Stay at home parents spend their working days (damn straight they’re working days!) tending to the needs of their children, teaching them about the world, helping them to grow and creating lasting memories.
They also spend their time calming children who are constantly hungry, tired, experiencing growing pains, testing boundaries, and on special days, all of those at once! Stay at home parents also skilfully mediate sibling disputes, strive to achieve a healthy and sane balance of stimulation, provide entertainment and negotiate to leave the house for some much needed sanity (while desperately hoping that leaving the house doesn’t push them over the edge… today).
Sometimes reading the same story or watching the same episode or movie is the only sane option on the table. For some parents, it’s a dream job, and for others, it can be a constant challenge and struggle.
Families have different reasons for choosing to have a parent stay home. For some, it’s based on the ever-growing costs of childcare, while for others it’s a simple want for their children to be raised by family during their formative years.
10 Thoughts A Stay At Home Parent Has During The Day
Whatever your reasons for being the one who stays home to care for and parent your children during the day, here are 10 thoughts that you probably have on an average work day:
Thought #1: I Wish I Could Pull A Sicky
If you’re tired (duh) and feeling under the weather (no doubt thanks to the germ magnet you call a toddler), you may find yourself longing for a day in bed. Remember life before children, when you could call in sick, nestle under the doona and sleep until you felt better? Those days are gone. Now you’ll find yourself crafting with a cold, reading afternoon stories with a hoarse throat, and trying desperately to stay awake at toddler group.
Thought #2: Urgh, Not Another Cliquey Group
Some toddler groups are great – you know the other parents, your kids love it, the other children are sweet, and you can relax with a hot drink while your child is entertained. But not all groups are that idyllic. Some toddler groups feel cliquey, and you can struggle to get chatting to the other parents who prefer to talk only to their friends. The children run riot, unwatched by their nattering parents, and forever shoving your sweet kids about. You find yourself acting as a personal bodyguard to your children while your tea goes cold on the table. You won’t look forward to this group, and yet you’ll continue to go, because despite the fact they seem to get nothing but grief, your kids love it.
Thought #3: I’m So Glad I’m Here
Even on your worst days as a stay at home parent, there will be moments where you feel nothing but joy at being lucky enough to stay with your children all day. You’ll see the first steps, hear the first sentences, and be the one they excitedly chat to about their day. Nothing beats that.
Thought #4: I’d Rather Be At Work
No matter how much you hated your old job, or how stressful it was, there will be times you long for it. As you stand in the midst of an upturned playroom that was spotless just moments before, trying to talk one of your children down from a tantrum, as the other kid wees on the carpet, you will wish for the quiet of an office. The minutes of uninterrupted silence when you could just get on with your work. The long meetings with the hot drinks, and the luxury of being able to sit down for more than five minutes. There will be moments, even days, when you envy your partner’s day job.
Thought #5: How Is It So Messy Again?!
You make your way around the room, organising and tidying the mess. But just two steps behind you stumbles a toddler, pulling out the blocks you have so neatly stacked, and disrupting the dressing up things you just finished hanging up. It is endless. There is always more mess. No matter how many times you explain the rules of only having one thing out at a time, there will always be at least eight toys scattered across the floor. And not just in the playroom, the mess will leak out into the rest of your house. Cleaning is like shovelling snow in a snowstorm.
Thought #6: Is It Bedtime Yet?
Not everyday, but some days you will find yourself checking your watch every hour, counting down the minutes until bedtime. Perhaps you’re tired, the kids are under the weather, or you’re just having one of those days, but sometimes it will feel like the entire day is leading up to the glorious moment you get to tuck your kids in and say goodnight. It's a good time to read 9 things to do when your toddler is driving you nuts.
Thought #7: I Have The Best Job Ever
The work of a stay at home parent is worthwhile, important and satisfying, even on bad days. When you get to be the one to soothe your toddler’s grazed knee, answer the (really hard) questions your three year old asks on a daily basis, and help your baby to explore the world around them, you won’t be able to help but notice how wonderful your job is. Your children need you, they love you and depend on you. Isn’t that wonderful?
Thought #8: Maybe I’m Not Cut Out For This
Every parent has moments of doubt, wondering whether they are really doing a good job at this whole parenting thing. As a stay at home parent, you may find yourself worrying that perhaps you are not the right person for the job. When a tantrum lasts forever (or at least feels that way), or when your baby bumps her head because you were preoccupied with another task, or when you find yourself short tempered and snappy, you might wonder whether it’s time to throw in the towel. You may even find yourself considering this daily, only to be reminded moments later that you love staying home, and that you are an amazing parent. And it’s true, you are.
Thought #9: Yay, Bedtime!
There will be the odd day when bedtime comes too soon, when you weren’t yet finished enjoying your children for the day. But mostly, bedtime will be met with relief. Your working day is long, starting whatever time you are woken in the morning (usually by being jumped on), and only ending when the final set of eyelids droop at bedtime. The work is long and hard, and you need a lot of energy. By bedtime, you’ll be more than ready to slump on the sofa and enjoy some quiet time. And there’s nothing wrong with that – you deserve it, you work hard all day.
Thought #10: Today Was A Good Day
Some people rarely have enjoyable days at work, but as a stay at home parent you probably find that most days are overall good. Even on the longest and most difficult days, there will be something that melted your heart, made you fall more in love with your child, or reminded you how important your job is. And at the end of the day, you will always be able to find funny and sweet things to tell your partner about what happened at work today.