When Kayla Roussin, a mom of three, and her husband Jonathan agreed that having Kayla stay home with the kids would be the best arrangement for their family, she knew setting some ground rules was important. In a now-viral Facebook post that was shared by Breastfeeding Mama Talk, Kayla explained that for her, the term "stay-at-home mom" doesn't equate to "housekeeper."
"When my husband and I decided I should be a stay-at-home mom, we agreed that that's what I would be, a MOM," she wrote. "I am not a stay-at-home housekeeper. Yes, I clean throughout the day, but my main focus will always be my children. Most of the cleaning I do during the day involves our kids in some way, switching laundry, unloading the dishwasher, vacuuming, picking up toys . . . I want them to know that it takes a team to keep our home clean."
She added that parenting her kids all day long is enough work on its own. And while making sure the house is livable is a priority, it's not always at the top of her to-do list.
"I stay at home to be present in their lives, not to make sure my house is spotless at a moments notice," explained Kayla. "If they want to play a game, I'm going to play. If they want me to snuggle, darn right I'm going to snuggle. If they want to colour, we're going to make a masterpiece to hang proudly on the fridge. If they want to read a book, I'm going to read that book as many times as they want. I am by no means saying that you should let your house turn into a dump, but I feel like so many men just expect the house to be spotless just because their wives stay at home."
She also made an important point about the sacrifices that come with staying home with the kids.
"We as mothers do not give up careers, adult interaction, a paycheck, and sanity to ensure that the house shines like the top of the Chrysler building."
"We as mothers do not give up careers, adult interaction, a paycheck, and sanity to ensure that the house shines like the top of the Chrysler building when our husbands walk through the door, and I feel pretty confident in saying that many of us are way more stressed about the mess than you are," she said.
So rather than laying out impossible expectations for your partner, Kayla reminds parents that teamwork is essential.
Instead of talking down to your wife for the crumbs on the floor, pick up a broom. Instead of yelling about the marker scribbles on the table, ask her if she had a hard day and give her a hug. Instead of telling her she's lazy for not folding the laundry, thank her for raising your children and start folding the never-ending pile of mismatch socks. Instead of huffing and puffing about the things that aren't done, ask her what she did with the kids, ask her if they laughed, what she taught them, how many times she told them she loved them, then take off your work boots and clean the kitchen.
Kayla said that she often reflects on her experience as a stay-at-home mom and she definitely doesn't expect Jonathan to scrub the house top to bottom after a long day at work.
"Being a stay-at-home mom is hands down the best gift I have ever been given, but it's also one of the hardest things I've ever done," said Kayla. "I thank my husband multiple times a day for making this possible, for working his butt off to provide for our family. I have never expected him to come home after a long day and clean the entire house by himself."
Fortunately for Kayla, Jonathan definitely adheres to the "team player" mentality and has no problem chipping in without giving it as much as a second thought. "Having a family takes an immense amount of effort from everyone, kids included," she said. "Going to work and paying the bills does not exclude you from parenting and household duties."
Kayla has a final piece of advice to parents who head to the office every day: "Thank your amazing wives for giving up everything to raise those beautiful babies you made together, and wives, thank those hubbies for making staying home possible and please remember, the mess can wait."
And apparently, Kayla's message resonated with tons of other women going through the same thing. Scroll through to see some of the positive comments she's received.