the
post
visit the
blog
skip to
comments
lots more
sdl
get it in
your email

Turns Out Being a Stay at Home Parent Isn’t All that Much Work at All

stay-at-home-parents

Ding dong.

I forced myself up from the sofa with all the grace of a dying Walrus and looked at my phone. 8:03 AM. I had plopped myself down there in a sleepy stupor fifteen minutes earlier so that I wouldn’t miss my guests’ arrival.

As I neared the front door, I could hear happy giggling. And snickering. And talking. The people on the other side were very much awake and far too happy for the grumbling blob of a man who was about to answer that door. I had stayed up the night before until 4:06 AM, trying to undo the damage hackers had done to my website.

I swung it open to the excited faces of my niece and nephew. “Uncle Dan! Uncle Dan!”

They were in the house before I could even crack a half-fake smile. Their mom, my best friend, pushed past them. Tobi looked at me and sighed. “Are you sure this is okay? Thank you so much, you don’t know how much this means to…”

Shhhh. I told her, still fighting the lack of sleep. “I am so happy to take your kids for the day. You don’t even think a thing about it.”

At least I think I said that. With how tired I was, I actually have no idea.

“Aw, you’re the best Dan-o,” she said as she pulled her four-month old baby out of his car seat and handed him over.

At some point, AJ (her boyfriend and the third part of our bestie threesome) walked in. “Dude, you seriously don’t know how much…”

Shhhh, I told him. “It’s seriously my pleasure.”

At least I think I said that. With how tired I was, I have no idea.

I took the baby from Tobi and forced a smile at him. He grinned so big you’d think his face was Photoshopped. “We’re gonna have fun today, aren’t we?!” I said as I bounced him playfully. He grinned even bigger.

AJ began telling me what time he would probably be hungry and how much water goes into his bottles. Or something like that. My brain was far from registering such complicated details.

I ushered them out the door, knowing they were in a hurry, not wanting them to worry that it was putting me out too much to watch their kids. And then I called my niece and nephew in for a very important meeting.

“What should we do?!” I asked. I was thankful they both chirped out that they wanted to start things off with a movie. I actually did have a fairly long to-do list that had to be done before the end of the day that day. A to-do list that should have been done the night before, but was just as hacked as my website was.

I also wasn’t worried about it. I’m a dad. Maybe not a stay at home dad, but a dad nonetheless. I have a kid. I could juggle this. I could have fun with them, be productive, get it all done, and send them on their way thinking I was the awesomest uncle ever.

Yeah, right.

I cranked up the movie, and made sure they were situated and comfortable.

Then, with the baby resting on my knee, I bounced him quietly while I tried to dive into some work.

Two minutes later.

“Uncle Dan, I’m tired of the movie. I want to do something else,” my nephew said from behind me.

I laughed. “How can you be tired of it? We just turned it on!”

“I just am. I don’t wanna watch it. Can we play a game?”

I sighed and looked at his eager face. He was being so dang sweet. I looked at my computer again. I guess it could wait for a bit.

I went and pulled out Old Maid and we had an intense game. “Now go watch the movie for a while,” I said when we were done.

“Okay,” he happily responded and disappeared around the corner.

I sat back down at my computer and attempted to start getting some work done.

Before I could even remember what I had been working on…

CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE

223 comments
brettfish
brettfish

So so great [even as a non parent, I know i would be as completely useless - well maybe more so cos sounds like you pretty much handled it all] - i have so much respect for parental types... man can't even manage trying to fit that all into my life on a regular basis... same as this story that Steve shared on my blog a while back which had gotten a lot of attention: http://brettfish.wordpress.com/2013/05/07/taboo-topics-parents-of-young-children-meet-steve-wiens and this other one from my friend Candi [http://brettfish.wordpress.com/2013/05/09/taboo-topics-parents-of-small-children-meet-candi-fourie] who both tell these kinds of stories but from the perspectives of parents struggling to raise little children - your dad kinda unpacks a lot of what they seem to go through regularly so thankx for sharing... am actually compiling resources for parents of small children that rage from survival to thrival [it's a word!] and just stuck them in my FB group page if any parents here are looking for help, advice, stories... https://www.facebook.com/IrresistiblyFish?ref=hl


So thanks so much for sharing

hope you got that interview

love brett fish

RoxanneFlores
RoxanneFlores

two things:

"i didn't have time to stash the baby somewhere"

and 

"like a grown-ass adult"

had me laughing so hard!

