7 Ways Being the Stay at Home Parent is Harder.
In two parent families, the option of one parent taking a career break or even giving up work completely to raise the children each day can be a wonderful prospect. The children will have so much quality, family time. You’ll have more control over their experiences and routine. Every laugh, step and milestone will be shared and never missed. Having one stay at home parent, and sacrificing that salary, is a luxury not everyone can afford.
I am not a stay at home parent. In fact, quite the opposite. I’m the primary contributor financially and run a business where it is necessary for me to be present. Taking a step back from that was never an option when I had my little boy. Surprisingly to some though, I took some months off on maternity leave and experienced the life of the home parent. The stay at home parent is the martyr, and I need to shout about it.
For all of you pining over a life of brunching, pampering and getting shit done, I need to tell you about the reality. Here’s how being the stay at home parent is harder!
1. You Have Less Time For Yourself as the Stay at Home Parent.
This idea that because you’re able to spend all day at home, if you choose, or plan your day to your own schedule, gives you plenty of “you time”, is the biggest con you’ll ever hear. You probably will spend all day at home. But, that’s not to say you’ll be free to do the things you like, see the people you love or watch the binge worthy tv box sets you’ve been waiting for. You’ll be in your own home a lot, but your time will not be your own. It will be completely consumed, constantly, by the little, tiny human who has established themselves as boss.
2. You Are Financially Dependent on Your Partner.
Unless you’re one of the lucky few, the chances are if you’re the home based parent, your other half will be your provider. In theory, this should be a perfect synergy. One earns the collective money, one cares for the shared children. Pretty fair deal. But, for both parties here, in reality, this can cause some negative feelings and resentment. You’ve worked hard your whole life and now you’re asking if you’re allowed to spend £15 going to that brunch you dreamt of when deciding to put your career on hold. Why do you think some people work full time just to break even with childcare costs?
3. Admit it Or Don’t, There’s a Stigma Attached.
You know it. I know it. Society knows it. There shouldn’t be. There definitely shouldn’t be. But, there is and most stay at home parents fell it. It’s actually the harder role to fulfil. Maintaining your sanity and raising kids is literally the hardest job but no matter how hard people try, its usually not seen that way. Not deep down. Even the people who say, “well done you” don’t really sound like they mean it. And. those who do mean it at the time, forget years on when they comment on the five year career break you took.
4. You Lose Your Identity Outside of the Home.
You become “a mum” (or dad), and not much more, very quickly. When you spend the majority of your time parenting, that’s not really surprising. People forget you’re an individual with a personality outside of family life. Your social life slows. The validation you had from your work life has gone. Remember when you were perfectly dressed and groomed every time you left the house? If you’ve read my post baby body post, you’ll know there just isn’t always time for this. no longer can you eat the you want, sleep when you’re tired, or you know, be in control of your own life.
5. You’re Expected to be Chief Cook and Cleaner.
You’ll spot this look, as your partner walks in from work. This look says “I’m wondering what you have done all day, because it wasn’t cleaning”. Don’t worry though. You’ll quickly learn to look right past it. You’ll get sick of hearing “I’ve been at work all day”. In fact, you long to be able to say you’ve been at work all day. You’d skip out the fucking door in the rain to go to work all day.
6. You’ll Spend So Much Time With Your Kids You Won’t Like Them Sometimes.
Your kid’s are your world and you love them. But the fifth time they shit up their back right before the seventh time this week they throw food at you, you will wish you’d never met them. Babies, toddlers, and actually anyone under the age of 19 for girls and 49 for boys are likeable only in small doses.
7. You’ll be massively undervalued.
Let’s conservatively calculate, that a childcare shift is 7am to 7pm with a further hour for cooking the grown up’s dinner. In a week, the average number of hours a stay at home parent works is pushing 90. Quite frankly, with that hourly rate, I’m glad it wasn’t even an option for me.