Hello lovelies! Welcome back to This Unexpected Love. I recently rebranded How to Stepmom to This Unexpected Love and wrote all about it here. You can also follow me on Facebook (they have yet to approve a name change request... help), Instagram or Pinterest!
I decided to hop on the blog after someone told me that the way I’ve been raised affects the way I handle things in life now. Which got me thinking. I'm sure it totally affects the way I stepparent to how I go about my day-to-day relationships.
I also see this as a major reason why I held back as a stepmom and let my husband take the lead with his kids.
My parents had very distinct roles in their relationship. My mom was the caretaker, she cooked, cleaned, took care of the kids while my dad provided for us by working. It worked for them in many ways, but I also saw the other side and at times questioned if that's what I wanted for myself in life. As Erin from StepLife said ‘’I refuse to buy into this discourse of the hapless, hopeless dad syndrome”.
Men are very capable.
Cooking, cleaning, folding laundry… It’s not rocket science! In our household, we help each other out. We are in this together after all.
My husband was the first divorced dad I came across in the dating world and I was pretty impressed. FYI, I’m totally not biased. NOT AT ALL you guys… He wasn’t a single parent by definition, he was co-parenting with 50/50 access which basically translated into a 4 weeks on 4 weeks off schedule.
During those times when he was with his children it was up to him to get the groceries, make lunches, cook dinners, get the kids ready for school and preschool, help with homework, read stories, tuck them in, take them to appointments, be the person who would discipline and who was there when they needed daddy to listen to their stories. I can literally go on and on.
Did I already say that I was pretty impressed? It was entirely the opposite of what I was used to growing up.
When it was time to meet his kids I wanted to see him in action and had no intentions of swooping in and taking over. By that point, I knew he was definitely not a casualty of the “hopeless dad syndrome”.
The first time meeting my stepkids was nerve-wracking, to say the least. Matthew and I were well aware of the importance of ‘the first meeting’. So what did we do? Just about everything professionals recommend NOT to do.
I will never forget,
- Walking down the street moments before meeting his kids
- Both his kids giving me a hug and me being surprised and equally as freaked out because hugging is definitely not something I did growing up.
- Thinking "I’m on vacation!!" It was time to relax, get my brain out of work mode, meet his kids, his family and explore a town that might be my future home. 'Daddy duties' were on him and I would chip in where and when needed.
It has been 5 years since that first introduction.
Our household is not divided by the typical blue and pink jobs. We’re a mix of whatever works best for us and both pitch in with all household chores and things the kids need.
My husband still is the heavy lifter with the kids, who makes their lunches in the morning and signs their agendas. He’s the dad who sits down and helps with a school project because he loves building things. He’s the person who helps out with homework because his patience is just so freakin’ admirable and I’m pretty sure I never did long division in Holland or maybe I blocked it from my memory!
You might be thinking by now ‘but… what does she do?!’
Let me tell you! While my husband is about to pull his hair out in frustration I raise a glass of wine while binge watching Netflix and tell him 'You got this, babe!'.
Ladies, I’m sure my husband would have something to say about the lack of help or have a minor hissy fit. Plus, the we- work-together statement would be a complete lie.
I pack lunches (even though I dread it at times and often go missing between 7 and 8 am), sign agenda’s, help with homework (after I figure out how to do long division, get frustrated and hand it over to my husband…), cook, used to read bedtime stories (they are soooo old now 🙁 what happened?!). I also fold massive loads of laundry when the kids are home in addition to everything else that needs to be done when running a household but sometimes I also say NO to all the household chores.
Truthfully, Matthew and I both pitch in and work together.
I’m sure some of you might disagree and I totally get it because all of our situations are so very different. Last year things changed for us when my husband had to take on work at home instead of abroad. It was only for a brief period but with him away from home from 6 am - 5 pm, Monday to Friday, a lot of the day-to-day parenting duties fell on me.
At the end of the day, even if your partner had a long exhausting day at work, the kids still need their dad!
I’m not a big believer in blue or pink jobs but I do know my limits and am probably not the person who will build a skateboard ramp… Sorry kids.
The “hopeless dad syndrome” is either a myth or a well-maintained excuse men are using to get out of helping around the house. Clever guys... very clever!
Dads might do things differently than moms but these kids are doing pretty good with their dad taking the lead at our home. There is just no “one way is the best way” when it comes to raising kids. At the end of the day, we all just do what's best for our family.
And on a sidenote,
Happy early Fathers day, babe!!!