Monday, September 29, 2008

On Parenting

I get a couple of magazines dedicated to parenting. One of the articles I recently read was about "Parenting Jealousy" where mothers are feeling jealous of their husbands because the husbands are connecting with their kids.

Skkkkrrrrrch. Wha...? JEALOUS? Because the dad is being a DAD?!?!?

Oh, my.

Then later in this same article, they quote a recent study that shows that the average American father spends 21.9 hours per week with his children. Twenty-one point nine. Hours. As in, less than one day's worth of hours.

So I thought, let me add up Mark's time with Anthony.

Monday through Friday, he's awake with Anthony from six to seven AM. Then again from five to nine PM. That's five hours per day. So we're up to twenty already.

Saturday and Sunday, he's with Anthony from six AM to nine PM (on average; there are weekends where Anthony spends the day with one or the other set of grandparents). That's fifteen hours per day. So that's thirty on the weekends.

So, Mark is an above average parent (we knew this already, though, from previous posts, right?) based on the time alone that he spends with Anthony (let's just say for the sake of argument that where Anthony is, there is Benjamin).

During the waking (or witching, whichever you prefer) hours with Anthony, Mark will have breakfast and dinner with Anthony during the week, with lunch thrown in on weekends. He will bathe Anthony and play with him. He will drive him to soccer games and encourage him from the sidelines. He brushes his teeth and reads his night time book to him.

I'm sad for all of the children who don't have fathers like Mark.

Twenty-one point nine hours, indeed.

And on the jealousy thing: I think that is pathetic.

There are things Mark is better at as a parent than I am. But there are things that I am better at, too. As long as we realize that, and play to each others strengths (instead of harping on each other's weaknesses as we are sometimes guilty of), we are really effective as parents.

Am I jealous that Mark has an infinite amount of patience at the dinner table when Anthony is refusing to eat something? Not at all. Sometimes I am the more patient parent, too.

Balance. Cooperation. Mutual Respect. Love.

Those are the keys to being good, effective parents, I think.

What helps YOU be a better parent?


Jennifer Jeanne said...

you should send this into the magazine that had the article. Call me later

Reyne said...

Gotta say Artie spent more than 21.9 hours with his kids. He was the primary one to get the kids off to school and pick them up from after care. I did Girl Scouts and he did Boy Scouts. What helped us be good parents was consistancy. And as an added bonus, that we didn't realize when we were married 33 years ago, was our agreement on how to raise our kids. We are a great team and it sounds like you and Mark are a great team too. Reyne

Michelle said...

I think jealousy is normal, really. Kids get jealous of their parents' relationships, too.