What do you think when I say “working” parent? Do you think of the one who leaves the house and goes off and receives a paycheck? Well, I’m gonna tell you a little bit about what it means to be a true “working” parent.
My morning starts out around 7:30am. I don’t get to sleep in and leisurely get up when I feel like it. No. I get up because I have a child in my face demanding chocolate milk. If I’m lucky, I’ll only have one little boy to entertain until 8:30 or so. But a lot of days, all three boys are up early and right off the bat I know that the day will be full of yelling and tears.
It doesn’t take long for the boys to start running through the house fighting with each other. Then the little boys demand cereal. Anthony likes to cook, so he usually heads into the kitchen and will turn on the stove (or yesterday it was the oven for some reason). He busts out the eggs. Several usually end up on the floor. At this point I have to stop whatever else I might have wanted to do (I really needed that coffee) so that I can help him so he doesn’t burn the house down. While I’m dealing with that, the other two will be throwing cereal on the ground or blowing bubbles in their milk. Each one of them demanding something different, and all at the same time.
We’ve only just begun.
A thousand times throughout the day there will be fights to break up, time outs to enforce, and butts to wipe. Arguments over super hero names and what games to play. Somehow I manage to get some home schooling into the mix…when we’re lucky.
“Mommy, help me!”
“Mommy, I need my butt wiped!”
“Mommy! Mommmmmyyyyy!!!!! MOOMMMMMYYYYY!!! I can’t reach the toilet paper.”
“Mommy, I don’t like that food!”
“Mommy, I only like macaroni and cheese!”
“Mommy, isn’t it cool how all this clay smeared so neatly all over the table?”
“Mommy, see the gazilion lego’s that I had so much fun pouring onto the floor?”
“Mommy, he hit me!”
“Mommy, he said ‘butt ass, again!”
Oh, and the arguing! And I don’t mean between the boys. This is an extremely strong willed six year old testing me every single moment of every single day. It’s exhausting and mentally draining.
I still only want that cup of coffee.
Sometimes, we get out of the house. But not often. We only have one working car. So when my husband leaves at 12:30 to go to work we are stranded and cooped up at home. Lucky for us, my mom invites us out and about. But getting out of the house does not equal a fun and relaxing time.
At the mall:
“Anthony, don’t touch that!”
“Nathan get your butt over here and stop hiding!”
“You have to go to the bathroom, again?” (Taking 3 little boys to the bathroom once is exhausting, let alone a hundred times).
“Get back over here!”
“Gabriel, Hold my hand”
“Don’t touch your brother!”
It seems everyone in the mall knows my childrens’ names.
At a restaurant:
“Eat your lunch” (a thousand times)
“Stop fighting over crayons”
“It’s ok, somebody has to lose the tic tac toe game”
“You have to go to the bathroom, again?”
“Don’t throw that!”
“Get up from under the table”
“You have to go to the bathroom, again??!”
Going out and having “fun” is usually a lot more exhausting than just staying home!
Then, the “working” parent leaves this chaos and goes to a building full of adults. Adult conversation. No butts to wipe. The adults at your work aren’t usually fighting over super hero names or what game to play. Sure, it’s “work.” I give you that. But I’m sorry, it’s not the same. I have had a “real” job. One that I got paid to hang out with grown ups all day. I miss that. This is not that.
So excuse me if I am a little bit pissed at you when you get 3 hours of childless quiet time at home and you don’t do a damn thing but play video games. Then you go off to your job, come home, stay up late (more quiet non-child time) and sleep in late in the mornings. That just seems like a splendid vacation to me!
Sure, you can say that mom’s “don’t work,” but we’ll say you are full of shit. And we deserve a break from refereeing fights, wiping asses and being a glorified maid to the family. Mom’s need a break so that they don’t lose their mind, which I’m pretty sure mine is half way gone already.