Remains Of The Day

Red Sky at night....

Sometimes I listen to mothers talk about parenting and I feel like I come from another planet and wonder what color the sky is on their world.  I don’t mean for that to sound like an insult nor am I trying to suggest there is something wrong with women, just making an observation about how different we seem to be.

Earlier today I appeared on HuffPost Live on a panel called Thank God It’s Monday. We talked about how some parents are happy when the weekend ends because their kids go back to school and they can focus on themselves.

I understand the sentiment because there are times when I can’t wait for the kids to go back to school, but that is usually after they have been on Winter vacation or Summer break.

They Called It Mommy Guilt

They called it mommy guilt and I nodded my head because I have heard the term, but I don’t think about it the way the moms do. I don’t know how many moms do it but I have heard it enough to wonder if perhaps it is more common than I realize.

Anyway I understand this “mommy guilt” to be a feeling that moms get when they take time for themselves and don’t focus all of their attention upon their families. Don’t blame me if that isn’t accurate. There may have been a time or too where I was called a mother but it was in a different context.

I tried to think of a time when I heard one of the boys comparing his parenting skills to one of the other guys but nothing comes to mind. The closest thing I can think of are a few conversations about how many of us grew up in single income homes.

That is different, but I concede I took great pride in the seven years I did it.  There was a lot more pressure but there was a sense of satisfaction that came with it.

Magical Parenting Skills

In the post before this I shared some thoughts about the sort of progress we have made in some areas but I suppose parenting is a place where less progress has been made.

What I mean is it is still considered by many to be strange to see stay-at-home dads and working moms. When my kids were really little I remember taking them to the park and being given unsolicited parenting advice by some moms who watched me change my daughter’s diaper and decided I wasn’t doing it correctly.

There is this strange idea that mothers are magically bestowed with parenting skills and that fathers are lacking it.

I don’t know how prevalent that really is or isn’t but I encountered it in person and have seen it online multiple times so I know it is out there.

Is that significant or meaningful? I don’t know, but that is part of the fun bestowed upon those of us who have one of these cyber shacks where we can share our musings with whomever choose to read them.

A Question of Identity

It certainly seems to me like women spend more time wrestling with their identity. I hear more conversation about whether they are Mom/Wife/Sister/Daughter than I do from men.

Again, I don’t know if it is significant other than how it impacts our personal sense of self. When you think about it that is not a bad reason at all to be concerned about it.

If it impacts your happiness and sense of fulfillment well than you probably should think about your identity.

But for what it is worth my impression is that moms spend more time wondering and worrying about some of these things than dads do.

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11 Comments

  1. Tim Bonner January 26, 2013 at 7:49 am

    Hey Josh

    When I told people I was going to be a stay at home dad, there were certainly some eyebrows raised.

    I got told I’ve get bored of it; it’s not a job; what are you going to do when you’re kids grow up?

    I can’t say I have had ‘daddy guilt’. I just get on with it. It’s my job in fact.

    • Josh January 26, 2013 at 11:45 pm

      Hi Tim,

      I think it is great that you are a SAHD. It is an opportunity that many don’t get and while there may be challenges the rewards outweigh them, or so it seems to me.

  2. Adrienne January 25, 2013 at 9:44 am

    I’m actually jealous Josh because I never became a parent. Yep, I guess God had other plans for me and I’d love to be one of those women contemplating where they belong. Since that never happened I can admittedly say that I’m a very selfish person because I’m so use to being alone. I do think though that we should take care of ourselves first because if you don’t you’ll be no good to anyone, especially your children.

    ~Adrienne

    • Josh January 25, 2013 at 11:14 pm

      Hi Adrienne,

      I think it is very important for people to take care of themselves for the exact reason you mention. I have seen more than a few people melt down because they didn’t.

      Selfish doesn’t have to have a pejorative connotation.

  3. Chris Edgar January 24, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    That seemed sad to me when you talked about parents craving the school week because, during the week, they get to think about themselves — I hope those parents see at least some of the time they spend with their kids as “me time,” or as time that they actually chose to build into their lives rather than a sacrifice.

  4. Kumar January 22, 2013 at 9:09 am

    Josh, when my wife says that she is better in this dept, I celebrate Independence day.

    Kumar

  5. Lori Gosselin January 22, 2013 at 7:16 am

    Josh, I’d never say you’re not as good a parent as I am, in fact, I’m pretty sure you’re just about as good as I am
    😉
    Lori

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