You hear things like “brain surgeon” and “chemical engineer,” maybe “astrophysicist,” “architect” or “marine biologist” — basically anything George Costanza pretended to be — and it’s easy to think, “Damn. Those jobs are hard.” But being a full-time mom is perceived as some sort of vacation from a “real job.” Staying at home, watching and caring for the kids, making sure the house is clean and meals are prepared? Pfft, no problem.
Said no stay-at-home mom, ever.
But, alas, that’s what many people think and continue to believe. So maybe it takes a man who’s had to live it for a couple days explain it to the naysayers. Brad Kearns recently found out just how challenging it can be to stay home with the kids, when his wife, Sarah, was hospitalized with liver failure.
“Hold onto your bootlaces because I’m about to take you on a ride that could only be likened to a backwards 100 mph roller coaster that takes you through waterfalls of vomit, sh*t and lots of tears,” he recently wrote on Facebook. “And once you’re finished with yours you will move onto the children’s.”
Upon learning he had to care for their two-year-son, Knox, and six-week-old son, Finn, the Australian dad was faced with a house that was in disarray and with “a clear lack of defrosted meat” left to eat. Knox screamed that he wanted to watch a DVD while a bottle for his youngest son helped replace the crying with whimpering. Not good but he was willing to take whatever scraps his boys gave him.
“As the night rolls on and my patience wears thin; I reduce myself to keeping Knox quiet by allowing him to place stickers on my (very hairy) legs. He was being quiet… ‘It’s okay, I can shave them off in the morning’ was the thought,” he wrote. He also woke up every hour thanks to his crying baby and Kearns’ sleep deprivation (which he points out is a “form of torture”) meant young Finn got sweets and rice crackers for breakfast.
And then it got worse. A zillion times worse. Because while you may want everything under control, sometimes it’s out of your hands. And, of course, you don’t want the outside world to know that. And you especially don’t want your in-laws to know that. That’s when Kearns heard the knock on his door.
“Have you ever been in a situation where someone walked in on you doing something you shouldn’t be? That’s the feeling I got when I opened the door to my mother in law,” he wrote, detailing just how much of a mess he, the kids and the house looked, and must’ve looked to his MIL.
“It was in that moment I knew I was defeated. It was also in that moment I knew she knew I knew I was defeated. A vulnerability we try our best to keep from our in-laws,” he wrote. And this was just the first day! Which means that all the women and men who do this on the daily need more than a round of applause, not to mention a raise. They also need the recognition that what appears to not be a lot of work is actually a TON of work.
Kearns added: “I have not even mastered the ability to keep my own personal hygiene as a mum let alone the ability to keep a house, educate children, prepare meals and even venture outside for activities.”
It’s early days. Hopefully Sarah gets better soon but in the meantime, Brad will get the hang of it — even though his DaDMuM Facebook page states he’s “just a dad trying to be a mum for a while.” It’s always going to be a little manic, whether you’re a pro at this or not. Kids don’t come with a manual so it’s a constant learning curve for those who stay home with their children. Every parent has struggled, at one point. But we wouldn’t trade it for anything.
A photo posted by DaDMuM (@dadmumlife) on