The Unspoken Rules: Mommy Jobs vs Daddy Jobs

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Yesterday, I was in the kitchen making dinner, and I overheard a one-sided conversation between my three-year-old son and my husband, who were in the next room.

“Hi, son. What’ve you got there?” my husband said warmly. No response from the three-year-old.

“Wait. Is that…. Is that from your nose?” my husband said, his voice slightly elevated. Still no response from the three-year-old.

“Yeah, I think that’s from your nose. Go in the kitchen and take that to Mommy.” And in a matter of seconds, there he was, my sweet little blue-eyed boy with a big green booger on the end of his finger.

I’m not surprised that my husband sent our son to me to be de-boogered. You see, that’s one of the unspoken “rules” in our household: Mommy deals with all things green and gooey from the nose. I don’t know how it came to be that way; I just know that that’s how it is. My husband and I never agreed that this was a “rule.” It’s just a tacit understanding in our household. One of many, as a matter of fact. Here are others:

  • Cleaning up cat puke is Dad’s job. Our cat didn’t used to be a puker. But now, with the kids either throwing or dropping food on the floor all the time, she has had more table food than she ever dreamed of. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always agree with her. When what went down comes back up, my husband always cleans it, because that’s a daddy job.
  • Washing out poopy pants is Mommy’s job. At my sons’ day care, when the one-year-old gets poopy on his pants, they take them off, throw them in a plastic bag, and send them home in his backpack to be washed. They did the same thing for my oldest son (now 3) when he was in the infant room. In the last three years, between the both of them, I swear I have washed out about 100 pairs of poopy pants in our backyard with the water hose. That is and always has been a mommy job.
  • Hi therePicking up the baby after a messy mealtime is Mommy’s job. My one-year-old refuses to let me feed him anymore. So I let him feed himself. I’m proud of him for being so independent, but oh my gosh, he’s messy. You should see this child after he tries to eat a bowl of yogurt. Even with a bib, he gets it all over him, including his hair. But he’s so cute and so pleased with himself, that I don’t mind getting him out of his highchair, messy or not. It’s a good thing, too, because somehow getting-the-yogurt-covered-baby-out-of-his-chair is a Mommy job.

Why are some of these jobs clearly Mommy jobs and some are definitely Daddy jobs? Again, I don’t know. We’ve never reviewed the rules out loud. This is just how it’s always been, and for us, it works. And I’m ok with it. Because in the end, I know that we’re in this together. And that’s what really matters.

Photo Credit: deltamike.

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