The Mother/Father Double Standard

 
It's real.
Just like the boy/girl or man/woman double standard.
Anthropologists and sociologist will say that it's a learned behavior but I beg to differ.
The Mother/Father double standard is real.
As evidenced by my Sunday.
 
Yesterday, I did the unthinkable, the unimaginable.
I set out to take a nap, on the couch while children and Hubbs were in the living room.  The hubbs was watching TV, and the kiddos were playing with whatever they had dragged out of their rooms.  For whatever reason (caffeine hangover), I was exhausted.  Like struggling to keep my eyes open, so I looked at the hubbs and said, "Wake me in 20 minutes". 
 
Yeah right.
 
Caitlin played beauty shop on my exposed head.  Mackenzie asked me for a drink twice.  And my final wake up call in the span of let's say 15 minutes was Mac sneezing in my face.  Now, I know what you are thinking.  Dad must have been out.  Doing yard work, or washing the car.  No.  Oh, no.  Dad was sitting less than a foot away in the recliner, switching between the Daytona 500 and How it's Made.  I guess to the children that I bore, that made him invisible.
 
So I got up.  Complained, uttered some choice words (that were prefaced with "mother") under my breath, and started the laundry.  I will admit openly that I was mad.  Furious even.  First because why do I even tease myself with the idea of a nap, but secondly, because my husband has been know to nap in the recliner, uninterrupted while the kids ensue chaos on the world otherwise known as our living room.
 
They don't bother him in that recliner.
Not one bit.
Not to ask for a drink,
Not to ask for a snack.
Not to sneeze in his face.
 
Which got me thinking.
 
What the hell is it with this Mother/Father Double Standard?
 
The Hubbs can up and leave the house, anytime of day or night, and the kiddos wave bye like it's just  par for the course.  Yesterday, I declared that I was going to the grocery store.  Insert 10 minutes of whining and squawking,  followed by wardrobe changes for two princesses who hadn't had their hair combed since Saturday afternoon.  Seriously, the husband can kiss them goodbye and they are as cool as cucumbers.  I put on shoes and they think I'm moving to Alaska.  Don't even ask me what happens when they notice I'm wearing mascara, or have done my eyebrows. 
 
I've also noticed that it doesn't matter what I'm doing, the kids identify me as the only "capable" parent in this house.  I'm not saying that the hubbs isn't capable, he is, sometimes better than I, but the kids act like he's not even here.  I can't tell you how many times I've been unloading groceries, been in the middle of making dinner (with chicken hands!), or say changing a dirty diaper, and someone is asking me for a drink, a snack, or to put her Barbies shoes back on.  All while the hubbs is just feet away, sitting there like one of the 275 toys in the living room.  Uh, hello, I'm not the only parent here, correct?
 
The Mother/Father double standard in a cramp in my ass.  I try to remind my girls that Daddy is a very capable parent, made obvious by his outside the home job.  I've also reminded them that they can ask Daddy for drinks, snacks, and American Doll wardrobe changes.  But with all the reminding in the world, I'm still yelling from the sink that's full of dishes, "can you please get these kids XYZ before this knife I'm washing goes rogue on your behind".
 
So, yes.  I'm on a slight tirade because I didn't get a nap yesterday, but seriously, this has to be happening in other homes.  Please tell me I'm not the only one.  I love these kiddos, I really do, but sometimes, I want to share the work load.  I know for a fact that I'm not the only adult in this house that can get a sippy of juice, microwave chicken nuggets, or dress a Barbie.  I know.  I've seen it.
 
So why do my kids rarely call on their dad to do things? 
 
The Hubbs says they do it because they love me.
 
Then why won't they let me take a nap?
 

33 comments:

  1. You are so NOT alone! Jackson is barely two and I'm already having the same issues. For example, if I step near a computer while he's awake he comes running crying to get on and play. I can't so much as pause when walking by the computer or he freaks out. Brandon? Yeah, that toddler will let him play for hours on that same computer without so much as a second glance. Kids are kind of crazy this way. I just try to take a deep breathe and remind myself I'm thankful ;)

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  2. YOUARENOTTHEONLYONE! Trust me...I think you kinda just have to tell the girls, "go ask Daddy" all the time. They'll get the hint. Oh and I wish I had met you before they were born, because I would've definitely told you to have everyone teach them how to say Dada before any other word was taught.
    YOU CAN DO THIS...now, go lock yourself in a bathroom and take a nap in the bathtub. It is comfy, believe me:)

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  3. UGH! This is soooopp tue, my hubby did the same thing today, I am deathly ill and he can't leave work early, but when he didn't feel good last week he was home at 1 pm. Don't even get me started on bedtime, I don't get it!

