As a stay at home parent, I do a lot of going to activities or playgrounds and letting Archie run around. He sometimes plays with other kids, depending on his mood that day, and sometimes he just wants to sit with me and watch.
Its in these moments that Archie just sits with me that I have the time to look around. What i see is a lot of singular parents sitting on their phones, while their kids play on the playground. At first, it annoyed me, they weren’t paying any attention to what was going on. They were with their kids, but not present in the moment, their kids would yell out something, and they first few times they would ignore them, before saying something like “great” or “ok”.
But I stopped myself right there.
Thats not a fair judgement.
Staying at home with any number of children is a full time job. You get up and make breakfast, sometimes its eaten sometimes not. sometimes you spend all day trying to get them to nap, you read books, play with puppets, crawl around on the floor pretending to be a dog, dinosaur, horse, whatever it is, its hard and tiring. You spend all day making sure they have eaten enough, drunk enough, have clean nappies on and are not getting into anything they shouldn’t. Somewhere in there you need to keep up with the general housework, which depending on the age can be handwork in itself.
So you know what I do when I’ve just about had enough.
I go to the park.
Because I can sit and watch Archie play while I have five mins to myself, and if the playground is fenced, thats even better, I might be able to check in with the outside world, and know there really are other people out there having hard days too.
Mothers give everything they have every second of the day. There are no lunch breaks, no weekends, no days off. We do it when we are sick, tired, frustrated, on our birthdays on days when our closest friends and family pass.
Its hard to switch off, so next time you see a mother on her phone, have a think about how hard her day might have been so far and its not even over yet.