I spent a lot of my early parenting years as a stay-at-home mom — with my kids all day. It was an exhausting job. Truthfully, there were days that I couldn’t even tell you what I “did” all day, because my day had been comprised of so many teeny-tiny actions that all added up to one big, long and exhausting day. To list out the seemingly trivial tasks that made up said day would have just seemed silly.
But sometimes, you still come across that person who has to ask you what it is stay-at-home moms like you could possibly be doing all day — and why you perhaps didn’t have time to shower, cook, or do any of the other chores that they seem to think should be easy.
Next time you have someone ask you what you “do all day” being home with the kids, hit them with one of these. This list is sure to quiet their judgment real quick.
1. I did the dishes… and it took hours.
But it wasn’t just the dishes, because doing menial chores like laundry, dishes, or cleaning up the house happens at lightning speed before kids. After kids, however, doing a load of dishes means you have to stop to grab someone a snack, wipe a butt, clean up a spill — or go on a hunt for an eerily quiet, destructive toddler. Every small interruption makes your “small” chore take far longer than it should. And by the time you are done emptying the freaking dishwasher, you realize hours have passed, and you still haven’t showered.
2. I showered (for once).
Showering with kids home is a great big ol’ pain in the butt. Not only do you have to get the kids sufficiently set up with snacks and entertainment before you dare start undressing, but they will likely follow you right in there anyway — demanding help and immediate answers to all of life’s most complex questions. There’s usually some family discussion right outside of the curtain when I shower, and many times its one that I don’t even need to be a part of.
3. I emptied the trash.
But it wasn’t just the trash. It was walking around the house and picking up all of the juice-box straw cellophane the kids have left all over the carpet, making sure they didn’t have candy wrappers hidden under their pillows or scrap papers cut up into tiny triangles all over the table (and underneath it, and shoved into drawers). And when I was hauling it all outside, the toddler let the dog out the front door. So, I had to chase her down the street. In my pajamas. With no bra on.
4. I made 2,945 meals.
Never mind that each one was rejected. I still made them, because that was what was requested. Imagine my shock when I spent time expertly preparing exactly what my child demanded — the perfect orange wedges and a peanut butter/cracker sandwich with a slice of American cheese sliced into squares — only for said child to completely decline it with utter disgust.
5. I cleaned carpets, washed floors, wiped off furniture, and cleaned the toilets.
Not because I wanted to, but because each of those items had some food, drink, or bodily fluid smeared onto them at some point today, and I was forced to disinfect and scrub them down in an attempt to maintain their integrity just a tad longer. You know, I’ll be doing this until my kids grow out of spilling sticky EVERYTHING everywhere. Or, until they move out.
6. I made phone calls. With a TV remote. To the toddler.
Who insisted on playing “FaceTime” and walked around from room to room to “show me” every toy within her reach.
7. I kind of cooked dinner.
I did chop, slice, and dice everything for dinner and throw it into this magical thing called a crockpot so that it could cook as I bathed, dressed, and attempted to clean my kids’ room for the twelfth time today.
8. I paid my bills… on time!
On the couch. While tiny demon versions of me were crawling all over my body, knocking my smartphone out of my hand every chance they got.
9. I went grocery shopping (not online!).
But not out of desire — more out of necessity. I can see why many people use grocery delivery services now, because I’ve got to say… of all things “motherhood,” grocery shopping with kids is my least favorite chore.
If I were to run down the list of the very mundane tasks I complete (or at least try to finish) when I’m home all day with kids, people would think I did the bare minimum — or nothing at all — most days. But if I were to tell someone that I spend an hour trying to dissect gum from my child’s hair while I attempt to fold the laundry, well, that means I’m a majestic multitasker.
Make sure when you’re explaining your ever-so-enjoyable day at home to your insensitive friend that you really make sure to break it down for them. They are going to need the details. After all, you have it made, mom.
Additionally, when someone feels compelled to ask you what you did all day as a SAHM, then I think you are well within your right to ask them to please send you an itemized, detailed list of their job requirements and duties performed of every minute of every day. Because when you break down even the most exciting of careers, everyone has their list of tiny steps that get them to the big ones. Just because ours as stay-at-home parents includes more bodily fluids, damage control, and kid snacks doesn’t make them any less critical to the big picture. And that is: to take care of and raise our kids to be independent, healthy, and happy individuals. And as long as we are getting that message by the end of the day, well… then you don’t get to ask me what I did all day. I did THIS (gestures vaguely around the house) and I kicked butt at it.
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