Men are Mars [bars]. Women are Venus [razors].
So, this week was Valentines Day and MuMan and I thought we might write something insightful about being in love but it seems that was not to be…
As it happens, this year’s V day week coincided with our first two night weekend without our girls. They have stayed at my parents’ house for one night many times before but this was the first two nighter! So this week started off with an amazing weekend of reconnecting with my love. Then, as happens every time we have a rest, I got ill. So when the girls came home on Monday to what should have been a fun few family days in half term (MuMan had an extra few days off), we ended up having a rather glum few days instead, one of which was valentines day which ended up being completely ignored.
The problem I found is that when I get ill, it seems to impact the whole house. The first thing that happens is the house goes to pot. I am not a housework ninja at the best of times but when I’m lacking energy, those things can wait. Our Twinkles however, cannot be cast aside in quite the same way. They still require the same maintenance and attention and at three years old, they somewhat lack the understanding of ‘Mummy’s not feeling very well’; understandably so, I guess!
What ensues is a funny downward spiral as I begin to get the sense that I’m being punished for not being on par. Whilst our girls can, and do, show great sympathy and affection, after a day they get bored and just want me to be back to normal. So whilst MuMan tries to step in, they want Mummy to do it. They want Mummy to play. They want to hold Mummy’s hand. They want Mummy to be normal Mummy and they’ll fight hard for it, which includes rejecting MuMan’s attempts to do more than his fair share. So they get frustrated. I get more tired. MuMan gets deflated. We all get grumpy. Which makes us all more frustrated, tired and deflated…!
And in the midst of this I had this funny analogy about the difference between parenting styles of Mums and Dads. Now whilst this next bit is going to be outrageously stereotypical, I am aware that not all men are the same and not all women are the same. The stereotypes in this house certainly get blurry at times but for the sake of my analogy the stereotypes remain.
So: men (actually dads) to me, are like Mars bars and more specifically, Mars Ice creams. My own Dad and MuMan share a similar trait as dads in that their loving exterior can often be a bit hard: it is built to protect what’s inside. Dads are natural protectors I think and particularly with daughters they can be more restrictive than mums in what they think their precious girls should and shouldn’t do. But then you crack the hard exterior and what you find inside is a gooey layered structure. Most men have layers and clearly defined separate ones at that! If you ever need some insight into the brain of a man [and a woman], please watch ‘Laughing your way to a better marriage’ by Mark Gungor or at least his YouTube clip on the difference between men’s and women’s brains. It’s the layers that keep them focused on the task in hand, without distraction. The problem, I find, that occurs only occasionally, is that sometimes, they start to melt, especially if they’re a Mars ice cream. Something throws the layered familiarity off course (like an ill wife), they start to melt and all the layers get a bit mixed up and confused. This makes for a bit of a defeated and unable to quite hold it all together Daddy.
What happens? Mrs Venus razor comes along and despite her own snotty coughing and spluttering inadequacies, she neatens everything up and restores the layers to their former glory.
Mums, I think, are like Venus razors, we have a job to do and we’ll get it done no matter what bumps, grazes or distractions are thrown at us. Now that’s not me claiming martyr status as sometimes I think it’s to our detriment. I’m on day eight of feeling ill and wonder if I’d just rested on day two I might not still be feeling like this. But from the minute your children are born, something in you knows that no matter how you feel you still have to do what needs to be done where your kids are concerned. You still have to dress them, feed them, care for them, etc. so you get the job done, no matter how it makes you feel; because you’re a mum. The problem is, sometimes like a super Venus razor, we can get a bit blunt. So we get the job done but we may cause a few scratches along the way because we’re not a smooth as we once were. I’ve found myself apologising to our girls so many times this week for being scratchy and unfair. Why? Because I’ve been trying to get the job done when the reality is I don’t have the energy. So it becomes counter-productive.
That’s when you realise that you need to work as a team. Help Daddy to restore his layers then he’ll take the kids out whilst you recuperate and sharpen up.
But don’t just take my word for it – this month MuMan gives his take on why being a team is so crucial and MuMotivate challenges you to be mindful about even the smallest things. MuMatriarch offers a great read on the daunting D word and our clever teen tells you what the next generation really think about Facebook.
Have a great month!