Mom vs Dad…The war is ON!

I’ve always known there were some clear differences in the way my husband and I did things, especially when it came to the kids. You know? The obvious everyday things that you cant help but notice. Maybe it started long before kids, when we cooked our first meal together or when I asked him to make the bed for the first time.

OK, It might have been a good idea to start by saying how much I adore my husband or at least add one very important disclaimer: My husband gets a lot of things right as a dad and bless his cotton socks for all his effort, but as much as most of these differences are celebrated, there are some thing’s that I cant help but get all revved up about when time and time again he will chose to do things his own way or sometimes not at all. Can I get a hell yeah?

So here you have it… my list. THE list. The list we do not speak of.

  1. He will use every dish, pot, spoon, knife and chopping board in the kitchen to make dinner. And I will be left to clean every dish, pot, spoon, knife and chopping board in what once was a spotless kitchen. I’m left wondering why I agreed to his help in the first place.
  2. On the rare occasion that he wakes up with the kids before me, I will wake up to find the kids still have not been offered a stitch to eat. As well as a house that looks like a meteorite has hit it. In his defense, they always look very happy. Me, not so much.
  3. He doesn’t know what it actually involves cleaning a kitchen counter. Or any surface the kids have destroyed for that matter. His idea of cleaning is a 2 second wipe down with a wet wipe. And he wonders why we run out of wet wipes so flipping often.
  4. His idea of a balanced meal for the kids consists of: biltong, juice and dry oatees. Anything that doesn’t involve too much effort and often what he is eating already. No doubt with beer instead of juice.
  5. He finds it perfectly acceptable to watch Transformers with our 4 year old. His reasoning is that it a MARVAL comic book.
  6. When it’s his turn to wrap the kid’s friend’s birthday gifts, he doesn’t seem in the slightest bit embarrassed to present a gift-wrapped in newspaper. Not the cool retro effect, the cheap “my dog got hold of it” and I really couldn’t be bothered sort of way.
  7. No matter how many times we have spoken about it he always throws the pooh nappies in the kitchen bin. Without a nappy bag!
  8. He always asks where a dummy, a bottle, medicine or cream can be found. I don’t know…open your eyes and have a look!
  9. He will use my brand new towels to mop up water after bath time. Need I say more?
  10. When I ask him to book a table at a child friendly restaurant for Saturday lunch his immediate response is to call & Union, Lefty’s or pretty much any other place that has craft beer on tap. Never mind the fact that the kids will be running into a busy street or being hassled by drunkards, the man will do anything to enjoy quality beer. I must admire him for that. The mans got taste.
  11. When something happens to the kids or they run a temp it could be any of the 10 most popular child diseases known to man. He will worry himself sick. And drive me nuts with worry.
  12. When I leave the kids with him for the day I get at least 10 calls in two ours asking what to give them for lunch, why Brody is crying and when I will be home. And I always come home to find all of them passed out on the couch at 5pm. A BIG no no in any moms house who wants their kids in bed by 7pm. Stick to the routine for Pete’s sake.
  13. When we leave to go out as a family I will feed everyone, brush the kids teeth, get them dressed, wash their faces and pack a nappy bag full of essentials. He will wake up, shower, throw on some clothes and scream “I’m ready lets go!” and wait at the front door tapping his foot. And sometimes he will even go as far as rolling his eyes and shouting “we are late!” while I manage a quick cote of mascara.
  14. When I send him shopping he buys 50 percent of what’s on the list, forgets the other 50 percent and comes back at least a dozen things that weren’t on the list to start with.

MMMMMMMM what ELSE????

And as I read this list over to make sure there isn’t anything major I’ve left out it dawns on me how ridiculous many of these things are. It dawns on me how much I had to really knit pick to come up with this list in the first place. Because surely what really matters is that he is the best father these kids could ever know, that he loves them more than they will ever comprehend. What really matters is that he is their dad, a one of a kind one at that. I realize that most dads do things differently than moms do (it really is a universal thing!) as each parent has a very different role to play. And so, I started to examine the flip side of the coin.

  1. He gets lost in their world when they play, loses all inhibition and isn’t scared to be silly. This often involves turning the house upside down, but it also results in two very happy little people and the greatest childhood memories being made.
  2. It may appear he doesn’t worry about how MUCH the kids eat but he is more conscious about WHAT we feed them than I am. He is all about the health of our kids and giving the best anti cancer forming food out there. He is always the ones buying the vitamins and scratching the viennas off the shopping list. And don’t even talk to him about microwave popcorn.
  3. He isn’t pedantic about them getting messy. His motto is “Boys will be boys” And on this note I ask myself how much fun and adventure they miss out on while I hover over them like a helicopter mom too worried they will spoil their brand new t shirt.
  4. He will wake up after a late night gig at the crack of dawn and do anything they ask him to do. Sometimes this means dancing to rock n roll at 6 am, sometimes it means building LEGO robots or making forts and turning the house upside down and making enough noise to wake the deaf grannies in our block. Sometimes it means going to a school event or birthday party! (AAAARGH) Either way he does it with a huge smile on his face and with more enthusiasm than a mom with a new Pinterest idea.
  5. He works so hard to provide for them. This husband of mine (and I’m sure many of yours too) will work night and day to give his kids what they need. Its no surprise he comes home exhausted! And he still offers to help with supper and bathing kids. BLESS him!
  6. He is always teaching them new things and showing them how the world works. Often this comes at the expense of a tidy house but lets face it, I may be the one with my priorities a little screwed up.
  7. He will wake up at any time of the night (sometimes 10 times a night) to see to the boys. I on the other hand start cursing on the 2nd go and by the 4th, I’m causing a major scene.
  8. While I may sometimes perceive him as paranoid, he would rather be too cautious than risk something serious going wrong with our kids. He will not mess around when it comes to the health and safety of our children.
  9. His need for wanting things done neatly doesn’t override the kids desire to help and have their say. He will let them chose the gift for their friend’s party and they MUST wrap it. He makes no excuses for his kids being kids.
  10. And the reason he calls me 10 times when he has the kids is because he is secretly saying “You know them better”, “We miss you!” or just plain and simple, “Come home! We need you!” I hate to be the one to admit it here but I would way rather this be the case than to come home and them not even notice me. I like to feel needed and missed. Who doesn’t?

While I may never change in my need to want order and tidiness I may need to realize that he may never change either. And that’s ok. Because just because we do things differently, it doesn’t mean either of us is right or wrong. I like to think we both offer our kids different things and we are needed at different ways and certainly at different times. I’m sure there are many things I am yet to learn from this amazing man my boys call “Dad”. It may have to start with letting go of THE list. One silly rant at a time.

BY: LEIGH GEARY

 

Leigh Geary

Leigh Geary

Leigh Geary was born and bred in good ol’ Jozi before moving with her family to Cape Town where she continued high school. She went on and studied Foundation Phase teaching and Child Psychology through Damelin while working in the childcare industry as an aupair. She is married and has two energetic little boys, Noah and Brody, who inspire her to record her stories for them as well as bringing moms together through shared experiences on her blog The Mom Diaries.

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