There are tons of parenting styles out there but there’s one in particular that happens to suck when you’re the mom. Earlier this week, my best friend who’s a mom of two girls shared with me how frustrating it is to be seen as the “bad cop” parent (or “bossy head” as her girls call her) when dad is known as the “good cop” or the fun one. And she’s not alone in feeling this way.
Research has shown that a large percentage of mothers are left down in the dumps when, after a long day caring for the children and laying down the law, dad becomes the center of attention upon his arrival from work. The same study also found around 70 percent of mothers feel that they are often forced to play “bad cop” when it comes to discipline, while dad plays “good cop.”
The way I see it, us moms are the ones setting the structure for each day. Of course, we’re going to do everything in our power to make each day as smooth as possible, especially for us. Because there’s nothing worse than a baby who’s cranky and fussy today because he didn’t go to bed on time yesterday.
Moms tend to handle the grunt work of parenting. And maybe this is partly due to the fact that women are naturally more nurturing than men. Who knows? But oftentimes our way of nurturing can come off as over-protectiveness and eventually we’re labeled as the “fun police.”
When our son took his first fall, I surprised myself by being extremely calm. But there have been other situations when I’ve let the what-ifs get the best of me. And… I may or may not have gone a little overboard when it came to baby proofing the house. My boyfriend isn’t a fan of all the baby gates he has to open to get down to the kitchen for his usual late-night snack.
Discussing Parenting Styles with Your Partner
Parenting styles are something my boyfriend and I discussed when we found out we were expecting. After talking with our friends with children, we knew there were certain things that would aid in the development of structure for our son. Having a set bedtime early on was one of those things. At first, my boyfriend wasn’t too pressed about the idea but I knew that I needed my nights back! When you’re pregnant, you don’t really get a good night’s rest especially if you get a bad case of heartburn like I did! Getting our son on a schedule to sleep through the night was one of the best gifts to ourselves!
As he’s getting older and we’re focusing more on things we should be teaching our son, a difference in parental authority is one thing we don’t want him to learn or even assume. It’s understood that there will be times later on in life when he knows who to go to when he wants to get his way, but for now, we want to make sure that he has equal respect for us both.
Be Equally Fun and Authoritative
My boyfriend and I take turns teaching our son right from wrong. We don’t let one parent be the one always yelling “stop” or “don’t put that in your mouth!” We alternate to the best of our abilities.
And as far as fun goes, right now it involves singing songs and handing out tickles—lots of tickles. That, I can do. But if he shows any interest in sports, you can count me out. That’s all dad. I’ll be the one trying not to panic from the sideline.
If you’re feeling like you’re becoming the fun police, loosen up a bit. Think about all the good that could come from a day off your typical routine. I know, I cringed, too. Don’t think about the worse that could happen. Enjoy this time. I’m doing my best to enjoy it because I know my son is going to forget about tickle time with mom when he’s old enough to run behind dad. It’s tough enough that I have to deal with his first word being “da da.” After all these sacrifices I’ve made for this little human and this is how he chooses to repay me!
Take it from my best friend, being a “bossy head” gets to be frustrating. Let dad be the bossy one for a change while you enjoy having fun with your kid, even if that means drifting off schedule.