Mom and Dad Roles: Who's Fun and Who's Responsible?

Linda Sharps
Being a Mom

I'm the one who sees the things that need to be picked up, counters to be wiped, laundry to be dealt with. I'm the one who says, "I'll play with you in a bit, I just need to clean this up first," I'm the one who initiates the wildly unpopular Everyone Put Away Your Toys effort, I'm the one who cleans the carpet while Daddy sits with the boys on the couch and they pretend the vacuum is a shark and they have to stay out of the ocean when the shark looms nearby, sucking up cracker crumbs.

I'm the one who hovers nearby making Marge Simpson noises when the bedtime wrestling begins. I'm the one who says BE CAREFUL and HOW ABOUT YOU GUYS TONE IT DOWN A LITTLE and NOT SO LOUD PLEASE while my husband rolls on the floor with the boys and everyone shrieks and giggles and inevitably it ends in tears, a bumped head, or a stubbed toe, every single night, and I'm the one who chides my husband who says but this is what Dads and boys do, honey.

I'm also the one who buys the toys, thinks of creative outings, and is willing to be a Bumblebee Autobot in the backyard for half an hour while we hunt for Decepticons, but between Mommy and Daddy, who do you suppose the fun one is, as far as our boys are concerned?

Hint: It's not me.

I wish, in some pointless way, that I could earn credit with my kids for being skilled at packing the swim-lesson bag, for knowing to cut the peel off apple slices, for keeping their living conditions from being too horrendously filthy, and for worrying about their safety. But that's not fun. Fun is roughhousing in the living room instead of doing chores. 

As parents we both wear multiple hats all day long, and of course, kids' preferences wax and wane. But oh, sometimes I feel like the odd man out in my little family tribe. Maybe I need to work on being more fun. Or maybe someone else needs to be the vacuum shark for once.

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