.

12:30 P.M – 2:00 PM: I finally get to clean the kitchen and do some laundry. If I’m lucky, I get to pick up some of the 19,000+ toys and blocks laying on the living room floor. I’m super lucky if I can get through the living room without stepping on one of those extremely sharp toys that toy companies think are safe to sell to children. It’s like walking through a field of landmines, in a house full of hostile terrorists.

2:00 PM – 2:30 PM: I get the girls dressed so we can walk down to the bus stop. Yes, THEY ARE STILL IN THEIR PAJAMAS.

2:30 – 3:00 PM: The girls play at the bus stop waiting for their brother to get off the bus.

3:00 – 4:00 PM: The girls lay down for naps, while my son goes to his room. The kitchen is a disaster again from him getting out snacks and exploring the cabinets. Sometimes I manage to take this hour for myself to catch up on some work, but not always.

4:00 – 5:00 PM: I referee my son and daughter while they argue and fight over various, pointless issues including territory of the house.

Son: “Dad get SYD out of my room, she’s touching my important stuff!”
Daughter: “No, I’m not!”
Son: “Yes, you are, Syd! You are touching all my important computer stuff and making noises!”
Me: “Sydney, are you making noises?”
Daughter: Nods her head.
Me: “Why, are you just trying to annoy him?”
Daughter: Giggles “yes”

5:00 PM – 6:00 PM: I help my son with his homework, clean the house, sweep the floors, cook dinner.

6:00 PM: Wife gets home, and we eat dinner. Most days, I’m too exhausted to go into much detail of how the day went, and sometimes I’m so frustrated that I eat dinner on the front porch, alone.

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NOTE: This is on a GOOD day.

Every given day is different. I didn’t add in the sick days, the one hour melt downs, the various random messes, the errands, the castles I have to build out of blocks, the shampoo I have to clean off the floor, the dish-washing detergent that I have to clean out of the dog’s water dish, refolding the clean laundry that the kids have strewn all over the house, the pee puddles that I have to clean up from when the baby rips off her diaper and pees on the kitchen floor, the baths I have to give mid-day because one of them thought it would be funny to splash around in a mud puddle, the re-hanging of curtains that the kids have ripped from the walls, putting drawers back into the dressers that they’ve pulled out and slid around the house like cars, and so forth and so on.

So whomever gets home from work, whether it be the husband or the wife, they have no idea what their spouse has been through during the day. The other day, for example, my wife gets home from work and I’m outside in the driveway letting the girls play. It was a beautiful day and I was sitting in a lawn chair just watching the girls. She gets out of the car and asks “What about dinner?” I told her that I was waiting for her to get home so the girls could play outside and she looks at me and says, and I quote:

“What is going on with you lately?”

REALLY!?! I just spent 12 hours with three monsters all day long and I take a few minutes to myself to get some fresh air and when my wife gets home, that’s the first thing I hear?

So, in closing, I sincerely apologize to any and every woman I’ve ever said anything negative about, or joked about in regards to being a stay at home mom. It’s not easy. In fact it’s the hardest job I’ve ever had.

Sincerely,

A Stay At Home Dad

Comments

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  1. 2

    Louise Curtis says

    You forgot to mention that watching TV with the kids is not something you do by choice…..it is important calm-down time for them but they will freak out if you attempt to leave the room.

    Every working parent should read this article – then have two months as a full-time stay at home parent, with periodic refresher courses when the reality has faded from their mind (much like the reality of giving birth :) ).

    Louise Curtis

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    • 3

      Jenn says

      I totally agree! I’m still in the newborn stage, but I’m breast feeding so I’m stuck on the couch for hours at a time. (Especially because princess falls asleep after half her feeds and knows when I put her down and wakes up immediately). I usually do housework in the evenings when hubby is some so he can hold her for an hour. (I’m actually typing this one handed on my phone while she sleeps lol)

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    • 5

      Susie G says

      Louise, I completely agree!! I was out of work for a year with a 10 month old and kindergartner. Did I mention that my 10 month old had a full body cast and my son has adhd? Even without the added pressure it was pure hell. I am a working mom, but it gave me a perspective I never had before and you begin to really empathize with stay at home parents. I wish I had what it takes because I loved spending that time with my daughter, when things were good, I never had that with my son. Refresher courses should be a must when they are little.

