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Poor Mummy

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86462101

My wife was reading the other day that women are getting the raw end of the deal if they stay at home with the kids because the kids begin to see her as the disciplinarian and all round grumpy one.  But dad is the hero.  Mums are too busy to play with the kids non stop for hours because they are doing selfish things like washing, cleaning, ironing, shopping and apparently reading a book only 46 times isn’t enough.  Before you know it, it’s dinner time and the real war begins.

But then, out of the madness of the dining room the kids hear a sound.  It’s a key sliding into lock and turning to release the bolt.  “Daddy!” they both cheer with delight, deep down thinking, “Thank Christ you’re home, mummy really has been annoying today not giving me everything that I want.  Now get on your knees and let me ride you round the room 50 times!”

Having taken a deep breath you manage to find some energy from deep within to tear open your suit and uncover your SuperDad outfit.  The keys get dropped where you are, your coat only makes it as far as the stairs and the kids get down from the table before they’ve finished their dinner, despite mummy telling them not to and they run up and give you the biggest hug in the world ever!

Mummy smiles and says welcome home, but really she’s thinking, “Bastard!” and starts to pick up your stuff.  The routine that mummy has been trying to enforce all day ruined in one quick horsey ride, or squeezey cuddle and you don’t care because the kids are loving you rather than screaming at you.

It’s this time of day when my wife loves me least.  But increasingly as I’ve tried to learn how to relax more and take things in my stride, my wife maintains the balance by becoming more and more uptight and increasingly snappy with the kids.  It begins in the morning when the youngest wakes up and mummy goes to get him, “Daddy?” he says refusing to be picked up by his mummy.  The daughter gets home from school, “What did you do today, sweety?” her mother asks.  “Nothing, can’t remember.”  When daddy comes home, “What did you do at school today, sweety?” an hour later she is still describing in great detail all of the things that she loved about her day.  Bed time, “I want daddy to put me to bed.” “Daddy can you read me a story?” “I don’t want to play with you mummy, I want to play with daddy.”

But what can I do?  What are the consequences of being there for your children when they want you to be?  What is the issue with being known as the fun one?  I don’t know, but I’m sure every time my wife squeezes that feeling of resentment and anger deep, deep down into her little box of emotions, it can only shorten the amount of time before I find out.

 

10 Comments Post a comment
  1. I think you’ve picked up on a really good point about children choosing one parent over the other for certain tasks or at certain times.

    It happens with my 2 daughters too, though the reasons are often unclear – whether it’s from being with Mummy all day (or me) and wanting a change from discipline or some other agenda I’ve no idea…but apparently it’s normal behaviour (so I’ve read somewhere!)

    Knowing that it’s normal doesn’t stop us from feeling totally devastated when we’re rejected, and it’s easy to let resentment grow towards the temporarily favoured parent…

    When my girls want to play with me I’ll try to include Mummy in the games, or help her clear away things before I start playing with the girls. By including her – and making sure my girls see that I am – I hope that they will follow my example…as well as make Mummy feel special.

    Good luck – it’s a tough one!

    Like

    June 5, 2014
    • Thank you for the comment, I understand what you mean and it can be disheartening how fickle children are, but neither of us take it to heart, maybe on the surface we look a little hurt but we don’t take it too seriously. One minute I’m superdad and the next they’re refusing to wave me off to work because Scooby Doo is on.

      I try to do what you do, when I get home I make a point of saying hello to mummy first then turn my attention to the kids, when it comes to playing games my wife doesn’t help herself because where I go with the flow and focus on the fun, she gets outwardly frustrated if our 2 year old doesn’t play exactly by the rules, kind of like Monica from Friends.

      P.s. Thanks for the follow on Twitter, I really appreciate it.

      Like

      June 6, 2014
  2. Opi #

    It sounds like you have some really negative attitudes towards your wife. Have you not thought that, instead of becoming more relaxed, you could try to back her up more when she’s trying to bring some order into your children’s lives? Maybe you should spend some time together, talking about the things that you both believe are important in parenting, and working out (between the two of you), times when you can be a little more strict and she can be able to relax a bit? This post just comes across as you being secretly proud that your kids like playing with you more than with their mum. It’s so sad. I grew up in a house like this and as a consequence I feel sorry for my mum and have little respect for my dad. The respect I do have for him comes from my memories of him doing his fair share of getting us up in the morning, cooking us dinner, changing nappies etc, not from my memories of him playing rough and tumble with us while my poor mum watched, knowing (rightly) that it was going to end in tears.

