I guess today I’ve got a little ode to or a little shoutout to stay-at-home parents. I am not one myself but I know that being one has got to be incredibly tough.
I once found myself a part-time stay at home dad when we were still living in Vancouver, Washington and I worked full-time, four days a week, and Kayleigh worked full-time, three days a week. So I spent three full days with Emmy, from like 7am to 9pm, just the two of us, kickin’ it. Keep in mind, Kayleigh was doing it four days, from 9am to 10pm or later. This is all after she already had to (as if she minded) stay at home for something like seven weeks after Emmy was born for her maternity leave, which was unpaid, by the way.
I’ve got to say, in the months that I did the whole all-day parenting thing—it was hard, like, it whooped my ass. I’m surprised we both even made it back then, like, we’re both here and in one piece and I think that’s impressive. But I did have really hard days being with Emmy all by myself, and I mean ALL by myself. We lived in the PNW all alone, with no family near or anything. Okay, so Kayleigh’s cousin Tiffany lived in downtown Portland but she’s a doctor and we rarely saw her so that doesn’t count. And yes, she did have a great aunt and uncle that lived at the coast 2.5 hours away, but hey, they lived on the coast, 2.5 hours away…
The days were long. The days were hard. Doing everything for a tiny baby, all by yourself, for hours upon hours on end is really difficult. I loved it too. I truly did enjoy spending all that time with my baby; I mean, not a ton of dads get the privilege that I got and not many get to spend as much time with their newborns as I did, so I’m not complaining. I’m just saying that being a stay-at-home parent is a tough job and I fully believe that it is equal to a job outside of the house! Why is this job not paid?
Kayleigh is a stay-at-home mom right now and I don’t know how she does it. She gets up early with Emmy while I get ready for work, she feeds Emmy all of her meals, every day, and has to come up with said meals, she changes her, takes her out of the house, makes sure she doesn’t die, bathes her, and does everything else she needs throughout a typical day. It sounds exhausting! If the roles were reversed, I would have already thrown in the towel and figured out a way to make daycare work or something, but Kayleigh has stayed at home and taken care of business and I admire the hell out of her for it. Thinking about doing what she does every day and imagining myself doing it fills me with fear because I know I couldn’t do it as well; I couldn’t keep up!
I’m super proud of what Kayleigh does for our baby and I know that I’d probably keel over and die if I had to do what she does day in and day out. I used to think I’d want to be a stay-at-home dad but I know that I couldn’t handle it. That’s too much pressure for me—kids are super hard work! I am not the type of person who could do that as my life and not go crazy. I wish I could live for Emmy the way Kayleigh lives for Emmy. I know she wants more than just what she’s doing and that the stay-at-home life isn’t for her forever, but she really does live for Emmy.
When you talk to Kayleigh about our daughter, one thing becomes clear pretty quickly: Emerson is her life and she would do anything for our little girl. Emerson is the love of my life, and I, too would do anything for her, and I will love her ’til the end of time… but I’m no Kayleigh. I do live for Emmy but I live for Kayleigh too and I live for myself and who knows who else. Kayleigh lives for Emmy and she lives for Emerson’s brother, Tuffy, and that’s really about all. It’s not as though she’s lost herself, but she’s found herself in becoming a mom. She has become selfless so effortlessly and it’s beautiful and so fun to watch.
I think being a stay-at-home parent requires a certain type of person, a selfless person, who can give up everything in their lives for their children. You guys are tough, strong, and a little crazy, but that’s okay. I guess I just wanted to say that I see you stay-at-home parents—I know what you’re going through. And I know that you guys are some of the bravest MF-ers on the planet.
I couldn’t do what you do, so keep rockin’ on as the real MVP’s… because you guys really are.
I’ll see ya on Wednesday.