A big part of being a stay-at-home mom involves watching the clock. Because it can be exhausting and lonely, I know that I for one look forward to my partner returning home. And while I’m very grateful that I get to be home with my children, there are days when the minutes tick by slower than others. But despite the fact that I’m a stay-at-home mom (and maybe because of that fact), the second my husband comes home from work, I (sometimes literally) put my feet up, and he takes care of the rest of the evening. After a long day with the kids, my energy is depleted and thankfully, my husband gets that. From time to time, my kids will even remind each other if they need something from me, “Don’t ask Mom! She’s off the clock!”
It only took a couple of days away for my husband to truly understand how tiring the kids can be when you’re with them alone all day long. A few years ago, when I went on a girls’ weekend, the hubs got a reality check. While I was gone, he’d float me texts that read, “I don’t know how you do this every single day. I’m exhausted!” Talk about validation. Since then, it’s kind of been an unwritten rule that when he comes home from work, just like my kids say, “Mom’s off the clock.”
When my kids were smaller, I needed this time in the evenings even more. Physically, they were much needier, which was so tiring. I remember staring at the clock on the oven while I attempted to make dinner and thinking to myself, “Okay, one hour until the hubs comes home. You can do this.” It wasn’t that I didn’t love spending time with my kids, it’s just that I needed a break, both physically and mentally. So, every evening, once I heard the screeching of the garage door, I’d exhale away all of the stress of the day. I knew my partner was here to help. While this little nightly tradition began when the kids were younger, I still hold on to it today.
Even though my kids aren’t babies and toddlers any more, my husband still wants to give me the break. And trust me, I run with it. So, during the weekdays after dinner or carting the kids across town to ballet or soccer practice, I relax. My husband bustles around the kitchen clearing plates and washing dishes. He wrestles the kids, reads them their bedtime stories, and tucks them in. I simply supply the hugs and kisses. My husband understands that my patience isn’t as high towards the end of the day, frankly. So, when my kids ask for their 82nd glass of water, my fuse just might blow. No one wants that from Mom.
While my husband handles the house, I often sit in my little nook. I typically enjoy reading or writing (unless it’s too loud, of course). And if I’m in the mood, I’ll grab a beer and sip on that while I relax, too. Sometimes I’ll even spend time calling friends or family back because I had to decline their calls earlier when the kids were screaming at each other. But all of this “me” time is actually helping my husband, too.
It’s not so bad listening to my kids lose their sh*t and watching my husband suffer a little. I know that may sound a tad Dr. Evil, but I firmly believe that my kids need to learn how to respond to Dad, too. Dad can get them more water, break up a fight, and even console them if they’ve had a nightmare. Just because I’m a stay-at-home mom doesn’t mean it should always fall on my shoulders. It is 2019, not 1950, after all. Over the years, we’ve found that this nightly tradition has worked for our family. Because it’s just nice to let the stress fall off of my shoulders as I sink right into that couch. And guess what? I don’t watch the clock in the evenings any more, either.