Is there a "deputy parent" in your home?

Is there a “deputy parent” in your home?

My husband and I have a span of 5 kids (3 small ones and we each have a bonus son). The 3 minis are the fruit of our loins, our offspring, the precious angels that are half him and half me.

So why is it that when people see me alone at a shopping mall, one of the first questions I am asked is: “who are the kids with?”

And when I need to travel for work, I find that people usually ask me who will be looking after the kids while I’m away.  I’m not leaving them home alone to fend for themselves, Penny. They have a whole other parent who is very capable of caring for them too?!

It doesn’t end there, friends. I find that my kids also run to me if they have an eina, if they need something for school or if they have a bum to wipe. (Okay they aren’t exactly ‘running’ to me for that last thing but you get the gist.)

I don’t know about you, but this gives me “deputy parent” vibes.

A “deputy parent” implies that there is one primary caregiver in the home (usually Mom aka Parent-in-Chief) and one secondary caregiver (usually Dad aka Deputy Parent).

This unspoken norm basically implies that it’s Mom’s job to care for the kids, and Dad helps.

What in the “Stepford wives” is going on?! And how are we still allowing women to shoulder all the weight at home when we march for gender equality and demand equal pay in the office?

Both parents should be participating, equally, in the raising of the children (also because we both participated equally in the making of the children – seems fair).

I shouldn’t be asking Dad if he can keep an eye on the kids while I go to the shops. I mean, it’s YOUR kids too, Bruh, I’m just letting you know that I won’t be around for X amount of time.

Fathers cannot “babysit” their own children. I mean, that’s implying that Dad is doing Mom a favour by parenting the children in her absence. It also totally undermines the dad who actually IS putting in the work, by basically referring to him as temporary help.

Is there a "deputy parent" in your home?Okay, okay, saltiness aside, I must admit that there has been a change in mindset over the past couple of decades. Young dads are choosing to be more present and more hands-on. (‘Sup Millenials)

But are moms willing to give up their title, to accommodate the hands-on dad?

I know, I know, it’s tough (because he is totally going to mess up our routine) but letting go of the reigns would mean you’re giving Dad an opportunity to parent HIS way. You know, using his “daddy instincts” … and not your “mommy senses”. (Which is the same as ‘spidey sense’ but with a mom-bun.)

At the end of the day, parenting should always be intentional, with the child’s best interest at heart. Developing meaningful, healthy relationships with each parent is made easier when both parents are involved in the parenting process.

And however you get that right in your household, as long as Deputy Parent, Parent-in-Chief, Co-Chief Parent and – well – every other person in your organisation is on board with it, you should be okay.

(Disclaimer: While this may not be yours, mine or the Queen’s parenting situation at home, it definitely still is relevant… hence the blog post.) 

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