A working mum's brutally honest admission sparked a massive debate online
If there is one word that sums up my life as a working parent (apart from LOVE, because, really I do love my kids and my busy, chaotic life), it is 'relentless.'
Because, honestly, it really is.
And I am lucky in that I have a bit of flexibility with my work, but still; trying to stay on top of things with work and keep things ticking over at home, between cleaning and cooking and all the activities the children have outside of school, it is full-on. And I think this is the case for all of us.
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However, when one working mum recently shared a rather candid admission to reddit, it sparked both a flurry of virtual hugs and outright fury.
"I can’t find any joy at home"
The woman, who goes by the username Chatnoirrr on the forum, admits she has two boys aged three and six, and says she works in "a fast-paced job in the top tier of management." She loves her job and enjoys her time spent at the office, the people, the excitement and the travel.
"Then I come home," she wrote.
"The house is a complete mess. There’s not a single clean area to sit down. There’s screaming, crying, fighting from the kids nonstop. Complete chaos."
Here is her post in full:
I’m a mom to two boys, age 6 and 3. They’re super cute. They’re also crazy as shit. But cute.
I work a very fast-paced job in the top tier of management. My job is amazing. Every day is exciting there, even if it’s extremely challenging work at times. I have amazing colleagues and the field we work in is amazing (space exploration). I’ve been in the same room as Buzz Aldrin 3 times this year. I get to travel to interesting locations. I love being at work. It’s like being paid to go to space camp everyday.
Then I come home. The house is a complete mess. There’s not a single clean area to sit down out. There’s screaming, crying, fighting from the kids nonstop. Complete chaos. My husband is a stay at home dad and he quite literally does everything for us. We made a deal that if I work and he’s at home he’ll do it all. I am grateful for how much he does, but in some ways—maybe he’s not very good at it? I can’t tell because I’ve never had to do it myself. The laundry is done and there’s dinner on the table, but the house is like a walk-in trash can, the dishes are piled up, everything is sticky, and the kids are terribly behaved. The house I’m working hard to pay for isn’t enjoyable to be in at all.
I find no joy in being home. The kids don’t listen to me. The dirtiness of the house causes me a lot of anxiety. The screaming and fighting literally gives me chest pains. I hate that everything with these kids is so hard. They won’t just listen and do what we ask—every little thing is a battle. I go on sprints and clean the house and then they just destroy it in seconds. I try to help with the kids but they’re so poorly behaved, which I sort of blame on my husband because he’s practically raising them, it feels like I’m starting with an unfair disadvantage. I can’t be sure, but I often wonder if I were the one at home raising them they’d be better behaved. I’m tired constantly because my job is mentally exhausting and then I don’t get enough sleep because the kids end up in our bed in the middle of night and wake us up.
There’s no joy in any of this.
I feel terribly terribly TERRIBLY guilty for feeling this way. I’d rather be at work. In fact I often stay late just so I can avoid being home. I love my husband and my kids so much, but I can’t find any joy when I’m at home. There’s nothing redeeming about it. Little glimpses of cuteness with the kids but they are fleeting. Definitely, I hate to say, not enough to override all the stressful parts that dominate my time with them.
Sorry for the rant. Has anyone else felt this way?
Well, the internet had a lot to say.
"Sounds totally normal"
"With kids that age, it sounds totally normal," replied one person, adding some valuable perspective. "My kids could easily cover the kitchen table in crafts and projects 4-5 times a day, so I clean it with them at least 7 times, if we include meals. But when my partner gets home, I can see that from their perspective, it can look like a disaster. It is, but it's the latest disaster, and we've already tidied up 6 times that day."
A few others suggested hiring outside help like a cleaner once a week, or at least putting an evening schedule into effect.
Another replied, "You’ve somehow managed to pull a complete 1950s gender reversal where you are the busy breadwinner with a job full of matters of consequence, don’t like your home environment because your offspring are disorderly and your homemaker spouse is unable to have the house sparkling clean, gourmet meals on the table and have the children squared away like military school cadets."
One person, on the other hand, was grateful for some honesty: "I am so relieved that someone else feels the same way. Work should be the stressful part of my day, right? No. I sit in my quiet orderly office and actually get work done. I love my 7 and 5 y/o so much, but fighting and not listening and... so much noise as soon as I walk in the door."
What do YOU think, parents? Is it unreasonable for this mum to expect a tidier house? Or is she being completely mean and unreasonable towards her husband?