Friday, July 18, 2008

Different styles of management

We have a huge thicket (which I’ve decided is my new favorite word – thick-KET, don’t you just love the way that rolls off the tongue?) of wild raspberry bushes behind our barn. This year, we have a bumper crop of them and the girls and I headed out there to pick, pick, pick today.

As I stood there in my jeans and rainboots drawing berries into a bowl, it occurred to me that it’s unlikely Mark would ever pull on jeans and boots on a 90+ degree day to engage in such an activity. But that’s O.K.

Let me explain.

As you may know, we have an arrangement where we both work part time. I go into my office two days a week and when I do, he becomes a stay-at-home dad.

Mark and I offer up very different parenting styles. I mean, we agree on the important stuff like rules and discipline, but the days they spend with me are wildly different from the ones they spend with him.

He is much more physical – rough and tumble if you will – than I. He stands at the foot of the bed and tosses them onto the mattress. He chases them through the house flapping his arms and screeching like a hawk. He grabs them and rolls on the floor with them and holds them down and tickles them until they’re laughing so hard they can’t speak.

The time I spend with them is more quiet and reflective. We like to go sit at the edge of the pond and “fish” with long sticks. We chase butterflies through the yard. We pick flowers and dig in the sandbox. We finger paint and color. We pick berries.

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I roll around and wrestle with them and he’s been known to sit on the floor and help them build things with their blocks. But for the most part, we stick to our “roles” not on purpose, but just because we’re both being ourselves with them.

The arrangement is good for everyone. One day, they’re running through the house from the Daddy Bear and the next I’m painting their toenails under a tree in the backyard. It’s really the best of both worlds – for all of us.

After all, variety is the spice of life.

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5 Comments:

Blogger Minnesota Matron said...

So true. We have a similar arrangement because we both work out of the home for about 3/4 of our jobs -- one a realtor and one a professor. The kids don't even really realize we both work! And John is all about the play while I am all about "did we learn to use a vacuum and how Madam Curie died?" Boring!

11:55 PM  
Anonymous XUP said...

What can I say - it sounds perfect. Much better than 2 parents with full time jobs that are too tired at the end of the day to do anything with their kids, but have plenty of money to buy them lots of electronic devices to make up for it.

6:28 AM  
Blogger Maureen said...

They get the best of both worlds. What could be better?

2:50 PM  
Blogger Jennifer H said...

And I'll just bet they look forward to both kinds of day with equal excitement. You sounds like great (and very cool) parents.

1:10 AM  
Blogger Kate said...

That is awesome!

10:08 AM  

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