Sometimes I think I take staying home with the kids for granted. I usually think that if I only can get a break from them for at least an hour I will be fine. Some days I don’t get a break and I have to keep trucking along to keep my sanity and my children’s sanity intact. I complain how hard it is to stay at home with the kids (and yes it can be hard although some people may think it’s not). I complain about not getting enough rest. I complain about The Don talking back to me or Bambino won’t take his nap. I complain that I don’t have time for myself. I told my husband that I need to go back to work; at least I can get a break from the kids then.
As I complain about these issues with my husband, all I see in his eyes is disgust. In so many words he tells me without saying it; he thinks I’m being ungrateful. Ungrateful for the opportunity, the privilege that I have in raising the kids at home that many mother’s or father’s don’t have. If it was up to him and if we could afford to, he would be a stay at home dad in a minute. Now I’m thinking that he thinks that staying at home with the kids is much easier than going to work because he thinks I do nothing all day. I tell him, “The grass always looks greener on the other side. You say that now because you haven’t spent all day everyday with the kids so you haven’t witnessed the tantrums, much of the talk backs, crying, boundary pushing, baby not napping, don’t know what to do with the kids days, and on top of that, taking care of the chores of the household.”
His response was, “I’m not saying that isn’t hard. It’s like any job, but the reward of staying home and raising the kids out weight going to a job where you just get a paycheck and the rewards are little to none.”
When he said that, I had to take a step back and see where he is coming from. I had to imagine what his days are like being away from the kids.
Imagine my husband going to a job that he’s not satisfied with. He wakes up six thirty in the morning. Everyone is asleep. After his shower, he comes downstairs hoping at least The Don is awake to greet him in the morning before he goes to work. Nine times out of ten he is up and they have breakfast together. I’m in Bambino’s room until he starts sleeping through the night so neither Bambino or I am up when he is getting ready to go to work. So he leaves without seeing Bambino or his wife. My husband would bring The Don back to his room around eight fifteen to wait until I wake up to get the day started. My husband leaves the house to go catch a train into town to go to work.
My husband’s work day starts at nine am and all he does is work in an office and stare at a computer screen all day. If he’s really busy, he doesn’t eat lunch, which is almost every day. Sometimes during the middle of the day he may get a picture of the boys at the park, or if Bambino is reaching a milestone, or a captured video of the boys playing together, or a picture of The Don doing something naughty. All he get is a glimpse of the day that I’m having whether if I’m having fun or not and wish that he could be there to join in with the family. He get’s off at five or six and comes home exhausted. He gets greeted by The Don welcomes him home at the door and Bambino smiling ear to ear happy to see him. He takes a break to unwind from the work day and around seven thirty he comes downstairs to Bambino’s room to spend time with the boys. The Don usually goes in his room for story time at eight o’clock and my husband puts Bambino down and then my husband says goodnight to The Don as he is getting ready for bed at eight thirty. So my husband maybe spends a total of half an hour to an hour, maybe an hour and a half if he’s luck with the boys on weekdays while I spend all day with them.
My husband sees our boy’s behavior patterns differently than I do. He has an undefined appreciation for boy’s antics that I seem to lack. When the boys are tired and I’m tired, I see whatever behavior they were doing at the time as annoying. When I tell The Don to do something and he doesn’t do it, I see it as testing boundaries and being defiant. My husband doesn’t see a rambunctious preschooler that is testing boundaries or trying to get attention. He sees him as a kid who wants to play. When Bambino’s crying, I see it as he need to take a nap, diaper change or is hungry. He doesn’t see the baby crying as something the matter. He sees Bambino being bored and wants to play. The reason he sees this I believe is not because the reason for their behavior isn’t relevant, it’s that in his mind since he doesn’t see them all day that all he wants to do is play with them.
When I think about how hard it is for my husband to not be around the kids all day, a part of me dies a little with him. He doesn’t get to witness the milestones and the developmental changes that the kids go through. He doesn’t get many chances to experience living through the boys through their eyes. He doesn’t really get to see the boys grow up as I do; only through still images that were captured through a camera lens instead of his own two eyes. It’s the memories you cherish most.
So before I complain about having it hard staying home with the kids, I need to think about how hard it would be if I don’t see them at all. Putting things in perspective through my husband’s eyes, stay at home isn’t that bad after all. When it’s time for me to go back to work, I will cherish the moments and the opportunities of watching my sons growing up. I won’t take any of the moments I spend with them for granted…not anymore.