Don’t ever tell a stay-at-parent that their job must be easy. Just don’t. It’s offensive, and no one would ever say it to you. I would never ask what you did with your day, and when you told me you were in construction, or a lawyer or an accountant reply, “Oh, that must be easy!”
Don’t roll your eyes. It has been said to me before. So here is a list of things you should NEVER say to a parent. Maybe you’ll think twice before judging the woman/man who is raising your future boss.
“You must have so much free time!”
Free time? Really? Have you ever seen a child? They never stop moving. They require constant attention; food, entertainment and cleaning. And when they do sleep, I have stuff to do. You know how you get a lunch break at work? I have a “break” when they sleep, but there is a list of household chores just waiting for me. How productive are you when you know you only have 45 minutes of time. Do you choose to eat? Do laundry? Make a phone call?
“That must be so nice.”
You know what, it is nice. I am SO LUCKY that I get to stay home with my children. But when you say it to me, it sounds condescending. It sounds to me like you picture a movie from the 1950s, in which I am clad in an apron and doting on my family. But in reality, I am usually stained by feces, chasing around two young children and a bulldog with bulimia. My hair is always a mess and sometimes I don’t brush my teeth. (Don’t judge me. You know you’ve done it.)
“It must be nice not having a job.”
On some days, it’s great not having to go into an office. But my kids wake up at 6 am, so just to clarify, I am not sleeping in. It is a wonderful thing to get to spend the day with my kids, and be there for all of their preciousness. And really, they are quite precious. But in some ways I miss having a “job.” I miss the socialization. I miss going out to lunch. I miss car rides and radio stations that don’t play only the Moana Sountrack. I miss the mental challenges that come along with adult problem solving.
And honestly, I kind of miss the accolades. I miss someone telling me, “Good job!” Or getting a raise. Because I could really, really, use a raise.
“What do you do all day?”
Come over to my house. Come witness the beauty of children in their element. I have lots of things I do all day; I play Legos for two hours straight. I listen to the Frozen soundtrack on repeat–ALL DAY. I change diapers. Go to the grocery store. Pay bills. Kiss boo-boos. Make up stories. Do laundry. Put aforementioned laundry away. (OK, really it goes in a pile on the floor. But I think about putting it away.)
I am a human Dictionary; defining every object. I am a teacher, constantly explaining why crayons don’t go up noses and why the sky is blue. I am freaking Wonder Woman.
I’m not saying I don’t want to do this— I just want you to realize that when you diminish how I spend my day, by implying that it is somehow easier than your job, it makes me want to kill you. I would never insinuate that your job is not challenging because I don’t pretend to walk in your shoes. (Also because that would just be rude.) I nod and listen to the ins and outs of what you do, and give you credit for doing a job that frankly, I most likely know nothing about.
All I’m saying— all I’m asking for— is for you to stop being an asshat and pay me (and every other stay-at-home parent out there) a little bit of respect.
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