Being a stay-at-home mom can sometimes feel like a thankless job. After my eldest son was born, I quickly went from days at the office in dress clothes to days on the couch in my pajamas. Needless to say, it took me a while to find my footing. Even after we settled into a routine, I was admittedly a bit resentful that I was thrust into the position of "head housekeeper."
My son's sleeping hours were often spent washing (seemingly endless) loads of laundry, clearing out sink full after sink full of dishes, and preparing healthy meals for our family. When my husband returned home, I patiently waited for the over-the-top praise I knew I so greatly deserved for keeping our child alive all day and not letting the house burn down while I was at it.
Of course, my husband is extremely grateful for what I do for our family (and does more than his fair share of work around the house), and I am equally grateful for the opportunity to be home raising our son. We may not have vocalized it often enough, but we were both sleep-deprived and living in the fog of new parenthood, so we weren't exactly operating at 100 percent.
What really snapped me out of my expectation for constant praise and adoration, though, was a seemingly insignificant comment my husband made one day while we were having our daily lunchtime phone chat. We were discussing our preschooler's schedule for the day, and he mentioned wishing he could pick our son up from school, but he knew he wouldn't be home in time.
This was such a wake-up call for me. Dropping off and picking up my son from school had become just a normal part of my routine. For my husband, though, it represented the opportunity to spend a few extra, precious minutes with his baby boy, a few more smiles, an excited recap of his day. I had forgotten how special these moments were because they had become so common for me.
That realization really gave a whole new perspective on our roles as parents. I never thought about how hard it must be for my husband to leave every morning and be away from his family, while I get to spend all day at home with our children. He does just as much hard work in his office as I do at home, but I have the benefit of watching our children grow up day by day.
I now carry out my share of the family responsibilities with pride and gratitude. I probably still don't thank my husband enough for everything he does for our family, but my new outlook certainly has me making more of an effort. And, just in case he reads this, "Thank you, babe."