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Raising kids is undoubtedly my life’s greatest joy, but it is also long, exhausting work. Parenting is the type of labor where you invest and you invest, day after day, but you often don’t see the fruits of your labor for months, or even years.

As a stay-at-home mom, I am alone with my kids for roughly 12 hours each day. My husband comes home, we eat dinner, and then there’s only about an hour or two remaining before the kids go to bed.

On the days or months when mothering is especially hard, I start to feel like an island, like I’m parenting these kids mostly alone. This is the soil where resentment starts to grow.

He doesn’t understand what these kids are like all day. Doesn’t he see how thin my patience is stretched? He has no idea how hard I’m working.

At this point, I start to envy everything about my husband’s job. Quiet lunches, an office with a door that shuts, I even start to envy his traffic.

That’s right. When things are hard, I can be so petty that I find myself jealous of a stop-and-go commute that can take upwards of 90 minutes. After all, he can listen to the radio or even enjoy some precious silence. Meanwhile, I’m at home trying to prepare dinner and survive the witching hour with three kids who’ve rapidly morphed into circus animals, climbing, fighting, and occasionally throwing poop. (Yes, that has happened. No, I’m not ready to talk about it yet).

But the narrative here is all wrong.

Yes, I’m working my tail off daily, but so is he.

I go to bed exhausted from the day’s demands, but so does he.

I will wake up before the sun to face a day full of challenges, many unforeseen, but so will he.

People will gobble up my time and attention, leaving me with hardly any for myself. My goals and plans for the day will be derailed early and often. People will make unreasonable demands of me. This will happen to my husband, too—but without the benefit of those “people” being his children, whom he loves deeply.

My husband and I are a team. We are raising these children together. We are supporting this family together. Our roles look different, but our goal is the same. When I get caught in a cycle of jealousy or resentment, I miss the sacrifices he makes for me, for our kids, for our family.

Yes, I handle the vast majority of the night-waking and vomit-cleaning, but I also get to sleep late on those rare mornings that all the kids sleep in.

I do have to schedule and juggle doctor’s appointments, teacher conferences, and early dismissals, but I don’t have to miss my son’s preschool performance because a meeting ran late.

I am outnumbered by our kids at their toughest time of day, but I also get to hear about what happened at school while the news is still fresh and they are still excited to talk.

I am there for every sore throat, boogery nose, dirty diaper, messy meal, and explosive tantrum, but I also get the joy of every first word, first wave, and first step.

No, I don’t get to travel on business trips, staying in nice hotels and eating in upscale restaurants, but I also never have to talk to my kids via FaceTime, hearing them tell me they miss me and wish I was home with them.

In this season when the work is constant and the needs are never-ending, and I am just so, so tired, it is entirely too easy to focus inward, to see my own sacrifices and minimize his. But we are partners, in this together. I work hard all day long to make sure our family has what it needs.

So does he.

{This post originally appeared on Her View From Home.}

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husband working hard to color with his daughter
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13 Comments

  1. Very true. This is something I’ve reminded myself on now and again. I still envy his lunch breaks and solitude, but we found a solution that works for us. If I want or need some time alone, I can head out after supper (or just go to the basement), and we both get quiet time after they’re in bed.

    1. Hi Anna,

      Oh my gosh, I hear you there! The lunch breaks and the silence are my #2 and #3 sources of envy (pottying alone is #1 for me, I think). I’m so glad you guys were able to find a workable solution. It’s important to have a plan for those “ohmygosh everyone please stop talking to me before my head explodes” kinds of days 🙂

      Charissa

  2. Thank you for sharing your heart with us! I’ve definitely been guilty of being jealous of my husband’s work life and minimized his struggles. And it is so easy to cast blame and to take out our frustrations on our spouse. I think this is where good communication is so key. Letting our significant other know when we need help or need an opportunity is so key. They aren’t mind readers!!

    1. Hi Racheal,

      You’re so right: communication is key (and so easy to lose sight of in the day-to-day madness). Telling your spouse when you’ve hit your limit or need more help is the best way to get that help — like you said, they aren’t mind-readers!

      Thanks for reading!
      Charissa

  3. Great post! And very relatable… I struggle with this at times but taking a step back does help put things into perspective for me. My husband and I both work hard…I think realizing this makes for a better and stronger partnership.

    1. Hi Mallaury,

      I’m so glad you connected with this post. Since staying home with the kids, this is definitely one of my biggest struggles, especially on the hard day, but you’re right — recognizing one another’s contributions makes such a huge difference in your marriage!

      Charissa

  4. I love that you acknowledge both sides. It is true that it is tough and it feel unfair. I’ve had moments where I wish the roles were reversed but then I remember when I did work and how much I missed. I wouldn’t trade my life for anything. Very blessed to have a husband who works so hard to make sure I can be home to do all the other work stuff. Haha

    1. Hi Rachel,

      You are so right — I remember feeling the same way when I was working outside the home. Plus, I remember how hard it was to keep up with everything –we both felt like we were drowning. A good husband and father is invaluable, that’s for sure. Thanks for reading!

      Charissa

  5. I love how you are recognizing the teamwork in having a family. This article makes me appreciate my husband even more. Thanks!

    1. Hi Andrea,

      I’m so glad to hear that you enjoyed the article AND that it made you appreciate your husband more! It can really be a struggle on the tough days, but I think the team mentality really helps.

      Thanks for reading!
      Charissa

  6. You are doing such a good job of acknowledging both jobs are hard…the one where you have to leave your loved ones, commute, deal w office politics, worry you won’t be good enough to keep your job or get a raise and provide for your family, which has become your main responsibility in life whether you like it or not. I’ve done both roles. Mom with kid bosses. Chief financial provider w office bosses. We both need each other. It’s natural to resent others when your having a tough day…what makes the difference is that you’re re-grounding yourself and trying to see both sides.

    1. Hi Tiffany,

      I’m so sorry for not responding to this comment sooner! I was doing a little “housekeeping” on the website and realized I had missed your comment.

      Thanks so much for your positive feedback. You’re right, both “jobs” are hard in their own ways and it can be hard to remember that on the days that are really crazy.

      Thanks so much for reading!
      Charissa

      1. This is so true! As a stay at home mom, our husbands cant see all the hard work we do during the day, trying to take care of the kids, the house, and if we work at home (or blog, like us) then juggling that in too. My husband gets jealous of the fact I get to stay home, but doesnt realize all the work that is put in and visa versa. He works his butt off during the day and is just as tired as I am (if not more) when the day is done. We just need to appreciate the work each other puts in to help our family as a whole. I loved this post!😊

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