Relationships get complicated with kids. I don’t care how hunky dory things may be for a couple, once kids enter the picture nothing will be simple ever again. One of many reasons for this is the difficulty in trying to figure out who handles the child care once the partner working outside the home returns at the end of the day.
Sitcoms have taught me that back in the ’50s the man would return from work expecting a sparkling clean home, a delicious dinner on the table, and for his wife to make sure that his kids didn’t bother him while he tried to unwind after his long day at work. Life back then was totally one-sided and unfair for the stay-at-home parent. Thankfully this way of life has gone the way of “Leave It To Beaver.”
Equally unfair though is an attitude I have found on some blogs that contends that the stay-at-home parent should be “off the clock” the minute his or her partner returns home. These blogs argue it is the stay-at-home parent who needs to unwind after a long day with the kids, and the partner who got to spend his or her day around adults should suck it up and take care of the kids.
I have experienced both sides of this. I was a stay-at-home parent to Maddie when Heather worked for the Dodgers, and I have also worked in an office while Heather stayed home with both of the girls.
There have been times I couldn’t wait for Heather to get home so I could shower and get a minute to myself.
There have also been times when I was frustrated by being handed a crying baby the second I returned home.
Both are really hard.
Heather and I have, at different times, played both sides of the following (likely very familiar) argument:
“I’m too tired to feed her right now.”
“So am I.”
“But I had a long day at work.”
“I had a long day here with the baby!”
And on, and on, and on…
This is something Heather and I continue to struggle with. I’d love to hear how the rest of you make this work without one – or both of you – going crazy!