I continually read about how much babies are addicted to their mothers, and often want little or nothing to do with their fathers. I always thought that the early years would be mine, and the later years would be their father’s. This saddened me a little- I want them to alway be both of ours, but I acknowledge that it’s important to let children grow away from you so that they can become their own selves.
However, my boys have always been addicted to their daddy.
When my eldest son was a teeny baby he would watch his father walk around the room. When he developed the ability to lift his arms for a cuddle it would be for Nick’s arms, not mine. When he could talk he would always call for daddy. We put it down to Nick being the ‘celebrity parent’, as he was out at work a lot of the time, while I was always with Reid. We had another little man and I would gaze at him for hours and whisper that he would be mine, imagined that he would always be addicted to me. However it quickly became apparent that he was also enamoured with his dad. I tried to see the positives- while Nick’s arms often had two children in them I was able to use mine for whatever I liked. He was the only one who could put my eldest son to bed, which saved me from reading The Gruffalo a million times.
But the other morning it went too far and cut me into millions of pieces.
Nick got up with Reid and let me have a little longer in bed as I had been up through the night with Ari. When I got up and walked into the lounge room Reid saw me and said ‘No! Go back to bed mummy, go away!’. Not cool Mr Cavalerie, Not Cool.
So, I told Nick that I wanted a do-over. I have always been the one to keep the boys in line. I think it’s important that they understand the limits, but are allowed to be free and have fun inside those limits. Manners are important to me, as is a level of cleanliness (which has lowered significantly since Reid started eating solids. sigh), and treating those around you kindly. Sometimes I know that I am too strict. Nick is more of the free-range parent, doing anything that the boys want him to, regardless of the long-term consequences, or indeed the consequences to himself. They are only young once, he tells me. I agree, however I think that we only have a limited time to instil our good values in them. But I think that between the two of us, we are going to raise some kick-ass kids. There are negatives for both of us, Nick has to give so much of himself, and I have to be disliked a lot of the time (luckily I’m home alone with them during the day so I do get wonderful cuddles, and they think I’m amazing then, but Nick gets home and I become invisible once again).
So I come back to wanting to make a change, and Nick and I agreed to swap places for one week. It has been much easier than I thought, I am stopping and thinking before I act, and Nick is quicker to step in to discipline. I am not worrying about the long-term consequences of every action, and Nick seems to be cleaning more!! The best part? Reid is playing with me more. We are hiding from monsters under the doona covers, he is reading me books, and tonight he stroked my face and sang me our lullaby (Edelweiss) while I lay on his lap. He let me read him a book in bed. And then he asked for his daddy to read him one.
So we are both put out, and neither of us could be happier.