Tuesday, February 10, 2015

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5 Reasons a stay-at-home mom deserves time off


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Few jobs are as demanding as being a stay at home mom. And sadly, few jobs are as thankless. Stay at home moms deserve time off. And yet most don’t get it. Mel and I have struggled with this ever since she started staying home full time. We have three kids. I work two jobs. Mel is a full time mom and part time student. Life is crazy. Yet we have found time to schedule her at least a night out once a week. More if possible.

For those stay-at-home mom’s who don’t get time off, here are a few reasons why you should.

You deserve time that isn’t child centered: The tricky thing is when Mel does something on her own, say to go to the store, she is still doing something for the kids by buying them this or that. Her whole life revolves around doing things for the family. It’s a strange twisted circular thing that makes parenting all consuming. Having a night off breaks that cycle. Every Thursday, Mel does something that has nothing to do with our children. She and a few friends have started researching their genealogy. Which I think is really cool, and it gives her an opportunity to break out of the cycle of focusing solely on the needs of our children.

Validation: I work two jobs. During the week I probably put in close to 70 hours. And yet I still get time off. Giving Mel a night off has really helped Mel feel that her work is valuable. It shows her that the family notices what she’s doing, how crazy her life is, and that she deserves a break.

Happier disposition: Mel looks forward to Thursday. I know this because she talks about how she can’t wait to get out of the house. We don’t argue about little things as much as we used to. It really has made our marriage better.

Better connection with my kids: Spending an evening alone with my kids has helped me feel better connected to them. I spend a lot of time away from home, and I often wish I better understood my kids. Having an evening where I am just in charge has been wonderful for our relationship. I feel closer to them. Also, they seem to listen and respect me more because of the extra time.

Adult conversation: Few things are as isolating as raising kids. Mel can’t talk with our 5 and 7-year-old about politics, budgeting woes, or marital issues. You want to know what it’s like raising small children? Imagine spending all day with a compulsive nose picker and fit thrower whose primary goals are candy and screen time. Would you really want to chat with that person about your problems? Sometimes she goes days where I’m the only adult she talks to. I was a stay at home dad for a while, and during that time my life was exactly the same way. As much as I love my kids, they are no substitute for real adult conversation. And yet the tricky thing is, when Mel is with the kids all day, all she wants to do is talk to another adult. And then when she gets the opportunity to talk to another adult, all she wants to do is bitch about the kids. Once a week, she can get out of the house and chat with other adults about adult things.

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Clint Edwards was blessed with a charming and spitfire wife, a video game obsessed little boy, a snarky little girl in a Cinderella play dress, and an angry baby girl. When Clint was 9-years-old his father left. With no example of fatherhood, he had to learn how to be a father and husband through trial and error. His work has been featured in Good Morning America, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, The Good Men Project, Fast Company, and elsewhere. He lives in Oregon. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.