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  4. Um, my 14 MONTH old is the exact same way. He can't even hold her without her screaming and reaching for me. I think it's something like, Dad's are for Fun and Mom's are for Work :P

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  5. Preach it Sister!! My hubs works all day, and is in school two nights a week plus Saturdays. So the kids think that he basically can't do anything... yes, why actually he can! Especially on days when I get up with my 2 year old at 330 in the morning. Guess what, daddy can hook up your wii child! Your thirsty?? Daddy can get it. Ahhhhhh! Daddys need to read this!

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  6. Preach it Sister!! My hubs works all day, and is in school two nights a week plus Saturdays. So the kids think that he basically can't do anything... yes, why actually he can! Especially on days when I get up with my 2 year old at 330 in the morning. Guess what, daddy can hook up your wii child! Your thirsty?? Daddy can get it. Ahhhhhh! Daddys need to read this!

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  7. Oh my gosh this is my life! You just described everyday in my house! The only answer I seem to get is "you do it better".

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  8. I think a lot of the double standard is portrayed in the media. Disney channel (which I love) is pretty guilty of portraying the mother as the house operator and the dad as the one that kids can pull things over. The dad is ALWAYS shown as incapable. That's the only thing I can really think of. I'm sorry for you! My mom goes through the same thing.

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  9. I'm no expert, but maybe your girls are so used to depending on you for everything that they don't really think about asking your husband to do things for them. :) I've seen this case with a lot of my friends :) You're so not alone, Megan!

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  10. I love your honest portrayals of parenthood Megan! <3

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  11. You are so right. My husband actually enjoys cooking, but guaranteed if my son is hungry or thirsty, he will come running into whatever room I'm in to ask me. He's 9 and until last year, both of us worked outside the home. I wish I could give you comfort by saying it'll get better, but I can only say, you are not alone.

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  12. Oh boy, this happens in every home I reckon. I lost it one day and told the hubby to explain to the kids that they can ask him for things, food, drink, help, to play whatever if I am busy. I was saying it till I was blue in the face and they weren't listening. All it took was him telling them and it started to seep in. Don't get me wrong, they still come to me most of the time, especially after hubs has been away on a deployment or whatever, but once he reminds them, they seem to see who is the least occupied and go to them. If that fails I just tell them loudly to 'go ask your father', and them yell to him that the kids are coming to ask you for something. That works well too!

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  13. So funny that you wrote this post because we had a HUGE argument over me taking a nap yesterday. Why is it that he can just go take a nap like whatever and I have to practically act like a 2 year old to get to take a nap? So not fair. I kinda wanna go punch him in the arm right now just for being the father.

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  14. Giiiiiiiirl (said in a high-pitched voice), that was my day yesterday. Except my husband was just downstairs working on his homework all.freaking.day while I was upstairs alone with three crazy kids & one fussy baby trying to get my own homework done. I finally just gave up and tried to just watch TV but I wasn't successful there either. The kids just like the way mommies cut sandwiches or fill cups better, I guess. Plus, we're prettier and nicer to look at as we get pissed off and frazzled.

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  15. I feel your pain! I ask myself this question every.single.day! My situation is slightly different, as we are a blended family. However, that doesn't stop my step children come to me for everything. Very rarely do they go to their dad. He says it is because I am with them all of the time. I understand this, however, a helping hand wouldn't hurt anybody.

    Just wait until they are school age, like ours are, then your husband will think that you spend all day napping. I mean obviously we have a maid who does the laundry, the cooking, the cleaning, and the shopping *eye roll*

    I hope you get a nap ASAP!

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  16. I used to have this problem until I started going into the bedroom to take the nap and locking the door. I am so not kidding. It's like exotic animal training. Part of it was training my daughter and part of it was training my husband, and the only thing that worked was silent enforcement of the new rules. :) TAKE BACK THE NAP! Lock the door. :)

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  17. This is the absolute truth. And I have to admit...I'm the same with my mom and dad. I love my dad to pieces, but even when I call home to ask something, I always say "hey dad! is mom there?" why is that?!

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  18. I could have written this word for word, and it's infuriating.

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  19. This totally sounds like my house... My hubby can also nap through anything (the girls will sit on him sleeping on the couch while they are watching a movie) but if I say I need a nap... they are knocking on the bedroom door demanding something (I don't even try to nap on the couch!). If Daddy is in a kitchen fixing a snack, they ask me for a snack - wouldn't it be obvious to ask him since he's already there? Sigh. :)

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  20. Holy crap, I thought this was just my house. My kids can sense when I am just about to fall asleep and come and jump on my head. My husband on the other hand lays back in his recliner every Saturday and Sunday afternoon (at least when it's not football season) and can nap for an hour while the kids dance around the room like mini hurricanes and he is totally undisturbed. They will also spend ten minutes yelling "mom" and searching every room of the house looking for me to get them a glass of water while my husband is sitting in said recliner two feet away from them when they decided they need that drink of water.

