A post has been floating around the mom forums lately titled "Being a Stay-at-Home Parent is a Luxury...for Your Spouse" and it's lit the fire in me to write the post about what it's like to both stay at home and work.
If you don't know; I work from home four days per week and go into the office one day per week. I truly have the best of both worlds because I am able to be home and experience every first that our son experiences and still take a day to put on my career hat and slip out the door without being covered in scrambled egg mush.
My husband works a traditional office job away from home full time. On my days in the office, one of our moms spends the day with our son.
A few weeks ago, both grandmas were on vacation and Hubs had to work from home while I went into the office for the day.
Typically on my day in the office, I rush home after work to pick up our son or get dinner on the table if one of the grandmas is dropping him off. On this day, I had no reason to rush home so I went out after work to run some errands.
About 10 minutes from when I would normally be home from work Hubs called me in a desperate tone, "Where are you? When will you be home?"
During the day he had posted a status claiming that while he never considered it easy for me to work at home and raise our son, he had no idea how truly difficult it was until he had to do it himself.
While on the phone with him I chuckled, "So...what's for dinner?" and he said (while our son crashed through the house in the background), "I don't...I don't know. I can't...We're going out. I'm done."
I can try to say how I feel at the end of the day in so many words but having him experience it was such a huge sense of relief to me. Not because I wanted him to feel miserable, but because I wanted him to understand. I felt so alone having to take on the career world and the mom world myself I just wanted someone to say, "You're right. It is damn hard." When I heard his tone I felt a whole bucket of empathy and satisfaction, all at once.
Now I don't want anyone to misunderstand, my husband is a wonderful man. He has always been a stellar father but something about our experience in this "Life Swap" that day changed the way we both parented. We became so much more understanding of one another's needs and experiences.
Recently, he was feeling very fatigued. He said, "Gosh it's 9:30 and for the second night in a row I could just go to sleep right now. I'm so exhausted. What have I been doing so much that has wiped me out like this?!" and I laughed. "You're being a great dad." I told him, followed by, "That's how I feel every day."
Now when I'm ready to turn in at 9:30 he doesn't say, "Won't you stay up and watch this show with me?" instead, he nods in understanding and says, "Goodnight. I love you."
Every day I love that man more and the longer we are parents, the stronger our marriage grows.
Working is hard. Parenting is hard. Doing both is really hard. But knowing someone has felt what I'm feeling and is there to hold me up when I'm fumbling through it is the biggest blessing of all.
So let's all stop placing blame on who has it worse...or better. Life is just hard. But it's also really worth it. You're where you are because of the choices you've made. I'm so thankful because marrying that dude was my best choice ever.
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