The Hero Daddy

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The Hero Daddy used to make me very angry. He would come home after a full days work at the office, and I a full days worth of in home war with two tiny toddlers.  I would be covered in peanut butter and jelly, a plethora of bodily fluids, and living in a sweat pants purgatory because nothing cute fit or because it  just wasn’t worth getting my one pair of jeans sticky.

And here he would come, Hero Daddy, swooping into the house in his clean clothes greeted by the sweet sound of tiny feet running and  little voices shouting “Daddy’s Home!”  When not two minutes ago those same tiny feet were trying to kick me in the face as I changed a diaper and the little voices were screeching things like “I don’t want to” and  “No Mommy” and just plain screaming.

Hero Daddy could all of the sudden make everything funny. All of the sudden when Hero Daddy tells you to eat your dinner its hysterical and a really fun game. When Mean Mommy asks you to its battle lines drawn. When Hero Daddy tells you its time to put on your pajamas its a laughable time filled with dancing while you jump into your jammies. When Mean Mommy tells you to put on your pajamas it really means its time to run away and throw your pjs into the dog kennel.

Hero Daddy

Mostly Hero Daddy made me angry because I wanted to be him. I wanted to be the one with whom the children laughed all evening long. I wanted to be the one to be able to solve tears with a joke and a playful threat of having to sleep in the chicken coop ( one of the children’s favorite). I didn’t want to feel like Mean Mommy all the time. The one who tells them to do everything and the one who seems to make them cry.

But then both girls finally started sleeping through the night, and it hit me, I’m not Mean Mommy I’m just Mommy. I am the one in the trenches every day with these little loves of mine and I am the one to enforce boundaries and do the disciplinary actions all day long. I am the one who tells them to eat every three minutes of every meal. I am the one who takes on the battle of what you can wear today and  how much TV you can watch and how far away you can run down the sidewalk and if you can eat those marshmallows you’ve just stolen out of the pantry.  But I’m also the one they call to in the middle of the night when they are sick or scared. I am the one they want to show their artwork to and the one whom they can ask to hang it on the fridge. I’m not Mean Mommy, I’m just Mommy and the more I realized that the more I loved Hero Daddy.

In truth, I have a Hero Daddy. My Mom was the everyday parent, the one I yelled at, fought with, laughed with, confided in and cried to. But my Hero Daddy was there every time I needed him to calm me down or make me laugh, teach me how to race a 400M or to sing harmony in a duet, take me out to ice cream before dinner and to make me feel like the most special little girl God ever created. And he still makes me feel like that.

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Every little girl deserves that. My little girls deserve that.

And Hero Daddy, with his clean clothes and loud dinosaur stomp as he chases them around throwing them into fits of hysterical laughter right before bedtime, does just that.  When he sneaks them cookies while I’m in the other room, makes jokes about stinky things and teases them out of a tear fest he really does make these two tiny girls feel like they hung the moon.

And as every child does, they deserve that feeling and will remember it for the rest of their lives.

Turns out, Mean Mommy and Hero Daddy make a pretty good team after all.

And it seems to be a pretty universal theme…

To quote Phil Dunphy from Modern Family “Let’s not play Good Cop/ Mom”

Mom Time vs Dad Time

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We have been parents for just over three years now. Parents of two for two years in two weeks. And in that time I’ve noticed a distinct difference in the amount of time it takes the Mom and the Dad to do things. Here are two of our most recent examples.

 Going on a Walk.

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Mom Time: One Hour

Pack snacks in individual snack things with no spill lids. Fill individual water bottles and put in wagon. Put shoes on both girls. Put socially acceptable clothes on me. Put shoes back on both girls. Put coats on girls. Put hair in ponytail and sunglasses on. Put shoes back on the little one. Shove extra pacifier into my pocket. Open door and encourage movement toward the wagon in the garage. Wait 7 minutes while they slowly amble to the door and make their way outside. Do not touch the little one to help in anyway or she will yell “no mommy help” and take an additional 3 minutes just to prove to you that she can do it.

Head out for the walk. Get as far as the mailboxes before tantrums, fighting and pleading to hold me mommy begins. Kick some rocks, find a slug, hit your sister and we head back home.

Dad Time: One Hour

Put coats on kids and big boots. Go outside for a walk.  Have a great time with our delightful children. Return one hour later and hand kids over to mom because they are hungry.

Going to a Christmas Party

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Mom Time: 3 hours

The party starts at 6 so take a shower at 3. Dry your hair while alternating blowing hot air at your children with the dryer to keep them entertained and out of your good makeup. Run after your 3 year old, while still in your towel, who has run off with your dress to partly be funny, partly be naughty and partly to dress like mommy, and hope the neighbors can’t see you. Feed the children big late snacks so that they aren’t too grumpy before we can eat at the party. Put the little ones dress on. Put your own dress on. Do your make up while singing “If You’re Happy and You Know It” and swatting little hands to keep said big snack off of your party dress. Put the older ones dress on. Make first attempt to do daughters hair. Do half of your own hair. Make second attempt to do daughters hair, be successful with one out of two. Finish your hair. Third and final attempt to do other daughters hair, be mostly successful. Put shoes on everyone. Get everyone into the car. Run back inside to grab a bottle, lipstick and take a final look the mirror only to discover you don’t like your party dress after all. Make a quick change and run to join your family in the car. Enjoy the party.

Dad Time: 28 Minutes

Party starts at 6 so work in the yard then fiddle in the garage. Tell the little one she looks pretty in her party dress. Shower at 5:18. Tell the other daughter she also looks pretty and that you like her hair.  Catch the end of the game. Get dressed and into the car. Wait for wife who is doing who knows what. Tell her she looks pretty too. Enjoy the party.

Disclaimer: I think mothers and fathers play distinct and different roles in the lives of our children. In no way do I expect my husband to be as sensitive and pack as many snacks as I do. And in return, he does not expect me to never pack diapers or to have the whole family actually ready for an event in 15 minutes.  We fulfill our unique rolls differently…and on different time tables.