Stay At Home Parents (SAHPs)... HOW DO YOU DO IT?!?!?
For the last few weeks, I have been a SAHD... during the day. I LOVE my children to no end. But after spending the last several days with them I have to go to work to recover from being a SAHD! When I see my wife and it is time to hand them off, I pass the kids to her like a football and I run... and I don't look back. As far as I know, she takes the little footballs, scores a touchdown and spikes them in the end zone. She might even kick a field goal after doing a little dance. (I don't think she does that but I was just saying what I would do.)
I know that some of you (Spuds and his +6) are going to laugh and call me a wimp (or some more colorful nouns surrounded by some even more colorful adjectives) and then laugh some more. But this is more of an acknowledgement that it truly is the hardest job in the world. Also, that I understand your pains and I don't know how you do it.
First off... Why don't ALL SAHPs weigh 300+ lbs? I have been doing this for a few weeks now and EVERYTHING makes me want to eat.
|Just replace the fruit with the 3Cs:|
Candy, Cake and Cookies.
"Kids, it's lunch time!" - They eat. I eat.
"Kids, Sesame Street is on!" - They watch. I eat.
"Awww... That was a GREAT poopie! Let's go get some food!" - No I don't see the poopie and think of food. When my 4-year old is done on the potty, she announces the size, weight, shape, color, serial number, maunfactured date, and warranty information of all of her poopies. So what do I do to celebrate (cause you have to celebrate)??? I eat.
Honestly, I think I have gained 10lbs... in just my toes! Whenever things go wrong, I eat. When the kids are pulling the dogs ears... it makes me hungry. When the I'm cleaning the house, I'm hungry. When I'm watching TV during the kids nap time (when I should be cleaning the house)... I eat. WHERE DOES IT END??!!
After you tell me how you tackle the food issue (I'm hungry just writing the word food) you can tell me how you handle the cleaning. There are times when my wife comes in and the house is a MESS! She doesn't say anything but I think in my head, "You should have seen this place 15 minutes ago!" But she knows.
I have found that I have to time my cleaning just right so the house doesn't look like a disaster right when my wife comes home. It's the Goldilocks Plan. If I do it too early, I will have to clean more than once. (For some reason, my kids like to follow me around and destroy the EXACT thing I just cleaned.) If I do it too late, I only get a few things done and my wife comes home with me still cleaning. But if I do it JUST RIGHT, my wife will come home to a clean (relatively speaking, of course) house and the kids are just now starting to mess everything up again. Now most of the time we meet up and do the football (kids) spiking thing I was talking about earlier. So the timing has to be adjusted to factor in travel. But I'm pretty good with time so It's not a major conversion.
The next issue is education. You can't just sit the kids in front of the TV all day and let the watch Spongebob. (No Honey, I don't let them watch Spongebob anymore. When it is on the channel it was for me!) I guess in all reality, you COULD just let them watch TV all day but then you risk the GIGO Affect. (GIGO - Computer programming term that basically means Garbage In - Garbage Out.) So there has to be some non-TV related educating even when the kids are out for Summer Break. (A quick question: I know that Sesame Street is educational programming but why is it that every song ELMO sings is always sung to the tune of "Jingle Bells"? SAHPs, you get a bonus for answering that one for me.)
My problem with all of this is when I'm "educating" the 4-year old. How do I get the (almost) 2-year old to just SIT there?!? (I put the ALMOST in there because I'm really tired of writing out her actual age in months. I personally think that mess should stop after 12 months.) No running around. No tearing up the place. No pulling out the same toys I just cleaned up (too early, I might add). No chasing the dog around. No making a lot of noise. Just sit there quietly like a good little 2-year old should while I work on educating your sister. Is that asking for too much? I'm pretty sure it is.
Here's another thing that drive me absolutely nuts... I LOVE when I come home from work and the kids yell out, "Daddy!" I will probably not be able to find too many things in life that I could put in the same category of just pure joy. (Maybe a hole-in-one in golf. But that will never happen so I won't be able to make a true comparison.) It warms my heart. It makes me smile. And I look forward to it EVERY single time I walk into the door. But...
When I'm home with the kids for a long period of time, the little one likes to ask for things by throwing what she wants into the middle of a bunch of daddies! "Daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, ona cup (which I assume is "I want a cup" of milk or water)." And if I don't answer, acknowledge or otherwise start moving in the direction of the sippy cups in .7 seconds, it starts over again with even more authority. "DADDY, DADDY, DADDY, DADDY, DADDY, DADDY, DADDY, ONA CUP!" I completely understand why my mother always threatened to change her name. I think mothers are much better with dealing with this (in general). Because as a father, after 2 rounds of this I'm ready to give her whatever she wants (water, milk, beer, wine, rum, WHATEVER)!
|This justice scale is voice activated!|
Unfortunately for the middle child (and the oldest one for that matter), it doesn't work in their favor. The loudest kid usually wins out. I try to be fair to all of my children. And though justice might be blind, she's not DEAF! Even SHE would tip the scales in favor of the little loud one just for some peace and quiet. So the squeaky wheel get the grease.
There are millions of other things that make me wonder why anyone CHOOSES to be a SAHP. I have nothing but love and respect for each and every one of you. I think it takes a special person to do what you do. And to celebrate who you are and what you stand for I have decided to eat something. I'm not sure what it is yet but apparently it doesn't matter to me any more. I eat everything... And after I eat, ona cup (of something a little harder than milk or water). I need to practice on being the squeaky wheel.