What is it with kids?
I spend all day feeding them, dealing with their tantrums, wiping various sticky substances from their hands, mouths and bottoms, and basically making sure they don’t injure or kill themselves and yet when daddy gets home from work, it is like I don’t exist. Mummy who?
I’ll say now that my husband is a wonderful daddy. Perhaps even the best they’ll ever have. But it’s flipping ungrateful of them to overlook the fact that he might well forget to feed them anything but biscuits.
I confess, I am no good at playing. I try, I’m just not a natural and I really don’t enjoy it. I can sing and read stories, and I can’t wait until they’re older and we can do crafting and gardening and things that I actually quite enjoy. But sitting on the floor (uncomfortable, right?) playing Happyland, or jigsaws, or any number of games that no one apart from the toddler knows the rules to, is like having teeth pulled to me.
Daddy is brilliant at playing. I think it comes from basically being a large child himself.
I am not a particularly shouty mum, although I do say ‘f!cksake’ under my breath about a hundred times a day, but I have my moments. When my iPhone met the water table the toddler was very lucky that I had a friend over to stop me screaming ‘Oh god WHHHYYY??’ over and over. I was not happy.
Daddy on the other hand has the patience that only someone with regular day-long breaks from the children (or medication, maybe) can have. When he does raise his voice, you know something bad has happened.
Getting a fussy toddler to eat
Preparing and cleaning up after six meals and countless snacks each day, I’m slightly less than excited about the whole process. If they don’t want to eat whatever I’ve lovingly plated up my go to response is eating it myself and giving them a banana, whereas daddy has endless patience for the ‘is that MY dinner you’re eating?’ game which is the only way the toddler will currently consider eating vegetables.
Going out of the house
I spend ages making sure we have everything. Nappies, wipes, drinks, jumpers, snacks, spare outfits, dummies, bibs, things with which to entertain the children in case of an unexpected two minute wait somewhere… Some days it takes so long to get ready that by the time everything is assembled, and both kids have had a last minute poo (of course) then the place we are going has closed.
He doesn’t even look in the bag and assumes that everything he needs is in there. If it isn’t, he just buys it. I don’t know why I can’t be more like this really. There would be more hours in my day.
Taking the kids out to lunch
My husband recently took both children out for food on his own in order to let mummy get on with some important jobs (and have a bath). Upon leaving, a middle aged woman ran up to him and said she just had to tell him what a good job he was doing.
Literally no one has ever done this to me and we go out all the time; all I get are comments on how much they can eat (what, you’ve never seen a baby eat an entire pizza before?) and, sometimes, glowing compliments about the toddler’s hair. Very few congratulations on how well I’m managing (probably because they’re both whinging while I quietly sob into my tea) even though I rarely let them have chips with ice cream for lunch.
I don’t even know why I put myself through this most evenings. If daddy happens to be home early though, or at the weekends, he seems to be adept at making the experience fun as opposed to traumatic.
I do wonder whether, if the roles were reversed and it was I that was out all day, I would become the fun parent.
Without the constant tidying of crumbs and wiping of bottoms, would I have more energy to sit on the floor and play? If I didn’t have to listen to near constant whinging from 6am – 7pm, would I be more patient? Would I drink less wine of an evening? Would I swear under my breath less often?
… probably not. And I’ll certainly never be any good at Lego.