The Invisible Parent

A bit of a good news story this week, or at least upbeat.

I know a lot of us Mums just seem to think differently to Dads.  Even if two of you are there, the responsibility seems to fall on Mum.  She packs the change bag for family outings, she remembers how long it is since everyone has eaten, she notices and changes the dirty nappy.  So get a group of Mums together and you’ll hear it – moan bonding.  (But you know we love you really, Coran.) 

I first heard of moan bonding from an educational guru talking about teachers and we laughed, because it’s so true.  Partners hate socialising with a group of teachers because we sit there and talk about our kids and our classes and what the little *ahem* so and sos did to us today.  A problem shared may not be halved but it certainly encourages solidarity.  And when I stopped teaching and started socialising with mothers there it was – moan bonding.  Except you can’t really moan about your children, because everyone knows that anything bad about your children is all your fault.  So we moan about our partners.

I try to be very good during bonding sessions, because I have to say I’m blessed with a wonderful husband.  He cooks most nights and does almost all the cleaning; he does all the bills and works very hard so I can stay at home.  So I’m on a pretty good wicket and I’m aware of it.  But still.  There are those little things that drive you mad, because how can he not see them?!  (I’m sure I drive him mad too, but this is my blog.)

His main problem is that he’s too responsible (see, that’s positive isn’t it?).  He’s the sort of person who’ll decide to do an extra set of training during his leave, or be involved with other people in developing a new system.  Which is wonderful, but we live in the middle of nowhere so it often requires travelling.  And then I’m home by myself with the girls. 

And we really, really miss him.

He was away last week and every morning I had to go through it with our eldest. 

“Where’s Daddy?”

“When is he coming back?”

“Will he be back tonight?” 

“When he comes back I’m telling him he’s not allowed to go away again.”  Awwwww.

As for the little one, her face almost split when she heard his voice on the phone.  Skype is a wonderful tool, I recommend it to anyone who has anyone away from them – it’s basically videophone and it’s free!

Since he’s been back they’ve been beside themselves trying to spend time with him, because he’s a great parent.  Maybe he leaves the nappy on longer than I would, but he also plays with them and gets them ready for bed.

So this post is a tribute to the Invisible Parents.  The fathers (and possibly grandparents, aunties and friends) who are travelling this scary and wonderful journey called parenting with us, and who make our lives so much richer in so many ways we don’t notice until they’re not there.

And then we really, really miss them.

3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by plahski on June 5, 2009 at 11:54 am

    Yes! Horray to the support network and the partner in crime! My husband is some sort of domestic god and sometimes he is the only one to remember to pack a bib on an outing! hehe

    I stopped going to a mothers group because of moan bonding … I didn’t have anything to add because I am married to an absolute gem and I didn’t want to rub it in (it’s his birthday today actually) . I had the same problem in staff rooms when I was teaching and at day care centres I have worked in. I’m not good at the moan bonding – such a good term for it! But I can see where it has it’s place because it can turn into reflection and then it can turn into a solution!


  2. Posted by mummytiff on June 6, 2009 at 1:57 am

    I can moan-bond (love the term too!) with the best of them but when you break it down it’s just incidental stuff – forgot to pack the shoes, kids would starve if it wasn’t for me packing the food, does he think they can just brush their own hair? That sort of thing! When I break it down though (and compare to friends) I have a GEM too. He cooks dinner often, cleans as much if not more than me, does baths while I run at night, does stories while I breastfeed, helps clean up when the kids are in bed, and most importantly listens to me prattle on – often about not much at all!

    But………he still can’t get his washing off the floor and in the basket! Haha!


  3. As one of those invisible parents, thankyou 🙂

    *surreptitiously wipes a tear away*


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