male/female balance in parenting - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 07-06-2002, 03:50 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm interested in your experiences/opinions here. I know there are a lot of SAHM's here, and I imagine that must mean there are a lot of Dads busy working to support the family. Do you think that makes the parenting of your children overly "female" and/or is that the "natural" way of things?
Dh and I work the same amount of hours and when I work he is with dd and vice versa (well that's how it was at the beginning, now there's playschool, friends etc) because we felt that his parenting influence was as important as mine and we wanted her to grow up as bonded with him as poss. But it has somehow turned out that she is more strongly bonded with me and I am in charge of most things to do with her. And also that his kind of parenting I find too harsh, often.... anyway, wandering off topic here, i basically wanted to ask the question, should there be an equal gender balance in bringing up kids, in your humble opinions, or not?
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#2 of 5 Old 07-06-2002, 04:02 PM
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Good question. In our family, I do almost all of the baby care, simply because dh is at work and I'm not. When he's home, though, he does a lot of it--this morning he got up with Alec and played while I got to sleep a little longer, changed his diaper a couple times, took a shower with him, etc.

What we've found is that as the kids get older, dads get more interested. Well, interested might not be the right word, but once the kids can *play* the dads get more enthusiastic. Dh plays with our twins (8 years old) MUCH more than I do, mainly because I'm busy with the baby while he's playing with them. They ride bikes together, scooter with him, have water gun fights, play Game Cube, build forts or Legos, build birdhouses, etc. Those are all stuff that I *could* do, but I would do them grudgingly. Meanwhile, he loves to do it and it's great for them to be bonding with their dad without me hovering.

In answer to your question, I think that there *should* be an equal balance, but I doubt that there usually *is* an equal balance at all times. I think that by the time the kids are grown, as long as both parents are putting forth their best efforts, the children will have received an equal balance. But, it's not going to be a 50/50 thing constantly; it fluctuates, just like the rest of life. KWIM?

Homeschooling mom to four kids, ages 18, 18, 10, and 6. 

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#3 of 5 Old 07-06-2002, 04:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Good point, Twin Mom, like there's a time and place for everything, and maybe Mum's is at the beginning! I know dh had severe problems with looking after dd when she was young, he felt some internal resentment which I put down to conditioning, but I'm not sure (he didn't have those milky hormones, but then not every woman finds it easy either....)
It's like when I was worrying about my dd's diet, someone advised me to count what she was eating over a week rather than daily... I am always grateful to be reminded of the big picture!(I'm usually peering at something just in front of my nose )
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#4 of 5 Old 07-07-2002, 02:20 AM
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I hate to say it, but I do think that a child has a natural instinct to be with mam more when they are littler. I guess it's partly the feeding issue, but it also then creates the stronger bond, etc. We just have to remember that we are animals with animal instincts, rather than trying to raise our babies in the most uniform fashion, if that makes any sense.
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#5 of 5 Old 07-07-2002, 12:31 PM
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We try very hard to share parenting equally, and I would say that at 2 Eli is pretty equally attached to both of us. And this works very well for our family- Michael works outside the home and I work part-time from home- and it takes a lot of committment on his part to make it work. And I am still breastfeeding Eli, but Dadda has other things to offer.

Did anyone notice the story on father-child bonds in the latest Mothering? Studies suggest that faterhs to be and new fathers have hormonal changes too, and that these affect bonding. I definitely noticed Michael becoming more nurturing at the end of my pregnancy and after Eli was born.

I don't think an equal gender balance is neccessary to raising healthy kids- but I think kids benefit from having more than one primary relationship. And in our case, mom and dad benefit from sharing parenting a great deal, and we think that it makes us better parents.

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