January 27, 2014 by Alicia
It seems there have been a lot of posts out in “blog land” lately commending the sacrificial, noble, and selfless efforts of stay-at-home-moms. Don’t get me wrong – I think those posts (generally) rock. And I do think our society has a skewed perspective on what being a SAHM really means. However, while the spotlight has shone so brightly on these exhausted, under paid (ha), and well-deserving mamas, I think it has left some really great dads in a dark corner.
Being a SAHM is everything those posts say that it is. But one tiny little forgotten detail is that those women (myself included) can stay at home because we have one awesome husband in the workforce who is paying the bills. I don’t think these posts meant to do this at all, it just wasn’t the reason for the writing. This post is.
This post is to salute you, working dad, who works all day in and out of the home. Let’s start with outside the home. You had to get up this morning, with the weight of your family’s well-being on your shoulders, and go to work. You likely had to work all day knowing that everything you did or didn’t do would make your boss either pleased or angry, and therefore determine whether or not you had a job to go to the next day. You worked all day knowing that your very job puts food on the table that night for dinner, turns the heat on, and puts gas in the car for you to get home at all. Your job is providing a place for your family to live, giving your family security, putting hope in a retirement future, and setting up aid for college or weddings. Your job pays for the diapers for your baby, the wooden puzzles for your toddler, the lego set for your preschooler, the backpack for your grade schooler, the car (if you’re generous) for your teenager, and your wife’s new vacuum (because what else excites us as much as that?). The SAHM may be the one who buys these things, cleans these things, or finds them when they’re lost. But make no mistake, it starts with you getting up in the morning and putting your family first.
It doesn’t really matter what you do for a living, working dad. The point is that you work so your wife can stay at home and be the primary caregiver for your children. My husband and I have chosen, either intentionally or not, to not decide who has the harder job between us. Our jobs are both very demanding, just demanding in very different ways. I hope I speak for all SAHMs when I say, THANK YOU! YOU ROCK! I COULDN’T DO THIS WITHOUT YOU!
Now for your other job, ya know, the one where you lead a family. No big deal, right? Depending on your particular profession, there’s a high probability that when you get home you are either mentally or physically drained – both if you’re lucky :-P. Either way, the last thing you want to do is cook dinner or deal with a defiant toddler. No one understands this better than your wife. But we SAHMs appreciate you working dads who come in the door, thrilled to be home, despite the spilled cheerios and crying child.
We appreciate you dads who finish working at your full-time job, only to jump in with both feet at your “part-time” job (as if parenting has off-the-clock hours). The agreement in our house is that I do the majority of the cooking, cleaning, and laundry. This does not mean my husband doesn’t help. He cooks dinner at least once a week, changes diapers, bathes the toddler, and helps do dishes. As if that’s not enough, he makes time for tickle fights, ring-around-the-rosie, reading bedtime stories, and so much more. This is what I’m talking about. Being a SAHM is a 24-7 job. So is being a dad in the workforce who is also involved at home. And these dads deserve appreciation. Being the financial provider can be stressful enough, but being the spiritual leader of your house, emotional support for your wife, and trying to successfully parent your children – WHEW- that is some serious work.
We salute you, working dads, who know what it means to raise a family. The dads who not only know the importance of a paycheck but know the importance of their presence. The dads who, without, SAHMs could not do what they do. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
*Friendly reminder: try not to compare yours and your spouse’s job to decide who really has harder days. It’s not a competition. You’re a family. You each play a major role in the way you have chosen to structure your family’s life. Each of you need the other. Don’t compete, just appreciate. And pick up the slack when your partner is at the end of their rope, chances are you will need them to do the same tomorrow – or in 10 minutes.