I Am Not The Fun Parent

I am not the fun parent. At the children's playhouse/jungle gym/bounce house, I am not the parent stacking blocks nearly as big as my toddler from within the barrier of the toddler climbing room. My husband will though. I am the parent at a safe distance, maybe even sitting down, watching my child or children explore independently while ensuring that they never leave my sight.

At dinner time, my husband will create silly games to trick or encourage the kids to eat their dinner. My husband has a playfulness from childhood that he has never completely outgrown. Each popcorn shrimp is a member of a family that has to be reunited inside her tummy. This game has since been outgrown by our four-year-old, but she loved to keep the shrimp babies safe by eating them up.

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I am the parent who schedules physical therapy and speech therapy appointments. I arrange the proper wellness visits with the pediatrician and dentist visits every six months. I am not the fun parent. My husband will dig out the play-doh. He takes the kids outside to splash in puddles or dig in the mud.

I ensure that my 4-year-old has her snack for preschool once a month on the correct day. I always make sure that we return the library books on time, as I am the parent who knows that her preschool class goes to the library on Tuesdays. I crafted a home-made gift for our preschool teacher and her classroom aid with painted handprints and messages about what our daughter is thankful for about each of them.

My husband narrates pretend races between my daughter and her imaginary friends using the names of her cousins and friends as they all run around our dining room table. She laughs and plays harder trying to compete with racers that are not even there with us that afternoon. I am in charge or preschool pickup and drop off. I am not the fun parent.

My husband is the one that my daughter wants to put her to bed every single night with flash-light parties in her closet instead of a quiet bedtime story. The kids sprint to the sound of the opening garage door and wait in the laundry room when they see the headlights coming up the driveway through the pitch-black sky as it is now totally dark by the time their father gets home for dinner.

I put birthday parties on our calendar and save local community events on my Facebook page and Google Calendar for us to consider on the off chance we have an open Saturday morning. I am the reason we are stocked with diapers, pullups, and wipes in the appropriate sizes. I know when we need to go up a size in snow boots. I know off the top of my head what extra sizes we have in storage for boots, shoes, coats, etc.

There is more to parenting that planning, organizing, and preparing, but these are skills where I excel. Being silly is not something that comes naturally to me.

The children adore these tender moments with their dad. These moments are special. He works a traditional 9 to 5. His sacrifices create opportunities for the children that they do not yet fully understand or even know to appreciate yet, but they will in time. He has stress that he doesn’t always share, but yet, he is the fun parent. He puts aside the troubles from his day to make sure that there are plenty of laughs and smiles before bedtime.

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I am not the fun parent. The kids and I colour often; this week we even created special snowman Christmas ornaments with paint. We have dance parties in the kitchen. We play hide and seek. We go on adventures to the store to run errands. I know their favourite books, toys, movies, tv shows, socks, shirts, and panties.

I am not the fun parent. And that is okay. I am grateful that the kids have a father who wants to be playful and silly with them on such a frequent and consistent basis. Daddy is their special treat when he is home from work, and I am their every day. I am their constant, their 9 to 5. I am comfortable and trusted. I am sliced fruit and healthy vegetables. He is a Nutella sandwich with marshmallow fluff.

My husband and I are a wonderful balance of parenting for our children. He can calm my many anxieties and pushes me to take my kids to try new experiences. He encourages me to take the kids to events alone when he has to work regardless of how challenging the day maybe because the children will enjoy themselves. He reminds me that I am capable of anything I set my mind to personally or professionally. He tells me that he is proud of me. He makes me want to be a fun parent.

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