Monday, 3 August 2015

Sssshhhh... I like that Daddy is the favourite!

"Mothers - especially single mothers - are heroic in their efforts to raise our nation's children, but men must also take responsibility for their children and recognize the impact they have on their families' well-being".
Evan Bayh

I hear so many people complain that they (as the one at home with the kids), spend all day slaving away, looking after them, and once Daddy (or the other parent) gets home, it's like they don't exist. 

For me, I love that Daddy is the favourite, for so many reasons! I think it's really important that I say it loud and proud, in case there are others out there who secretly feel the same.

I’m absolutely sure I am not the only one out there who generally has no problem that Daddy is the favourite. Except, no one really admits to it.

Everyone I know who has commented on the inexplicable way that almost all toddlers develop a fascination with Daddy, says it bothers them. That is upsets them that Daddy is favoured over them.

So it’s time to say it, and say it rather loudly. I actually rather like it. I like it because my kids miss their Daddy when he is at work, and when he comes home, he is their main focus.

Obviously this is two fold, one of the folds being that when he gets home, the kids pretty much pretend that I don’t exist. It frees up my hands and my head, so that I can actually get on with something useful, like cooking dinner or trying to tidy away the mountain of toys that are piled up in the corner.

I love when “Mummy, Mummy, Mummy, MUMMY” becomes “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, DADDY”. I love it because it doesn’t grate on my nerves, because I haven’t heard it repeated about sixty thousand times that day.

I love that Mister L becomes a limpit, permanently attached to Gary’s legs and demanding to be picked up, while Miss S is pulling on his arm trying to show him what she wants to play with him next.

It means that I can step back, away from the chaos of the day, even if only mentally. I am relieved from duties. There is another, responsible, adult in the room, and the kids actually prefer his attention to mine.

I can breathe. I can look at the room and the house, and mentally process a to do list, and then get on with that to do list. I can move quicker, I can be more efficient when I have both hands free. I can side step the little ones, and they don’t even notice, their attention is elsewhere.

I don’t feel guilty for doing the ironing, or hunting out the Gruffalo from under the sofa, before Miss S has a bedtime meltdown because he’s not in bed. I can check the time and begin winding things down for bedtime, giving time warnings and gathering up the water cups and milk cups that are inevitably going to be requested before sleep finally takes over.

At the weekend, it leaves me feeling free. I have myself back again, for the most part. I have a little more free space in my head , space that can be used to process plans for the weekend, returning phone calls and emails, to actually talk about something I’ve been thinking about for a while.

We are still a team. We still get things done, together, as a family. But with two hands on deck, everything is much smoother. Things that have to be done, get done quicker, and it leaves time for the fun. Even better, fun happens even when I’m getting things done, which is bliss for both me and for them.

Sometimes it’s frustrating, it’s not all ribbons and rainbows. Like when inevitably, the child who is landed with Mummy for bedtime has a major breakdown about it. But the majority, is just perfect for me.

And the second fold? I love that my kids adore their Daddy. That their Daddy is every bit as interested in them as they are in him. That he can happily put the kids to bed without much hassle (they get rather excited when he comes home in the evening, so bedtimes are a little more protracted).

I’ve been lucky to have landed myself a particularly good egg. We never know how our partners will be when they become parents, and not everyone is a natural at it. Not everyone will shoulder the burden of a newborn, like Gary did. Not every father will happily take on 50% of the night feeds from day one, and still get up the next morning and go to work, largely without complaint.

I see the luck and good fortune in my kids faces when Daddy walks through the door. The way they jump up when the door bell goes, and Daddy is standing on the other side. The light in their eyes when Daddy is dressed in jeans rather than a suit, which means it’s the weekend. The way their little hands rest on his knees, just to make sure he’s still there.

Their Daddy is interesting, and interested in them. And dare I say it, maybe even a little bit more fun than Mummy. He comes home with a renewed burst of energy, and it’s infectious. Daddy being home means more smiles all round, and that, can be nothing but a good thing.

I love that my kids prefer their Daddy, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.