OK, here’s yet another parenting cliché I never expected to apply to my life. (Not to be confused with the last ones I wrote about.): Alastair is the heavy. The bad cop. The “Do I need to get Daddy to come up here?”
The other night, I was putting the girls to bed and they were in one of their punchy, silly, impossible-to-control moods — utterly impervious to anything I said or threatened or did. Finally I muttered, “OK, I’m going to get Daddy. I need help.”
At which point Clio cried, “Nooo!!!! Don’t get Daddy!!”
I mean, I wasn’t planning to get him to come whoop (sp?) them or anything. I just wanted an extra pair of hands, so we could divide and conquer. But apparently the thought of him coming up struck fear into the heart of at least one of our children.
Which makes it tempting to use the “Do I have to get Daddy involved?” line as needed from time to time, just like ye olde gender-role-bound housewives of yore. But I really would rather they were a little more afraid of me, dammit.
Not that I’m a total pushover by any means. But I’m probably not quite as quick as Alastair is to draw lines or impose consequences or raise his voice. He’s better than I am at standing firm. And this may be in part a result of the fact that he’s with the girls much more of the time during the week, so he has to be able to manage their behavior effectively.
I, on the other hand, probably shrink a bit from conflict when I haven’t been with them all day. And, interestingly, I do find that the more time I spend with them, the better I am at reading them the riot act when necessary. (And the more likely they are to listen.)
I do wonder, though, if some of it has to do with more basic, primal stuff: I’m not 6’2″ with a deep, gravelly voice. (Sorry to burst your bubble if that’s how you always imagined me…) Maybe his physical presence is just more imposing? (Not that he would ever lay a hand on them, I hasten to add.)
What’s it like in your household? Who’s the “daddy”?
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