In a post in the Mums Who Cook, Clean and Organise Facebook group, one mother sparked a heated debate over her supposed “50s lifestyle”. Stay-at-home mom Brooke Smith posted a snippet of her routine, more importantly, how she wakes up at 4:30 am to make her husband’s breakfast, and how she never goes to sleep until all of her chores are completed.
“I always make sure I don’t go to bed until everyone’s lunches are packed, their clothes are set out for the next day — including my husband’s — and the house is clean, dishwasher is on and a load of washing is on,” wrote the mom of four. “Sometimes it means I get to bed at 9, sometimes that means I get to bed at midnight but I always get up early (4:30 with husband to make his breakfast and coffee) to make time for me to have a hot coffee and do my hair, get a little and quiet meditation/exercise in and do my face for the day.
“Happy mum equals happy household, do it even when you feel like not doing it because you’ll be happy for it the next day.”
The Heated Response to the Stay-At-Home Mom
Smith’s post sparked a heated debate. Some praised her dedication to her family while others criticized her for doing too much.
“That’s lovely you do that, but in my marriage, it is an equal partnership and therefore we share the load,” said one mother. “I have a husband who works full time and yet does the cleaning, cooking, and taking care of our child.”
“I think it’s great you do it all, but you do need to share the workload, especially as you get older, teach the kids so that they know how to when they leave home,” another person wrote. “It does give great satisfaction — tidy house, tidy mind.”
However, some people did not pull punches with their comments as they called her routine outdated. “My Mum used to do this for my Dad. Dad was born in 1929 and Mum was born in 1931. It’s currently 2020. My husband does his own washing, My kids make their own breakfast,” one mother wrote.
However, some found the stay-at-home mom’s routine to be inspirational. Plus, many pointed out it didn’t matter what other people thought. It was Smith’s choice to have this schedule and if it works for her, that’s all that matters.
“Definitely needed to read this! I never make time for myself in the morning and I really should do that. Thank you for the motivation,” one said. Another person wrote they would “do it in a heartbeat if I could survive and function on such little sleep”.
“What a wonderful wife and mummy you are. In 19 years together I have never made hubby’s lunch or breaky and defs not at 4:30 am. Bless your cotton socks for being so selfless,” one wrote. 
“This is what works for us”
In an interview with news.com.au, the stay-at-home mom said she wasn’t shocked at the divisiveness of her post. However, she was annoyed at some of the assumptions people made about her and her family.
“There’s always a mix of negative and positive feedback on anything you post on Facebook but yeah, I think there’s a lot of women assuming that I’m living a ’50s lifestyle and that I shouldn’t baby my husband,” she said. “But I think that if someone works hard in the sun all day and now after hours to make their business work, I think it is the least I can do and he shouldn’t be expected to come home and cook and clean.”
Her husband works five or six days a week in construction while she stays home with four children all under the age of six. Additionally, the couple runs an MMA Gym and breeds bulldogs, which means Brooke Smith has her hands full.
“Yes, being a mum is hard work and yes, I do work for the business as well,” Smith said. “But I think that for us, taking the traditional male and female roles on in our households creates a happy family … Everyone has something that works for them, and this is what works for us.”
Despite the accusations that she coddles her husband, Smith stated that her husband would help her whenever she asked “but I just don’t think he should be expected to”.
“I think doing something that makes both of us happy is what works for us, we have two other businesses as well, so we’ve always had a busy lifestyle,” she said. “And I just find that we are all happier as a family when we take on our traditional roles as men and women and mothers and fathers.” 
How to Avoid Burnout as a Mom
While Brooke Smith seems to be rocking her routine, she and all stay-at-home moms always run the risk of stress and burnout. After all, they are busy taking care of other people all the time with little time for themselves. There’s no shame or surprise in that many women find their role to be overwhelming at times. Here are a few ways to avoid burning out:
- Find a support system. This could include support groups or mom friends through the children’s schools or playdates. Talking with people who are going through the same thing as you could could help you feel more confident. Plus, you’ll know where to turn when you feel overwhelmed.
- Put yourself first. It may feel counintuitive, but if you’re not taking care of yourself, you won’t be able to take care of anybody else. Take time for yourself to do things that fulfill you, like an interesting class, hobby, or work-from-home job.
- Spend time with your partner. While kids and life may keep you busy, don’t let your relationship slide. Even having a conversation at the day could give you an emotional boost. Knowing that you have a supportive partner could make a major difference on your outlook.
- While you’re at it, ask your partner for help and let them help. While you may feel inclined to make sure they are helping exactly how you want them to, sit back and let them do their thing. Your partner is very capable so let them be your co-captain, not your first mate.
- Silence your inner critic. This may feel impossible since it makes you question every action as a stay-at-home mom. But it also makes you feel like you’re failing constantly while this isn’t true at all. You can’t win every struggle but you are still succeeding overall. 
- “Brisbane stay-at-home mum’s dedicated routine for husband divides opinion.” Yahoo News. February 5, 2020
- “‘Do it even when you feel like not doing it’: Mum’s housework routine sparks debate on Facebook.” Courier Mail. Hannah Paine. February 5, 2020
- “Avoid Burnout When You’re a Stressed Stay-at-Home Mom.” Very Well Family. Apryl Duncan. September 24, 2020