My husband thinks, in our household, there’s no such thing as the “primary parent.” (The person the kids automatically shout for when they need something.) I’m convinced that’s a natural thing, and no matter what you try there is always a primary parent. I do think that the primary parent can change at any point – daily, seasonally, or even from morning to evening.
Of course, I consider myself the “primary parent” most of the time. Honestly this is just because I am at home the most. I feel that parenting also encompasses household tasks. We have pretty defined “pink” and “blue” jobs (please don’t be offended, someone explained them to me this way I thought it was so fitting, if a little stereotypical) in our home.
My “pink” jobs are the laundry, the tidying up (after the kids mostly), and more than half of the meal prep. His “blue” jobs are putting out the garbage, looking after the cars and the house maintenance, and mowing the lawn. We both can, and do, perform all these tasks, but typically this is how they fall.
My jobs are a bit more kid-centric while his are less so. This doesn’t make me a better parent then him – just makes me the one the kids ask for: food items, clothing locating, and any other “where is my…” question. I’m happy to do those jobs, and to sometimes be able to answer those questions.
His jobs allow the kids to “help” him – clean up the yard, tidy the basement (tools and stuff), and carry the recycling bins. Still equally able to spend time with the kids doing these things, but it’s a bit less likely the kids will ask to take out the garbage, you know?
Dad, though, is also the one who takes them “shopping” the most. I don’t go “shopping” unless I have to. Groceries are enough for me. Hubby likes going out and happily lets the girls follow him through Canadian Tire or Home Depot looking at whatever they want. And apparently he enjoys it and doesn’t feel like it’s “work” trying to keep track of the kids in a big store when they just stop without saying anything, or wander down aisles when you’re busily trying to find either what you’re looking for, or someone to help you find what you’re looking for. That’s not fun for me. The kids like to hide, and not listen to me. This does not help me get my jobs done quickly and efficiently.
And in my home, when it comes to bedtimes, I’m still the first choice. That reinforces my feelings of being the primary parent. Occasionally Rose will ask for Daddy to put her to bed, but mostly the story reading is all me. I’m secretly sad when the don’t ask for me to put them to bed, but I’m also elated that someone else (Dad or babysitter) can get the job done well in my absence.
I like feeling like the primary parent, but sometimes I just need to hand over the reigns, you know? I don’t want to do it all (and I don’t.) When the kids are constantly asking for “MOM!” I almost lose it. This is why I started taking ballet class once a week. It gives me a break from bedtimes and other “primary parent” duties, and allows hubby a different connection with the girls.
*If you’re a long-time reader of me (and followed me from Blogger) thanks – I appreciate that! I’m sure you read this post when I originally posted it over there. Since my time seems to get eaten up quickly these days (I’m in the middle of my acting week while I’m preparing this post. Check out my Facebook Page to stay on top of my “other” life!) I’m finding inspiration where I can so I don’t fall too behind on my posts!
How do the jobs fall in your house? Do you feel you suffer from “primary parent” syndrome in your house as well? I’m always interested to hear your stories, so leave me a comment!