I think about this a lot as I am home with Thomas. How different is the care, nurturing and raising that happens? I know there are differences… for example I know that my wife is more nurturing than I am. Note to my wife: You are amazing, this isn’t criticism, please don’t take it that way
If Thomas starts crying, my wife is quick to render hugs, kisses and nurturing. When this happens and it is just Thomas and I, I don’t rush to pick him up and I don’t immediately plant hugs/kisses on him. I watch for his reactions; is this a ‘wailing he is really hurt cry’ or just a little whimper of a cry? Is he just looking for attention? If this is a wailing, really hurt cry I of course pick him up and tend to him, make sure he is okay. Most of the time though, this isn’t the case and he just wants some attention. When I give him time to figure out that he really isn’t hurt, he usually stops crying after about 10 seconds or so and goes back to playing. Of course sometimes he cries longer and I keep a watchful eye on this, if it goes longer than I think it should (over 30 seconds is about my limit), I pick him up and nurture him.
Both of these methods work well, he stops crying, but why do we have different methods? I mean, I didn’t read a book that taught me this method, what I do just feels like the right way to handle the situation to me and I’m sure that my wife does what feels natural and proper to her.
I see other differences in how we play with Thomas, how we interact with Thomas, even how we encourage him to play with his toys. I think that will be a different article, I kind of just wanted to get the conversation started…
I’m going to link this Wikipedia article I saw when we were deciding if I should stay home or not… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stay_at_home_dad#Advantages This article lists some interesting advantages that fathers instill in children over mothers (as a generalization). Perhaps this all goes back to the book Men are from Mars, Women are From Venus (which I have read). Male and female brains just function differently, we process thoughts and emotions differently, we solve problems differently and we definitely handle stress in different ways.
Do you see differences in how mommy and daddy care for the kids? Please share them in the comments.