Let me start with a disclaimer. I adore my husband and think he is an outstanding Father. My Dad was the best Dad ever, and I think my three brothers do a very good job with their awesome children. There now I can be honest with you. Why oh why do (most) men parent so differently from women?
For starters, why don’t Fathers like schedules? They may say they like schedules and they may wake up at the same time every work day but that is about it. It will be 5:30 p.m. and a Father will stand in front of his young children and say something crazy like, “Kids, what would you like for dinner tonight?” Huh? You are asking little kids what they want for dinner at dinner time. Your answer will range from chocolate cake to s ‘mores to dry cereal. I would go with the dry cereal for sure Dad or Mom can whip up one of her famous last minute healthy dinners. And then you have the other side of the unscheduled day, bedtime. Dear old Dad is caught up in a wrestling match and doesn’t realize it is 9:30pm on a school night and little Nick and Sally are both under 6 years old. Hmm, this doesn’t bode well for wake up time whenever that is. Mom enters the room and plays bad cop assuring the kids and Dad that there will be time for wrestling tomorrow or never.
Then there is the cleanliness issue. Now maybe you shaking your head at the previous scenario but when it comes to keeping the house clean and organized, men are really from another planet. Yes, I am talking about flushing the toilet and putting the lid down but that is child’s play. My four year old almost has that mastered. I say almost because my friend was in from out of town last week and she joked that she awoke to a “surprise” in the toilet and no toilet paper left on the roll. Gross! But I think the real gripes many woman have with their husbands are the day to day things. Don’t just walk but the things on the stairs pick them up and take them upstairs. When you hear the dryer buzzer go off go take the clean clothes out and fold them. OK, just take them out. When you come in don’t (and this is a huge one for me) take off your shoes directly in front of the door where I can (and will) trip over them. And for the love of God don’t take off your sweaty gym clothes and dump them next to the laundry basket in the closet. Yes, I said next to.
So what do we do with our husbands from Mars? I could go on and on about how they are so different but when it comes down to it we aren’t really going to change them are we. So let’s embrace these foreign creatures and move on with our crazy lives. Instead of leaving the scheduling up in the air it is know in our house that dinner is at 5:30 p.m. and bed is at 7:30 p.m. on school nights. We have meals planned out and yes I ask my kids for input but rarely in an open ended question. The kids still love to wrestle with Dad and I watch with appreciation that we only have two kids. The cleaning issue is still an issue but Dad has gotten better at getting his sweaty gym clothes where they belong....in an incinerator. My son announced that he went to the potty and flushed too and my husband smiled proudly. My daughter and I just shook our heads. But did he remember to wipe?
As for the shoes left at the door issue, well that is a work in progress. Bad news is I noticed that my daughter has started to do it, too. Maybe I am the one from Mars and everyone else is “normal”.