Flo
Flo

When I was living in the USA, the first time a friend of my daughter (both kindergarteners) came over for a playdate, she asked for ice cream 15 minutes after being in the house.

I looked at the time and answered "it's not snack time yet"

She replied "but I'm hungry"

I replied, without giving it an extra thought: "you'll have to wait anyway" (I had my first-grade son to pick up at his own school 30 minutes later, and the baby to take care of, and I assumed that everybody will take a snack together afterward)

Se rolled her eyes and went back to play.

You'll maybe laugh at me, but I couldn't ever imagine that a kid could expect another answer...and I truly think it was the first time ever this kid was told there were such things as snack times.

Talk about the cultural gap!

super_savin_mom
super_savin_mom

Love this! What a great laugh...but only because I've been there. Hahaha! Stay at home mom of two for 8 1/2 years now.

Tammy Coulombe Morrison
Tammy Coulombe Morrison

Thank you for making me laugh so hard I cried. I ccould relate when I was a stay at home mom. :-P

marriedlife
marriedlife

Yup, being a stay at home parent is no problem at all.  Your house is spic and span, all the laundry is done, and you have a hot meal waiting at 5:30pm sharp!


No seriously, thank you for making me laugh out loud!

Lilluv70
Lilluv70

AWESOME article!!  Thanks for sharing!!

Meagan Pelt Schutte
Meagan Pelt Schutte

Uncle Dan. You're the Man! Haha. Its hard work when they are yours. But juggling three that aren't yours is a whole other ball game my friend! Props! PS: I bet the shower you took when they left was ranked one of your top five. Lol

Lori Wilder Stephens
Lori Wilder Stephens

Yep, you got it exactly right! I'm one of the luck ones though, my husband knew how hard a job it was, and always helped out whenever possible. Great job, Uncle Dan!

Janean Chaltraw-Westhues
Janean Chaltraw-Westhues

When my boys were 6 and 2 months their dad walked out. After checking I realized daycare would be to expensive so I decided to have my own day care. For 5 years I took care of between 6 and 10 kids. Six days a week, 6am to midnight. Yeah, I was a sucker for a sob story. I made it but not without realizing that if you want to do ANYTHING for yourself, good luck. Not even sure I got a shower in those 5 years. Oh, wait! Yes I did. With at least one kid outside the shower curtain telling me to hurry up because they have something they need. Lol

Shellybean514
Shellybean514

I'm now a full time Grandma to my 22 month old Grandson while his Mama's at work, I forgot how much "work" it can be. Hard to believe I did this with three kids no problem, of course that was many moons ago too lol

Jodie Turnbull
Jodie Turnbull

Haha.... So many times I've looked at the clock in panic.. "I can still get stuff done, I can still get stuff done"

Joan MacNeil
Joan MacNeil

aww uncle Dan your the greatest, the kids managed to be safe, and love you, gotta say they were great kids for you, nobody got hurt. your the greatest

LilMissLunatik
LilMissLunatik

My 3 and 5 year old boys are like tornado's. I feel for you adding a tiny baby into that mix, even if it was just for one day! It is harder on your own though, I often wish I had someone to have mine for a few hours one day!

GoBrandiRanger
GoBrandiRanger

Ah, yes. Welcome to my life! Try having a 19 month old with Autism that doesn't tell you what he wants and, instead, just does this high-pitched squeal when he wants something, leaving you to figure out wtf is is, combined with a 5 month old little girl that's trying her hardest to crawl early. The joys of parenthood!

