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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Wait Till Your Father Gets Home

I just overheard the following conversation between the mother next door and her children:

Mother: (Poking her head out of the house)
Children: (Where they are everyday from 8:00 AM till dusk - On their trampoline outside)
Mother: "What are you doing with the hose?"
Oldest Child: "What?"
Mother repeats question
Oldest Child: "We made a lake!!!"
Silence while mother recovers from the aneurysm
Mother: "Well you better turn off the hose before Daddy gets home and starts yelling!"

End Of Conversation

Don't get me wrong, I am not criticizing Mom, in fact, unbeknownst to her, she is the affirmation of my own parenting skills. She is me and most likely millions of other mothers out there who invoke the Fear of Dad when faced with a situation that requires quick obedience on the part of the children in order to avoid disaster.

In this case, the "disaster" will only be experienced by Mom in the form of muddy footprints in the house, mud soaked clothing and shoes, baths for all and then scrubbing out the bathtub as well as getting the muddy hand prints off the walls that the littlest ones made whilst getting undressed for the tub. Nope, I don't blame her one bit - definitely a wait till your father gets home moment.

Now what about Dad? Is he some kind of maniacal terror that installs fear in the hearts of his children?

No, quite the opposite! He is a teddy bear but somehow commands the respect of a grizzly bear. (In fact, I have never heard Dad yelling... only Mom - bless her heart!). It was this way when I was growing up - at my house and at those of all my friends. Dad was the final authority - and what Dad says goes! (Never mind that Dad was just the executioner in Home Life Court and that Mom was judge and jury - we kids weren't aware of the nuances of the balance of power that existed between our mothers and fathers.)

When my own children were young, the politically correct feminist in me at first tried to resist the urge to invoke the Fear of Dad. At first.

Reality is stronger than any social or political theory - (just ask Lenin) and once I realized what an effective tool it could be, invoke I could and invoke I did!

So it made me smile this morning when I heard those familiar words and I had to think of that old saying - "The more things change, the more they stay the same."

All is still well in this little corner of the world.


1 comment:

Jennifer said...

YES! I just became a "pseudo-stepmom" (we aren't married yet) and the first month or so living with this child, I thought I could handle the discipline myself. But now I realize I can yell and scream all I want, but the only six words that matter are "wait til your father gets home."