What you need to know:
- I don’t know how you do it. I admire your infinite patience, your ability to face each day cheerfully and bring joy into your children’s lives even when they wear you down.
- I admire your dedication to being a constant presence in your children’s lives even if it is not always easy. I admire the way you work without expecting any reward – no promotions, no fame, no salary.
- I know you want your children to feel important and loved and you do this the best.
Dear stay at home mum,
Many have wondered aloud what it is that you do at home all day. I know what you do, but only because I am a mum and for a while, I did it too.
I know you do unpaid, often thankless work, which starts the moment you wake up, and does not even end when you go to sleep. I know you work weekends and long nights, with no discernible end to your day or working week. I know the rewards are joyous but few.
I know that you seldom have time for a hot cup of coffee or tea. I know that your attention is always divided, often diverted from a moment to moment basis, and you cannot ever count on completing a task at once. I know that you probably never get any down time in your own home, unless you have a single child who takes naps during the day.
I know the challenges you deal with daily, usually with no peer support or backup. The toddler tantrums, the toilet training accidents, the food battles, the spilled porridge on the floor, crayons on the wall, the sibling rivalry, the baby that never seems to stop crying. I know how the work seems incessant, like an endless cycle – you shop for food, prepare it, cook it, feed it to your children, clean it off the floor, wash the dishes, and then repeat all that after three short hours.
I know you fantasise about having an hour to yourself to eat your lunch in peace, or about having an afternoon nap. I know you sometimes wonder if it’s all worth it, and feel envious of your friends who are having coffee breaks at work. I know that sometimes when your partner gets home in the evening after his work is done, he wants to put his feet up exactly when you need a break the most, and this sometimes brings you to tears.
I know that you are misunderstood by so many who do not appreciate the difficulties of caring for small children on your own, all day, and refer to you as joining the “latte set.” They imagine you spend your day sipping coffee while your children play quietly. I know you miss your financial independence. I know you feel amused and sometimes annoyed when others proclaim “TGIF!” because to you every day is the same – there is no Friday, no break from your job. I know that many do not understand that you work – you simply work an unpaid job at home.
I don’t know how you do it. I admire your infinite patience, your ability to face each day cheerfully and bring joy into your children’s lives even when they wear you down. I admire your dedication to being a constant presence in your children’s lives even if it is not always easy. I admire the way you work without expecting any reward – no promotions, no fame, no salary. I know you want your children to feel important and loved and you do this the best.
I just wanted you to know that I understand. We are both mothers. And I know.