Dad shares what it’s like to stay home with small kids in viral post
Any parent will tell you that staying home with small kids is a tough gig. There are a million little details, plans, and catastrophes that go into surviving a single day, and it’s nearly impossible to get everything done. One Australian dad recently found out the hard way how challenging it is to be a stay-at-home parent, and his post about barely surviving 16 hours alone with his children is going viral.
On Facebook, Brad Kearns says he was at work when his wife, Sarah, texted him that she was seriously ill — she told him her lived had failed, though he didn’t elaborate on her condition — and he needed to come home. For the next 16 hours, Kearns says he “became the mum,” assuming the many duties his wife usually handles “effortlessly,” while she went to the hospital for treatment.
“You know when your wife says ‘I wish I could be the dad’ and you’re like … It’s the same thing?” Kearns wrote in his post. “Well sit back, relax, grab a drink, some popcorn, clear your schedule and hold onto your bootlaces because I’m about to take you on a ride that could only be likened to a backwards 100mph roller coaster that takes you through waterfalls of vomit, shit and lots of tears.”
Kearns said he arrived home at 5:01 p.m. and saw “living quarters trashed” and “rations reduced to tiny teddies, gravy stock, tea bags and a clear lack of defrosted meat.” His two-year-old, Knox, asked for a DVD by roaring at him. Meanwhile, his six-week-old, Finn, communicated his needs “by way of the hot and cold guessing game, crying for hot and emphatic crying for cold.”
The dad whipped up some “2-minute noodles” for dinner, then tried to navigate the precarious hours until bedtime. “As the night rolls on and my patience wears thin,” he recalled. “I reduce myself to keeping Knox quiet by allowing him to place stickers on my (very hairy) legs. He was being quiet… ‘It’s okay, I can shave them off in the morning’ was the thought.”
Isn’t it adorable how he thinks he’s going to have time to shave?
Kearns eventually got the kids to be and then retired for a good night’s sleep — ha, just kidding. Instead, he woke up at “10:30…12:00…1:45…3:30…” and 5:00 a.m. to his son’s “fucking screams from the high heavens.” Added Kearns, “Did you know sleep deprivation is a form of torture?”
Yes. Yes, we did.
The next day, Kearns made the rookie mistake of thinking he could get a bunch of housework done — LOL — and then ended up “holding Finn, in a spiral of insomnia induced hallucinations allowing Knox to help himself to an assortment of fruit sticks” instead. A few hours later, his mother-in-law showed up, and that’s when he was forced to admit he couldn’t hack it as a solo parent.
“So there I was; unshaven, hair a mess, wearing the pants and socks from the day before,” Kearns wrote. “Knox comes running out in his sleeping bag asking for a new Yoghurt muesli bar to be opened. I open the door to [my mother-in-law] to reveal the fact that Knox’s noodles were still in a bowl on the table, stickers stuck to the goddamn lounge, the house an absolute mess. That’s when I knew I was defeated.”
Added the exhausted dad, “I have not even mastered the ability to keep my own personal hygiene as a mum let alone the ability to keep a house, educate children, prepare meals and even venture outside for activities.”
Since his post went up, it’s been shared more than 16,000 times, and dozens of parents have commented to let Kearns know how much they relate to his struggles. What he wrote about isn’t unique to women or stay-at-home parents. Any way you slice it, childrearing is kind of an overwhelming, exhausting shit-show, and if the kids are alive and (mostly) happy at the end of the day, you’re doing alright.
It’s cute that Kearns thinks this is a “mom’s” job and the internet seems to be cheering him on. But this is actually just the reality of having kids — and that’s a “job” that belongs to both parents.