“Must be nice!” This comment really gets under my skin. Just in general it screams, you’re privileged and I’m not, you just get everything handed to you and I have to suffer, in general it’s just an extremely rude comment to make about anything but especially a comment to a stay at home mom or stay at home working mom/parent. It alludes to the idea that what that mom/parent does at home doesn’t carry much value & that they’re basically flaking off all responsibility because they’re at home. Well, to be fair, it’s the tone and often snarky insinuation that accompanies the comment. As if that person stating the comment is the hardest worker in the entire world while the person at home is just binge watching shows & eating bonbons. Here’s some hard facts…
Is it nice being home? On some days. On other days it’s extremely lonely, especially when you have a spouse that travels…it’s a lot of doing for others & receiving little in return.
Is it a lot of work? Damn straight. No matter the age of your children if you’re doing it right it’s a LOT of work…physically, mentally, & emotionally. And there’s a lot of driving, lol! As I’m sure ALL parents can relate, but us at-home parents just start that driving much earlier in the day. Here’s a great example, my day yesterday;
8:45am drop 3rd born child off at school
10am-take 1st born child to get item at drugstore
1pm-drop 2nd child off to hang with friends
3pm-pick 3rd child up from school
3:30pm-drop 1st child off to hang with friends
5pm- pick 1st & 2nd children up from friends
6pm-drop 2nd child off at YMCA
7pm-pick 2nd child up from YMCA
In between all of these I was working on next month’s calendar, meal planning, doing dishes, cooking, & going through tubs in the basement in an attempt to get organized, & listening and helping children try to navigate social lives and deal with anxiety as they come off of this past year. And receiving hourly “check-ins” -text from all 3 when they’re out of the house.
It must be nice! When people say this they don’t often realize the sacrifices that come with having an adult home with children. For the most part this means one income. This often means there’s little to no disposable income, no fancy dinners out as a couple, no fancy new clothes, no new clothes period (especially for the adult at home), no big family vacation, & sometimes this means the adult at home takes on a lot of animosity from the adult working outside the home. And after the hella year those adults at home have had and taking on SO MANY roles…how quickly we forget that we had parents at home having to be teachers, tutors, IT, counselors, lab partners, gym partners, etc. during remote learning and for the better part of the year.
“Must be nice!” Before we utter these words please take into consideration the sacrifices (no one knows someone else’s story, circumstances, fertility issues, mental health, physical health, etc…perhaps the parent at home didn’t want to be the at-home parent, but the parent working outside of the home makes more/has better insurance) , heartache, headaches, exhaustion, possible abuse (verbally and/or financially) & most importantly the personal SACRIFICES that these stay at home parents make on a daily basis. Likewise, as stay at home parents and stay at home working parents it is so important that we also remember that the parent/spouse working outside of the home, the one getting out of the house, often showered, socializing with other adults, and receiving attention and words of affirmation from other adults is also sacrificing for the family. They are missing out on their children’s “firsts”, “lasts”, the silly jokes they make, mid-day snuggles, etc. they don’t get to be in that first row witnessing everything in their children’s lives like you do and that has to be hard. But here’s the thing, if you’re doing it right, if you’re a great team, have a great partnership, open lines of communication (this means good & bad… you can vocalize frustrations & work on ways to fix, repair, med & move forward together), and endless support for one another, than neither parent will feel like they’re missing out, neglected, or feel like less. If you’re doing it right I suppose the only people who should be hearing the phrase, “Must be nice!” are the children…it must be nice to have two parents who care so much for you that they each make sacrifices and do what is best for their family.