parent opinion

‘As a stay at home mum, I thought having my husband home all day would be great. I was wrong.'

Being a stay at home mum with a four-year-old and two-year-old twins is loud but fun. Our house is filled with a mix of laughter, Fireman Sam role-playing, tantrums, fighting, and high pitched squeals.

When Daddy found out he was going to work from home for two weeks we were so excited to add him into our mixture… HOWEVER.

While I thought having hubby home would be a delight of family lunches and quick coffee breaks, it turns out it’s more like a series of stern facial expressions, eye twitches, and a lot of passive aggressive “shhs”.

(Disclaimer: although the whole WFH arrangement might not have worked for us, I want to acknowledge the privileged position we’re in, knowing that many families are doing it tough right now.)

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Things did not get off to a good start. At one point I tried to quietly sneak into his office to get some extra playdough, only to have my husband freeze and stare at me in horror.

He mouthed the words “I’m on a video call” as I snuck in dressed by my four-year-old in a sparkly formal dress with my braless boobs sagging, my hair looking like a fountain of oil, and enough bling on me to blind the poor unsuspecting victims.

A quick walk of shame later I decided I’d probably skip this year’s Christmas party.

Just like everyone else, we’ve been cooped up in our house where the energy and volume of my kids seem to increase with each passing day.

They’re fighting, I’m trying to get my voice heard over their screams, and out pops Daddy’s head wondering what the hell is going on. I hope his colleagues enjoyed the soundtrack, we have at least three million more to record over the next few days.

I realise it’s time for damage control, so I send the kids outside to play so he can have some quiet work time. Unknown to me the office window is open for fresh air, and the kids are now performing a Broadway production of Frozen 2 at the side of the house for him.

When I finally find a chance to vacuum the house, his face appears around the corner yet again. This time with a “does that have to happen RIGHT NOW?” expression because he’s on another phone call.

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Every SAHM knows the battle of finding a small window of opportunity to get some housework done, and my window is about to close and lock itself because the kids are now throwing down a WWE tournament and calling me for referee duty.

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Midday comes along and Daddy comes out for lunch. I can see the tension building in him because he just wants to eat in peace – the glorious peaceful lunch he’s used to – but Beyoncé really wants to show him her dance moves, B1 wants him to watch how fast she can run, and B2 wants a bite of his sandwich.

With a “welcome to my lunchbreak” smile, I take a sip of my coffee as I hold B2 out of chomping reach.

He ducks away from a Zoom call for a quick toilet break when I notice him in the hall. “Hey! We’ve done some painting, and watched Frozen, the kids played Fireman Sam with a watering can, we ate cake…”

The poor man is desperate to get to the toilet and back to Zoom but I. Can’t. Stop. There’s another adult in the house with me and I can’t shut my mouth.

Later, out comes Daddy for afternoon tea, and so do the forbidden late afternoon snacks. Might as well tip the kids’ dinner straight into the bin tonight and save on dishes!

After a fortnight of this little routine of ours on repeat, my husband is finally back at work, no doubt appreciating his lunch break and hopefully sparing a thought for me as I stuff my face over the bench while watching someone ‘jump so high!’.

I’m filled to the brim with envy that he gets to spend his days amongst other adults, and he tells me that seeing how little ‘quiet time’ I get each day has made him realise why I’m so grouchy when he gets home each afternoon. Fair.

So, let’s just flick a match into these memories and burn them away while agreeing working from home with small kids in the house is a no. Who’s with me?

Katie Bowman is a mum to a 4-year-old girl and two-year-old twin girls. A part-time hairdresser, she spends her time blogging about her days of chaos on her Facebook page, Living My Family Life.

Feature Image: Supplied.

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