Everytime I tell someone that I stay at home with my kids I get the same question ” How do you do it?” My response is usually a mixture of “I love it and wouldn’t change a thing” to “yeah, some days even I ask myself that.”
The reality of things is that being a stay at home parent is like any other job (except you don’t get benefits, sick days, and your on call 24/7.) Some days you love your job, and you start the day with a smile and with a “nothing can get me down” mentality. Other days it’s a “it’s only Monday?!? I need more coffee.”
I do love staying at home. I never envisioned myself doing it, though. When we got pregnant, we both agreed I would stay at home until I was ready to go back to work (since I carried our babies and such.) Life happened and we found ourselves in a new state, a completely different environment than we anticipated, a job my wife loved, and an outrageously expensive childcare. My “go back to work” slowly got pushed back. We found it more feasible for me to stay at home longer. I did apply for jobs and even started working a “part time” job (totally not for me), but ultimately I loved staying at home. I get to see my kids grow up. I get to see them learn and discover things. I was here for their first word, their first step, their first everything. My children aren’t being raised by strangers. They don’t love some stranger more than their mommies. And even better, they have their mothers full attention and love.
Now, we don’t anticipate me going to work until they are in school. And even then, probably only part time.
Sometimes I feel as though all my hard work and education (and debt) was for nothing. Here I am, not only do I have a bachelors degree in Architecture, I also have a Masters degree from an Ivy League university!! When we meet new people and they learn my wife has a PhD and JD I kinda just hide in the background because I am just looked at as the stay at home mom. I feel as though I have somehow failed.
But then I look at my babies.
I am an amazing person and mother. I am a super mom, and, although my wife has many degrees, she wouldn’t be able to do what I do. She wouldn’t be able to stay at home all day. It takes a special kind of person to stay at home. So for the time being, yeah, my degrees are just sitting there. And maybe I will use them one day, or maybe I never will, and that’s ok. As long as my babies succeeed and I don’t mess them up, it’s all worth it.
So, how do I it? Simple. I love it. We do things I love to do. We play, we paint, we dance, we sing, we go outside and enjoy life. On the days I just can’t, I bombard my wife with texts “come home!!!” I take a second or two (for that’s literally all I get) and try to clear my mind, take a breath, and make myself relax. I hide in the bathroom or kitchen until they come looking for me 🙂 I have them do activities that allow me to sit down. I put on a movie and we all sit on the couch and not move. I hug them as tight as I can, I kiss them, and tell them I love them. I try to have their innocence and love calm me and make me feel better.
I chose this.
I want this.
This only happens once with them. It’s not their fault mommy gets overwhelmed. So I try not to burden them with that.
If all else fails, have them call mommy and have her deal with them for a second.