Running the Household Dad’s Way
In the spirit of Father’s Day, it’s appropriate for men everywhere to discuss the best way to run the household in the absence of their spouse – should you be as fortunate as I am to have one. It’s important you embrace your manliness. Let’s face it, there’s a mother’s way of running things and then there’s a father’s way.
Fearing repercussion from both this publication and my partner at home, I’ll simply say that while “dad’s way” may not be better, it’s probably more efficient, and certainly more fun. The key word is FUN. Kids need that. My wife has an intensity that makes Al Pacino in “Scarface” look like the Easter Bunny on Prozac.
I am, however, a firm believer in Darwinism when it comes to raising the kids. They’re tougher than you think. If they’re still in one piece when she gets home from a trip, let’s bump fists and move on.
Like a lot of parents, we agree on most issues when it comes to raising the kids. It’s not until you get into the day-to-day chores do differences between our styles become apparent. Guys tend to sacrifice emotion and finesse for results. Don’t get me wrong, I love my wife, she’s a great mom. It would also have been a heck of a lot more paperwork to have children without her. That said, there are many tasks I can perform faster and more easily with minimal risk to the kids. They fall into three categories.
Meals. We all know smoothies are nutritional and fast. As much as we try to introduce all of the four major food groups separately and in many different forms, small children just don’t seem to share our palette for Brussel sprouts and fish sticks.
Any meal, however, blended thoroughly with a generous helping of chocolate syrup is tasty to a 2-year-old. It’s important to add that meals with disposable plates and utensils under the guise of a “picnic” are both interesting to the child and a reduction of work for you.
General note: When taking time to prepare meals for the little ones, make sure you’re taking care of yourself, too. If necessary, it’s more than OK to take the occasional swig out of the juice or milk carton while the wife is away. WebMD is very clear that any germs you may be carrying were already passed along by the little ones staring at you from across the counter. So don’t worry about contamination, they’ve already had it.
Baths. If you think about the amount of time it takes to draw a bath, undress the kids, wash all the parts and still get them to bed at a reasonable hour, you’ll agree there’s got to be a better way. I’m not advocating we don’t wash kids, but in the spirit of conservation, I’ve installed a new program utilizing the greatest invention of our time – hand sanitizer.
Instead of the traditional soap-and-water routine, I opt for this substitute on Tuesdays, Thursdays and alternating Saturdays. The stuff says it kills 99.9 percent of all germs. If that’s the case, they should probably drink it. If your kids’ left over bathwater looks anything like what sits in our tub, you’ll understand why this option is a strong one. The label also says that it contains moisturizers and vitamin E, which virtually eliminates the need for lotions or nutritional supplements.
Laundry. The quick answer is, wait until Mom comes home. But, if you’re in a pinch and you have to do it, consider my Korean friend on South Boulevard. At $1 per pound, it’s the obvious choice for the on-the-go dad.
First off, our kids are 2 and 1 – my son’s shirt is the size of a washcloth. If you add up the entire weight of a week’s worth of clothes, it can’t be more than lunch for two at Five Guys. The added benefit here is that when you get the laundry back, it will still fit. Consider that when calculating the replacement costs for clothes otherwise compromised when trying to catch ESPN SportsCenter and simultaneously perform laundry duties.
These are just a few of my innovative ways to add efficiency to the household. I’m glad to provide others should your request make it past my wife who doesn’t share my zest for alternative methods. She wears her sense of humor like a Pitbull wears a sweater. The truth is, I love my kids, and they’re much better off with their mom around. Like a lot of guys, I know that both Mommy and Daddy styles complement our household. I, for one, am very glad I don’t have to go it alone.
Kris Kellogg also is the voice behind Charlotte Parent’s Father Figuring blog.