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9 Helpful Suggestions for Partners of Stay-at-Home Parents

Having commiserated for hours with every other stay-at-home parent (SAHP) on the playground, I’ve learned my complaints about the “home front” are the same as every other stay-at-home parent (SAHP). Since we SAHPs are on the same page, this helpful list is for our partners to help our families stay happy. (Cuz when SAHP’s happy, the family’s happy.)

Please, partner parents: avoid saying the following…

1. “Wow. The place is kind of a mess.”

Really? I’ve cleaned the apartment three times, already. Those trains have been in and out of baskets twice, those Legos have been constructed and deconstructed thrice. I used 7 of my normally-inconsequential 22 minutes of decompression during nap-time to CLEAN. Meanwhile, do you have any idea where the race cars even go? It’s not my fault you haven’t adapted to stepping on Thomas the Train barefoot without whining…like a baby. Instead of commenting, how about quietly grabbing the kitchen spray and wiping down the table, yourself…while entertaining the kids. I’ll be doing shots on the john.

2. “What did you do all day?”

If a fellow SAHP asks that, I respond, “Nothing,” But that does NOT allow you to insinuate I sit around watching soap operas. Admittedly, when you ask this, I’m stumped for details and say, “I dunno.” How do I adequately explain endless iterations of train/lego/princess make-believe? I dunno. Funny how the kids watch iPads every time you’re alone with them. They never watch it with me.

3. “You’re kind of yelling a lot.”

Really? I double-dog dare you to spend hours herding cats and chanting “Let’s put your shoes on”, after which you realize pants are drenched with urine, so you have to fight a squirming child to change the pants and underwear (having removed aforementioned socks and shoes), then chase the delightedly-squealing naked child around, while you’re shouting “Please come here” because you’re so f’ing desperate to GET OUT OF THE HOUSE. After you’ve done the above thrice daily and said, “Come get your shoes on” 137 times, see if you won’t raise your voice by 5:30.

4. “Please, I just need 10 minutes to myself when I get home from work.”

Really? Please do me a favor: on your way home, stop at Starbucks or a bar or a make-your-own-pottery place and have your “me” time. Until those kids are dead asleep, you get no silence. OK?

5. You mean you didn’t get those ________, today? (Fill in the blank: sponges, toothpaste, goldfish crackers, Dawn dish soap?)

Really? We’re out of Dawn? You mean the Dawn you could have grabbed on your way to work with adults, or from work with adults, or during lunch with adults? Please do not imply “What did you do all day?” (see #2 above) because NO: somehow I did NOT take my toddler tornado into a drug store to get Dawn. But the kids are alive. Get your own damn Dawn tomorrow.

6. “You need a break. Get a sitter.”

No shit. But I was fine until 6:15 when I expected you home but then you called saying you’d be another hour and that’s when I lost my shit which doesn’t mean I needed a babysitter it means you needed to plan your day more effectively so I wouldn’t lose my shit. Kapish?

7. “When was the last time you showered?”

Just…don’t.

8. “You just need to make it a game.”

Really? Toddler tantrums just evaporate  if I “make it a game”? They’ll willfully share trains, change their paint-stained pants, clean up 77 crayons, and brush their own teeth IF I MAKE IT A GAME? By the end of the day, I’d rather ban all toys, bribe the room-cleaning, and physically force the pants-change because I’m merely counting the nanoseconds until bedtime. No more gamesmanship.

9. “Um…you think you might need a haircut?”

Funny how I don’t seem to have time to check the mirror. Schedule it for me-including the sitter-please? Oh, and…see #7

Please add your own requests for SAHP happiness, below. My kid just found a book of matches. Gotta go…

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26 Comments

  1. I chuckled a few times reading this and I will commiserate right there with you. It’s just so true. Luckily if my partner says any of these things, I snap at him once and he gets the clue and won’t repeat himself again. In fact, he now comes home and praises me for successful trips to the grocery store.

    Now if only I can get him off his damn phone when he gets home… 🙂

    Like

    • There ya go, loreanne! Rule #10. You do NOT get to check your phone until the rugrats are in bed. Nope. You had all day to do so. And I did not. So update your fb to say “out of commission til toddler bedtime” if you must, but phone might as well be locked in a drawer for the next few hours!
      Thanks for commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Amy L says

    It’s only 8:00, how can you be tired this early?

    Cuz I’ve chased, fought, cleaned, cooked all damn day. I am tired!!!!

    Like

    • Seriously…I’ve never been so tired. And maybe I want to just lay on a couch for awhile. Leave me alone. 🙂 Thanks for sharing, Amy.

      Like

  3. This is great! My husband is a stay at home dad of our two girls and I really think I do a good job of not saying any of this stuff to him! I could care less about what the house looks like – he spends great quality time with them all day and they are happy healthy kids- what more could I ask for? As far as I’m concerned, he’s got the harder job, not me. I thank him up and down at least twice a day for all the hard work he does. It’s SO not easy!

    Like

    • Boy, oh boy…doesn’t a simple “thank you” go a long way? Yours is a lucky husband, Raina! Thanks for contributing.

