The difference between mums and dads

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.’

wheelbarrow-barbecue1

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?

jump

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.

kids-climbing
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.

61 comments on The difference between mums and dads

  1. JodiGibson (@JFGibsonWriter)
    March 31, 2015 at 6:13 am (3 years ago)

    Yes! Sounds exactly like our house. I think that as my hubby is more relaxed, so are the kids and they just go with the flow. I tend to be more highly strung and it probably manifests in the kids fighting and jostling for my attention. I wonder if there are households that have that perfect balance,happy medium type thing going on?

    Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      April 1, 2015 at 5:57 am (3 years ago)

      I think it would be pretty rare, Jodi πŸ™‚

      Reply
  2. Susan
    March 31, 2015 at 6:21 am (3 years ago)

    and that is why you two have such good children!!!! you both get the parenting thing!!!!!

    Reply
  3. Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit
    March 31, 2015 at 6:29 am (3 years ago)

    Vastly different! I’m the structured one, got rules and routine … Dad is “fly by the seat of his pants” and let them fly by the seat of theirs too.
    It bothers me …
    I wonder if I wasn’t here … if something happened to me … would they all end up feral?
    Or would he step up and become the police, ambulance, fire brigade and traffic controller like me?
    Mums and Dads are different.
    Yup …
    Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit
    PS I am liking that BBQ in a wheelbarrow idea though!

    Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      April 1, 2015 at 5:58 am (3 years ago)

      Lol. I’m sure they wouldn’t end up feral, but they would be different that’s for sure. I’ve wondered the same thing myself at times πŸ™‚

      Reply
  4. Amy @ HandbagMafia
    March 31, 2015 at 6:58 am (3 years ago)

    Your hubby sounds like a wonderful, fun dad. Mine is the zanier of us but we’re also both a bit anything goes- within reason πŸ˜€

    Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      April 1, 2015 at 5:59 am (3 years ago)

      I reckon yours would be a very cool household, Amy.

      Reply
  5. Janice Jones
    March 31, 2015 at 8:20 am (3 years ago)

    Your Dave is amazing We all need a little bit of adventure

    Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      April 1, 2015 at 6:00 am (3 years ago)

      Thanks so much, Janice!! We sure do πŸ™‚

      Reply
  6. Mandy Barbie Bieber Beyond
    March 31, 2015 at 8:31 am (3 years ago)

    that’s so great!! How inventive! My husband and I are very different too, but I think it’s good that they have that difference. Just as long as you are on the same page.

    Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      April 1, 2015 at 6:00 am (3 years ago)

      Yes, I think that’s important at the end of the day, Mandy πŸ™‚

      Reply
  7. rachel_ourtownbrisbane
    March 31, 2015 at 8:32 am (3 years ago)

    This made me laugh because it sounds so much like my hubby! Over the Christmas holidays brook had an extra week off after I went back to work. So he decided to take the boys on a “boys weekend” – he randomly picked some caravan park that was on a creek near Gympie. He didn’t book (of course not) so they ended up staying in the dodgiest looking caravan I’ve ever seen. He didn’t pack sleeping bags or sheets so they put towels down on the mattresses. it sounds like my idea of hell but they had so much fun! The swung off a rope swing into the creek, hired a house boat and went fishing. They loved it lol.

    Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      April 1, 2015 at 6:02 am (3 years ago)

      Oh my God! That is hilarious. I love that he didn’t book. My husband never books either and to not bring any sheets or sleeping bags, omg, that’s just typical Dads isn’t it?!!

