Musings About Life... After Birth



Posted by Colleen on July 24, 2011

(Colleen originally published this piece in Your Tango's LoveMOM blog, for which she's a regular contributor, but it's so awesome, that we wanted to share it with y'all here in case you missed it there!)

My husband and I seem to parent our children differently based on their genders.

I read a post by blogger Janelle Harris today in which she discussed the difference between she and her boyfriend's parenting styles. Harris's tween daughter wanted a piece of candy, and in order to shut down the back-and-forth debate that ensued when Harris said no, the boyfriend just took the candy and ate it, making the argument a non-issue.

This made me laugh, because I immediately identified with the boyfriend. My oldest daughter was seven when my husband and I had our second child, so for a really long time, she was an only child. The two of us parented her very differently—he was a pushover; I was the strict one. Sure, sometimes I resented this dynamic, but I grew to accept it. He caved when she batted her pretty blue eyes, and I swept in with a punishment. It amounted to a fairly balanced approach as a unit, and we all knew what to expect. She'd push the limits, my husband would try to look stern, she'd put on her "Daddy's Princess" face, and I'd have to come in to regulate as my husband melted. Why It Helps To Play Good Cop Bad Cop When Parenting

Sure, the boyfriend's response in Harris's anecdote was a little on the jerky side. But it was immediate, conclusive, and, let's admit it, rather funny. Like I said; I'm usually the strict one. Momma doesn't mess around. But I stopped mid-chuckle, because suddenly Harris's story brought to mind another situation, one in which my toddler son (the addition who dethroned Daddy's Princess) was hell-bent on getting a Hershey's Kiss before dinner. Ever conscious of my children's nutritional intake, I steered him toward an apple.

He wasn't having it. He handed me back the apple, trotted his diapered behind right back to the pantry, and retrieved the Kiss, which I'd made the rookie mistake of placing back within his arm's reach. I took a breath and braced myself for the battle sure to ensue. Kiss in hand, he waddled back to my side…and wrapped his pudgy little arms around my leg in a ginormous hug. He threw his head back so he could look up at me, smiled broadly, and in his baby English, said, "Mama. PEEEEASE?" And before you could say "heartbreaking," the foil was scattered across the floor and my son was delightedly licking his prize from his fingers. From the living room drifted a single word from my husband: "Sucker."

What happened to our dynamic? My husband, ever ready to yank my son from whatever height he is precariously navigating and give him a timeout once back on solid ground, is still totally at my little girl's mercy. (If you need proof, let me just say that there may or may not be photographic evidence of my manly man playing a fantastic board game called "Pretty Pretty Princess," in which wearing pink-colored bling is most definitely involved.)

As best as I can identify, our parenting styles were affected by the introduction of a tax deduction with a Y chromosome. My husband and I seem to parent our children differently based on their genders, a tendency I never expected, being the enlightened and empowered woman I am. ("Roar" and all that.) Once we had both a boy and a girl, though, this tendency became obvious. My husband is very quick to regulate when it comes to my son, and when I asked him why he thought this was, he explained it like this:

"I was raised to treat women right. My mom had me opening doors for women when I was a kid, and my dad took teaching me how to be a good man really seriously. But it's a man's job to take care of women—not that you need me to take care of you, babe, just because I want to, because I love you—so I want to teach our son that, and I want to treat our daughter like a lady, too. I guess that's just how I see my job playing out."

OK, I get that (and thanks for teaching him right, mother-in-law!)

So what's my excuse for being harder on my daughter and a softie with my son? Is it due to the fact that my parents are Yankees and my husband hails from the South? That my dad was a military Colonel, ensuring that I'd have a bit of a hardcore streak? Is it because I was one of three girls and my husband was one of three boys? You got me. I'm a writer, not a shrink, and I'm doing my best to figure out this parenting thing as I go along. I'm just really, really, glad that I'm not always going to have to be the strict one anymore.

Let's just wait and see how the dynamic changes when my daughter thinks she's ready to start dating. That should be interesting.

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Posted by Chelsea on February 13, 2008

The Sports Illustrated soft porn

swimsuit issue came in the mail today. The magazine annoys me for a multitude of reasons: first, I don’t know why they even bother to claim that there are swimsuits in that issue; the majority of the women are essentially buck naked, and those (at least in this issue) who are “clothed” are wearing painted-on “swimsuits”. Second, all the women are ridiculously skinny and hot, and at 8 months pregnant and about 35 pounds over my ideal weight, I freaking hate women like that (oh, who am I kidding - I always hate women like that). At times I’m on the fence about how I feel about Hillary Clinton as leader of the free world, but when I saw the magazine, I thanked God that there’s a woman running for President to counteract some of the SI-generated “women are nothing but eye candy/sex objects” crap.

Perhaps just to mess with me a bit, my husband brought the magazine into the kitchen while I was giving our son dinner. “Look what came today!” he sang, waving the magazine in front of our son’s face. I rolled my eyes.

Our son grabbed the magazine and looked at the cover, checking out glamazon cover girl Marisa Miller, who was clad in a bikini bottom smaller than one of his diapers, her chest covered with a few strands of beads. You know, exactly the kind of thing women wear all the time when they go to the beach.

It’s Mommy!” he said, pointing at Marisa.


When he asked for a cookie after dinner, I gave him five.

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Posted by Chelsea on June 15, 2007

Last weekend I went to the card shop to purchase Father’s Day cards, all the while patting myself on the back for not waiting until the last minute, as is usually the case. My order was particularly large, as I was buying for my husband (one “husband” card from me, one “Dad” card from my son), my Dad (one “Dad” card me and my husband, one “grandpa” card from his grandson) and two grandpas (two “grandpa” cards from me and my husband, two “great grandpa” cards from my son).

As I leafed through the cards, I noticed that there were clearly a handful of set themes:

Recreation: namely, golf, fishing and watching t.v.

Sexy: These are, of course, wife-to-husband cards. “Happy Father’s Day, now let’s get naked!” These must be for parents of college-aged kids, right?

Laziness: “It’s your day, Dad! Lay on the couch all day if you want….not like that’s different from any other day!”. Also falling into this category are cards about not sharing the remote.

Apologetic: “Sorry for all the trouble I gave you/money of yours I spent/
sleepless nights I caused you, Dad!”. These also are available from the wife perspective “Sorry I always spend your money, but you’re a great Dad!”

Sweet: These are boring.

Beer: I’m amazed at how many frat-Dad cards referencing beer are out there. But really, why shouldn’t alcoholic beverages and Father’s Day go together like peas and carrots?

Dad refuses to ask for directions: I’ve been known to get a few of these for my father, as he always does. I would never, however, purchase one for my husband, as he is a human navigation system. Really and truly - it’s amazing.

Bodily Functions: Strangely, there are countless burping and farting cards out there. Honestly, though, what warms the heart like a Father’s Day card referencing farting?

If evil aliens plotting to wage war on Earth decided to do their strategizing/sociological research on mankind at the Hallmark store in June, I imagine they’d assume that the American male is a golf-playing fisherman who enjoys watching t.v., will never ask for directions, gets a ton of grief from his kids and wife (who may, however, be interested in having sex with him), and drinks beer and farts like a madman.

“This is going to be a piece of cake!” they’d chuckle.

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