Having commiserated for hours with other stay-at-home parents (SAHP) on the playground, I’ve learned my complaints about the “home front” are the same as everyone else stuck on the playground living their MF lives. And through my own time-intensive, highly-scientific study, I can attest that the experience of hearing the below sentiments are universal regardless of the gender of the SAHP. Somehow, whatever parent happens not to be the front-line parent at the time (and roles can easily reverse), the person coming home at the end of a long day will inevitably be guilt of making these statements.
Since we’re all on the same page (and can all be guilty of making these mistakes), I thought I’d put together a helpful APB for our partners to help our families stay happy. (Cuz when SAHP’s happy, the family’s happy.)
To all parents-currently-operating-as-the-one-mostly-likely-working-outside-the-house:
1. “Wow. The place is kind of a mess.”
Really? I’ve cleaned the apartment six times, already. In fact, I’ve not stopped cleaning all damn day. Those trains have been in and out of baskets twice, those Legos have been constructed and deconstructed thrice. I used 7 of my normally-inconsequential 22 minutes of decompression during nap-time to CLEAN. Meanwhile, do you have any idea where the race cars even go? It’s not my fault you haven’t adapted to stepping on Thomas the Train barefoot without whining…like a baby. Instead of commenting, how about quietly grabbing the kitchen spray and wiping down the table, yourself…while entertaining the kids. I’ll be doing shots on the john.
2. “What did you do all day?”
If a fellow SAHP asks that, I respond, “Nothing,” But that does NOT allow you to insinuate I sit around watching soap operas. Admittedly, when you ask this, I’m stumped for details and say, “I dunno.” How do I adequately explain endless iterations of train/lego/princess make-believe? I dunno. Funny how the kids watch iPads every time you’re alone with them. They never watch it with me.
3. “You’re kind of yelling a lot.”
Really? I double-dog dare you to spend hours herding cats and chanting “Let’s put your shoes on”, after which you realize pants are drenched with urine, so you have to fight a squirming child to change the pants and underwear (having removed aforementioned socks and shoes), then chase the delightedly-squealing naked child around, while you’re shouting “Please come here” because you’re so f’ing desperate to GET OUT OF THE HOUSE. After you’ve done the above thrice daily and said, “Come get your shoes on” 137 times, see if you won’t raise your voice by 5:30.
4. “Please, I just need 10 minutes to myself when I get home from work.”
Really? Please do me a favor: on your way home, stop at Starbucks or a bar or a make-your-own-pottery place and have your “me” time. Until those kids are dead asleep, you get no silence. OK?
5. You mean you didn’t get those ________, today? (Fill in the blank: sponges, toothpaste, goldfish crackers, Dawn dish soap?)
Really? We’re out of Dawn? You mean the Dawn you could have grabbed on your way to work with adults, or from work with adults, or during lunch with adults? Please do not imply “What did you do all day?” (see #2 above) because NO: somehow I did NOT take my toddler tornado into a drug store to get Dawn. But the kids are alive. Get your own damn Dawn tomorrow.
6. “You need a break. Get a sitter.”
No shit. But I was fine until 6:15 when I expected you home but then you called saying you’d be another hour and that’s when I lost my shit which doesn’t mean I needed a babysitter it means you needed to plan your day more effectively so I wouldn’t lose my shit. Kapish?
7. “When was the last time you showered?”
8. “You just need to make it a game.”
Really? Toddler tantrums just evaporate if I “make it a game”? They’ll willfully share trains, change their paint-stained pants, clean up 77 crayons, and brush their own teeth IF I MAKE IT A GAME? By the end of the day, I’d rather ban all toys, bribe the room-cleaning, and physically force the pants-change because I’m merely counting the nanoseconds until bedtime. No more gamesmanship.
9. “Um…you think you might need a haircut?”
Funny how I don’t seem to have time to check the mirror. Schedule it for me-including the sitter-please? Oh, and…see #7
Please add your own requests for stay-at-home-parents happiness, below. My kid just found a book of matches. Gotta go make the donuts…