When you’re the at home parent it can feel like your day never ends. Since your job is looking after the kids and your workspace is mostly the home you are never too far away from one or the other. Add to that whatever household chores you’re responsible for and there is always work to be done, but unlike the working parent you can’t really leave it at the factory. A cleaned kitchen stays that way for 20 minutes at best at our house, and the cars the boys and I picked up before naps will return when they wake up. Since the job of being a parent has no office hours when you are the at home parent you are always on the clock.
I think the issue families run into when one parent works away from home, and one stays home with the kids, is thinking that the at home parent is always responsible for the parenting. It’s true that from 7:45 AM (when Beautiful heads to work) to 5:30 PM (when she comes home) my job is raising these kids and making sure that most of their blood stays in their bodies. But when she gets home it is no longer my job only, it is now OUR job. We are co-workers at that point, or more simply: parents. This may seem like a no brainer concept, and your family may do a great job at this already but not all of us do.
I know that when Beautiful was home and I was working for a software company I had the thought that the kids and house were her responsibility and making money was mine. I wouldn’t say that out loud but that was the way I felt inside, getting frustrated when asked to do my part with the boys. Beautiful is much better, as the working parent, at understanding this balance. Her expectation is that we work together and communicate to be sure we are a team. I don’t always see that from the working parents I know and I think it is something they need to think about. It’s an easier situation when both parents work since the expectation is that time with the kids is shared.
So how does your family do when both parents are home? Is parenting still the sole responsibility of the at home parent or do you become a team?