I am a bit sick of the media and of other people in my community portraying the stereotypical image of dud dads.
I also get the screaming shits with people who put down their partners publicly. I have no issues with a private whinge, a disclosure of trouble in the relationship, a funny story or debrief, but the continued painting of your partner as a deadbeat and you as the long suffering martyr is tiresome and unhelpful – if they are that bad, then you are the dud for marrying them and staying…..but that is a rant for another time!
This rant is about the stereotype. And how we got here:
A generation or two ago, men went to work, women ran the house and raised the kids. In todays world it is 7 different kinds of different. Now there are two mums, two dads, one mum/ dad, grandparents, stay at home dads, part time share custodians of minors…. And more and more working mothers.
I am a wonderful mum, who loves and nurtures fiercely and practically and completely. But as a parent, Hubby is the more complete package. Camping, biking, cooking, cleaning, cuddles. My hubby is a provider of all these things. He can sew, chainsaw, fix punctures, find library bags. He is the real deal. Me? Well, my cooking is good, not great, and I can never find the library bag. I am not great at homework and although I can fix all ouchies and ‘stummyaches’, I often forget what the school note demanded of me last time I read it and what bloody date was that excursion again? None of which makes me a dud mum, and my husband has his blind spots too, but between us we cover all bases.
We both work fulltime, always have done. Both of us have second jobs and one of us seems to be always studying.
I breeze in and out, sometimes saying good bye to the boys in the morning of one day, and I am not seeing them again till the next evening. We face time and talk on the phone and cuddle like mad when I am home. I don’t get to the school assemblies, the P& C stalls and all the sporting events. Often other mums are taking photos of my kids at athletic carnivals and sending them to me.
Dad is the coach of the basketball team, not me. He is organising the school team for snowsports. He can do birthday parties from presents to pick ups and will make dinner most nights. Why? Because he is currently not the shift worker. I am.
I can do all these things as well, but not necessarily better than he can. It is not about that – it is about a team effort. DH prefers to cook, but hates the washing, so that is my job. He does the floors better, but in between I can sweep and mop.
I organise logistics, who is going where and how, DH will pick up and drop off without a complaint. I do social events, RSVPs, presents, liaising with others. DH will be the chaffeur and will attend.
There is not one role in the family that we both cannot and will not do, or get done. Some weeks I pick up the slack, other weeks DH is being superdad.
If he has an assignment due, I am the doer of all things, when I am sick or slammed at work, he picks up the extra.
The kids are settled, performing in school, cheerful, well, and the best spontaneous huggers I have ever seen.
And you will never hear a bad word out of my mouth about DH. One, he doesn’t deserve it. He deserves much more respect than that.
And two, if it ain’t working, then I need to look and see what I need to do differently as well. There is no I in team, and both of us try to remember that.
We certainly are not perfect but no one is. And I voluntarily exited the ‘Super Mum’ Olympics a while back. I was never cut out for that level of competition in something that has no defined wining line. It wasn’t good for my mental health and wasn’t good for my parenting, to be honest.
I’m a much better parent (and wife) when I perform to my standards, not someone else’s.
And DH? He agrees!