by A’sonda Adams
My husband “babysat” for me the other night when I decided to clock out for a few hours to spend some time with my girlfriends. Like a new babysitter of three girls of 18 months, three and six years old, my phone constantly buzzed with text messages, eventually graduating to a phone call and a laundry list of questions. “Monet is allergic to nuts, right”?, “Can Hannah go to the bathroom by herself?”, “Maya is crying, what should I do?”. I could have screamed in the middle of the restaurant–I was beyond annoyed. I realized this “babysitter” simply hasn’t been paying attention over the years–or maybe I’ve given him permission to be so out of touch because I always “had it.”
As a Stay-at-Home-Mother, I wake with my husband every morning at three A.M.. I take out his clothing, prepare his lunch and give him a kiss at the door, wishing him a good day (I know some wives/moms like me still exist.) I return to bed and rest until the 6am alarm sounds for me to start getting the girls dressed and fed so we can do morning drop offs. I return home with my two youngest to engage in a few hours of homeschooling, play, lunch, naps, dishes, laundry, and dinner prep before the 2:50pm pick-up! When my husband enters the picture after work, he is excited to be home. He is excited to see and spend time with the girls. They run and jump all over him screaming “Daddy! Daddy!” Truly priceless, right?
Well, after my girls’ night out, I realized that I often interrupted these moments: “Daddy just came home from work. He is tired. Let him rest for a while then we will spend time with him,” instead of appreciating the bonding time. I realized that the behaviors that my husband exhibited, that came so organically–changing diapers, cooking for the family, putting the girls down for bed, and even giving them medicine when they were sick–I always interrupted. “Honey, I have it, you’ve been at work all day.”
In the beginning of our child bearing days, he would insist on sharing these special moments with the girls. As time passed on he slowly yielded letting me “have it”. It dawned on me that not only have I handicapped my husband with his own children, but I have also devalued my contribution to our household. Being a Stay-At-Home-Mom is hard work–backbreaking on some days–and we can all agree, it’s never-ending. I realized it’s important to share in the physical task when it comes to childrearing and household responsibilities. Daddies don’t “babysit.” They spend time, they share moments, they are there with the children, looking after them, teaching them, and protecting them, just like Mommy.
I’ve been a Stay-At-Home-Mom for a little over four years now. My husband and I mutually decided that it was in the best interest of our family to have a parent stay home and care for the children. It wasn’t automatically decided that I would be the full-time care provider because I was the mommy–finances certainly influenced who would work and who would stay home. While my husband is an amazing dad, I’m thankful that I’ve been able to be hands-on with my children from the time they wake up until they close their eyes at night, although it is a lot easier said than done!
n the beginning of this career, I greeted every day with a smile. It was fun dressing Monet up, doing her hair in creative styles and strapping her in the stroller for a day of library time, parks, museums, play dates and visits with the grandparents. I never wanted a day off. As the children kept coming, I felt myself losing momentum and reduced our daily activities in order to keep up with household responsibilities (and to maintain my sanity. ) I quickly realized that staying home required more energy, time, creative thinking and patience than any 9 to 5 job.
I, too, salute “working” Moms–they are some of the most remarkable women I know. Working moms not only do the play dates, parks, library visits, etc., they also juggle the corporate realm and their family life. They manage a dual existence and for that I applaud them. I often yearn to return to corporate America and will, though for the next five to six years, I anticipate staying in my current occupation. Being a career mom/wife isn’t easy and certainly isn’t for every woman. I’ve come to embrace the time I have with my family, and I consider it a great privilege. Not all families are afforded the choice of one parent working while the other parent tends to the children full-time. As such, it is an honor for me, no matter how tired I get, to be able to attend field trips, volunteer at school, take the girls on day excursions, play dates, etc. I value being available to my family twenty-four hours a day. After all, they are only where they are today once and I want to make each day the very best day for each of them.
A’sonda Adams is an Oakland East Bay “stay at home” Mom,and shares her home with her husband, Will, and children, Jacob, 16, Monet, 6, Hannah, 3, and Maya, 18 months.