There is a distinct difference between how moms and dads parent, but sometimes the expectations that fall on moms are a bit unequal. While speaking to a friend the other day, she brought up a few topics that tend to be overlooked and underestimated by dads.
By Nicole Nowitzki
Why do we call it BABYSITTING when a father is taking care of his own children? If a mom is taking care of her children, whether she stays at home or works, it is considered her job or responsibility, but if moms leave to run errands, the dad is just watching them or babysitting. Why is this the case?
When did it become HELPING your mother? When did the mommy code dictate that house chores are mom’s job? Why aren’t these things family chores? Whether a mom works or not, some tasks are still always left to the mother, and I want to know why the dad and children believe it’s HELP instead of it just being a family agenda. While mom is in the kitchen cleaning up dinner, doing the dishes, cleaning up the table, and sweeping the floor, the remainder of the family is sitting around or playing in the other room. Why can’t everyone chip in to allow more time for everyone to enjoy family time?
In my friend’s case, she is always in charge of making the grocery list, planning meals, grocery shopping, and cooking, and she works a fulltime job just like her husband. Also, she mentioned that her husband leaves at about the same time in the morning, yet he is only in charge of getting himself ready while she is running around trying to get the kids ready, make breakfast, get herself ready, hastily clean up, pack lunches, get bags ready, and get out the door.
Now, I know what some of you are saying… “It’s always been that way!”, “That’s her fault for allowing him to be complacent!”, “She’s lucky because she has someone around to be there because my child’s father isn’t even around!” Everyone has a different situation, but this is hers.
The last time her husband stepped up without being asked, she mentioned that he loaded the dishwasher, and she couldn’t believe how he did it, so she made a snide comment and rearranged it. I can certainly relate because I constantly give my husband a hard time about little unnecessary things. I asked her, “Do you want the help or want it done your way?”
Sometimes, my three year old son folds the towels because HE wants to. They do not look like they would’ve had I folded them, but does it really matter? I proudly put them away because he tried. Then, he is more likely to help me in the future.
Sometimes, we just need to let dads do it themselves. Who cares if the kids go to school with messy hair, clothes that don’t match, and junk food in their lunchbox? Ultimately, they went to school, they had clothes on, they had food to eat, and they were loved. Now, if they are in charge of this every single day, maybe a conversation needs to be had, but it isn’t necessarily about the WAY it gets done; it’s about getting it done. The questions to ask are: Do I really NEED to fix anything? Did they do their best? Did they ask a million questions, or did they just do what they needed to do?
In many cases, a father has just as much love for their children as their mothers. I can’t imagine someone intentionally saying, “I’m going to send you to school in your Halloween costume because it will really make your mother upset!” However, I’ve heard of these instances.
If your children’s father does his best, loves his kids, and bends over backwards to make sure his family is taken care of, cut him some slack when he doesn’t swaddle the baby just right or makes pizza for dinner instead of the typical spread. Then, maybe he will want to BABYSIT and HELP a little bit more.