      Reply
  8. Dannielle @ Zamamabakes
    March 31, 2015 at 9:22 am (3 years ago)

    I’m definitely the conservative parent I tend to keep things indoors where as Zadada is the outdoors adventuring type but like you and Dave we have the same core beliefs of how we want them to be raised. I will add our Zadada has way more energy and enthusiasm in the evenings than I do. If he does bedtime I don’t see him for a good half hour if I do bedtime it’s a 10 minute no mucking around routine (he’s definitely the ‘FUN’ parent.)
    Great post Renee.
    Happy Easter! xx

    Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      April 1, 2015 at 6:03 am (3 years ago)

      Thanks Dannielle! Our bedtime routine goes exactly like that too πŸ™‚

      Reply
  9. Vicki @ Knocked Up and Abroad
    March 31, 2015 at 9:56 am (3 years ago)

    Yep, this is EXACTLY how it rolls in our house too. Dads seem to have more energy to bring the fun and yep, backyard bombfires have been done here too (in our tiny unit backyard). Mr Vick and I are so different but yet the same and we come together in the right ways to create consistency and hopefully a strong, nurturing household. No doubt you and Dave are a great team x

    Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      April 1, 2015 at 6:04 am (3 years ago)

      That sounds perfect, Vicki. It sounds like you guys make a magic team too πŸ™‚

      Reply
  10. Emma Fahy Davis
    March 31, 2015 at 10:20 am (3 years ago)

    Yes! This happens in our house too! I’ll go out of an evening and come home to find Miss 2 asleep on the couch next to her daddy, Miss 12 watching movies and the middles all tucked up in one bed together because when he’s in charge, he let’s them choose their own bedtimes and put themselves to bed. Of course, he’s not the one that has to deal with them the next morning when they’re overtired and cranky!

    Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      April 1, 2015 at 6:05 am (3 years ago)

      Ahh don’t you love that. Very cute though πŸ™‚

      Reply
  11. Nicole@ The Builders Wife
    March 31, 2015 at 10:21 am (3 years ago)

    Totally the same in our house! Though I must say we do take turns in doing the crazy stuff, my favourite is to dancing with the children around the house, they think I’m nuts, but happily dance around with me, laughing all the way.

    Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      April 1, 2015 at 6:06 am (3 years ago)

      Yes, Nicole! I love a good crazy dance around the house and we do love a bit of karaoke as well πŸ™‚

      Reply
  12. Kathy
    March 31, 2015 at 11:07 am (3 years ago)

    Yes – you have nailed it. I am much more for structure, whereas hubby will let things be. Us mums do the hard work really and Dads have more fun – I think it has always been that way, for the most part. But you are right, we are yin and yang together and the kids are better for it.

    Reply
  13. Ingrid @ Fabulous and Fun Life
    March 31, 2015 at 11:17 am (3 years ago)

    Mums and dads are definitely very different and kids seem to know that! My kids anyway, seem to treat me and my husband very differently and expect different types of parenting from both of us! I do wonder what they would do I weren’t there? Or would his style of parenting change in that circumstance?

    Dave sounds like a wonderful and spontaneous Dad.

    Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      April 1, 2015 at 6:08 am (3 years ago)

      Yes, I wonder about that too sometimes, Ingrid. Sounds like you guys are a great team.

      Reply
  14. EssentiallyJess
    March 31, 2015 at 1:51 pm (3 years ago)

    Boatman would have cooked in a bbq. I’m kind of surprised he hasn’t!
    Yes we are very different. I am the holder of all practical information, such as who eats what, or wears which knickers. He is the one who knows who is most ticklish where, and how far they can hang out of a boat without falling in the ocean.
    Very different.
    And that last reason is why I rarely go fishing with them all πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      April 1, 2015 at 6:09 am (3 years ago)

      I love the way you’ve detailed how you guys work. That’s awesome. I bet you’d be a very fun household.

      Reply
  15. Tonia Zemek
    March 31, 2015 at 3:32 pm (3 years ago)

    I love this post. That wheelbarrow oven is fantastic. It all sounds like a beautiful combination of yin and yang. What lucky little girls you have to have such fabulous parents so devoted to them. x

    Reply
  16. Grace
    March 31, 2015 at 3:48 pm (3 years ago)

    Oh, I love that BBQ in a wheelbarrow!!
    I think it’s great that you both have different parenting styles but still have the same core values. And yes, your children will be very well-rounded because of it!
    Mr Surfer’s pretty creative when it comes to making cars out of boxes, viking hats out of chicken wire and volcano paper maches.
    He loves getting them grubby too! They went off to splash in puddles the other day. Came back drenched and wearing the biggest smiles!

    Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      April 1, 2015 at 6:11 am (3 years ago)

      Ahh that is awesome! Mr Surfer sounds like a very fun dad also πŸ™‚ x

      Reply
  17. Beck @ CraftyPJMum
    March 31, 2015 at 4:05 pm (3 years ago)

    Sure does sound like our place. I can’t figure out why the kids will walk right passed Dad to find me and only ask for food. Why ? Lol

    Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      April 1, 2015 at 6:11 am (3 years ago)

      Lol!! I really don’t know. One of life’s great mysteries I think πŸ™‚

      Reply
  18. Natalie @ Our Parallel Connection
    March 31, 2015 at 4:19 pm (3 years ago)

    I have seen many families run the same way. Women tend to stress more about going the kids the right foods, making sure they are warm, brushing teeth etc. Men juts go with the flow. Maybe it is different in families where the male is the main care giver.

    Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      April 1, 2015 at 6:12 am (3 years ago)

      Yes, I’d be very curious to know πŸ™‚

      Reply
  19. Janet aka Middle Aged Mama
    March 31, 2015 at 5:26 pm (3 years ago)

    LOL I’m glad you wrote about this I have been wondering about it ever since you told me! I reckon dads get down and dirty with the kids (and kitties in our case) more. When it’s just me at home, Miss Fleur is content to snooze and cuddle but when the hubster is home, she loves all the fun and games he thinks up – I don’t know how he does it!

    Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      April 1, 2015 at 6:13 am (3 years ago)

      At least he provides me with good content, Janet!! πŸ™‚

      Reply
  20. Bec @ Seeing the Lighter Side
    March 31, 2015 at 7:28 pm (3 years ago)

    Ha ha, thanks for the laughter, I’ve just about go tears rolling down my face! I showed Mr D and he was mostly laughing but I think partly taking notes… maybe I should go and lock up our wheelbarrow!!!

    Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      April 1, 2015 at 6:13 am (3 years ago)

      Lol!!! I think you definitely should. I think Dave has inspired a few dads today πŸ™‚

      Reply
  21. Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me
    March 31, 2015 at 7:48 pm (3 years ago)

    I have a Dave at my house and I think you’ve nailed it, between the two types of personalities the kids will have a bit of everything! Gotta love Kiwi ingenuity! xx

    Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      April 1, 2015 at 6:14 am (3 years ago)

      Spot on, Em! That’s his favourite catchphrase πŸ™‚ x

      Reply
  22. Toni @ Finding Myself Young
    March 31, 2015 at 7:52 pm (3 years ago)

    Its the same in our house, Trent is fly by the seat of his pants and fully laid back. I don’t tend to be full on structured but there is a loose routine. And whats with them always asking us for stuff, but not doing it with daddy?

    Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      April 1, 2015 at 6:15 am (3 years ago)

      Lol. I really don’t know, Toni!!! We’re just lucky I guess :/

      Reply
  23. Lauren @ Create Bake Make
    March 31, 2015 at 8:13 pm (3 years ago)

    The photo of your wheelbarrow BBQ made me laugh out loud, I just showed Scott and he was very impressed too! We have similar roles in our household, when Dad’s in charge it’s normal for the boys to just be wearing undies/nappy and a hat while they help out in the shed or in the backyard. I think it’s good to have different parenting styles as long as your core beliefs are the same. You guys are certainly doing a great job, your girls are just amazing xx

    Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      April 1, 2015 at 6:16 am (3 years ago)

      Thank you, Lauren. You are too sweet xx

      Reply
  24. Lisa
    March 31, 2015 at 9:44 pm (3 years ago)

