Everyone always talks about moms and Stay-At-Home-Moms, there are magazines devoted to them and countless articles written but you rarely hear about the dads who make it their job to be the care-givers. Some people might see my life as ideal, a lazy man’s dream, an excuse not to work. Well I am here to dispel the stigma and set the record straight. Being a Stay-At-Home-Dad is HARD WORK!!!
I have a job and it is the definition of full-time. My boss doesn’t listen to reason…most of the time they don’t listen at all. They walk all over me (literally, ask my back), and don’t like to take no for an answer. Here is a taste of what a day in the life of a SAHD is like.
On days when A has preschool, I wake up to help mrsburgher get her ready and out the door and then decide if it is worth it to try to get another hour of sleep before going to pick her up or not. Some days mrsburgher has to go to work early so I wake up E and we take lil miss A to school. Since her preschool only lasts for 2.5 hours, we usually hang out in the area and do some couponing instead of coming home. After picking A up, we go coupon hunting for a bit, then back to the house.
When we get home, the first thing that is demanded is a meal of course, so I take off my chauffeur hat and put on my hair net, cuz lets be for real, I’m no chef. As they eat, I work on cleaning up the kitchen, bathrooms, doing laundry, vacuuming, dusting, or lately, rearranging and reorganizing the guest room/E’s room and coupon goodies. After lunch and A’s numerous “I’m hungry” rants, even though she still has food on her plate, they retire to the toy room to play so I can continue to work on the never-ending project that is our disorganized house. Five minutes later, E is at my feet wanting something, though he still has not found the words to tell me what and A is not far being to rat him out and state the obvious, that he has escaped the toy room. So my work is on hold as we return to the toy room where I sit and watch A draw and throw the ball with E. Once I am sure they are content to play by themselves, I again, go about my chores…only to be interrupted 10 minutes later by A yelling that E is climbing on the table…or she is in the bathroom announcing to the world that she pooped, and the dogs need to go out, or E stinks…it really all goes back to poop. As I am writing this now, I have 4 little eyes peering up at me as A shows me her drawing board “look what I made Daddy” and E pulls at the power cord.
I’d like to take this opportunity to make it clear and say that I LOVE what I do and I can’t imagine my life any other way, nor would I want to. This post is not to make you think otherwise or discourage any would be SAHDs, but to give a glimpse into the inner workings of a still taboo lifestyle and to let it be known that it is in fact a job, one that can be incredibly trying and exhausting, but ultimately more fulfilling than any other I have encountered.
On days that A does not have preschool, it is just longer hours at home and more of the same, a mixture of chores being interrupted by playtime, yelling and of course crying. My only reprieve is nap time, which thankfully run concurrently so as to provide a break for me to do as I please. Much of this time I actually use to complete chores earlier abandoned but sometimes I do just lay on the couch and watch television.
After nap time, we come back down stairs and have a snack while watching “Your Baby Can Read”. A absolutely loves it while E is still unsure but I highly recommend it to new parents! After playing some more in the toy room, it is time for mrsburgher to come home from work so depending on the dish, I put my hair net back on and start dinner. Working in the kitchen is always a challenge because all 4 kids (pups included) know what goes on in there and are constantly at my feet to beg for scraps (We have gates but they have all figured out how to get around them).
Once dinner is prepared and mrsburgher is home we all sit down to enjoy our meals. The kids of course would rather have whatever we are eating and so the crying begins. Mrsburgher and I have several tv shows that we record and watch in the evenings but this is always a challenge since E and A would rather have all of our focus on them. We rarely get through one show in the 2-3 hours between mrsburgher coming home and the kids bedtime. From E screaming because he is getting tired and doesn’t know what he wants anymore to A having to show us everything and ask 20,000 questions to the dogs having to go outside as soon as I sit down from putting our dishes in the sink, it just doesn’t happen. The funny thing is, as soon as we pause the tv, everyone is quiet. Sometimes we get lucky and they will just come up and snuggle with us and be content to just sit but those moments are few and far between .
When it is bedtime, we ask A and E to clean up their toy room, a simple request you would think, especially since A cleans up at school and at Grammy and Pappy’s. Sometimes she listens but 3 is a funny age and she is becoming more defiant lately. After baths, brushing teeth and a bedtime story, they are tucked in for the night and the Mrs and I can relax and enjoy the rest of the evening before going to bed ourselves.
I realize I only really talked about the trials and hardships of my day-to-day but that is not to say there aren’t plenty of positives. The good moments far outweigh the bad and I get to be there for all of it, not many parents get to say that. I have memories of my kids that I will cherish forever and that beats a paycheck any day. You can’t put a price on first steps, first words, a rendition of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” or the nastiest blowout in history. It all falls under the job description “Stay-At-Home-Dad”.