I really do ask him to clean for me
Can you guess his response?
Why do I ask him to clean?
He busted his ass all day working, and I was home- Why isn't the vacuuming done already?
BECAUSE BEING HOME IS FUCKING HARD!
(Not just because I have 7 kids- I dont care how many kids you have- 1 or 11, its hard. Exhausting- hair pulling- cursing -hard.)
I know that my husband works hard, and I know he deserves to relax. But sometimes he fails to see the difficulty in staying home with our kids. He's not here like I am, how could he?
So I TRY not to hold it against him when he says things like:
"Isn't that your job if you were here all day?"
"Make the kids do the dishes I worked all day."
"This isn't how I want to spend my time off."
I get it. And that sounds either legit, or like an asshole. It depends who you are.
It took time for me to accept those words (and I dont mean I just let them go and do all the work)
But I try not to hate on his attitude.
I get it. He works with his body, his muscles are sore, and he was outside half the day building a house. I get it.
But he has no gauge on what home life looks like with kids- being here on weekends and nights isnt the same as feeding, changing, watering, cleaning up after, and trying to be a loving parent while all this normal childhood is happening-
He doesnt ever seem to see the worst moments, when 4 kids are fighting in the pile of once folded clean clothes, and the other two are throwing popcorn at the event while I'm trying to do 8 people's dishes from one meal- and the dog comes in and knocks over the trash.
(It always comes in groups. Be warned. If the shit hits the fan, EXPECT MORE SHIT)
So he doesnt know what it's like to try and stay calm, hands wet with dishwater, holding back a scream...
(you know fighting kids can't hear you right? and neither can the popcorn throwers- its just too loud)
so you have no choice - but to either shout, or physically stop them, either the brawlers or the popcorn throwers.
Pick which kid, cause if you yell at the wrong one, you have 3 hours worth of "it wasnt my fault" arguing, between you and them, and them and themselves.
(THE PILES OF SHIT JUST KEEP GETTING BIGGER- HOLD ON TIGHT TO YOUR SANITY)
and if you touch the wrong one with the dishwater on your hands, you have 30 MINUTES of "YOUR RUINED MY ONLY FAVORITE SHIRT"
So you make a call, separate them all and send them upstairs to play
And you slink back into the kitchen to finish the dishes.
Until you realize the trash is still spilled and the dog is eating it.
FAST FORWARD TO THE EVENING
My beloved comes home, and is greeting with hugs and "DAADDYYY" from his girls, and "hey dad" from the boys. Everybody is always so happy to see him.
He greets us all, and drops to the couch.
I'm ok with this really. I get it. He's probably exhausted, and I personally dropped to the couch like 30 times today
Then we eat
Im sure I dont have to tell you what kind of chore preparing, feeding, and eating can be with kids
and when it's time to clean up- I usually ask one thing...
"honey can you please help me clean up and get them ready for bed?"
Now I could tell you how it used to go, it wasn't supportive, and it was met with a lot of comments, like I mentioned above.
But let me just say:
It's ok that he felt that way. He isnt here everyday, to fully grasp the dynamics of stay at home parenting. He doesnt experience the difficulties, and I swear the worst only happens when hes away. And he really does work really hard. I get it. He doesnt get it.
Or at least he didnt..
It works better now, and he grumbles up and he helps me, and he encourages the kids to help me.
I believe that both work ethic, and supporting others, is learned through observation. We have to show our kids by living it.
Im not sure why, or what exactly I've said over the years, but its clicking. Sometimes it takes awhile, or sometimes they have to experience it. Im not sure what works for each person, but for us, he just wasn't able to empathize or even witness the reality of being home all day with kids. I felt like he was missing the big picture-
It's very easy to assume being home all day = plenty of time to do everything.
- I dont get time off, the shift doesnt end, there is no clocking out.
- It might not be hard labor, but its hard and includes a lot of manual labor!
- I don't get bathroom time alone, I dont get to eat without sharing or giving up all my food. I don't get the solace in my own self. It doesnt matter if its driving alone, taking his smoke breaks or his lunch, there is solace in being with yourself and your thoughts. It helps you function, and I dont get that. I have to be ON all the time.
- The emotional strain, and mental anguish that comes with fighting kids, babies that wont sleep, and the endless chores, is immeasurable.
- I dont sit all day. I get up 100 times when I do try to sit, and if i sit down, I know im sacrificing precious time to finish the unending.
- This mess you see now, is either because I took them outside, or because I was trying desperately to get the baby to nap, or I was cleaning something else. I am not a machine, and no matter how hard I try (and destroy myself doing it) I cant catch up. There is always a floor to be vacuumed, a load of wash to be done, or a disgusting mess somewhere. One thing at a time, just like building a house.
But the hardest part is the fact that I'm raising little people.
I cant just flip out or quit if I hate my jobs.
I cant expect the kids to be reasonable, or know when Im overwhelmed.
I have to do this right.
These are little people that I am growing and introducing to the world.
We have to show them as partners, that we support each other,
that we dont expect one person to be responsible for everything and everyone's mess,
that even when it's hard and we're annoyed, we do these out of love.
And he gets that. And he tries.
And it makes all the difference in the world
That my busy hardworking husband will come home and vacuum for me.
I have to add, I commend those parents who can do what I cant. I have a lot of kids, but I know parents who really work very hard to maintain in ways I fail. A cleaner house, a more organized routine, You guys rock!
Does your stay at home life look as crazy as mine?