I have lost count of how many times one of my friends or I have said, “My husband has no idea what it’s like to stay home with the kids.”
Before, when I was working full-time and pregnant, then working full-time and balancing motherhood, and then working full-time while pregnant with a toddler at home, I ranted a lot about how my husband “has no idea.” And to be fair, he didn’t.
My husband doesn’t really know what it’s like to do what I do, just like I don’t know what it’s like to do what he does. Our occupations are mysterious and confounding to each other. He doesn’t know where the peanut butter or extra towels are kept, and the baby is always in pajamas when she stays home with Daddy. I’m almost certain it’s because he doesn’t know how to dress her. She’s also always missing a sock when I get home, the air smells like farts and chicken fingers, and the boys are drenched with sweat because they’ve all been wrestling.
I used to get upset with him because he didn’t take care of the kids the way I would have. I mean, if I was home, there would be no fart smell or chicken fingers and certainly no wrestling. But after I quit my job and starting caring for them 24/7, I was so happy to get a break that I didn’t really care what went on while I was gone. Things have now leveled out so that I am just flat-out grateful to him for providing for us, and he is flat-out grateful to me for everything that I do—even though we both realize he isn’t even sure what all that entails, which is probably the biggest reason why he’s grateful that I’m doing it.
But…he has no idea.
He has no idea how much coffee I drink.
He has no idea what it’s like to run errands with three kids.
He has no idea what it’s like to have to change your tampon in front of an audience.
He has no idea how lonely and overwhelming it can be on really bad days when the kids are being terrible and I need an extra pair of hands.
He has no idea how hard it is to watch your body change three different times and have little control over it.
He has no idea how happy he makes me. He can’t possibly, because I’ve never been able to put it into words.
He has no idea how grateful I am to him for continuing to love me even though with each passing year he has seen more of my imperfections.
He has no idea how thankful I am to be in a front-row seat for our kids’ lives, never missing a day, good or bad, and I’m in that seat because he put me there.
He has no idea how hard it can be to be me, but he also has no idea how amazing it is.
So to my husband, who has no idea what it’s like to stay home with the kids…thank you. I wager that we don’t say thank you enough to the people who love us the most and yet have put up with the most asinine behavior we’re capable of.