    Opposites attract and sounds like a great balance in your house. In my house I am the relaxed one, my hubby is the most structured one. But yes it still works x

    Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      April 1, 2015 at 6:17 am (3 years ago)

      Ooh that’s interesting, Lisa. I haven’t heard much of that. Will you be doing a wheelbarrow barbecue this weekend? πŸ˜‰

      Reply
  25. Druime@SnippetsandSpirits
    March 31, 2015 at 10:35 pm (3 years ago)

    Beautiful Renee !! Sounds like our house too. When I am around they want to be sitting on top of me.

    Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      April 1, 2015 at 6:20 am (3 years ago)

      Don’t you just love that, Druime? πŸ˜‰

      Reply
  26. Danielle L
    April 1, 2015 at 9:59 am (3 years ago)

    I think I am a little more laid back in terms of letting them be adventurous and try new things but my husband is much better at actively playing with them. I agree it is all about complimenting and supporting each other’s style and then the kids are the winners.

    Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      April 1, 2015 at 7:56 pm (3 years ago)

      That’s right, Danielle. Everyone has something to bring to the table πŸ™‚

      Reply
  27. Sally@Toddlers on Tour
    April 1, 2015 at 1:08 pm (3 years ago)

    Oh yes, my partner and I are on opposite sides of the zodiac, at times we are chalk and cheese. I am more structured and have routines for my parenting and Steve is relaxed with his parenting. However because we are complete opposites we compliment each other and fill the gaps of what the other lacks. Ultimately I think it is a good thing.

    Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      April 1, 2015 at 7:57 pm (3 years ago)

      I think it’s a good thing too, Sally.

      Reply
  28. Tegan
    April 1, 2015 at 4:41 pm (3 years ago)

    Paul and I parent different too. Similar to Dave and you, Paul is the gets his hands dirty parent while I am the routine following, sit and chat parent. Paul has cooked dinner on an old dining chair over the fire before. He lives out of town though so he could have a bit of a bigger fire for us to sit around. I love the smell of fire that permeates your hair and clothes after sitting around the fire.

    Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      April 1, 2015 at 7:58 pm (3 years ago)

      Lol. Sounds like Paul and Dave would get up to plenty of craziness together!

      Reply
  29. Lucy @ Bake Play Smile
    April 2, 2015 at 10:55 am (3 years ago)

    Oh that is hilarious!!! My Dave sounds like your Dave… always out and about doing different things I would never in the world think of doing!

    Reply
  30. Kylie Purtell - A Study in Contradictions
    April 2, 2015 at 12:35 pm (3 years ago)

    This sounds just like Dave and I. The week I spent in Perth last year I think the girls had the best week of their lives with Daddy, he’s way cooler than Mum!

    Reply
  31. Tash @ Gift Grapevine
    April 3, 2015 at 4:32 pm (3 years ago)

    We’ve never had a wheelbarrow BBQ but how you and Dave parent sounds exactly the same way Handy Hubby and I are. It works for us and as long as I don’t find him teaching the kids how to make chlorine bombs one day in the backyard I think we’ll be fine πŸ™‚

    Reply
  32. Bec @ The Plumbette
    April 7, 2015 at 2:07 pm (3 years ago)

    A similar approach to parenting happens in our house too. The girls love being with Jacob outside helping with the gardening or even playing with his Lego. The house will look like a bomb has hit it when Jacob looks after the girls and I’m writing on the computer or gone to do an errand. Your girls are gorgeous and well behaved which is a testament to the great parenting you and Dave do to the girls. X

    Reply
  33. Ashlea @ Glamour Coastal Living
    April 8, 2015 at 7:33 am (3 years ago)

    This is hilarious! I can imagine hanging up the phone, thinking ‘what the, a wheelbarrow?!’ It is true, steaks always taste better when flame grilled πŸ™‚ Glad it was a success and the kids loved it!!

    Reply

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