Quarantine Reveals Stay at Home Parents Have the Hardest Jobs
Who knew even just a month ago that most of the country would be under Stay At Home orders and that a massive amount of the workforce would be leaving the office to work from home.
I’m a guy who thrives on energy. The excitement of going into work, being on a team and feeding off of sharing ideas between driven, creative, lets work kind of people. I think that so many of us could probably say the same.
We all know that one person, right? Or maybe we’ve BEEN that person who thinks that the whole stay-at-home-parent gig can’t be that bad. I mean, come on, your spouse is at home playing with kids all day, how hard could it be? And then the Coronavirus said, “Hold my beer.”
Well, I’m here to tell you and to offer a tribute to all of the stay-at-home Moms and Dads here in the trenches, all day, every day. I dare anyone with that somewhat naive idea of the job to trade places with a stay-at-home parent for ONE day. It’s more of a “throw you in the deep end and hope you don’t drown” scenario.
My wife has been a stay-at-home mom for five years now, to our children. I asked her if she could put the job description into words:
“It’s far from just being at home with your kids all day, which don’t get me wrong, is great. Its a dream. But it’s also wearing every hat at once. You’re now the alarm clock, the chef, the housekeeper, the laundromat, the keep everyone alive-r, the 100 snacks a day maker, the fun inventor, the disciplinarian, the consoler, the teacher, the nurse. Now, you’re in charge of shaping little minds and teaching the hard lessons and doing the right thing even though you constantly question what that is. Now you have little eyes and little hearts watching you 24/7 and you just have to do the best that you can, but you’ll go to bed every single night questioning how you can do it better tomorrow. Now you hold someone else’s life in your hands and it’s up to you to create good, kind, compassionate, accepting, loving people, all while being ever so delicate as to not crush their little spirits or who they are all on their own. Now you’re thinking completely outside of yourself from the second you wake up to the second you go to sleep. But, you won’t sleep. Because you’re a parent. And there’s no paycheck or sick days or time off. Rarely does a five-year-old look you in the eye between meltdowns and express what a great job you’re doing. It’s a selfless, often thankless job. And you’ll wake up tomorrow and put on all of those same hats and start over again. And it will be the most challenging, but the most incredible and rewarding job you’ll ever hold. Every single day is challenging. But every single day I could not be more grateful.”
With so many of us mostly working from home for the next foreseeable weeks, I want to pose a challenge. Really take notice of every single thing around you. Slow down a little and try on any one of these hats. Get on the ground and play with your kids. Make your family a nice meal. Really focus, even just for an hour on building memories with this new way of life for a while. Put your Instagram down for a few minutes, ignore text messages and get lost with your kids for a few minutes. Look into them and not just at them. Make them giggle. Tell them you love them and hug them. I guarantee it means more to them then you might think.
“The most important work you will ever do is within the walls of your own home” -Harold B. Lee
This quote says it best. It’s so true. in a time of so much uncertainty, whether you have a family or not, the most important work we will ever do is at home, with the ones we love and with ourselves. This is the practice I must work hard every single day and times like these are true reminders.
Hats off and major respect to all of the stay-at-home parents in the Treasure Valley! Keep doing the hard work. And if no one told you today, you’re doing a great job!