His/Her Parenting

5

Families are the first site for the battle between the sexes. Ever since Adam ate the apple that Eve offered him, it has raged. Surely by the time Cain and Abel were born there were plenty of disagreements. We can just imagine the arguments.

Adam: Cain is just not a masculine enough sounding name. If you don’t give a boy the right name, he’ll be marred for life.

Eve: The boys could choke on those apple slices. After all, that’s what got us into trouble to begin with.

At times, it really does seem that we are from different planets sometimes, or even from distant galaxies. Once a man and woman share the experience of parenthood you might think however, that we would join closer than ever; more one than two. But in reality, men and women continue to see things very differently.

So, in the interest of promoting better understanding, we (the parents of ten children) have put our heads together to share our different perspectives.

Parenting According to Him

There is no such thing as a unisex name. There are boys’ names and girls’ names. If it’s a name that can be used for both boys and girls, then it’s really a girl’s name.

We men can get little feet into the footies on sleepers but we cannot manage itty bitty socks with itty bitty shoes. Our hands are too big and clumsy to tie those things. And why would a baby need shoes before he can walk anyways?

No, I am not secretly ecstatic that everyone says the baby looks exactly like me and nothing like you.

The “football” hold is a perfectly safe and legitimate style of holding a baby.

Fathers were made for playing with their children and mothers for bathing, feeding and diapering. How do I know this? Well, you started practicing years ago with your dolls and stuffed animals. We future fathers never bathed, dressed or fed our toys.

I don’t do baby powders and lotions. You don’t need to add anything to make the baby smell like a baby. That’s already what they smell like. And, by the way, when someone talks about a baby smell, spit-up and poop always come to my mind.

It is not necessary to comb the hair of a child under three years of age.

The first person who hears the baby cry at night is the one who should get up. It’s not fair to kick me and then pretend you are asleep.

It’s okay for my daughter to be a daddy’s girl but it is not all right for my son to be a momma’s boy. Don’t ask me why; I did not make the rules.

It’s not my fault that he said “da-da” first. And just because he’s saying it when he needs a new diaper, does not mean he is calling for me to change it.

Now, this is a very important rule. When the baby is sick, fathers can walk with them and rock them, but men do not clean up throw up. It is not that we do not want to. Really, we would not mind at all. It’s just that our big, clumsy hands do not do a very good job and it’s very important the clean up is done correctly.

It doesn’t matter what outfit a father picks out to dress them for church, it won’t be the right one. So we don’t worry whether it looks right or not. It will be changed.

If we have to make dinner, grilling on the barbecue is the key. Kids are impressed that you know how to make a fire.

Moms will cheat to lose at games while we men still play to win. We can’t help it. But then we really do feel guilty when our kids cry because they lost.

Parenting According to Her

Dust Busters were not made for toddler’s after-meal clean ups.

Time for rough-housing and bedtime are not the same time.

Infants are too young to catch footballs. Neither will watching Monday night football with you increase their athletic ability later on in life.

Disposable diapers were not intended for four or five uses.

Food on our child’s face does not add character. And just because it is a moving target does not mean you don’t have to wash his face off after meals.

It’s a sin to pretend you are sleeping when the baby wakes up crying at night.

Talking and singing to the baby are excellent bonding and mind developing activities. Making faces and stupid noises will only confuse him.

The reason I am always telling you what to do is so that you will know how to do it, not so that you will tell me that since I know so much that I should do it myself.

I know you don’t understand velcro hair ribbons, lacy socks and shiny buckle shoes with holes for buckles the size of a pin head, but they will look sooo cute.

Now that I’m a mom, I still want you to think I’m attractive but when I’m tired and feel like a cow I don’t want you to treat me like you are attracted to me but if I tell you I’m tired and look like a cow I want you to tell me that I’m still attractive. Are you following all this?

If I was strong-willed and opinionated before the baby, I’m worse now.

Walking around with a baby on your shoulders is not a good idea–it makes the mom way too nervous.

Blowing on a dropped pacifier does not sanitize it.

Getting a dog for the baby is not a good idea. In the long run it is much easier just to clean up under the high chair ourselves.

It only takes a little patience and a good aim to get the baby cereal in his mouth. Don’t think you fool me by plastering half of it on his face and bib just to get the job over with.

Diaper bags are NOT purses so your masculinity will not come into question if you carry one.

It is not acceptable for you to offer money to people to change the diaper when it is your turn.

Copyright 2011 Mark and Patti Armstrong

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About Author

Patti Maguire Armstrong and her husband have ten children. She is an award-winning author and was managing editor and co-author of Ascension Press’s Amazing Grace Series and authored: Big Hearted: Inspiring Stories from Everyday Families, a collection of stories to inspire family love. Patti is a correspondent for the National Catholic Register, Our Sunday Visitor & Dakota Catholic Action.

5 Comments

    • As a stay-at-home father, most of these are reversed for my wife and me, especially when it comes to the ones about food, clothing (yes, I’m the one to put on different outfits before church), and hygiene.

  1. As a stay-at-home dad who has NEVER had any qualms about changing a diaper, washes cloth diapers, and often has to remind his wife to cleanup after the baby’s lunch, I find this post irritatingly sexist. These aren’t gender differences as much as personality preferences. Some men like to keep a clean house, some women do. Some women are slobs and so are some men. Assigning certain traits to one gender really only leaves you offending someone who doesn’t fit your box. Seriously, grow up.

    • SWP, I’m so sorry that you felt offended by Patti’s post, which I know was simply meant to be light hearted and humorous. We do our very best around here to create an inclusive, uplifting environment where all are welcomed. I’d love to have more of a “Dad” presence, so if you’re ever open to sharing your writing in a way that would be helpful to other dads, please don’t hesitate to email me. My brother in law is a stay at home dad, and I know his life is filled with unique challenges every day. Thanks for sharing your input and for being a part of the website. Patti, as always, I learn something new from everything you share with us!

  2. For the record, my brother was a stay at home dad and found it humorous. This was not an article written by a woman, but also by my husband. There is a general difference between men and women. Of course there is not a one-size fits all personality but the situations I brought up are common to MANY couples. In case you did not notice the comments under the article, others also found it humorous. It was not meant to be insulting to anyone but something to chuckle about. For me, it’s my life. Being in my 50’s now, (so I really have “grown up”) I know full well that most women I’ve been friends with over the years can relate. I was not trying to offend someone who does not fit into my box. You, however, are trying to insult me by telling me to “grow up.” You could have commented that not all men fit such a mold and you are one. But this was nothing to get angry about.

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