A family friend told me (before we were parents) how frustrating it was that her children clearly preferred Daddy to her, despite her doing the day to day caring and 'dirty work' of parenting. Now don't get me wrong her hubbie is a hands on dad, but she's a hands on Mum and didn't feel she got any credit for it. She put it down to all the work she did as Mummy telling the kids how much Daddy loved them and how he was thinking of them even while he was at work all day. I now know what she was talking about.
I'm now doing the every day stuff of parenting a toddler and remind him how much Daddy loves him and how much Daddy looks forward to bedtime stories and bathtime when he comes home from a long day at work. All of which is true of course. However, I have written myself out of the fun stuff by letting Daddy have the intimacy of bath and bedtime stories. I get the moody, not eating breakfast, don't want to go to nursery, not putting my shoes on today, standing on the front step refusing to get into the car bit of the day instead. I also get the post nursery tired and grumpy, not eating that, want to watch telly, no I'm not going to take off my shoes bit.
Then at the weekend they go to football together and I am told that "Daddy is my best friend." Yesterday we took the boy to meet Santa and I said afterwards, "Go and give Daddy a big hug and say thanks for driving us to see Santa and Percy Penguin." which he dutifully did. I waited patiently for Hubbie to say, "and give Mummy a big hug and say thank you (for booking it, paying for it, packing a lunch for us to eat and programming the sat nav with the postcode so we could find it)." Nothing. We all got in the car, I passed him an apple and he said thanks.
No one is working for Team Mummy. There's no-one selling the benefits of 24 hour hands-on bespoke parenting by a trusted professional. It's not being advertised that Mummy wants to be the fun one sometimes.
That is now going to change. I've decided that the job of selling brand Daddy is done and now I'm taking on Brand Mummy. This is going to make the Olympics look like a school sports day. It's going to have impact in more territories than a zombie attack in a bad movie. In short, this will be the biggest thing to happen in Mummydom since satchels made a comeback.
I did some blue sky thinking and here are my initial ideas:
- When he says he doesn't want porridge for breakfast I'm I'm going to be relaxed about it, or make toast.
- I'm going to be less, "Put your socks on," and more, "Hey buddy, let's go outside and do fun stuff. Who needs socks anyway ?"
- If he trots off to the really big slide in the park, "that Daddy always lets me go on." I'm going to smile and say (through gritted teeth) "that's a great idea !"
- On his refusal to wear a safety helmet when riding his scooter I'll say, "Really ? Are you serious ? Put it on !" - What ? I said I'm going to be fun Mummy not A&E Mummy !
Now you may feel similarly aggrieved at the lack of appreciation of your role in your household so take a marker pen and instead of Brand Mummy replace with your chosen epithet. Whether you are one of two Daddys, two Mummys, a parent going it alone, a carer, a grandparent or any other type of 'parent figure.' Let's rebrand the unpopular/unappreciated one.
Come on - we can do this !
Who's with me ?