While I will stop short of doing the beleaguered parents’ back-to-school dance made famous by commercials and, well, probably parents everywhere, I will say this: I am looking forward to being a little less tired come September.
I am not a stay-at-home parent; but, as a teacher who does not choose to work during the day in the summer, I get a taste of the experience every July and August. And there simply is no contest: While I may be more intellectually spent during the school year, in the summer I am exhausted—from the inside out and without exception.
This may have something to do with the fact that I teach high school and that my children are nine, eight, and four. At work no one knocks on the door when I’m in the bathroom; I can generally eat my entire lunch without having to stop mid-bite to clean up someone else’s spill, and I can read—because it is my job—for uninterrupted clips and then talk about and even bask in it. At work, the scraps I need to referee are generally more academic and less physical in nature, and no one is crying for 45 minutes because they lost one microscopic piece of LEGO. I may get up an hour earlier during the school year and go to bed an hour or more later, but the fact remains: Being home all day every day with your children—despite (and maybe because of) the abiding love you have for them–requires an effort unparalleled.
So, as one who works outside the home to all stay-at-home parents, I would like to tip my hat. Of course, as any stay-at-home parent knows, what’s under said hat is often not fit for public consumption. So, I’ll leave it in the abstract and simply say I get it—how hard you work, how tired you are, and how in the annals of full-time work, nothing comes or ever will come close to the work of a stay-at-home parent. Nothing.