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I’ve been struggling a lot recently with the fact that us mamas have to multitask, while the dads seem to find it a little harder, to say the least!

I can cook a full dinner, put on a wash, hang up the washing and wash a few dishes all while my daughter toddles around the kitchen amusing herself with her toys, hangs off my legs, cries to be picked up and generally goes about her day. I’ve even been known to pop her on the counter to breastfeed while I’ve been cooking.

Yet my husband – and I recognise that I am criticizing a man who is in the kitchen making dinner and will do the washing up after, so I really don’t have that much to complain about – finds it more difficult to cook whilst looking after Ameli.

It’s made me wonder about this supposed multitasking thing that we do as women.

BabywearingWhile I’m making sure the chicken doesn’t burn, am I really paying much attention to my daughter? I know enough to know that she is not pulling the kettle down on herself. I know that she’s safe and I have a general awareness of where she is despite having my back to her.

I allow her to open the cupboard and I allow her to bang her finger in the door – because we have soft close doors. I wouldn’t slam it. I allow her to touch the oven, to feel that it’s hot and to pull away. I even allow her to tug on the washing line knowing full well it’s going to fall down on her, and when it does I catch it so that it doesn’t actually land on her, just frightens her enough to know not to tug on it again (till tomorrow, at least).

I’m always aware of what she’s doing, but my attention is split between her and the chicken and the water running in the sink.

With her father though, the attention she gets is undivided, more or less. He is so focused on what she is doing, that the same meal might take him twice as long to prepare. He spends much more time talking to her, drawing her back to her play area and trying to get her to play with her toys – or the favourite kitchen laundry basket.

In the end, we still have dinner on the table, and the hours pass, but I can’t help but wonder at the end of the day, which experience has taught her the most, or meant the most to her.

Or does she benefit from both, gaining different experiences from our different approaches?

What do you think?

7 Comments

When Mummies and Daddies Do It Differently

  1. Both are different experiences but I have to say your approach is very similar to mine, letting her learn through doing even if thats that something is dangerous or wrong. She will always treasure the different memories she has of mummy AND daddy 😀 x

  2. I think both approaches are important and it’s great that she has parents that fit together so well. She’ll learn independant play and exploration in a safe environment while you cook and she’ll bask in the attention from Daddy and know that she is the center of your lives, chicken or no. When she gets older, her and Daddy will probably continue to “play” while you and she spend time learning together as you teach her how to stir batter and sort laundry. Both are important and they’re not mutually exclusive.

  3. They definitely benefit from the experience of both – in my house anyway… I find I am much more likely to let them *explore* and try things and yes make a huge mess. When daddy is doing child looking after with them – yes they have his full attention but it is more restrictive!

  4. round here I’m the one that spends more time round the kiddos…
    I try to multitask… sometimes I manage to do it… most I just can’t…
    Still… I think they spend more quality time with Vic that with me…
    🙁
    weeeelllll… 🙁

  5. Wonderful, both of you doing it the way you were meant to, fitting in like a puzzle piece. Not feeling guilty because you are different. She is learning that you care for her, that you allow her to press through the hedge and see what happens. She is learning that dad cares for her and maintains and reinforces the hedge around her with diligence.
    However daddy knows that if anything happens to her he would never forgive himself and he cant offer her ‘succour’ if she does get hurt, you on the other hand have a deep seated instinct and will be able to do what has to be done.
    That’s what I think.

  6. in our house we’re the opposite- i’m the super-attentive-to-the-baby one and my husband is doing stuff with an eye on him in the background. it’s been one of my biggest parenting struggles to realize that doing it different is GOOD and that i need to leave my husband alone and let him do his own thing. it’s good for me and good for the jude to be adaptable and learn different ways of doing things. basically i need to calm the hell down. 😉

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