The Hardest Job You’ll Never Get Paid For

Editor’s Note: This week…. we hear from John @TheDaddyYoDude. He spills the beans on what it’s like to be a Stay at Home Dad and how although it’s the hardest job he’ll never be paid for… it has it’s perks. You can find more of John’s writing at The Daddy Yo Blog. Happy weekend friends! XO-Kelly

Sunshine smiles, laughs a plenty, playtime, ice cream dates, falling asleep to movies, Sunday drives. A few ways to describe or talk about parenting. Children can bring such joy, such love, and such happiness to a parent’s life. They fill our hearts with love and our homes with toys. What a wonderful thing being a parent is. Right?

Well, yes that would be correct. But look at all the magazine pictures, search Google images, or just look around the next time you are in your nearest children’s section of your nearest department store. These are images conjured up from all of the grand memories that come from parenting. Deceitful they can be though. One thing that never comes out of anyone’s mouth when first asked about parenting is “This is the hardest job you will ever have that won’t pay you a dime”.

I would normally start this paragraph with “Don’t get me wrong” but I think you all can say the same thing. I love my children. I love their smiles, their laughs, and the love and joy they bring into my life. I do not love the tantrums, the hitting, the kicking, spitting, shoving, body slamming, jack-knifing, screaming, throwing, heaving, and so on. Show me a parent that enjoys those moments and I’ll show you a babysitter. Parenting is, in fact, the hardest job you will never get paid for.

I didn’t fully realize this until I started staying home during the weekdays while the wife is at work. Previously, I was working 5, 6, 7 days a week, sometimes 50-60 hours a week. I have missed a lot of things in my kids life over the 4 years that I was working full time and my wife was a SAHM. Now the roles are almost completely reversed. Exception being that I still work on Saturdays and Sundays. But for the first time since having kids, I am the primary caregiver.

I am here to fully admit this today: This is not as easy as I had thought it would be. Right now, my wife is laughing hysterically, right in my face, doing the “nanny nanny boo boo! Told you! Told you!” thing. Really, she laughs at me when I talk about the not so fun parts of my day with the kids. In fact, my mom sometimes does to when I tell her about it. Hmmmmm…..

Anyways, I should have known how dumb it was for me to think this would be a sunshine and kisses walk through the park. Even on my breaks when working full time, I have seen the unpleasant side of being the at-home parent. Yet, for some reason I was foolish enough to believe it would be as if I was Barney or some shiz and the kids would be captivated, entertained, and in awe of everything I did down to the sound I make when I sneeze. Then I asked myself recently: What the hell where you thinking?

Turns out that yes, being a primary caregiver is just as much of a job as what I do for a living. I have to be many types of people all in one, at any given time. Dad, doctor, lunch maker, diaper changer, playmate, disciplinarian, the list goes on and on. Truth is, it leaves me quite exhausted sometimes. It qualifies, in my mind, as the hardest job that you will never get paid for. 

But that’s okay. I’ll take the rough days that seem to impact me more. I’ll take having to be an actual adult at times when I really just don’t want to. I’ll take having to keep composure in times where I just want to break down. Because every night, every bedtime that I am home for, the night never ends without a kiss, a hug, and an “I love you”. Even weekend nights when I work, they get a kiss and an I love you from me, whether they know it or not.

Crazy. Life that is. The things that take the most effort are usually the very things that are deserving of that dedication. It might not be easy, but it’s damn sure worth it. And you know what? I think this is a job that I can stick around at for a while. The perks are better than I can get anywhere else.