I guess I was having an off day last Wednesday because I decided to open up the discussion topics for our new Fodder Up! on our Facebook page. Of course, not a single man (it's getting lonely over here) piped in with a suggestion, but several of our female readers did- and as always, they weren't shy about airing their dirty laundry. One requested we write about teaching men to step up for the first few months after the birth of a child (Nah- we did that; it was called March through May). Another suggested we teach men about domestic duties (Ungh- sorry ladies, but if I can't teach the simple task of turning on a vacuum to my wife I'm certainly not going to have any luck teaching it to your husbands). But the last suggestion we received, well, that one deserved a look...
Apparently, women seem to feel that us New Dads wouldn't have a clue what to do with ourselves if it weren't for them scheduling each and every moment of our day. Well, it's time to Fodder Up! my friend. Today's tutorial - telling your wife to stick her schedule where the sun don't shine.
It's not like I haven't heard this gripe before. My own wife has brought it to my attention numerous times. She feels like she goes to a lot of trouble to schedule everything from doctors’ appointments to daycare, and when it comes to this sort of thing I do d-ck all. Well, she's entitled to her opinion, and she and her friends can commiserate all they want about all the things that they feel that they do to make our lives sooooo easy, but over here, on this side of the fence, it falls on deaf ears. The truth is my wife's not making schedules to make my life easier, she's making schedules because without them she wouldn't know what to do with her own time.
We're different creature’s ladies. You like to plan. We like to improvise. You make shopping lists. We make mental lists of all the things we can do to get out of shopping. You freak out when the kid has the sniffles. We let you make the doctor's appointment so you can put your own mind at ease. You want to plan a trip for the whole family to the zoo. We want to encourage you to call a friend to go to the zoo so we can stay home and watch at least three hours of football. It's not that we don't plan, it's just our plans don't always coincide with yours, or your need to plan every single, solitary moment of your lives.
You want to organize sports for the kids, trips to the country, all the schools the kids will go to for the next 20 years. We just want five minutes to fix the leaky gutters, or scrape off the barbecue or put away the lawn furniture before winter comes. You have plans, we have plans- they just don't always coincide. The problem is we keep putting off our plans to fit our schedules around yours so you feel like you're getting all your goals accomplished while all of our tasks take a back seat.
So while moms around the globe pat themselves on the back for being the sole manager of all their family affairs, I just want to point out a few things they're probably over looking:
1) The House is Falling Apart:
Yes. While dad is following mom's strict instructions he might be getting a lot accomplished -such as getting a well-deserved nap as he waits for his daughter to finish her dance class- but a lot of things are starting to fall apart around the house. Water's seeping in to the basement and mold is starting to grow. Dad could have solved this issue months ago with a quick trip to home depot and an hour's worth of fixing the cracks in the cold room, but he was at the Amusement park with his wife and infant son, watching kids old enough to USE the rides enjoying themselves.
So when you go to sell your house one day and wonder why your property value has plummeted, so you can't afford that house with the to-die-for walk-in closet, just remember ladies, you decided what what wasn't a priority. You husband just wanted to please you.
2) Scheduling is a Disease:
Well, actually, on the home front, it's a disease that mostly afflicts women. There are even websites dedicated to this disease ( http://www.bluesuitmom.com/family/activities/time/ ). Try punching in scheduling kid's activities on the Internet. What comes up in the search doesn't say "dads" or "parents"- it says "moms." And moms will argue that this is because they are the only ones doing all the scheduling. I beg to differ- you are the only ones who WANT to do the scheduling.
In statistics, there is a concept called 7 plus or minus 2. It suggests that the human brain, well short term memory to be exact, can remember between 5 to about 9 items at a time before needing to store it in long-term memory. So that means if you can't remember something in the short-term, your brain will file it away for you. And, if you file it in a meaningful way, such as "if I don't remember this my wife will kill me," you'd be quite surprised what you don't need to write down. I can remember the dates of doctor's appointment, and by keeping the actual appointment card in my wallet, I'm always on time. I can remember whole shopping lists- especially if they involve food or something as important as diapers or toilet paper. I even can remember birthdays and birthday parties, but I don't have to because every fricken person I know posts theirs (or their kids) on Facebook.
"Men don't get directions"???? Fine, women make their own maps and spend most of their time trying to figure out WHAT THE HELL THEY DREW!!! Men "can't survive a day without their wives" telling them where they have to go??? Many women can't go a day without writing a schedule telling everyone around them what they need to be doing...But guess what? The kids don't need any more god damn after school programs, dammit!!!
Now, tell me, who is more lost?
3) Dads Are Quite Capable:
It's amazing to watch new parents fighting over the care of their child. Mom's act like they know everything and dads just seem to do what they're told. But the smart, involved dads start to question this whole dynamic and over time learn as much about parenting if not more than their wives. And wives may not want to admit it, but maybe their husbands are actually better caregivers than they are... so the scheduling starts- a way to for moms to feel in control when you might feel out of control, or just a need to control everything simply because that's just who you are (a nervous nelly that can't do anything without having it all planned out).
Well, dads are quite capable of handling the family’s affairs, from budgeting to shopping, to paying the bills, cooking, cleaning, and changing dirty diapers. Frankly, if you ask me, I think this generation of dads, many of whom were raised by single moms and taught to be self-sufficient, do not necessarily need a woman for anything, and that's intimidating to moms. So they take over, and dads let them, but it doesn't mean dads can't run the household...they just don't have a burning desire to step on their wives toes. And who would blame them?
We apologize if we didn't stick to our regular format here, but this was a valuable lesson for New Dad's to learn (and New Mom's as well). We are often our own worst enemies. We take things upon ourselves without ever discussing it with our spouse and then become angry when the other person doesn't recognize our efforts. It works both ways. So the next time your wife tells all her friends that you and the kids would be lost without her, and her "schedules", call her on it and prove her wrong.
Dads, you're equally as important in the entire parenting equation- don't ever let her forget it.
Hmmm... I wonder what my female readers will think of this one....?
"Happy Wife, Happy Life!"