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    • 6

      matt says

      tv doesn;t calm anyone down,watching any screen sends your brain into a state of hyper activity. So good job there.

      TV if shown to children should easily stop an hour or two before bed, and should never be used to calm a child :P cause in reality it doesn;t do what you perceive it to be doing.

      if i want a really good nights sleep, reading a book in bed…at least a slightly boring one, for as long s you can before dropping off. Doesn’t work if you are not tired, but say u could have 5 hours sleep each night, if i was up til that point where i would have to sleep,and i was on a screen i would rather take 4 hours sleep and fall asleep reading, letting my brain turn off naturally so it doesn’t interfere with my deep sleep process

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      • 8

        patty smith says

        you should not do anything in bed other than sleep. and tv calms children down because it gives them something to focus on and distracts from any current problems… you dont have children, do you matt?

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        • 9

          matt says

          nothing wrong with reading in bed….not sure what that comment is meant to mean, where do children mostly get conceived? and yes i mentioned despite what you perceive, tv hyperactivates your brain. it causes stress and contributes to poorer sleeping.

          So it might distract them and calm them on the outside, making it easier for you, but in the long run and scietifically when you look at peoples brains, it is a cause of hyperactivity in the brain. but go along with anything you want or believe, and dont give your children the best and most healthy start in their life.

          And in respond to the other post, i’ve lived my life at the end of my tether for the most part, yet i have many problems and i wouldn;t have children as i would not be able to look after them to the degree they would deserve

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          • 11

            Adri says

            Wow, very rude. I have children and I happen to agree with what matt is saying about television. Doesn’t mean I don’t cave and let my kids watch too much of it; I totally do, as I am human and raising three kids on my own. None of my kids have tvs in their rooms however. My older two used to and that came to an end after a few years; my youngest never has and never will.

            Kudos to you matt for being responsible enough to recognize that you aren’t in a place where you are able to give children the care they deserve. I mean that sincerely.

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          • 12

            Leslie says

            I’m sorry? Is this not a mommy blog? Excuse me for being annoyed by a person who comes on here with absolutely no personal experience in child-rearing and judges and criticized those of us who give our all to it every day. Just because he may have read some article somewhere online about children and tv, or what ever makes him feel like he has the right to give actual parents advice, he doesn’t. Nothing gets my blood boiling faster than a judgy childless person telling me how I should or should not raise my children.

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          • 15

            Leslie says

            I understand. And respect your decisions as a PARENT. My point wasn’t about whether tv was good or bad. It was about someone judging and criticizing when they have no idea what they’re talking about.

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          • 16

            n03113 says

            It really grinds my gears when I see people dismiss someone’s opinion on parenting based on an admission that they are currently not caring for a child. As if that automatically means they have no common sense as a human being or no understanding of fundamental human psychology.

            We all have SOME experience with raising children because we ourselves were once children and the tribal knowledge is passed even if just basically through our own parents in how we were raised. We evaluate how our parents did things and see what works and what does not work.

            That said, many people have siblings and were deeply involved in raising them… Not every childless person who has an opinion on parenting is invalid.

            I urge you to read http://voices.yahoo.com/parenting-advice-childless-people-qualified-to-1478707.html and reflect… I don’t know what you may agree, but honestly it raises some good points.

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          • 17

            Sheri says

            I’m a mother of three (8, 5, 1.5). I agree with Matt.

            TV doesn’t calm kids down. Still, I let my kids use their tablets and watch TV and play video games all they want, especially if they’ll leave me alone. And sometimes, when I’m on a good parenting streak, only after they’ve done a few simple jobs around the house. And usually not right before bed time.
            I’m just as imperfect as all the rest of you stay-at-home people. I have temper tantrums, the bathroom is never clean, dinner is always late, I don’t get enough sleep, I think I showered yesterday but didn’t wash my hair, and I’m given to hyperbole about the difficulties of being a stay at home mother.

