I will admit to feeling a little less than appreciated at home lately. I think this is fairly common, but you forget about every other stay-at-home-parent when you’re in it yourself. In your mind, you’re the only one to never be thanked or even acknowledged for all that happens without anyone else in the household thinking about it. Trust me, you’re not alone.
I arrived at Pilates this morning, stressed to the max, ticked off at Spouse for a totally random reason, overwhelmed by all those “to-do’s” needing to be finished before school lets out, worrying over those things I know I can’t fit in between now and Christmas. As I grabbed my weights and ring, signed in, and put my water beside my chosen reformer, I heard our instructor engaged in a conversation with another woman. She was saying how stressed she is with cards, shopping, work, parties, and such sitting between her and a nice, large glass of wine late Christmas Eve. Then she said, explaining a discussion she’d had with her husband last night, “You work, but I do everything else!” That right there, my friends, is the mantra of just about every down-and-out, overwhelmed, under-appreciated stay-at-home-parent.
Spouse goes off to work every day. He works long hours. He’s good at what he does. He’s an amazing dad to our herd. But I do everything else. EVERYTHING He doesn’t generally have to worry about groceries, Target, or Costco trips. Oh, I may occasionally ask him to stop for milk (read, wine), or to pick up a prescription. I’m not sure he even knows where the Costco is, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I take the kids to 99.9% of their doctor, dentist, orthodontist, and psychiatrist appointments. I do 99% of the laundry (although I don’t hang, fold, or put his clothes away – they are put on his side of the bed to deal with). I manage homework, carpools, all the dance stuff, and most of the cooking. I get people to and from. I take the animals to the vet. I get the yard ready for the gardeners. I make sure the kids take the trash cans to the curb and bring them back in for trash day. And on and on it goes. He goes to work.
I know I’m complaining. It’s been one of those weeks/months. And I know my frustration isn’t particularly rational. It is what it is. I do love my life. I feel blessed to have the choice of staying home with the kids (although as I’ve written about recently, I’m feeling more and more there needs to be more for me). It just gets old to constantly feel you’re the only one in the household who knows how to even open the dishwasher door, much less put anything in or take it back out when it’s clean; when you seem to the only one with eyeballs to find anything in the fridge or pantry; when it seems you’re supposed to know where everyone’s stuff is, even if it’s not where it’s supposed to be; when the notion of “clean your room” is to shove it behind your bedroom door or into your closet and call it good, despite the fact Grammy is coming in a few days; when clearing dinner dishes is a feat beyond comprehension.
When I heard the instructor say, “You work, but I do everything else!” it put it all back into perspective for me. Yes, he goes to work, and he works long hours, and he deals with stuff I’d rather poke my eye out than have to manage, and yes, I do pretty much everything else. But that’s okay. And I’m not alone.