The Difference Between Moms and Dads
Posted June 4, 2010on:
Beatrice: So this past weekend we had our playdate with the nerd and her 3 children. We went to Tiny Town and it was fun, however she is one strange bird. The thing is that she saw Toolman at every soccer practice and because her son likes our son, she would talk to him. When it came time to asking us about setting up a playdate, she asked Toolman, while I was sitting right next to him. She only addressed the question to Toolman, of which he told her to get with Beatrice. Then she sends me the email, since that was the only way she can contact us, and asked about places and times to meet. However that morning she called the house and left a message for Toolman saying she was running late and if he thought they should bring coats. Kind of annoyed me. Toolman is not a stay at home dad. He is laid off for 7 weeks and she is treating him like the stay at home dad. It is bizarre to me that she keeps asking him to do stuff with the kids and not me, even after Toolman told her to ask Beatrice.
The other thing that has been annoying me lately is how Toolman acts with other children and he does not even know how it looks to others. He is trying to get E’claire out of her shell so that she will talk to other kids, but the way he does it makes me mad. I basically told him last night to knock it off, that she is who she is and she will figure it out in due time. Brody was a social being from day one and E’claire is more to her self or the bossy one. She has no interest as of now to engage with other kids. She is only 3 and will start figuring it out very soon. Brody was not the norm. I guess he is bugging me because he is more outgoing to total strangers than he is his own family and close friends.
Lila: Okay, you might get mad at me for saying this, but here it goes….
To an outsider, they will see Toolman as the main caregiver because he is the one at all the functions. He may be temporarily laid-off, but people don’t see that. They figure that since he has nothing else going on, he must be in charge of all the family duties as well. We both know this is not the truth, but people just don’t know. Trust me, I know because people always assume Oliver is in charge of everything. It’s really hard to accept their reactions because you play such an integral part of the parenting.
And as hard as it is for you to accept the perception, it is much harder for Toolman to accept. Oliver and I have talked about this over and over, again. There is a stigma to being a “stay-at-home dad” or, in your case, being the only father at an all-mothers event. Here is a little piece of advice I want to share with you, while Toolman is temporarily being the “main caregiver,” you have to trust him to take care of the children in the best way he sees fit. If he feels that this is the way to get E’Claire to open up, you have to let him try. He is a parent, too, and you have to let him trust his instincts. If it doesn’t work, he will see it eventually and abandon the attempt. And if you think about making a suggestion, you have to be very careful about what you say so that you don’t sound like you are criticizing him.
There have been so many times when I have not agreed with what Oliver was doing, but I had to let it go and trust him to get it right. His intentions are good. It’s so hard to bite my tongue, but I have to let him try.
B: Oh I hear what you are saying, however I am not the type to bite my tongue and he knows that . So I will tell him how it looks when he does what he does. As far as his reactions around other kids, I had to tell him what it looks like to parents. He has good intentions, which I made a point to tell him this however he should know what it looks like from a trusted source. Hopefully this stay at home gig will end soon.
L: It’s really hard on a guy.
B: No kidding. It is hard on a guy who does not choose it. He does not want this and doesn’t even try to embrace the time he does have.
L: I think it is really different for men because they don’t initially define success as being a family man. I think it takes time for them to realize how important it is. For women who have to raise a family, they sleep better knowing their family is safe. For men with a family, they are at ease knowing they have provided for their family, therefore their job and careers are more important. Don’t you think? That’s why Toolman has a hard time embracing this time with the kids.
B: I totally agree!
L: For a lot of men, they realize the importance of family way too late and regret things. By that time, the kids are out of the house and then what? They can’t get that time back. It’s too bad really.