Parenting roles aren’t gender specific anymore. Nowadays, it seems that the majority of parents believe that “teamwork makes the dream work.” Responsibilities that once were handled by one parent or the other, now have a blended, all-hands-on-deck approach.
In our home, we are a community of doers. If a chore needs doing, we just do it instead of waiting for the parent that normally handles the task. After exploring gender-defined roles with our Chattanooga Moms Blog community and several of my parent friends, it appears that many families break away from gender-specific parenting roles.
Parenting roles can be broken down into three main categories. There are traditional, non-traditional and joint responsibilities that work for our family. After you read through this article, please let us know in the comment section if these are similar to your family and tell us if you bend gender roles and rules in your home.
TRADITIONAL PARENTING ROLES
Bringing Home the Bacon
My husband is the primary breadwinner and provides the most for us financially. We are grateful for his income but since he also carries all of our family’s health insurance through his employer, we consider ourselves fortunate to have the additional healthcare benefit.
Frying it Up In The Pan
I do the majority of the cooking with the exception of the grill. My husband is an amazing griller, but admittedly most of our outside cooking is during the summer. Both of my sisters married men who cook (year round) so they often come home to meal preparation already in progress. I’m sure God had a reason to give them this perk instead of me, but I do appreciate the days we are invited to dinner. Our biggest cooking issue is that we have limited time after work. Maybe I’m fooling myself, but grilling seems to be more trouble than stirring a pot on the stove or setting a timer on the oven.
Repairs and Maintenance
My guy is The Howard Family on-duty repairman. Sort of like Maytag, but not. He handles lights, plumbing, and most bug-killing. The only exception to the Howard Honey-Do rule is when a product comes with “some assembly required.” Modular furniture makes him crazy along with toys that need construction, like doll houses. I enjoy the challenge of a puzzle and have more patience for step-by-step directions.
Laundry Queen Rules
“Hi, I’m Eleanor and I’m a control freak about laundry.” Even though I’ve taught and demonstrated the art of laundry — yes, I did say art — to the kids, I still do most of it because I’m a weirdo. It’s satisfying to sort by color and fabric, fold a certain way and pull a few garments out of the dryer before they are completely dry so the wrinkles fall out just perfectly. It’s one of the few chores I actually enjoy and I’m claiming it. If you don’t like laundry, then what’s your favorite chore?
The majority of yard work falls on my husband’s shoulders (and back, and knees and nearly every other body part that strains when working in the dirt). I like to think that I “help” when it’s time to plant annuals and I tell my husband it’s “fun” to visit a garden center so “we” can select a new flowering shrub or tree. I also enjoy lounging on the back porch with a mixed drink and supervising, (err) adoring my husband’s yard work efforts with the tough stuff like trimming bushes and putting out mulch…or whatever he does to make the yard look great.
SHE – It’s all about the Money, money…
I handle the majority of bookkeeping and most issues relating to household finances. You would think that I take on this responsibility because of my background in accounting, but that’s not the reason. My father raised three daughters to understand all aspects of household finances so my sisters and I balance our checkbooks, look for best values on insurance coverage, keep an eye on our investments and set up the 529 plans for our kids’ college. (Thanks, Dad.) My husband and I always discuss large purchases, but often I’m the one who tips the decision one way or the other.
HE – Packing School Lunches
My husband packs school lunches. Danny is up earlier in the morning and the kids prefer his packing to mine. It probably has something to do with the quantity of food and fun variety. Over-packing seems to be their Dad’s weakness and our kids enjoy the spoils of his exuberance. Some of their lunch items come home in the afternoon since they didn’t have time to eat it, but as the Kermit the Frog meme says, “That’s none of my business.”
SHE – Car Maintenance
Strange but true, I handle most car issues and service. I don’t service the cars; I keep records on when they are to be serviced. My car records notebook has been known to impress even the most difficult service manager. My tabbed file folder organization is my personal car concierge and it holds every single record about our vehicles. My book will tell me the last time we changed the windshield wipers, rotated the tires or had a transmission service.
HE – Volunteer Champion
I love my husband for many reasons, but I think he’s an amazing volunteer. Danny is the go-to guy for most school parent volunteer activities. Even though both of us enjoy serving, his office is geographically closer to the school so he can stop by and help with evening activities and travel with the band for games.
EQUAL & BALANCED PARENTING ROLES
WE discipline together. Although I’m tougher, we share discipline equally and remain steady on a unified approach to boundaries and consequences.
WE spend time with the kids. Our kids are teenagers and naturally pulling away from time with us, but Danny and I both spend as much time with them as they’ll tolerate.
WE grocery shop equally. Sometimes it comes down to whoever draws the shortest straw, but honestly, we both dislike the once-a-week chore. We work together on meal planning, coupons and checking the store flyer for specials. We are both good at coming up with menu ideas for the week and we both are cost conscious about grocery budget.
WE both take the kids to doctor appointments. This parent role is not just for the moms anymore! I’m going to let you in on a little secret: I’m a fainter. When the doctor said my son had to have his tonsils and adenoids out, I hit the floor. When they removed a molluscum from my daughter’s knee, my cheek pressed against the white/gray linoleum. I can handle the dentist. I’m good with a sick child and a fever, but if you make me go to my kid’s eye doctor, you’d better pack the smelling salts. For us, it just makes sense to divvy up the doctor appointments.