My original acrylic painting "1950 Housewife Cat"

The Housewife who can "Do It All" unfortunately doesn't exist.

I’m awake at 12:40AM. I’ve been awake for 21 hours now. Jake is still awake as well, and I’m feeding him on my lap as I type one-handed, with two fingers.  The room is dark, and every so often my hand strays off track on the keyboard and my words start to look juhe yhis… so I slowly back-space over them and begin again.

We’ve had a trying day. This blasted blizzard destined to engulf us has caused tension and stress to build in our community – just listen to some of the angry comments made by frazzled customers wanting their milk and eggs (to the frazzled associate who can’t stock the shelves fast enough to meet demand).
It makes me want to call a Time Out on everyone, reminding people to show some respect and understanding for one another.

The commandment to “love thy neighbor as thyself” is especially appropriate for this Valentine Season. I do wish, however, that a synonym of “love” would be “acceptance”… for when we truly love someone, we accept them as they are.
“Appreciation” is listed, though, and that is another excellent mode of feeling that tends to get taken for granted.

This Valentine’s Day, I join the thousands of stay-at-home parents who simply want to be appreciated for our contributions.  Forget the chocolate and flowers.
We may not commute to our jobs every morning, and receive a monetary paycheck to show for our efforts… but we still have a demanding workload which unfortunately doesn’t end at 5:00PM.

I can safely assume that quite a few eyes are rolling.  I once worked a full-time job outside the home, and listened to my co-workers’ tales of stay-at-home spouses who “sat around watching trash TV, eating cereal in their pajamas at 3:00PM” and who apparently never did a lick of housework.  Of course, I believed the stories… and I thought, “Wow, it must be nice to stay home and have all your needs provided for. Relaxing, yet incredibly boring.” 

When we made the decision last spring for me to stay home, I was under the impression my days would be filled with hours of creative freedom while the kids played peacefully or watched cartoons. hehe
I seriously did not understand the responsibilities of stay-at-home parents and how stressful their days actually are.   Once I accepted the position, I became solely in charge of all laundry, dish-washing, child-sitting, litter-box cleaning, vacuuming, mealtimes, you name it.  When the kids are up all night with fevers or bad dreams, I stay up with them… and sure, he would have helped… if he hadn’t slept soundly through their tearful sobs.  
And why should I wake a grouchy ogre, who will only complain about needing “a good night’s sleep” because he “has to work in the morning”?  Apparently we stay-at-home parents should be able to function fully on 2 hours of un-interrupted sleep.  Cause, you know, we don’t work… we sit around watching Spongebob and soaps.

When they destroy their room, I clean it  up… over and over again.  I rebuild the couch each time it’s torn apart to make mountains for climbing.  I put screaming children to sleep at nap-time,
referee their fights, discipline them, and read them stories.
There is bath-time, diaper changes, taking out the garbage, sweeping the floor, making beds, folding clothes, re-folding clothes after the kids dug everything out of their dresser…. the time I get to spend online is due to my being trapped in the living room, unable to walk away until I trust they won’t strangle each other, climb the bookshelves, or throw objects at the flat-screen TV (which I’ve been told to guard with my body, and life, if necessary).

When Dearest walks in the door, and plops on the couch to watch TV and relax… chores are still looming, kids are still hungry, he adds his favorite pants to the growing laundry pile and expects them to be immediately washed.
When do I get to relax?  I don’t… unless I mutiny and refuse to do it anymore.  I tried that once.  I took “a day off work”, and Nobody volunteered to take my place. Imagine that. 😉
  I called in sick, and the laundry sat there. And the dishes piled up… and the kids smeared chocolate ice-cream all over themselves.  When my fever subsided and I ventured out to inspect the situation, it was utter chaos… waiting for me to resume my duties.

I’m not complaining to gain sympathy, and I have no regrets in my decision to become my family’s caretaker.  Without overtime pay, holidays and weekends off, and sick leave.  A little appreciation would be nice, though. And some acceptance… 
    I’m not going to be on top of my game every day, and that’s okay.  We need to practice patience and understanding with everyone around us. 
If your store runs out of bread, thank the associate for their hard work and then grab some flour and yeast to bake your own.  If your favorite pants don’t get washed for a couple days, or God forbid, you don’t have a clean shirt to wear… Take the initiative and throw a load into the washer.
Let’s show some love, and I guarantee that the thanks you receive will be sincere and you will be appreciated in return.

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