            I’m just saying Matt is right about TV. Don’t rag on him, because you feel guilty about your benign neglect. Let’s just try to be nice to each other.
            It’s a tough world.

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          • 18

            Mary says

            How sanctimonious of you Matt. While you have the research correct regarding TV watching and kids, your tone is that of a know it all. Your approach needs a lot of work. Have you read the research on how to approach people and inform/persuade effectively? If not I think you better go study up because the way you presented this no one is going to listen to you.

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          • 19

            Momof1 says

            Why are you being so defensive? Watching TV is the same as “stimming” in the world of autism. The less the better.
            Tv is not really good for a child’s brain. How was Matt sanctimonious in simply pointing out the truth?

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          • 20

            rice says

            Can everyone just stop judging EVERYONE? Goodness. It’s fine to have opinions, and it’s fine to be backed by science.

            Fact: people who have never raised children don’t know how hard it is. You may have science on your side, but each child is unique and this has different needs. Some children (including autistic children) have benefited from television as a communication tool. It isn’t the norm, but it’s still a documented fact.

            Fact: giving birth to our fathering a child also does not make you a patenting expert, amazingly enough. And, if you refuse to listen to people just because they haven’t had children, you’re cutting out a HUGE resource of ideas, suggestions, and general crowd source type of information.

            I work at a primary after school program. 3 of the 7 staff have not had children. However, the collective knowledge from having worked with more than 250 children in 5 years (the shortest amount of time any of our staff have worked with kids) means that the childless staff actually have a pretty good idea of how to handle children.

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      • 22

        Kimberly says

        My tv is on nickjr all day, everyday! My three year old can count to ten in spanish Thanks to the annoying Dora and knows a few other words! Just the other day she asked me if she could have glass of agua! And I could go on with the things she has pick up from these annoying shows but this is not my point! Everyone lives is different and everyone has challenges when raising children! But it’s no one place to criticize one parenting!

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        • 23

          Sarah says

          My son can speak in sign and Spanish because we read books about it. He’s not the type to watch TV, most days it’s never on because neither of us would watch it. Learning the languages with their family is much more effective in the long run anyway because speaking to a TV doesn’t count as communication skills and unless you’re speaking it back to her this will not be a habit that forms into a lifelong one.

          I agree everyone has different lives, but having a TV on all day is a bad choice on your part, in my opinion. Get your baby to a Mexican restaurant and start a conversation with the server in Spanish with your child. Get a book of Spanish vocab, go to the park, and learn the words for playground, swing, slide, sandbox, etc. while you’re playing. Word association on a grand, fun scale. Again, she’ll be more likely to learn the words rather than just repeating them.

          Matt isn’t wrong and he isn’t a know-it-all nor did I get offended as a mother about what he said. I’m single, I work, I take care of EVERYTHING and my son is learning without the aid of TV shows. So it can be done is my point. Turn off the TV and teach your child to live instead of watching people live.

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      • 24

        Mom of three says

        I agree with Matt. Pancakes in BED? Chicken nuggets on demand? Toys left everywhere? I have three children and a lot of TV watching went on (goes on) but they do not rule the roost. They pick up their own toys (this began to be taught long before potty training) and they were happier for the discipline and structure. Our refrigerator continues to be a mess and getting dressed just before actually having to be somewhere is a-ok with me. But my 3 helped. They got the healthy food options I chose, they watched the shows I chose (No Spongebob on a continuous loop while still toddlers). They learned manners like eating their meals at a table with a fork and clearing their dishes. We accomplished this early and consistently. I went back to work and still think there is not a harder job than being home. Our calendar was packed with activities and it was EXHAUSTING. To this father, keep loving them and all will be fine but if you want to run a smoother engine consider Love and Logic. It’s a concept that really instills pride in your children for good behavior and taking care of themselves on their own levels (obviously babies don’t bathe themselves) and accepting their consequences which are loving disciplines (no yelling or freaking). It’s a lot of work in the beginning but worth it. You are doing so much right and so much wrong. You got this. Your blog was very enjoyable.

