Let me preface this post with a couple of statements. This is not meant to belittle the role of dads, or to say that dads don’t pull their weight. This is not a rant post or me complaining about all that I have to do. I am sure there are families where my theory does not apply. It is simply an observation of the roles within my home, as well as many of my friends’. But here goes. I realized soon after the birth of my first son that there is a distinct difference in the roles of moms and dads. Sure there are the stereotypical ones about moms being more nurturing and dads being more disciplinary, but this goes deeper.
They say raising kids is a full-time job. I think it’s more than that – to me, it’s like running a company. Your household is like a business, and it takes a similar amount of effort and maintenance to keep it running. And just like with any company, there has to be someone in charge – someone who takes ownership of the process and whose responsibility it is that everything is done. And that is the role of a mom. Sure the big decisions are made together, and the ultimate success of the household depends on teamwork, but the moms are the ones that keep the ship sailing.
My husband is an awesome father. He has been very involved with our boys from day one – I think he actually changed more diapers than me in the first couple of months with our first. We would take turns getting up in the middle of the night; when there was only one, he did all the baths. He has totally been a hands-on dad. But his role is more of a participant – he looks to me for what to do and when to do it. I pick what they’ll wear – he dresses them. I decide what they’ll eat and he feeds them. I set their routine, and he follows it to a tee; I make sure we have diapers on hand and he changes them. I go to bed at night thinking about what they need for the sitter’s the next day, but he gets them ready and out the door. I’m thinking about their next doctor’s appointment, but he will take time off work when they are sick. I worry that we’ll run out of milk – well, never mind, I do all the grocery shopping too :).
So what it boils down to is that most moms don’t do everything, they are just responsible for everything. They steer the ship. They worry about it all. They take the micro-management approach, feeling that if they aren’t involved it won’t get done. But here’s the thing. While it can be exhausting to carry this weight on our shoulders, would moms really want it any other way? I wouldn’t. If the roles were reversed, I would go crazy. Now this may have something to do with my Type A personality, but mostly I think moms are just wired to take charge of running their family. It’s not fair. It’s not equal. It’s just the reality.