The age ol Battle of the Sexes never gets old, and I’m going to bring it into the world of Parenthood. One thing I have learnt on my Motherhood journey is that there are two ways of doing something, a Mum’s Way and a Dad’s Way. This is a lesson I learnt quite early on. I was leaving my first baby with her Dad at 6 weeks old, while I went to get my hair done. Being the brand-spanking-new Mum I was, I had a little panic about this first few hours away from my daughter. I wrote about 10 post-it-note instructions and stuck them everywhere! On bottles, on the changeable and all over the kitchen bench. It was completely unnecessary because he was a perfectly capable parent! When I got back, I learnt he just held her the entire time instead of putting her down to sleep. She also didn’t take her bottle properly and he just left it after a few goes. Internally, I freaked out because I was pedantic about setting a routine and bub learning to sleep on her own and eating at specific times (you know, classic first time Mum panic stations) but then I realized she was fine. This was a one off. She can sleep in her bed next time and she clearly wasn’t distressed or hungry from rejecting the bottle. If her Dad wanted to spend the three hours he had alone with her, cuddling the shit out of her, what’s the worst that happened? Nothing. The Dad’s Way may never be the same as Mum’s Way, but the job gets done and the child is still loved, happy and safe.
Here’s a list of things we do differently.
GETTING THE KIDS DRESSED
Before the production of getting dressed takes place, I’ll check the weather for the day (in case I need to implement a layer system of some sort) and then I select the items and lay the outfit out, including socks, shoes and even the hair ties! It’s well thought out, trendy and looks great. And don’t forget packing spares!
Well, is the sun out? CHECK. The hunt for anything resembling a tshirt begins and it’s usually the first one he lays eyes on. Right, what’s next? Pants! Somehow, he will manage to select the daggiest ‘just for hanging at home’ pants there is and whack them on. Socks? They don’t need to match and it’s even better when the pants are tucked INTO the socks. Shoes? We’ll find the shoes later. TADAA! A mishmash of patterns and colours that slightly hurt the eyes was EXACTLY what we wanted!
Before I was pregnant, my nickname was Messy Jessie. I was terrible and sooo messy! Then the nesting hit during my pregnancy and I’ve never looked back. My motto is ‘everything must have a place’ and it does. The kids can make a huge mess, but I can get it all neat and tidy within ten minutes because I know where everything belongs. I’ll spend my day plodding around and tidying as I go.
Yes, everything has a place but it has a place when he decides right then and there where it’s going to go. Toys wind up in the wrong baskets, totally fucking my system up. Sometimes I find the kids bowls and plates in the weirdest spots in the cupboard after he’s unloaded the dishwasher!
And things will only be put away if I specifically ask, otherwise you can bet your bottom dollar it will stay there for the rest of time. For those who follow me on Instagram, you all know about #eskywatch. If you don’t – check it out. It’s one of my story highlights, detailing a standoff between myself and an esky my husband left in the middle of our kitchen for TWO WEEKS!
Using a systematic approach, I like to wash work clothes with work clothes, towels with towels, bedsheets with bedsheets etc. Colours, whites and darks are separated. Everything is hung out and then (eventually) folded and (maybe) put away.
Spotting a full hamper in the bathroom, he’ll throw that into the washing machine. A quick scout around, and he’ll find some more items to throw in. Sure, some of those may be my white tops or ‘hand wash only’ jumpers. Well done, approximately 4 loads of washing have been squeezed into one! Quick douse of Vanish powder, washing powder and fabric softener and we’re off! Not to let the efficiency slip, the clothes make a swift exit from the washer into the dryer as they’re compacted in. Doing away with dawdling, nothing needs a shake out. Just stuff it in and maintain the scrunch. The dryer is turned on as a giant, wet, solid lump of clothes squished up against the door window rotate. Who needs air pockets?
A KID’S MADE A MESS
Spot the mess. Remove child from incident. Assess the situation. Make a plan of attack and now EXECUTE! I’ll make sure the kids are cleaned up and then attack the mess with a plethora of cleaning products. Within 15 minutes, the situation has been neutralized.
Spot the mess. Panic. Grab child and put in the shower (sometimes fully clothed because hey, efficiency of cleaning child and clothes). He then proceeds to calls out for me to clean up the mess.
We’ll pick a book and get snuggly. I’ll use intonation, voices, accents and sound effects. I’ll pause when there is a comma or full stop. Pictures are pointed at and sometimes we enter a discussion about the illustration presented to us.
(This isn’t every night, sometimes when it’s the 49th time reading the same book, we’ll just bust through it or cut it off – check out my post on ‘How I Cut Corners’ for some handy bedtime story hints)
‘JESSSSSSSSSSSSSS. Can you read the kids a story please?’
‘If I give you an icypole before bed, can we skip the story?’
I like to keep their meals simple. My kids have always been fussy eaters. Usually chicken, rice, pasta, steak or something along those lines are usually accepted with minimal fuss. I’m also afraid of putting in heaps of effort to have their nose turned up at it!
Look out! Dad’s in the kitchen! He can glance at the cupboard and magically create a meal in his mind. He executes it creatively, with sauce splatters up the wall, open jars and packets everywhere! A nice sprinkling of herbs and spices and voilà, a gourmet dinner has been whipped up for all to enjoy.
So there you have it, Dad’s Way may not always be our way, but the job get’s done (most of the time) but the kids are always smiling!