Why It's Okay if You Aren't the 'Fun' Parent
It’s every parent’s worst nightmare—the moment you realize your partner is, in fact, the “fun” parent. Which means, while your kids may credit you for many things, for all intents and purposes, being fun is not one of them.
In a recent Facebook post, former TV news anchor and reporter Jillian Benfield grapples with this realization. But while she may not be her family’s life of the party, in many ways, she’s the glue that holds them together.
“Something happens when my babies turn two. For two years, my babes have eyes for me, but around their second birthdays, their gaze starts shifting towards daddy,” she explains. “They squeal when he comes home from work, they wrestle him, they cuddle him, they listen better when he disciplines. They adore him, and—if I’m being honest—he’s likely their favorite.”
But when crisis hits, it’s mom who they turn to first. As Benfield’s husband says, she is their “comforter.”
“When it comes to holding them in hospital beds or soothing the simply stuffed up heads, their arms reach out for me the way they did when they were younger,” the mom says.
So while her husband may entrance her kids with his silly antics and playtime excitement, mom’s nurturing ways matter just as much to them.
“Daddy is more fun than mommy. He loves and plays hard. They think he hung the moon and the stars, but I think they know it’s mommy who keeps their worlds spinning,” the mom states. “So, when it feels as if their planets are about to stop turning, they crawl back in my arms knowing I can somehow keep it going.”
Benfield’s realization is a much-needed “a-ha” moment for all parents. Just because you aren’t the the king or queen of fun doesn’t mean what you do matters any less.
“All of it matters. The grape cutting, the diaper changing, the school drop-offs and pick ups, the boo-boo kisses, the dinners they mostly won’t eat, the dance parties, the nighttime stories, the lullabies…It all adds up,” she explains.
She closes off her note with one important mantra.
“When I feel like I’m unseen, when I fear I’m not measuring up, I remember this: I am their comforter, and there’s no other job I’d rather have.”
Raising kids is much easier when you and your partner take a tag-team approach. As with Benfield and her husband, there may be an area where you falter, but your partner thrives. And remember, your relationship with your kids is just as important as your relationship with each other. For help navigating marriage while juggling a busy life, check out the Lasting app. The science-backed marriage health app is designed to be like marriage counseling on your own terms.