Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Welcoming Committee


My best friend and I had a recent discussion about the unconventional parenting styles of our husbands, when they are left alone with the kids. First of all, let me just say that I completely appreciate the fact that our husbands are even WILLING to spend time with their kids (I know some moms who have to bargain and coerce to get time "off"...), and recognize this as a relatively recent phenomenon. My mom marvels at how "involved" my husband is, and although she says in some ways it was easier for her to parent without consulting my dad about every decision (he left much of the childcare to her), she is impressed with the care he gives them.

So, back to my friend. She is a dance teacher, and once a week, travels to a nearby town to teach, leaving her hubby home with their four children through the dinner hour. What he makes each week is this: grated cheese in the bottom of a pot, cooked noodles poured on top, cold spaghetti sauce poured on top of THAT; stir it all up and serve. Haha! The best part is that they all sit on the kitchen floor, and he feeds them from the pot, with ONE FORK so that he doesn't have to wash dishes.

While SHE prefers a nicely set table and civility at dinner, she eventually recognized that her kids will likely cherish this memory of their dad, the way I cherish my memories of the days my mom worked. Dad would have to braid my long curly hair. The plaits were always crooked, too tight, or messy. And I loved them anyway, because I loved the rare experience of my dad's clumsy fingers trying to wrestle my mop into submission.

I sometimes marvel at the fashion ensembles my husband creates for our kids. And it used to secretly bug me, way back when I used to sweat the small stuff. He makes "interesting" meals for them, and somehow they eat his concoctions with enthusiasm. While I spend my whole day trying to make headway with the neverending housework, he takes them outside and "putters" around in the barns.

Recently, I came home to find this handsome fella standing beside our laneway, welcoming me home to my sweet man and happy kids:

It sometimes pains me when I think of the work imbalance that often occurs between mothers and fathers and how, in spite of the fact that I do at least 75% of the parenting and housework, my kids will likely remember daddy as the "fun" parent. They'll remember me cooking and cleaning and taxiing them here and there. And then I feel a little bit sorry for myself, because of the love, committment, and HEART I put into my job as a mom. What if they never appreciate me?

Then I remind myself of the gift it is for my children to have such a loving, involved father, who, by building a Welcome Monster with his kids and puttering in the barns teaches them creativity, resourcefulness, and the wonder of seeing everyday objects with fresh eyes.

If your children's wonderful daddy is nearby, go and give him a hug, and thank him for being there for you and for them.

11 comments:

  1. too true! i still can't get over the fact that neither my husband's father nor my husband's brother ever changed diapers. insane! i am so glad we parent together!

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  2. My hubby is very involved in raising our children:) He is so sweet and kind and every time he arrives home from work, our Cockatiel bird starts to sing so loudly in the kitchen and all the children come running down the passage to greet their dad. They love spending time with him:)
    xo
    Linda

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  3. What a wonderful story and yes, your children are truly blessed to have two parents, in their own ways, showing them love.

    Since I started reading your blog, I have seen many different memories you have given your children. Your children are very lucky.

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  4. I couldn't have raised our child without my husband. That is the truth. And it is even more amazing since 85% of couples who have a child with severe disabilities divorce. We are happily married and so in love with our almost 7 year daughter. Unfortunately, the professionals always assume that he doesn't know anything about her care and always come to me with their questions which he finds insulting. I suppose it isn't the norm.
    www.theletterwritingrevolution.blogspot.com

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  5. A great story (and a beautiful Welcome Monster!) I find it hard too sometimes that Dad gets the huge Welcome everyday when he comes home from work, and I rarely get the chance to be the one coming in the door, but it warms my heart at the same time. My DH and I play different but equally important parts in raising the kids (the practical, and the fun!), and I know both parts will be appreciated...eventually ;)

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  6. My husband's favorite "dinner" for the kiddos? A concoction he calls Super Dupers. Basically peanut butter, Nutella and corn syrup mixed into a blob and spread an inch thing on hearty bread. And fruit to "balance things out." EWWWW!

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  7. I'm still too young to have kids of my own, but of such an age and mind that I think I can speak as an adult. Making the Niddy noddy (http://nestingwithyarns.blogspot.com) the other day with my dad reminded me of all the fun we had when I was little, but the actual usage of the niddy noddy reminds me of the fun I had with my mum as a little girl.
    My day always tucked in my blouse, rinsed my nails and combed my hair, Every single morning, And my Grandmum never had to ask if my dad was away, she could spot it a mile away. He got to rinse my nails at my confirmation, in remembrance of those lovely 5 minutes we had spent in the mornings, and he doesn't know this but his service will be requested at my wedding day as well.

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  8. I know we've never met, but given that we have the same brain (lol), I know for a fact that you are a super awesome Mom. Your kids will remember all of the creative, fun and loving things you did with them, and will call you SuperMom when they are older. Your husband is probably a super Dad too, but don't discount the things that you do :o)

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  9. Such a wonderful Welcome Monster! Your children are blessed to have two tremendous, loving, committed and creative parents :-)

    And I am sometimes flabbergasted by the outfits my husband allows the kids to go out in public in. And the unbrushed hair. How did he not notice?

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  10. I laughed so hard at the image of 4 kids and a Dad on the floor eating out of a pot with only ONE fork. Brilliant!! That is just too, too funny (And no wonder Dad has more time to be fun - he doesn't have to do any dishes. Brilliant!!).

    Beautiful post. I'm so glad you are able to see the differences in parenting as "small stuff" and recognize the good things that come from those differences and the appreciation of them. Makes life all the more peaceful, doesn't it.

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  11. Very sweet post. I love Woodman's teeth. :)
    Now to go find my husband...
    xo

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