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Challenge: Stretched Too Thin

What I wish people knew about being a stay-at-home parent

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I wish people knew.

I wish people knew that I am not in yoga pants for the third day in a row out of convenience or even my complete feeling of giving up. This is what I am wearing because I am moving All. Day. Long.

I am climbing to get my risk-taking toddler, or on the floor playing army men. I'm standing to wash dishes, then cleaning up finger paints. I am Lysol-washing the entire house (for the sixth time this winter).

I wish people knew that I am drinking Starbucks not because I just like the taste of a latte, but because I reheated my own coffee at home today no less than 23 times and then forgot about it in the microwave on my way out the door to appointments, drop offs, and practices.


I wish people knew I look so haggard and tired because I am the one my kids come to when they climb in bed, tangling their body parts in a feat of gymnastics around my head and face all night when they've had a nightmare. I stay up and kiss boo-boos and soothe crying toddlers so my husband can be rested for work.

I wish people knew before they judged and assumed I, or my fellow stay at home parents, have it easy.

I wish my husband knew.

I wish my husband knew that, while I do my best to express my incredible thankfulness for how hard he works to provide for our family, that the work I do is important too and when his work takes priority, it hurts.

I wish my husband knew that I appreciate when he does things to help around the house. I try to be sure I'm expressing my gratitude for each washed dish or trash bag removed, but he will never understand all of the little, unsaid, and unseen things I do each day that go into keeping our house running. If I made an announcement or texted every single time I accomplished a to-do, written or unwritten, that's all he'd hear about. All. Day. Long.

I wish my husband saw the countless peanut butter sandwiches, the vacuum running, the Clorox wiping, the diaper changes, the laundry piles, the meltdowns calmed, the tantrums survived, the world problems solved, the millions of times I've picked up the same toys just today, and the hours spent planning his meals, budgeting for and buying the groceries, and ensuring that each person in our home is warm, well-fed, and mostly happy.

I wish my husband knew that I know he is tired when he comes home from working all day, but I'm tired too. I've been touched, nagged, cried on, drooled on, and much worse. I have not talked to a single person who can speak in complete sentences without needing something from me and I am spent. I need a mental two hours ago.

I wish my husband knew how much our kids and I miss him when he's working, not to make him feel bad for being gone, but as a reminder that he is a freaking hero to each of us. Sincerely, to love someone so much that you real-life miss them when they're only 15 minutes away; you're killing it, babe.

I wish everyone knew that, like anyone, I could make a laundry list of complaints about my job, but I sincerely love the pint-sized hostage negotiation position I currently hold. While I am always tired, always worried, and always have a running mental to-do list, I will never quit.

I wish everyone knew that I am grateful to afford to stay home with our kiddos, teaching the oldest and wildly playing with the youngest. But my other job, some may call it 'work from home', is also very important to me. I get great satisfaction in meeting goals and chasing dreams. That is an important part of me, too.

And that is okay. It is okay to want to be good at both. And it is okay to feel overwhelmed by both.

Parenting is totally insane, really. I mean, we are given this tiny human and expected to know how to keep it alive and happy when it can't even tell us what it needs. And we are then supposed to teach it how to be a decent grown up human, when we are all really just faking it anyway.

We should all give each other some long overdue grace...and sometimes that starts with extending it to ourselves.

I wish I knew that...a long, long time ago.

*Amendment: Dearest Karen, Before you get all judgy and self righteous, if you LOVE every waking second of being a stay at home parent then All. The. Praise. Hands, sister. But don't belittle me for being honest. Your truth isn't mine. Also, your pants are on fire.

For more painfully hilarious truths about parenthood, follow me!

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