    Like

    June 6, 2014
  3. Opi #

    Genuinely not trying to sound like I’m having a go, but I do think if you’re aware that your wife is harboring feelings of resentment and anger towards you because of this, it’s surely your responsibility to have an adult conversation with her about the situation, and together, find a way to resolve it?

    Like

    June 6, 2014
    • Thanks for your comments and no hard feelings from my perspective. The point of things like this is to provoke conversation. You’ve come up with some very good points and extremely sound advice, but you’ve missed the point slightly. I’m new to writing about stuff like this, so forgive me if I didn’t achieve the clarity that I wanted, but even though it is focussed on me and my family, I was writing it from the perspective of the woman that was featured in the piece my wife read. I wanted to see how that would have transferred to my wife’s thoughts at the time and how she must have felt from her perspective of what was happening. This way any other dad who reads it and recognises the scenario can think twice next time because of how it makes their wife feel. So at least I was successful in making myself sound like a jerk.

      The truth is kids are naturally manipulative, of course one minute they come across as though they love one parent over another, but both me and my wife know that 10 minutes later, when I’m the disciplinarian, they will want their mummy instead. One of the best interrogators in the world devised the majority of his approaches watching a child on an aeroplane trying to get a toy from his mother after she had refused to let him play with it. We all have fun times together as a family, individually for our own time, girl times and boy times and both me and my wife tell them we love them every day. We deliberately make time for them and more importantly each other, but sometimes there is conflict as there inevitably will be. While I’m sorry that your childhood was sad for you, my kids are far from it. If you believe you can go through marriage and parenthood without any confrontation, arguments or times of stress then you are sadly deluded, but as you rightly say when there is conflict, it is important that you talk about it. I think you need to lighten up slightly and if you overanalyse everything and take it all so seriously, you’ll end up having a sad adulthood as well.

      Like

      June 6, 2014
  4. This was a great post to read! I found it humorous, yet eye opening at the same time. Our roles are reversed to where I’m staying at home while my wife works, and now I fear this happening with our daughter. She’s only 7 months now, but not long from now, will I find myself being the mean parent? Crap.

    I really hope you are able to discuss with your wife about her feelings, maybe she is more understanding than you think. Maybe? Either way, great post and I’ll be following your blog!

    Like

    June 8, 2014
    • Hey, thanks for the comment, it is a fear of all parents I think, but like you recommend, if ever you feel this way you need to talk about it with your other half. Thankfully my wife is a lot more forgiving than most, but we do understand that if she is spending all day with the kids (I should say kid given that the other is at school for the majority of the day) there will be friction between them, but she does have fun too. It just so happens that my arrival from work coincides with her most stressful time of the day. We try to make weekends as much fun as possible so that mummy can show her fun side and I become the firm one, it’s just that much more important that our message is consistent and all the things she tries to instil through the week I carry it on at the weekend.

      One thing I will say in my defence though is that our daughter goes to bed at 7 and our son goes to sleep between 7 and 8, so when I come home at 5.30, cook dinner for myself, eat it, clean up and wash up, I have around 45 minutes to an hour with my kids a day so I try to make it a fun time.

      I hope you have a good 5k run today, good luck!

      Like

      June 8, 2014
    • Just realised today is the 8th, why did I think it was the 7th? I’ve lost an entire day, where did that go? Well hopefully your run went well YESTERDAY not today.

      Like

      June 8, 2014
      • Sounds like you’re doing it right on the weekend. I’m sure its a phase your kids might be going through and hopefully they’ll understand soon. I say this with no experience of my own (yet), but high hopes are helpful, right?

        And the race went great! It wasn’t a very big one or anything, but we ended up placing first overall! Great way to end my twenties.

        Like

        June 8, 2014

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