      Like

  4. rule # 12 – every sahp needs a few hours COMPLETELY ALONE in their own home, at least once every few weeks. I get it, we have an army of 3, and you don’t understand why I go on suicide missions – eur, shopping trips with all of them, but even if you think its crazy you need to reciprocate. I shouldn’t have to escape to get time alone. and no, ‘sleeping kids’ doesn’t count as being alone in the house…. 🙂

    Like

    • So true, so true. And what else doesn’t count? Laying in bed while you entertain the kids in the morning. Yes, it’s a break, but it’s impossible to sleep. So…yeah. Alone time. Completely alone. WE need that. Thanks for sharing. Love the contribution. Thanks, Angele

      Like

  5. I am chuckling away at the comment “I feel a cold coming on” because I swear to God, the
    non-SAHP always always always gets sick on the weekend, not Monday thru Friday when
    you’re “on duty” anyway. Just when you’re at your wits end on Friday night,
    and desperately anticipating some sweet relief from the monotonous days and constant crying/fighting, he gets f’ing sick and is out of commission. I think that the non-SAHP’s should be terminally ill before
    being allowed to skip parenthood on the weekends. In short, “Get sick on your own time,
    not mine.” Ha ha. I can laugh now that it’s in the past but I remember feeling like, “If I
    only had a gun.”

    Like

    • Seriously!!!! When I hear that weak cough-cough and clearing of throat with wincing face, I start to snarl and bristle. When do I get to be sick? Cuz I’ll take a sick day ANY day of the week! Bring it.

      Like

  6. Arielle says

    This is a big one for me: “I’m at work and/or school all day. I just don’t understand why you can’t clean up my laundry/dishes/tools/to go trash/etc… You’re here all day.” Because you are a grown ass man and I have other things to worry about. And another gem: “I never have time to do the things I want to.” Because the goal and quintessence of my life’s enjoyment is to be *interupted* while checking Facebook. I don’t want to work on my own projects or go out with adult friends without a child in tow? And like was mentioned in the article, what do they do when they’re with you? Watch Netfilx all day and don’t eat anything other than animal crackers because “that’s what they said they wanted”.

    Like

    • You are speaking my language, Arielle! So, so true. I realize this is all about communication. Eveyrone needs to be a teensy bit more empathetic. But seriously: ain’t nothin’ harder than being stuck at home. Yes, it’s often our choice and we wouldn’t have it any other way. But seriously…don’t comment on the state of the house. Just take 6 minutes to help put away the puzzle pieces. Is that so much to ask? You needn’t comment, oh, “grown-ass man!” Loved your style, here. Thanks for writing and giving a laugh right back to me.
      seriously: “that’s what they said they wanted.” Smart. #takingdirectionfromtoddlers #whostheboss?

      Like

  7. tbond says

    Love the photo (I sat on that rock when The Gates were in the park . . .). And sorry, but I did 18 years with no partner coming home. Think about that. Miss you!

    Like

    • I’ll write, soon, about how grateful I am not to be alone on this journey. Still…for better or worse, you were a working mom and had an outlet. Imagine being trapped for hours playing mind-numbing Thomas the Train and then being told the apt is a wreck. I’ll show you a wreck! 🙂 But i get it. Believe me, I get it. Thanks for writing, Dr. Bond. Miss you, too. xoxo

      Like

  8. Jamie says

    Amazing! I love & hate in the best way possible.
    1 add, ” why can’t the kids just stay up an extra hour”
    Omg NO!!!!

    Like

    • AB-SO-LUTE-LEE-NOT! An extra hour? Do you realize how that will screw up my morning and my naptime and the entire day? The Fresh Prince was right: parents just don’t understand. Thanks for contributing, Jamie.

      Like

  9. Excellent-all great and so true points. First time reader and commenter. May I take a crawl thru your archives while I hold a two-and-a-half year old love bucket on my lap and dodge his sticky fingers ?~! Cute writing, adorable kids. I love the sunglasses in another picture you shared of your gorgeous family.

    Like

    • Please, please scroll through and meet the fam and my complaints of my little angels (who bring me so much joy and so much material to complain…er…write about.) Thanks for reaching out!

      Like

  10. Marlene says

    I totally empathize with what you are going through! Been there, done that!

    Know that when they get about 5 or 6, I guess, you’ll be able to take them to movies as a family. It will be a good time and not fit into the category of “babysitting” or “taking care of the kids.” It’ll will be relaxing and pure fun.

    And at about 8 years old, they’ll be able to do their own laundry, and you’ll be able to assign them household cleaning chores, etc. It’s really good training for them and will make them better partners to their spouses.

    Once, when I was asked to name the three life accomplishments of which I was most proud,
    raising my kids was definitely on the list. You will never regret having been a caregiver. You will be in their hearts, minds, and spirits forever.

    **** BLESSED ARE THEY WHO GIVE LOVE IN THE MIDST OF THE MUNDANE. ****

    P.S. And, despite the difficulty of these early years, you may find that they were never as cute, darling, cuddly, and lovable as when they were babies and toddlers.

    Like

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