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  21. Wow, I must be in the minority. My kids have always pretty much acted the same whether I or my husband leave to run errands, take care of personal stuff, etc. We've always had a pretty equally shared household labor division, and I do take business trips of between 3 days to 1 week about 4-7 times a year.

    Except for the breastfeeding, there hasn't been anything that I do that my husband doesn't. I think perhaps it's a case of setting expectations in the kids?

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  22. What a relief to know it's like this at other homes!!!! I'm going to have to try the "can you please get these kids XYZ before this knife I'm washing goes rogue on your behind" tonight with hubby. It seems "kitchen clean-up time" after supper is also "daddy loses himself in the Interwebs while the kids destroy the living room". I admit to only taking naps when I can afford a babysittier (every 4th decade on off years).

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  23. Preach it sista! My hubby tells me that I'm lucky, and that he wished the kids wanted him as much as they want me. Although he's never told me that when the kids are calling for me in the middle of the night because he knows I'm likely to punch him.

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  24. It gets easier when they're teenagers: they mostly ignore you and they can get things for themselves. They don't care who provides the food, as long as there are massive amounts of it around at their disposal at any time of the day or night.

    Love your blog, by the way!

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  25. I realize I'm heading into dangerous waters with this comment, but here goes...

    I think working out of the house has a big effect on this. Since I have a home office and my kids see me all the time, they ask me for help with plenty of things, but do lean on my wife as the default support. I will admit that until they were about 2 (our youngest at 14 mos is still guilty of this), they would do great with me watching them if my wife needed to run an errand, but the second she got home, they would whine and cry until she picked them up. She finally stopped asking if I neglected or beat them while she was gone after a few rounds of this happening.

    As for napping, my wife is the hammer about getting her nap in and goes into our bedroom to take one every day. It's the only way to she can make it work and I'll wrangle the oldest (5) if she's up and out of her room for whatever reason. The two younger ones nap daily, so that does make it easier at this stage.

    I get hounded every time I leave the house, too, so I turned it into a game, having them carry some of the things I need to take with me (books, keys, etc). They want to watch me drive away most times, so I usually honk the horn at them and make them laugh, so it gets them off the whining and crying bit. They do it with my wife now, but the youngest still gets worked up if she sees her leave the house, so it's like Mission Impossible every time if she's up.

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  26. It's not mother/father it's who is home more. I had this reality until Dad became SAHD. Now it is the opposite and sometimes I have to remind everyone that I'm home now and I can help with homework too. The lesson here is kids like routine - not a shock. If they always go to Mom for something, they will try that first. If Mom's not there, in time they will get used to asking Dad. It's our choice as parents and they will come along.

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  27. Yep, sounds like our household / family too! I have realized long ago that my son only goes to Daddy for 'fun'...playing the xbox, wii and other fun stuff. When it comes to 'needs', that would be Mommy....feeding, sleeping, bathing, pooping, etc. Fun times. I must admit, sometimes it's nice to be needed....just not when we're sleepy, tired or sick, right? Ah the joys of motherhood. Thanks for posting this!

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  28. I agree w/ @Robyn! I became a stay at home dad when our first son was 1 1/2 yrs, then when our 2nd came along I went back to work until he was 1 1/2, then resumed my at home dad role. This has nothing to do with mom/dad or male/female, but has everything to do with who is there!! I have the exact same stories, only reversed. Mom could always have an uninterrupted nap, but if I tried I'd always be woken with one of our son's wanting something, even though mom was right there!

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  29. This is totally true! Both my husband and I work, neither of us are with him more than the other. Our son just always, always comes to mama. No matter how many adults are around, he seeks me out. If I'm in the kitchen, and he's in the playroom with Daddy, he'll come out to the kitchen to get me or ask me to do something or get him something. It's crazy!

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  30. oh, how true this is!!! At least 10x a weekend I must utter the phrase "you know you have another parent you can ask, right?" It's crazy! And it's not my husband, he is totally ready to do anything needed. But they always come and find me first.

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  31. Preach, girl! I just wrote a month-long blog about this myself. I took a "mom sabbatical" and refused to do anything for my kids (or husband) for 30 days. I feel ya!!! http://heatherlambie.blogspot.com/2013/02/mom-sabbatical-week-4-of-4-five-things.html

    What IS that all about? A favorite saying of mine when my kids ask me to get them something that my husband is closer to is, "Daddy's legs work just fine, you know."

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  32. I'm catching up on your blog today...and I have the same problem with my almost 2 year old and it drives me crazy!!! The worst part about my situation is that I work (mostly from home) and her Dad is her main caregiver during the day (so I would think she would be more inclined to ask for him) but all my girl wants is me, 24-7, all the time, no matter what....not my mom, not his mom, not anyone else but me and I will admit I sometime wish I had a minute to myself I love the fact that she loves me so much and looks to me for everything, it a double edge sword.....

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