A Day in the Life of a Stay at Home Mumby Amie MacKay
“Aww you’re so lucky that you get to stay at home all day and don’t have to worry about going to work, I’d love to be able to do that”
Just one of the many statements I hear often. Now don’t get me wrong, I know how lucky I am. I know that. Trust me I do and on the whole, I’m incredibly grateful. I know how many parents would love to be in my position and be able to stay at home with the kids but the reality of it is if I’m honest is, it’s not all fun and games. It can be hard, so tiring and an incredibly lonely place.
Tiring? What’s she talking about? She doesn’t have to work as well as be mum, she just gets to stay at home all day and do nothing. What’s she moaning for? Lonely? How the hell can she be lonely she’s with her child all day?!
Do you know what I say to those statements? HAHAHAHA!
Well here’s the thing my fellow ladies and gents I’m here to clear up this whole being a stay at home mum is an easy job malarky because it sure as hell isn’t! It’s by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my entire life!.
Now, in the beginning, the early days when we were in the baby stage, well that was an absolute dream! Little Miss H was a great baby, we were incredibly lucky with how good she was, so I adored it all, even the sleepless nights, and because I was at home with her I was lucky enough to see every single one of her firsts, her first smile, laugh, the first time she rolled over, crawled, her first word ( which was Mum…Obvs) her first steps the lot and that’s what I mean by knowing that I am lucky.
The fun and games started once she was on the move because you can’t actually take your eye off of them, you need eyes on the back of your head. I mean they move with so much speed it’s ridiculous. Having a baby attached to you is draining, not as much physically but more mentally, try doing any household duties with a one-year-old attached to you. You can’t do anything alone, eat, shower or even go for a pee. The joys of motherhood! So even attempting to put a wash on or run the hoover round the house is out of the question. You’re essentially trapped for the day. Now, most people would be like, that’s fine you can do the washing and tidying up when they nap! Nap?! What the hell is a nap?! Little Miss H, didn’t nap! Not ever! However, she was occasionally partial and sometimes still is partial to a danger nap! You know the naps I’m talking about. Those are the worst kind of naps. The naps you know have completely screwed up the rest of your day and that bedtime routine? well you may as well forget about that right now!
I mean you’d think it would get easier as they grow up but the year after they turn one, we enter into terrible twos. The year of tantrums, now you listen to a toddler scream for the best part of half an hour a hundred times a day and you tell me that you’re living your best life! I swear the reason alcohol was created was because they knew parents wouldn’t be able to get through the second year of their child’s life without it. I’m pretty damn sure I’m right about that.
Then, then we go into the third year, the year of the Threenager. A toddler with attitude. Not even joking about that, I literally spend my days arguing with a smaller version of myself, now this may sound like fun but it’s really not. Believe me.
I’ll tell you what makes it worse when you’re having one of those days, you know the ones that you’ve already started clock watching and it’s not even 10am yet, when your darling husband gives you a call on his morning break, to ask how your morning has gone so far, and I’m always racked with jealousy as he’s enjoying a hot coffee and I’ve still not gotten round to drink my now cold coffee that’s been sat there for the best part of two hours. Now, my hubby, he gets three… That’s right THREE breaks. One of those breaks is an hour long. A whole hour! Not only is that an hour of sitting down in peace and quiet that’s also three hot drinks and some food in peace. PEACE! Now, this is what we stay at home parents miss, it’s not necessarily about us wanting to be away from our child(ren) well for me it’s not always about that. It’s being able to have a hot drink, a full meal and a conversation with an adult, a pee alone or being able to just sit down for five minutes in peace with no interruptions. That is what I miss, I miss working, I miss being known as Amie and not Heidi’s mummy or Duncan’s wife. I miss having a purpose. When you become a parent you kind of lose a bit of who you were and that can be a little bit scary. Life changes and you change with it. Would we even be human if we didn’t have a little moan about it along the way?!
This is what I mean by it being lonely and it can be difficult for those who don’t stay at home to understand where we are coming from because they think we’re living the best life. Now don’t get me wrong not every day is a bad day but just like those who go out to work, who also have bad days and come home annoyed and stressed, they get to vent to their partner about how awful their day has been and then have a good few hours break to destress and relax before they go back into work the next day. When you stay at home all day, you’re also there all night and all the next day and so forth. There is no break, there’s no escape from that employee who made your day hell because you live with that person, that tiny person who is half you. It’s hard and it’s frustrating and so very tiring.
