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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Who parents better moms or dads?

Ah come on! You all know it's moms.

We rule!
As the old saying goes, "The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world."

Not that we're better parents than men, we just parent differently than men do.
Men on the other hand will live a lot longer than us because they don't stress about the little things like we do.

Men know how to relax.
I am standing at the kitchen counter making lunches for the next day, making sure everything is in the backpack for camp and hubby is sitting in the TV room in the recliner flipping between golf and race car driving.

He yells out, "Do you need any help?"
 "Yes" I yell back.

 "What do you want me to do?" Ok so now I have to make a list... it's easier to just do it myself.
"Empty the garbage in the kitchen", I tell him.

"Ok" then I wait five minutes. No sign of movement. I poke my head into the TV room "Are you going to empty the garbage?"
"Yes, right after this ends" and that's how you press my anger/frustration button. Women need it done now! Men need it done "Right after this ends."

We adjusted our work shifts when the kids were younger to accommodate their school day. I worked from 7 AM - 3 PM so I could be there when my son got home from school, to get homework done before my two year old daughter came home to interrupt, and to make supper.
Hubby worked from 9 AM - 5 PM so he could get the kids up, fed, washed and to day care and school on time and he picked our daughter up at day care on the way home.

He handled the kids better in the morning and could get them out without fighting and I could handle them better in the afternoon because I didn't lose my temper over homework. It worked out great and alleviated all the fighting about homework with a tired child and ensured we ate home cooked meals instead of fast food.
I was more than impressed with my husband's efforts especially when it came to doing our daughter's hair.

At two, her head was a mass of long curly locks that took forever to comb out and was the cause of many a tantrum. If she saw me even walk past with a brush she would run from the room screaming. Somehow he was able to tame her  wild locks and get her to sit still for pig tails, pony tails, even a French braid. I was more than impressed, I was jealous! I couldn't do a French braid!
One week hubby had to go out of town on business and I did both the morning and the afternoon shift. I dreaded the thought of mornings. My daughter was not a morning person and I knew we were going to fight about those curls. Just as I had predicted she saw me coming with the brush and the place went up. An hour later I dragged her into day care. She was still sniffling from the morning cry and I looked like Alice Cooper with my mascara dripping down my face. I took her coat off and brought her into the play room.

Sheila, her teacher greeted us. She put her hand out and asked "Where's the bag?" "Oh Jeez," I thought "I forgot something." "I am so frazzled today. What did I forget?" I asked. "Her hair clips" Sheila says.
"What clips?" I asked. Then she filled me in on hubby's dirty little secret, "Your husband can't do her hair so he brings me a bag of clips and elastics every morning and I do her hair."

When hubby got home a few days later I asked him, "Show me how to do a French braid? I really want to learn." "No" he says, "I don't want to go at her hair now. She gets upset." "Really," I pressed "Then do it to my hair." "It wouldn't look good on you," he says.
"You're busted buddy! Sheila told me this morning that she does her hair!" The jig was up.

I wasn't mad, I was still impressed. Rather than start each day out with a fight, he found a way that let both of them have a good day. Men know how to delegate. Women try to do it all. I wanted to pin her to the floor and staple bows on her head.  He found a better, stress-free way.
I stress when school projects are not completed on time. I feel guilty throwing food out when it has gone bad. I kick myself for wasting that money. I freak if a white T-shirt gets mixed up with the jeans in the wash. I blow a fuse if kids throw their coats on the floor in the hall. I lay in bed thinking of all the things I did wrong that day and all the things I have to do tomorrow. I am definitely going to die from a stress related disease.

Hubby has a completely different approach. "Let them get an 'F' and see how that feels" he says about school projects that haven't been completed. "I am throwing this junk out of the fridge, it looks gross" he says about the unused food. "Cool. I got a gray T-shirt" he says. "I just walked on somebody's coat with my muddy boots" he shouts from the hall. Then he hits the pillow and within five seconds he is snoring. No stress.
I think both moms and dads bring important skills to parenting. They keep an even balance. I can't imagine what it is like to be a single parent. My heart really goes out to those poor souls doing it on their own.  I often wonder "When do they sleep?"

The best part about having a partner in parenting is having someone to blame everything on!
But at the end of the day, when kids have a fever at 3 AM and throws up all over the bed, they scream out "Mom!!!" not dad.

Because we rule!