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I'm Not the Fun Parent: Here's Why That's Okay

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My husband and I have two completely different parenting styles. He is a jokester by nature and doesn’t take anything seriously. This radiates into his parenting. I, on the other hand, am organized and serious. I do things pretty methodically and this also carries over at home.

I’m the one calling everyone upstairs for bedtime, while my husband is downstairs playing one last game of tickle monster before sending them up. I efficiently help them brush their teeth and tuck them in while he lies down on their floor and tells stories until they fall asleep. And while I’m researching how much sugar they should be eating, he’s coming home from work with candy.

It’s not that he’s trying to undermine me, he just views things differently. Trust me, I’ve asked.

Sometimes you just have to finish what you’ve started, and this includes wild games of tickle monster. And he doesn’t get to spend any time with them during the week while he’s at work, so he stays until they fall asleep when he does. He buys them the treats because all kids should have treats occasionally. Plus there’s guilt for being gone so much, and he likes to spoil them. For everything there is an answer.

I like to think we’re a good mix, but I’m always falling onto the un-fun side of this parenting thing.

I’ve tried to do it differently, but I just can’t. It’s hard to sit through a game of Candyland when the dishes are overflowing the sink. And letting them stay up late usually impacts my morning because they won’t get out of bed for school. I usually regret when I decide to be fun. It throws everything off because then there is no balance.

I’ve just come to recognize that my role is important too. I’m not always fun and that’s okay. Because what I am is reliable, dependable. I am there for every nightmare, every illness, and every game. I prepare all the meals and all the snacks. I listen to their daily concerns and help them solve problems. I take them to church every Sunday. I’m the voice in the back of their heads reminding them to wash their hands and use their manners. I am an echo when they go to school to do the right thing and say hi to the kids that seem lonely. I schedule doctor checkups, flu shots, dentist appointments, and birthday parties. My role might not be as celebrated, but it is vital.

I take pride in knowing that their homework will be turned in every week and that their reading is done every night. I remind them to practice the piano, I get them to sports on time, and I take responsibility for their cavities or lack thereof. It’s not glamorous, but I’ve got this role down. The schedule, routine, and structure is all me. They need it just as much as they need the fun.

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