Being a stay at home dad, in this house anyway, has its challenges.
When my wife and I decided to have children it was discussed that I would stay home with the children. I have a web development home office so it just made sense. We weren’t the cleanest people in the world but it didn’t take long to tidy up the place either if we were expecting company.
That was 5 years ago. Add another child with one one on the way, a string of animals, toys and a house built in the 20’s that is slowly falling apart and my life is in utter chaos.
Between the dishes, toys, clothes all over the floor and for some reason actual garbage scattered around the house from the puppy or children it’s a wonder I’m as sane as I am.
Each morning I have to do what all parents do. Feed the kids and animals, get the girls dressed and get Regan on the school bus on time. I have a daily cleaning schedule that never gets completed because of (mostly welcome) interruptions from my children. I also have my husband projects. Anything mechanical, electrical, technical or something that requires a little more muscle is my job as well. On top of that, I have a business to run in my spare time, of which there is none.
I have a mudroom that was ripped apart 2 years ago from a leaking roof and rotting boards that are now sitting idle waiting for me to find the new leak and put up the drywall, install the flooring, paint and attach the trim.
I have plaster patches to repair in the living room and kitchen on the first floor from a burst pipe in our hot water heat system. I also have a garage with a leaking roof that needs to be replaced. A basement full of things we just haven’t gotten rid of yet which I have not the time nor energy to go through.
Upstairs I have to repair more walls and the ceiling in what will become the new nursery from a leaking roof and chimney. I still haven’t painted all the doors or replaced the carpet in the hallway and nursery.
In the summer, on top of all that I do every day and the things left to be done, the yard work is also my job. We don’t have a large yard but seeding and cutting the grass, staining the giant deck, keeping the pool clean, picking up the dog crap or any number of small to large things that need to be painted, repaired, altered, or removed falls into my lap.
It may seem like I’m complaining and to a degree I am. The ladies in this house don’t pick up after themselves despite my efforts to sway them. The children can have days that are just crying and temper tantrums from morning till night and I still have to try to get some of the things on my list done to make myself feel like a worthwhile addition to the family. There are times, many times when if I have to use the bathroom or not I will lock the door and just sit in muted silence for a few minutes before my heart explodes from stress.
My wife is a very hard worker. She has put herself through medical school and is now a labor and delivery nurse at Aurora Hospital working 12 hour days. She’s tired when she gets home but still finds the time to be attentive to me and our children. All while working on her Master’s degree and pregnant with our third and final child.
There are times, not all the time mind you, when she comes home and it looks like I did nothing that day, even though I probably picked up the living room several times, did dishes at least once, played referee, picked toilet paper out of the toilet with my hand to keep in from overflowing or any number of fun. hilarious or disgusting things. By the time she gets home from a tiring day my stress level is just starting to drop. I might be playing a video game or reading a book while having a drink surrounded by chaos from the day of fun. As she walks in the door she looks around the room, and then at me and says with her head cocked to the side with that tone that just makes my blood boil, “Did you do anything today?”
Ladies with stay at home dads. We know you’ve had a hard day. We know being away from your family isn’t fun. We know it may seem the home you can’t wait to get to may look the same or worse than when you left. But please realize that we do not goof off all day.