Melissa Lupfer-Brennan
Melissa Lupfer-Brennan

As a sahm of four (and two of those are toddlers), I loved the post. 2 things bothered me, though. 1) never put a 4 month old on an adult bed and walk away. They can, and will, roll off of the bed. 2) never put a 4 month old to sleep on their tummy. It's a huge SIDS risk factor. That goes double on a soft surface like an adult bed. 3) there is no right way to "reheat" previously warmed milk. Seriously, look it up. It's just a bad idea. And if it was breast milk, that goes double. Finally, 4) it is not "extremist" to believe in any of the things I mentioned above. It's common sense, and AAP guidelines. I generally love your posts, but I have been a professional mommy for 12 years now, and I am also a registered child care professional, with extensive training and education on these matters. :)

SteveLorah
SteveLorah

Pretty awesome Dan! I can say I've been there, done that...but with less grace. Made me appreciate the mother of my children and grateful to be able to go back to my "real" job!  Turns out that being stay at home parent is like, my job x 10. 

Audra Oakes
Audra Oakes

I'm staying at home again with my amazing 4 month old daughter! My son is 11 now and I must have had amnesia because here I am again! At the end of the day, I know it's worth it and am honored that I am the one that gets to majorly shape my children and make the biggest impact in their lives!!! I laughed so much when I read your experience Dan! My baby girl loves just grinning up at me when I am seriously trying to feed her too;)! As for sleep, like someone else said, I'll sleep when I 'm dead;)

Rachel Tarrodaychik
Rachel Tarrodaychik

This was hilarious! Mostly because I'm there on a daily basis with my 3 kids ages 2-7. Being a stay at home mom is much harder than my job was!

Shannon Walsh
Shannon Walsh

Thank you Dan. Not many truly acknowledge that we aren't just out of shape, lazy, soap opera watching shammers. I have a ten y/o with Aspergers, a three year old, and a 9 weeker. Today I wore vomit (yup, grown-ass adult type vomit), pee, and stuck my hand in a poopy mess TWICE! It's crazy, but I love my oppoy, needy, absolutely adorable minions (even though I know their conspire to keep me hopping)

ShealynMarie
ShealynMarie

I stayed home with my now very active 3 year old thinking I'd get some book reading in and a nap.. needless to say I had to keep my feet off the carpet because of the "Crokiedial" who was swimming the carpet waters. They're pretty awesome aren't they?

Taylor Rouleau
Taylor Rouleau

Haha. I knew this had to be a joke... I recently started working as a nanny and it's definitely WORK!! Rewarding and enjoyable for sure, but WORK!!

TristanGoode
TristanGoode

Being a stay at home parent is wonderful and exhausting.  Luckily my husband is quick to compliment a clean house and dinner ready. And forgiving of a messy house and having to pick up burgers. Sometimes I have days where my two boys,  2 and 4, just want mommy to cuddle all day. And really,  how can you argue with that? Invest in a good carpet cleanerand remember you can sleep when you're dead!

Vicci B. Chuc
Vicci B. Chuc

aah Single Dad Laughing, you truly are one of the awesome guys. Glad to know you appreciate what we stay at home moms go through on a daily basis :)

AmandaGilbert
AmandaGilbert

Yep sounds like my day to day! I'm just glad that the blessings of being a stay at home parent outweigh the struggles. It's a lot of work but dangit if I don't adore my rugrats! Oh and the part about the baby grinning at you instead of eating his bottle my 6 month old does that all the time! I nearly bust a gut when I read that cause I could see my little man doing it!

Brandi Miller Hays
Brandi Miller Hays

We have 5 kids- 12, 8, 6, 2 & 9mo. I don't know how I get through some days lol

Katrina Croy
Katrina Croy

My husband wonders why I can't get anything done with a 1-yr-old and 5-yr-old at home. I seriously wish he could take over for a few days to better appreciate what I do.

