Understanding the Sacrifices of the Stay at Home Parent

Currently in the world right now we are seeing a Renaissance of understanding in the form of empathy, compassion and appreciation for our fellow human beings. To add to this I would like to talk about the comments I’m seeing from parents on social media. I have seen some parents wholeheartedly stepping up while staying home with their children and becoming active and responsible homeschoolers and caretakers of their family members, which I feel needs to be applauded. Then I’ve seen an entire group of parents expressing their frustrations because they are now being forced to interact with their children on a constant basis when they were used to daycare or the school system raising their children for them. I would like to express my view point, which is that this new sense of normal has caused some parents to become diamonds under pressure and has also caused others to become underachieving complainers.

I have been a stay at home mother for over 10 years now and like me other long term stay at home parents who either home school or not are not experiencing such a drastic changes in our lives, which others are calling a new sense of normal. After all long term stay at home parents have been on the front lines and in the trenches of homemaking and parenting for so long that some of us feel justified with sternly looking at those complaining about having to do it now and saying to them, “See being a stay at home parent is actually a “real job” and it is extremely hard and mentally demanding work, which should have never been taken for granted.” Being a stay at home parent has notoriously been a thankless job with grueling long hours that requires the upmost commitment from the stay at home parent. Also, I think it’s important to comprehend and maintain a sense of realistic perspective during this time and understanding that some stay at home parents have been doing it willingly for years to decades, and that maybe the short period of time you’re being asked to do this does not have to be looked at as some overdramatized death sentence to your work and or social life.

Historically the stay at home parent was called a stay at home mom, because this role was once primarily filled by women and in recent years the role is also being filled by men. After all in the past our mothers, grandmothers and great grandmothers didn’t always have easy access to childcare or before and after school programs, so they could work outside of their homes. These tough mothers of the past were what I lovingly call “hard-core” because a lot of them lived without legal access to birth control, so their families could be in the double digits in number. Truth is I can’t even begin to understand what it would be like to be my partners grandmother on his father side, which gave birth to 20 living children on a farm, or even his grandmother on his mother side that gave birth to 10 living children on a farm.

The point is that whether we realize or not we live a very privileged existence when it comes to being parents in this day and age. We have so many things accessible to us that our grandparents and great grandparents did not have such as modern appliances that make doing house chores easier and faster, access to healthcare and vaccinations to treat or prevent disease and governmental food assistance programs to prevent starvation. At least in the United States a majority of low income or disabled parents have access to assistance programs that help with medical insurance, food, utility assistance and rent assistance. Other places in the world have nothing to offer parents or choose to give nothing to assist struggling parents. Only in our country would we have people griping because they have to spend so much time with their children or their spouse and in other countries less fortunate this is their idea of a truly happy dream while we treat it like it’s a nightmare.

Don’t get me wrong I do understand how much work it is being a parent and how tiresome and frustrating it can be, but before we go down the road of griping take a moment and embrace the idea of being grateful. Also since the world seems to be in the mood to notice and thank all the people out there working jobs that keep our communities going then we should also thank stay at home parents and start seeing what they’re doing as one of the hardest jobs on earth. After all I do believe in the ideas that the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world and that one of the most important jobs that we can do as a human being is to be a good parent. It is after all a major responsibility to recognize and accept that as a parent our every action and word is imprinted on our children and will directly effect who they will become and what kind of path they will walk upon this earth.

So, maybe during this struggle that we are all facing together it is time that we should look around at those nearest and dearest to us and take real stock of who we are as people and parents and how we interact with our families and others. Unfortunately it seems to me that it took a pandemic to really bring families members back into real close contact with each other again. Hopefully in the future once we all get past this we should think about this fact, and maybe choose to make the positive parenting choices we are making now more permanent in order to not undo all the progress we gained in our parenting skills during this time.

Until next time…


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