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.
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
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.