Another Circle of Moms article got me thinking. The article is about the different parenting styles and strengths of fathers and mothers. Basically, the author is annoyed with people who claim that mothers are better than parents than fathers, or try to compare them at all. I agree wholeheartedly. The simple fact is that neither gender, if each person is a focused and dedicated parent, makes a better parent than the other. They are simply different *.
I have often fallen into the trap of comparing Papa Bear’s style of parenting to mine, and finding his grossly lacking. It is true that he is easily distracted and sometimes, despite being in a room with us, not actually present. But he’s working on that, and it makes him uniquely able to parent Goldilocks through some challenges I to which I simply cannot relate. When I get together with my girlfriends this syndrome is stronger than ever, and we find ourselves spiralling into a tightly wound mesh of frustration and impotence at their “otherness“.
Since we’ve been home educating, and because we work so much and spend so much non-work time at Church, we’ve spent a lot more time together as a family, and far less time with our friends. This has pros and cons, of course. But at a recent gathering of friends, we were struck by this “moms vs dads” tendency more than ever. To my suprise Papa Bear was most gentle and solicitious of me, fetching me glass after glass of tonic water and not joining in with a lot of the regular “guy talk” centered around spousal deficiencies. For my part, I stuck up for his new face fuzz!
I was so proud of him and felt so loved. It took all I had not to go all Stepford on everyone: hair in a bun, long skirt, prim smile and glowing, overflowing praise for My Man. Not to mention casserole in one hand, perfect pie in the other! (Ironically, I normally do pretty much look like that, and he certainly deserves a lot of glowing praise. And don’t all Baptists carry casseroles in their apron pockets?)
Such a reaction would not have been appropriate, necessary or helpful. But after reading today’s article, I thought the differences between Papa Bear and I, and how well we complement each other.
I am good at admin and order. He is good at strategy. I am good at basic needs (making sure everyone is clean and fed regularly and often). He is good at fun. (I am no good at all at fun). I am good at Bible Study, he is good at the application to daily situations, not to mention a simple, unwavering faith, which I often battle to maintain. I am good at the rudiments of school, he is good at the exciting parts: science, maths and engineering come naturally to him and he makes them fun. (That word again!)
We really are a good team and I am blessed by his presence in my life every day. As much as he drives me crazy sometimes, he is a levelling force, bringing me back to earth and keeping me from spinning out of control. I drive him crazy too, always pushing him forward, but he needs that as much as I need to be held back, an together we are much stronger than apart.
So, dear and wonderful friends, I’m sorry if I am so Stepford that I’m irritating, but Papa Bear is a wonderful part of my life, a blessing to me, my very best friend and staunchest supporter. What seem like shortfalls sometimes are little more than wondrous varieties, and make our lives fuller, richer and more interesting. I can’t be dishonest and say that he’s not all that. I can’t not say how wonderful he is.
*Found this this week on “African Queen”:
There is nothing wrong with something different.It is just DIFFERENT.The Bible says that we are to be different from the world:Hebrews 11:13 “These all died in faith, not having received the promises,but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them,and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.”1 Peter 2:11 “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims,abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;”We are all supposed to be different from this world and its lusts of the flesh.