On Being a “Stay at Home Family”: The “This Sucks” Edition

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This post is a continuation of our “Stay at Home Family” weekly series. You can find more posts from the series here

Being a “Stay at Home Family” might have perks, but there sure are moments when it flat out is no fun. Here are the times when we start second guessing our situation and consider putting the kids in daycare.

Appointments

We’ve been trying to schedule our dentist appointments about an hour apart. You see, one parent has to sit in the lobby with the kids while the other parent goes to the chair for dental work. This means Becky has to flex at least two hours of work for the process (too bad they don’t have evening hours, huh?) because really, there’s no other way to manage the kids unless we found a sitter. For a while, my parents scheduled their appointments at the same time, so they’d alternate watching the kids while Greg got his work; however, we somehow got off schedule and are now back to alternating between the two of us. Parents who have their kids in daycare don’t have to worry, they can both go in at once OR they can each schedule an appointment that fits their work schedule. We don’t really have that option.

My money, your money, our money.

One parent working means one paycheck. It’s hard enough to balance a house on one salary, but add in the stress of “you spent our money x ways” and it’s a mess. We haven’t got to the point where we have separate accounts to manage the budget yet, but it’s a possibility. The first priority is meeting budget (paying bills, buying groceries). It’s a pain when Greg has to ask “how much can I spend on gas this week” (and honestly, not at all glorious!) because I am the one that budgets. I am sure he sometimes feels like it’s not his money, but he’s working just as hard as I am to make this work. Balancing wants and needs is always tricky, too. I’ve been guilty of accusing Greg of spending household money on “couponing goodies” yet I ignore the fact I went and bought a new pair of running shoes which cost a lot more. It’s not “my money” or “your money”, but it’s “our money”. Not always easy to see it like that, and there has to be a way to make it work without feeling like we are burdening each other (or dare I say “paying an allowance”). It’s really a no-win situation in any household when it comes to money because unless you are bringing home the same paycheck, someone always “has the upper hand” and that’s just no fun.

Vacations

Recently when we went on vacation, Greg still “had to” do his duties like changing diapers. There really is no vacation for a stay at home parent because they are always “on the job”. To make this fair, Greg goes on an annual “mancation”, but he sure doesn’t get out often enough.

Friendships

Adult friendships are always hard to come by. Being a working woman, Becky has the advantage here because when you work with people, you have adult interaction and can build friendships. Most of our friends are people met at work or knew before moving to SC. Greg is with the kids all day and he’s built relationships with neighbors, but by no means friendships. We aren’t part of any play groups or classes for him to reach out to other SAHF, especially SAHDs, so opportunities are further limited.

Responsibilities (Housework vs Kids, priority?)

It’s not easy to keep a house clean, but I’d say parents whose families spend the majority of their day outside the home have it a bit easier. With two ‘lil ones roaming all over the house 24 hours a day, things just get messy. Greg often has to set housework (laundry, dishes, updates, pool) aside because the kids simply need the attention. Balancing things like mowing the lawn and dealing with making sure the kids are occupied are not always fun (or easy).

Also, I feel like a lot of the “responsibility” falls to Greg. If dishes aren’t done and I come home needing to pack my lunch, I easily get frustrated (“what were you doing all day?” mentality), but find it hard to pick up and do the work myself (it’s “his” to do?!?). Honestly, between being sick while pregnant with Arianna, living with my parents, and having Greg to clean the house, I can’t tell you the last time I’ve vaccummed my own home (shocking, huh?).

Schedules

With no one to “check in with” (minus the days Arianna is at school), Greg’s schedule doesn’t really exist. There are days when sleeping in is just fine, but then there’s the nights of staying up that go along with that. When we try to get things in order, it’s not always easy.

Our Time (vs. Time Alone)

Going along with schedules, it’s tough for Greg and I to get time together. Usually, we’ll stay awake together until the 11:00 news, then I crash in bed. He kisses me goodnight, then he goes down stairs to watch “adult tv” (Have you ever watched endless episodes of Dora? Then you understand the need to catch up with “The Office” after hours.) This isn’t the  easiest thing to deal with in a marriage, but we seem to make it work, with me compromising by staying up super late on weekends.

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What do you think about the disadvantages of being a family like ours? Next week we’ll talk about the pros of being a “Stay at Home Family”. In the meantime, enjoy this picture (an outtake) from our recent session with our parents.

Photo courtesy of April Skipper Photography

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