I was hanging with a couple of sisters-in-law this weekend and, of course, we got to talking about our kids. While our conversation could and did go in many directions – puberty, college, the latest obsession with K-pop sensation BTS – we kept coming back to the inalienable truth that children are far better behaved with dads than they are with us, the women who carried them for nine-plus months, painfully birthed them and then spent two to seven years forgoing sleep for feedings, diaper changes and debilitating anxiety.
Why? Why are our precious little angels manipulative, cajoling, brat demons perfectly willing and able to employ emotional blackmail when they’re in our presence, but are obedient, compliant, tongue-tied yes-people when they are in the company of their fathers? How are these sub-adults able to so quickly and effectively wear us down, but unable to make even a dent when dealing with their sires?
To be fair, we all acknowledged that as moms, we are naturally putty in their hands. From the beginning, we’re just too tired to offer much resistance, and that fatigue, though it changes as children grow, doesn’t lessen with the years. When infants/toddlers/tweens/teens cry, we soothe by any means necessary. And kids are smart; they learn quickly that pushing back when mom’s around will eventually yield results, but with dad, they’re taking a risk. He hasn’t been on the frontlines of breastfeeding debacles and hormone attacks, of battling powerful emotional swings and perceived threats to our babies. He’s usually fresh to the fight, defenses in place and operating at max capacity.
Alas, we found no answers, but enjoyed laughing at our maternal weaknesses.