So today we are on a joint family outing. You know the kind where the children are so excited they are not hungry but the minute you sit on the train it's
"mum can we have something to eat"
Or when you told everyone to go to the toilet before you left but your teenager still turns round at the coach station and says
"mum is there a toilet?"
That's us on a road trip from London to Liverpool to watch a football game. E kids are excited the dads are over the moon and as for the mums well we are trying to get some sleep.
This kind of trip is great though because even though there will be whining and complaining and someone is bound to graze a knee. The experience will be a great memory for the children and to that end we endure the trauma that is the road trip so that the dads can share a passion with their children.
But I am sitting on the coach wondering about the role of fathers. In today's society it seems more confused than ever as to what a man plays in his own home. You could say that this question has been around longer than me and will probably be around long after I have passed on but it does bear thought.
Each family is a unique entity just like each person so what works for one might not work another. For my family it works that we are involved equally in everything. I do hear often that I am blessed that my husband can look after his son but to be honest it has taken a little work and a conscious effort to make it so. Let me give you some examples to make it clear what I mean.
My husband is disorganised, he ilk freely admit that is not his strong point. So in order to facilitate his being able to cope with the baby I keep everything as organised as much as I can. Something as simple as a baby bag can frustrate him so when I changed bag to something more stylish that I liked, it frustrated him so much that we had to switch back. That might seem simple but if it's difficult for him to take the baby out he will be reluctant to do so without me which means I have to go everywhere with the baby.
Another thing is I refuse to jump in to help. I see so many women who because it is taking their partner long or it's frustrating them they just take over tasks from their partners and end up doing everything. In our family it's a rare day when I am doing that. If my husband is putting baby to bed and he is fussing I am not going in to rescue the baby under any circumstances. It has been difficult to hear baby crying because it's not mummy and that's what he is used to because of breastfeeding. But let me tell you I got over it and so did the baby who is happy to be put to bed by daddy now.
Having your partner involved for me has meant making a conscious effort not to take over just because I am mummy. Learning about the role of the father is an ongoing process for me and I take it one day at a time but at no point do I think that because I am a mummy do I have all the answers or can do it all. It is a tiring job being a mother, it's hard work and often thankless but a little bit of effort on all parts can make both roles a little easy. After all once the children grown up and move out I am stuck with the man I choose to be with.