Having just spent a bank holiday weekend with two other couples with kids, it's dawned on me that it's really common to have a constant battle of the sexes when it comes to parenting. It's always re-assuring to see other couples having the same and/or similar issues to you. The mums were discussing how weekends and holidays were often harder and more tiring, testing and challenging on their relationships compared to the routine of the weekdays. This is the time when there isn't a clear line on who is looking after the child, and it can all get a bit blurry and cause arguments. Sound familiar?
Who does the early shift? Who gets them dressed? Who deals with the tantrum? Who makes them breakfast? Who entertains them? Who takes them to the potty/ loo? Who puts on suncream? Who prepares the packed lunch and snacks? Who makes sure there are spare underpants in the change bag? Who reads the night-time books? It's easy when its just you but when you are a couple, especially a couple who deem themselves as equals and both strong parents, where do you make decisions and draw the line at who does what? It's a tricky one and can become a daily struggle, especially at weekends. When you're tired it can sometimes feel like a competition, who's more tired than the other, who did what when and who's turn it is next, good cop, bad cop, fun daddy, mean mummy,
At weekends I find trying to set a plan for the day (yes there goes my control freak side again) helps. We decide what we are going to do, eat (us and kids) and who is putting who to bed. This has been especially important in the first 6 months of having 2 children where there really is no respite at the weekend. We also agree who is doing early shift to avoid 6am arguments (why is it always when its my turn that they wake at 5.30am and 7am for my husband??). My husband is the provider at the moment and I do feel like I need to give him his space and not jump on him with the stresses of the kids as soon as he walks though the door. But we all know going to work is tough and staying at home being a parent is tough too. We all have our challenges and need to support each other, this can be tricky when tiredness and stress can take over any sense you may have left at the end of the day.
I'm all for having equality in relationships and am loving the new wave of modern men who are taking on more of the childcare role and strong father presence. I know my dad and father in law both wished they had been around more with their kids in their day. Check out the rise of the instadads including, Father of Daughters, Papa Pukka, London Dad and Fatherinc. I also have a new found respect for single parents out there doing this parenthood thing on their own.
Ultimately we both have the same goal - to raise our kids to be happy, healthy and kind. I feel lucky to have such a supportive husband who does do his share of cooking, tidying, reading books, playing and early shifts with his kids. Yes we still have our moments where we are tested to the max and it's easy to take it out on each other. So remember to be kind to each other, and stop bickering like children please.