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        • 25

          Jenny says

          Agree with all this. And Love and Logic is great. Helped me immensely with keeping order/sanity during the toddler years, without being overly punitive.

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    • 26

      Susan lL. Sczesnik-Torres says

      My refresher courses were real simple… Lol… I had my children every five years, four innocent cherubs!! I didn’t plan the five year increments!! God did, cuz He knew I needed to keep young! I’m 47 now and my youngest is ten, and eldest is 25 & my next refresher courses; being a Nana!! I love this excelerated courses the best! For we all lived together for their first 6 and three years respectively!😀🍭❤️ Now I must say I have a new peace as we’ve all moved recently, and I get to be a ” I can love them and send them home” as many Grandparents say attitude, but I miss them so much at times!! The older I get I reflect and think of how OCD I was with my kids! To be honest life no matter if you are at home all day, or not with young children, you must do what you can to stay sane, within limits. I’ve never had to really spank my kids or ground them… And the older two do not smoke, drink or do drugs and the younger set also abhor the ideas of ever picking up on these choices either. I do coax them about puting things away for awhile, which they will end up giving in & talking things out really has been my key. I’m now disabled so life is a struggle to just walk every moment and my first two got the best of me running and jumping, tackling etc. Now we sing and do other fun stuff but I sure would love to go blueberry picking, hiking, waking and running on the beach, etc. with even my Grandsons!! Being a Mom and Dad(yes I was married),might b the toughest job on the planet-but I would never be able to imagine life without all of them. They have given me such a sense of being complete that none of my positions over the years on my “formal career resume'” could ever exceed!!!❤️😍✌️Susanstar™

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    • 27

      giusy says

      Sono italiana e mamma di 3 bimbi. Perciò capisco bene questo papà. C è di bello che almeno lui come uomo alla fine si è accorto di quanto lavoro faccia una mamma per portare avanti una casa ogni giorno con i figli e il resto. Provando l esperienza da solo ha capito quanto sia difficile. Dovrebbero provare tutti gli uomini!!!! Lui è stato onesto ad ammettere quanta fatica si faccia in questo ruolo. Saluti dall’ Italia.

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  2. 32

    says

    My husband was Negative Nelly about the house and things I did not do until he was laid off from his job. He spent 1 month home with our first child while I went back to work. He was miserable. I came home to a mess and 2 dirty and exhausted boys daily. Best month EVAH! Hubs has never complained since.

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    • 34

      Sonia says

      Shay Ope-James it is impossible for you to do ALL of this and work. I’m quite certain that while you are working someone else is being paid to do all of this with your kids. Unless you are lucky enough to own your own business and are able to take your kids with you and even then I am sure that @ least one other responsible adult would be there also to entertain the kids while you are actually doing job related duties unless, of course, your kids are in school.

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      • 35

        Christine says

        I do work from home. I have an in home child development program in which I am the only adult here. I care for 8 children, my toddler being one of them for 11 hours a day. Then there is the paper/prep work that goes with that taking another 5 hours each week. I also send my daughter to 3rd grade and my son is in 11th grade. I am involved in booster organizations, pta and homeroom parent. My house is clean, my children are happy and cared for, and we don’t rely on tv for calming down. (It’s ok if you do, we just don’t). My children do not get whatever they ask for (ie chicken nuggets and juice at 10 am) because they had a tantrum. I’m not perfect, it’s HARD work, I appreciate all stay at home parents, working parents, single parents, etc. We all have our own gifts, our own talents, our own passions. We all have our own limits to what we can tolerate. I commend the blogger for doing what he does. And all others reading and posting here. Different walks of life contribute to a beautiful outcome for the children of the world!

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  3. 36

    Kris says

    This is awesome. My BF seems feel the same way you felt. He goes to work thinking I get to sit around all day. I wish we could reverse roles. Thank toy Daddy Fishkins you understand us.

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