It is a luxury that not everyone has, the ability to have one parent stay at home with the children. For reasons not excluding finances, security, or able-bodied-ness, it isn’t possible for every family. I know from speaking with friends where both spouses work outside of the home that it’s like a circus of spinning plates trying to keep the household running smoothly.
I know, from my own experience, that it can also feel like an impossible task doing it all as a stay-at-home mom. I do consider it a great advantage and gift to be able to be home with my kids. What I don’t find easy, though, is maintaining everything else to the level I wish it could be (ahem, I’m looking at you, dishes in the sink).
Somehow we’re expected to be expert kid-wranglers/educators/entertainers, healthy food chefs, keeper of the schedules, playdates and extracurriculars, signers of homework, volunteers of the PTA, errand runners, shoppers and maids. There just isn’t enough energy, or time, in one day. It can’t all be done to perfection.
I have heard plenty of horror stories about spouses who become angry at their wives for not having a healthy and hot dinner on the table every night at 6, or the house spotless after a day of being with the kids. The words, “What do you do all day?” and “This is why you stay home” are actually thrown around. In our family, I depend on my husband. I need, we need, his support to keep this ship running smoothly– and that is proper.
Kayla Roussin, a 27-year-old mom, took to Instagram to share her thoughts on this very thing… and they are good.
View this post on Instagram
When my husband and I decided I should be a stay at home mom, we agreed that that's what I would be, a MOM. I am not a stay at home housekeeper. Yes, I clean throughout the day, but my main focus will always be my children. Most of the cleaning I do during the day involves our kids in some way, switching laundry, unloading the dishwasher, vacuuming, picking up toys.. I want them to know that it takes a team to keep our home clean. But if we spent the entire day playing and learning and growing and the house is a mess at the end of the day, my husband and I tag team when he gets home from work. He does not walk in the door and scold me for the pile of dirty dishes in the sink, he just cleans them. We fold the laundry together after WE put our kids to bed, and use that as time to talk about the day or whatever is on our minds. He does most of the outdoor work, not because I won't, but because he uses that time to bond with the kids and teach them how to mow/weedwhip/etc. This house is OURS not just mine. These children are OURS not just mine. I refuse for them to remember me just cleaning all the time and I refuse to teach my children that the household duties fall on the mothers shoulders alone. I stay at home to be present in their lives, not to make sure my house is spotless at a moments notice. If they want to play a game, I'm going to play. If they want me to snuggle, darn right I'm going to snuggle. If they want to color, we're going to make a masterpiece to hang proudly on the fridge. If they want to read a book, I'm going to read that book as many times as they want. I am by no means saying that you should let your house turn into a dump, but I feel like so many men just expect the house to be spotless just because their wives stay at home. We as mothers do not give up careers, adult interaction, a paycheck, and sanity to ensure that the house shines like the top of the Chrysler building when our husbands walk through the door, and I feel pretty confident in saying that many of us are way more stressed about the mess than you are. Finish reading in comments.
“When my husband and I decided I should be a stay at home mom, we agreed that that’s what I would be, a MOM. I am not a stay at home housekeeper,” she writes. “Yes, I clean throughout the day, but my main focus will always be my children.”
She shared with Good Morning America that one of the reasons she wrote her post is to encourage stay-at-home moms and wives to stick up for themselves if need be.
“Instead of talking down to your wife for the crumbs on the floor, pick up a broom. Instead of yelling about the marker scribbles on the table, ask her if she had a hard day and give her a hug. Instead of telling her she’s lazy for not folding the laundry, thank her for raising your children and start folding the never-ending pile of mismatched socks. Instead of huffing and puffing about the things that aren’t done, ask her what she did with the kids, ask her if they laughed, what she taught them, how many times she told them she loved them, then take off your work boots and clean the kitchen.”
Being a stay-at-home parent isn’t the most glamorous job in the world. It can feel isolating, lonely, and thankless. I don’t think I would have survived those first years of messy, unwashed buns, yoga pants, all-day-and-night nursing sessions and exhaustion if my husband was hard on me or didn’t help. Posts like these are sadly necessary for all of the moms out there, right now in the trenches, wondering if they’re doing something significant.
Roussin ends her post by thanking her husband for not only providing for their family, but for being the type of man who isn’t hard on her about perceived flaws or failures, but gets in the nitty gritty with her and does what needs to be done. It sounds like these two have a sound partnership, built on respect and teamwork- what a great example!
Rachel is a wife and mother living in Raleigh, North Carolina. She’s a fan of good coffee, wearer of gray t-shirts, and is constantly starting books she will never finish. Her family is her joy, and she loves to engage with other moms and dads on matters of parenting. Her blog posts have also been featured on the Today Show Parenting Blog and Scary Mommy.