SoCalPam
SoCalPam

It took 45 minutes to clean all the poop off the interior of my Jetta when my first son decided to explode on a freeway on-ramp. I left all his clothing in a bag under a bush. Ugh. Number two son decided to throw up 12 times in an hour and a half at a Halloween party at the zoo #1 son was enjoying. We left early, of course, but in the meantime I found every trash can in the park.  When kids decide to let go, they let GO.  I'm sorry you got it both at once, Dan. That sucks.

Andrea Stevens Kraus
Andrea Stevens Kraus

My husband just doesn't understand how I can't get my grad schoolwork done during the day when I'm home with the 16 month old and the 7 year old (after school). Sigh. Perhaps I should share this with him. :)

JoanneBesterfield
JoanneBesterfield

The husband of a dear friend of mine once opened his mouth upon coming home to a very disheveled house.  She had twin baby girls who were both still breastfeeding along with an active an imaginative toddler.  This poor choice of his landed him with a Saturday of swapping places.  She went to "work" out of the house for the day while he was left with the kids and a list.  She came home to nothing checked off the list, a terrible mess around the house and dad about passed out on the floor.  The attitude shift in that man after that Saturday  was damn near a miracle.

MavisTripp
MavisTripp

Welcome to my daily life, Im a stay at home mom that runs a child care!!! I specialize in 5 and under!! and I LOVE it!!! but yes its hard yes I have to change all sorts of nasty and even worn it.. but it grows on you they are the highlight of my day!!!

CrystalSprayberry
CrystalSprayberry

Love love love this. This is my life lol Nothing ever gets done! Maybe once they're in school lol

Martine Sesma
Martine Sesma

Epic! Loved it. Reminds me of being a nanny to 4 kids...just my one little man now is so much easier!!!!

Jessie Winters
Jessie Winters

I've had days like that with my own kids... no one to come pick them up and rescue me. You're a champ!

CarynDougherty
CarynDougherty

At least ... the poop was fairly contained.  There's nothing like picking a crying baby up off the playmat you had down on the floor ... to find the nearly black, highly toxic, shadowed outline radiating from the baby's double-ended poop explosion ... resulting in 2 days' worth of carpet cleaning, wearing a hazmat suit.


Good job!

SuzySomething
SuzySomething

Hey, Dan--I like the header of you contemplating and your motorcycle standing there just waiting for you to jump on it---except there is something missing. Where is your helmet? Surely it must be out of sight on the other side of you instead of sitting on the motorcycle seat or hanging off a handlebar.  You'd never ride without a helmet!  Would you?

Monique Marchand Johnson
Monique Marchand Johnson

I can't access your site from my phone. Access denied because of my signature. No idea what its talking about. Do others have issues? I really want to read what you're saying. :(

Amanda J Peifer Meyer
Amanda J Peifer Meyer

Shared this post earlier today and I made some of my friends who are stay at home Mom's laugh so hard they cried! None of us have the energy to do it all. Wishing being a Mom was all I did rather than all that plus go to work and provide at the same time...

Vickie Kelly
Vickie Kelly

I'm a stay at home mom too- omg...I couldnt tell you the last time I actually got anything done. My idea of "I had a productive day" means everyone is alive at the end of the day.

chyara
chyara

@GoBrandiRanger I know how it is... my ASD kid is now 5, still feels like a game of charades.  Anticipating needs, etc.  I live for his smiles, hugs and kisses..
and his full sentence.  Looking at me... " I want Frap [starbucks in my hand] Please?, Thank you."  
Who can say no to that?!

GoBrandiRanger
GoBrandiRanger

@chyara @GoBrandiRanger  I get smiles out the wazoo. He's the happiest baby in the world most of the time. But oh, when he's mad... lol my favorite part of the day is when he goes into his hand-flapping fits. Looks like my baby bird is trying to take off <3 He doesn't give ANY love unless he's sick, though. And not one single word. Not even babble. Just random sounds that change every 2 weeks or so. But I gotta say, I love him more than I ever imagined I could when he was diagnosed. I was afraid it'd change my opinion or that I'd grow to resent him, but it's quite the opposite. I'm more patient and I appreciate his milestones WAY more knowing they could disappear at any second.