As a stay at home mom (SAHM), I get asked what I do all day. A lot. Sometimes it is an honest question from someone who is curious what a "typical" day looks like. More often than not though it is from someone who has this nagging thought that what I do all day is eat chocolates and play Facebook games. So what DO I do all day, and why am I so tired?
To answer that, first, we need to consider what a housewife (with no children) is expected to do while her spouse works. Cleaning, laundry, cooking, mending, shopping, errands. She probably will work on it while her husband is at work, so they can have time together in the evening. Maybe she will have some time for volunteering her time a day or two a week, but really, it is a full time job to keep a house in order.
Now, what happens when there are kids and both parents are working full-time outside the home? The kids are at daycare or school while the parents work. When the parents are home, they generally split the household chores since it is only fair to do it that way when both are working outside the home. They tag team errands, necessary phone calls, cooking, cleaning, etc.
So what happens when the kids are in the care of others? Someone is responsible for watching out for their safety, feeding them, changing nappies for kids still using them, playing games to help them learn and work on developmental milestones, teaching. It is a full time job, and they are doing important work.
Now, how about we take a peek at the SAHM? Generally speaking, she is expected to do the tasks normally expected of a housewife on her own (because she is not working outside the home) in addition to the tasks that would be done by a childcare provider. Did you catch that? A SAHM is expected to do the full time job of housewife plus the full time job of a childcare provider. The work is stretched out between 6am and 10pm (with nights on call) 7 days a week.
I am not pointing this out to whine or get sympathy. I want no part of the Mommy Wars either. I do not even want to dump guilt on anyone who has ever wondered what on earth a SAHM does all day.
Just give me grace. When my house is a mess because I have not managed to get the toys picked up, wash three days of dishes, run the vacuum, or even think about dusting. When I am not quite sure what my child was doing or climbing on that resulted in the goose egg on her forehead. When I forget to call you back for two weeks. When I have a total meltdown because dirty laundry is not put in the hamper. Give me grace.
While you are at it, remember that you do not know what other people are dealing with, so give them grace too. That includes yourself. We are all just doing our best.