I feel as though I spend all day every day, making sure my house stays tidy, the washing is done, meals are made, Little Miss H is entertained all day and those days that all those things haven’t been achieved, I feel like a failure. Feel as though I’ve failed as a mum as well as a wife because when your partner comes in from work and there are dishes in the sink, toys all over the floor, it looks as though you have spent the day sitting on your arse doing nothing. When in reality that’s not been the case at all. You ask anyone you know that stays at home and I can guarantee they tell you that they’re exhausted.
If you had asked me ten years ago what I’d be doing with my life I can assure you the answer wouldn’t have been “I’ll be spending my days as a housewife not earning money whilst constantly hearing how hard my husband works to look after me” Funnily enough as shocking as it may seem but I happen to know how hard he works, as I’m the one running the house and keeping our child alive whilst he’s doing so.
A good few months back my hubby had to take the day off as my fibromyalgia was so bad I couldn’t get out of bed. He spent the day being daddy and he spent the entire day coming in to ask questions of what he should do with her now and why was she crying etc and that night he said to me that he had a newfound respect for me because he was exhausted and his day at work was so much easier than being at home and on the go all day. FINALLY! He got it, he understood why I was so tired at the end of every day.
Something that really grinds me down is that I’m constantly asked how my hubby is and how tired he must be because surely he works so hard to LET me stay at home. Now, this pisses me off for a few reasons;
1: My husband does work hard, he always has done. I appreciate so much how hard he works for us. He loves his job and likes the fact that he’s the earner of the house. He openly admits that.
2: Before his job change he was tired and grumpy ALL THE TIME but since his new job he’s nowhere near as bad, the thing is though, yes he might work five days a week and be out working all day but do you know what? He also sleeps ALL NIGHT LONG. So the next day he’s refreshed and ready for work. Now I don’t sleep, well not very well so when Little Miss H wakes during the night, I get up to her because he’s working the next day. If Little Miss H has decided she’s going to fight sleep until after 11pm, Daddy goes off to bed, as he’s working the next day. Guess what Mummy’s doing? Mummy’s day may have started at 6.30 am but it looks like she won’t be finishing until after midnight.
3. Yes, he works really hard but you know what? Every Friday he gets a decent paycheck to thank him for that hard work.
And last but not least!
4: He doesn’t let me stay at home! I had to give up work over a year before Heidi was even born due to my illnesses. We didn’t sit down one day and he give me permission to be a stay at home mum. I didn’t give up my career because of my daughter or because my husband allowed it, I had to because of illness. My fibromyalgia prevents me going and getting a “normal job”.
I do know though that some parents do give up their careers to be stay at home parents and that’s hard. Imagine working so hard to build a career and swapping it for being at home all day, with a child who can be hard work, mountains of washing and a tonne of housework and at the end of the week, there’s no thank you for all your hard work, no paycheck into your account, no weekend off, if you’re lucky you get to award yourself with a glass of wine because it’s been one of those weeks. Let’s be honest though, we’ve awarded ourselves with a glass nearly every night this week cause it’s been a hard one.
It’s hard. It’s tiring. It’s lonely. So if your partner needs to vent about how hard the day has been or how much a little shit your child has been that day, let them vent, that child is half of you after all. We might not be bringing in money but…. now I can’t speak for everyone on this but I work hard every day on making our house a home and making sure I’m being the best mum that I can be. Now I know I’ve sat and moaned here but I just want people to know it’s not always easy and we have hard days too. Some people are stay at home parents because they can’t go out to work, for whatever reason. So quit asking when they’re going to go back out to work because on the contrary to what you may believe they’re working pretty damn hard, they just don’t leave the house and get paid for what they do. I think that there’s too much competition between those who work and those who stay at home. I take my hat off to those who do both but at the end of the day are we not all doing what’s best for our families? I think we are!
On a happier note, it has been incredible watching my baby girl grow into an independent beautiful little girl and for that, I’ll be forever grateful. Now go and tell your partner how wonderful they are and how grateful you are for all that they do for your family. Believe me, they’ll be needing to hear it.