As I hung up the phone from Dave last Saturday afternoon, I could have sworn he said he was cooking a barbecue for the kids in a wheelbarrow.
Let me just repeat that for you. A barbecue … in a wheelbarrow.
I was sidetracked at the time, so I replied with a simple ‘Ok, love. See you soon,’ and hung up.
As I made my way home I told myself that surely, surely Dave was not cooking the kids their dinner in a wheelbarrow. I mean, I know he likes to watch Bear Grylls, but he realises he’s not Bear Grylls doesn’t he? We do have a functioning kitchen.
Sure enough, I walked through our front door to British India blasting on the stereo, a house full of smoke, two happy monkeys and one especially chuffed with himself, Dad.
‘I used a bit of the decking and some mulch,’ he said proudly explaining the workings of his man-made barbecue.
‘A couple of the neighbours came around to make sure we weren’t on fire …
‘The steaks cooked beautifully.’
As I surveyed the scene before me, I couldn’t help but smile. This was typical Dave. Always mixing it up, always creating, always making life as interesting as possible for the kids, and most of the time the complete opposite to how I parent.
When Dave comes home to me and the kids after a day at work, they are sitting down to a simple meat and three veg meal cooked in our kitchen with either Justine Clarke playing softly in the background or me chatting to them about their day.
There is no way in the world cooking dinner for my four and two year old in a wheelbarrow barbecue would even enter my mind, but Dads do stuff like that and that’s what makes them cool.
Last Saturday night got me thinking about the differences between mums and dads.
As far as parenting goes, Dave and I do things fairly differently.
I’m more structured, cautious and nurturing, while Dave likes to fly by the seat of his pants, push the kids (gently) out of their comfort zones and rough-house.
I’m curious. Does that sound familiar to your household, or is it just ours?
I’m engaging with and entertaining the kids whenever I’m with them. When I’m in the room the air is filled with cries of ‘ … mummy, mummy, mummy. Play with me, get me this, do that, I’m hungry’.
There is none of that when Dave’s looking after them. They’ll play independently or curl up next to him on the couch while he’s watching the cricket. There is no whining or begging him to play. There’s no requests for food or asking him to help them.
What is with that?
I tend to follow a routine when I’m with the kids. After breakfast, for example, I tidy up the kitchen, get the kids dressed and brush their hair and teeth. Meanwhile, with Dave it can be 10am and the girls are still in their pjs with wild hair and their teeth not brushed.
While Dave and I parent differently, it somehow works.
When it comes down to it, we have the same core beliefs and are in agreement with how we want to raise our girls.
The way I see it, we complement each other. Dave is opening their eyes to the great outdoors, rock climbing and getting grubby, while I’m encouraging them to create, imagine and talk about their feelings.
Hopefully at the end of the day we will have raised two very well-rounded, confident, kind and considerate human beings.
Do you and your partner have vastly different parenting styles? What’s the craziest or coolest thing your partner has ever done? Are your kids more clingy around you than your partner? Have you ever cooked a barbecue in a wheelbarrow?
Linking up today with Jess for IBOT.