There I was, sick in bed with a fever on a Saturday night, while my perfectly healthy husband and kids watched River Monsters downstairs.
“Moooooooooooom!” my youngest shouted to the far reaches of the vaulted ceiling. “Can you get me a glass of milk?”
Seriously, child? Your dad is right there. As in, three inches away from you. As in, fully capable of helping you and might I add, fever-free.
Of course my husband poured the milk, but this kind of “Moooooooooooom!” thing happens all the time.
Don’t feel good? Tell Mom.
Someone’s being mean to you? Tell Mom.
Need a snack? Tell Mom.
Missing a shoe? Tell Mom.
Mom will fix it, get it, and find it — just like she always does.
In the dusty corners of my rational mind, I guess I understand. Their dad is at work for the majority of their waking hours, but when he’s home? C’mon, you guys! Your dad is here to help.
That guy who lent you half his DNA is not lazy. He’s not a stranger. He’s not inadequate in any way.
Your dad is the man who used to wipe your butt and ease your croupy cough in a steamy bathroom at 3 AM. He’s the guy who taught you to ride a bike, play catch, and make fart noises with your armpits. I think we can all agree this dude has mad dad skills, so why won’t you ask him to pour a bowl of Cheerios or fetch a roll of toilet paper? Why does it always have to be me?
Do you forget he’s here? Is it habit? Am I faster to respond? Do I look bored? Do I somehow do everything better?
I’ve tried asking my kids. Their shoulder shrugs and “I don’t know”s have been suuuper helpful in solving this maddening mom mystery.
According to my mom friends, the “mom-ask” is fairly universal.
“Oh yeah, my kids only ever ask me for things. Even things only their dad is involved in.”
“My kids totally forget they have two parents.”
“My husband is the luckiest parent ever. He’s never on the hook for anything with the kids. They’ll trip right over him on the way to ask me for something.”
All this got me thinking, are our husbands the luckiest parents ever or is mom magnetism just kind of … I don’t know … sad for dads?
I know that for a long time I thought my husband was the lucky one — especially in the beginning. He didn’t have to grow babies, push them out, feed them all the time with his body, or get used to his body’s new normal. But as my babies clung to me to satisfy their bodies’ basic needs, I began to feel like the lucky one. My husband was missing out on a fraction of the magic. But their needs have changed a lot since then, and their dad is willing, able, and wanting to do whatever needs doing.
I don’t know the answer, but I do know my kids overlooking their incredible dad on account of the lazy mom-ask is unfair. So I made them this chart to remind them Mom is busy, Dad is capable, and surprise! They can do stuff, too.