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Being a stay at home parent is a gift. Many of us forget this in the hustle and bustle of every day life. On days when the kids are whining and fighting and not listening and the day seems to drag on and on and on, we may be envious of those who head off to work every day. Yet there are many who would love nothing more than to stay home with their children and can’t because they can’t afford to or for some other reason.
For years, I wished I could stay home with Bookworm, but as our family’s primary breadwinner at the time, I couldn’t. My dream of becoming a stay-at-home parent didn’t come true completely until Cuddle Bug was born 3.5 years ago. Bookworm was nearly 6, and I missed all that time I could be home with him when he was little.
When I picked up Scott Benner’s book, Life Is Short, Laundry Is Eternal: Confessions of a Stay-at-Home Dad, I anticipated reading some funny anecdotes about how being a stay-at-home dad is challenging in this culture.
In fact, there’s very little about that in the book.
Instead, it’s about a man, Benner, who was adopted and longed for a family and a father. (His adoptive father left the family when Benner was 13, and he didn’t reconcile with him until much later.)
Benner seems to be groomed to be a stay-at-home dad because his desire to be the kind of dad he never had is so strong. Family is central to his life.
While he enjoyed being a stay-at-home dad after his son was born, it was after his daughter was born 4 years later and diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was 2 that Benner seems to become almost fervent about enjoying living in the moment and loving every minute of it because nothing is guaranteed in the future. Benner knows if he doesn’t diligently monitor his daughter’s blood sugar during the night, she could slip into a coma.
I enjoy being a stay-at-home mom, especially now that I’m able to do it after longing to be one for so long. Still, Benner’s book was a reminder that I don’t take enough time to just enjoy BEING with my kids. Often I’m too focused on checking things off my to do list. Benner’s book is a gentle reminder that while accomplishing tasks is important, far more important is developing relationships with our loved ones, every.single.day.
On the Mom’s Plans’ scale, I give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars.