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Leman: Stay-at-home parents aren’t unemployed

Here’s a memo to husbands with wives who stay home with the kids all day, taken from my latest book, “Have a New Husband by Friday,” coming out in the fall. This could apply to all adults, male or female, who stay at home with young children:

You know it’s been a bad day when the kids have mom locked in the basement when you come home.

You know it’s been a bad day when you can’t smell dinner in the air.

You know it’s been a bad day when your wife is still in her jammies at 5:30 in the evening.

You know it’s been a bad day when you don’t recognize the family room.

You know it’s been a bad day when you notice the dog has gone potty in the living room and nobody has cleaned it up.

You know it’s been a bad day when the kids yell, “Dad’s home,” and mom yells, “Thank you, Jesus,” from the kitchen.

You know it’s been a bad day when you notice your seven iron has peanut butter on it and your putter is missing.

You know it’s been a bad day when you find a partially written note to you that begins, “I just couldn’t take it anymore.”

You know it’s been a bad day when you ask your wife, “Honey, what’s for dinner?” and she says, “Check between the cushions on the sofa.”

A few words to the wise: when you come home from work, yes you’re tired. Yes, you’re exhausted. Yes, you need a break.

But if your wife has been with the ankle biter battalion all day, believe me, when she sees you come through the door, she sees relief.

Now, if you park your carcass in a chair and do such profound things as look through the mail, read the newspaper or watch TV, you’re going to have a very unhappy spouse.

My advice is that when you come through the door, as tired as you are, either keep the kids busy so your wife can do what she needs to do, or simply greet her with a, “What can I do to help, honey?”

And make sure you take over the household and parenting responsibilities so she can find some much-needed time for herself.

Trust me, after a day at home taking care of the little ones, she needs it.

Dr. Kevin Leman is a Tucson psychologist and author of more than 30 best-selling books, including “Have a New Kid by Friday.” E-mail questions to him at whatsupdoc@tucsoncitizen.com. Photo by Tom Spitz Photography.

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