Stay at home parents truly should get paid. Lord knows, we do a lot of work, from heavy lifting to cleaning up an assortment of really gross and often unidentifiable substances, usually on a daily basis. Parents care for the sick (kids and pets), we’re chauffeurs, short order cooks, amateur psychotherapists and household accountants. Keeping the family dynamics running smoothly (which often only means that everyone is still alive and has eaten something) is hard and taxing. But parenting is not a job and it’s definitely not a career.
1. Here in the US, our average work week is 40 hours. The work week for a parent is 168 hours. That is a lot of freaking overtime. Actually, I think that’s like, an illegal amount of overtime. Hey! Where’s my time and a half? Oh wait, I get paid in appreciation. Ok, so where’s that?
2. Laws require that workers get a break. Most people get a nice hour long lunch. They can relax at their desks, chill out in the break room or enjoy a meal in peace in a restaurant during this hour. This hour is theirs to do as they please. During this magical hour, employees don't have a fussy child pulling on their leg as they try to heat a microwave meal, which they eat standing up as they simultaneously try to keep said child from pulling ant poison out from under the kitchen sink because that child has figured out how to disengage the child safety latches on the cabinets.
3. When you're at work if you have to go to the bathroom you can just get up and go. When you're home taking care of a child, you have to find a way to restrain the child, who then screams bloody murder while you try to go as fast as you can, nearly giving yourself a hemorrhoid. You could also bring the child into the bathroom with you, but only if you feel like having the contents of your cabinets thrown haphazardly into the bathtub and your toilet paper roll completely unspooled while the baby chews on the toilet brush.
4. If you need to run an important errand during work or if you need to go to the doctor, in most cases, arrangements can easily be made. Stay at home parents not so much. Elaborate plans must be configured and babysitters must be found and paid. Simple tasks become arduous and complicated. Wow, it must be nice to be able to stop in for a latte at Starbucks on the way to the office without a wiggling little one strapped into a Bjorn, which is absolutely killing your back, and without then having to prevent the baby from grabbing everything in sight, including your scalding coffee. I know you complain about the commute and the traffic but I'd love to be able to sit in the car without my ears being pierced by bloodcurdling shrieks coming from the backseat because the baby can't handle the car seat and finds it totally unacceptable that you have to stop at red lights.
5. Some bosses are real assholes. They can be extremely demanding, but I can guarantee you that no matter how awful someone’s boss is, that he or she isn't calling and hollering into their subordinate’s ear and demanding that they get their butt to work every two hours all night long, every night while the bedraggled employee wishes desperately that they could just get some sleep. Bosses don’t mess up their worker’s houses and then prevent them from cleaning either. Bosses always allow you to get dressed without throwing a fit while you try to button your shirt, and I hope that no one’s supervisor demands to be picked up and carried around all day long. It’s also not an employee’s responsibility to keep the boss alive. Thank God. There might be a lot of dead bosses.
6. You cannot put the regional manager in the naughty chair. I mean, as much as you’d like to.
7. Showers are a luxury for stay at home parents. Getting to take an uninterrupted shower, without listening to a sad baby whimper and whine in her jail of a crib as if she’d just been abandoned to a wilderness wolf pack, is akin to a full on spa day. Moms and Dads at home daydream about showers. People with jobs can take as many showers as they want. They actually get to get up in the morning and take a shower every single day. But on the plus side, they don’t have the luxury of hanging around in the office wearing a stained tee shirt and some ratty yoga pants all day. It’s not professional
8. At work, you can get fired. At home, when your kids shout that you’re the worst mommy or daddy ever and they hate your ugly face? Too bad, they’re stuck with you. And in a half hour they’re over it and kissing and hugging you like nothing ever happened. If your supervisor acted like that, you’d have a serious lawsuit on your hands.
9. No one has ever had to sing all the songs from Frozen to cheer up the project manager because she’s sad that she didn’t get invited to a bounce house birthday party. I hope anyway.
10. Stay at home parents basically have to be hospitalized in order to get a sick day.