Parenting:: Is it Time to Start Thinking Like a Man?

We all know men and women are wired differently, and this affects their thinking when it comes to parenting. But is one way better than the other? 

Parenting:: Is it Time to Start Thinking Like a Man?

“We are excellent parents,” my husband boldly stated one day, when our morning had not gone to plan.

I stopped grumbling and shot him an incredulous look.

“We are,” he insisted. “We love our son, we take good care of him, we feed and clothe him, we keep him safe, we try and teach him what’s right and wrong.”

This was all true. We do, do that. And much, much more.

So then why is it, that I, and I imagine many other mothers, spend their days feeling that they should, and could, have done better when it comes to parenting?   

Parenting and The Y

Parenting:: Is it Time to Start Thinking Like a Man?

It’s no secret men and women are wired differently. It’s scientific fact. There are sex-based differences in brain structure {exactly how much, continues to be debated}.

Of course, not everyone will conform to these gender generalizations, but there are studies that suggest men are guided by gray matter and tend to be more logical and action-based in their outlook. Women, steered by their white matter, have a deeper connection to emotions, people and thinking.

This makes us good nurturers.

But could the very qualities that serve us so well in motherhood, also contribute to greater parental anxiety when compared with our male counterparts? 

The Measure of a ‘Good’ Parent

Parenting:: Is it Time to Start Thinking Like a Man?

My husband’s parenting barometer is far more generous than my own.

He sweats the big stuff, whereas I sweat, well, ALL the stuff.

He sees our child’s basic needs are being met. I see every inconsequential screw-up I make on a daily basis. Whether that’s forgetting to label a jacket, not spotting a dribble of toothpaste on a t-shirt until carline, or failing to deal with a toddler tantrum with breezy composure. Each a small failing. Each a bruise to my ego.    

Life would be much easier, if like him, I cared less of other’s opinions. He moves on quicker, too, whereas I linger over every botch until a new one comes along to replace it.

And when a potential, child-related concern crops up, he is pragmatic; proposing that we deal with the situation if, and when, it arises. I, meanwhile, Google the hell out of it, consider all possible scenarios, and worry about the worst in length.

Welcome to my World

A year ago, my husband took our newly turned three-year-old to soccer classes, which weren’t altogether successful. For the first ten minutes of training our son excelled before losing all interest and demanding to leave the auditorium for the playpark next door.

As my other half regaled the weekly escapade from the car on-route home, I recall feeling empathy, along with, I’ll admit, a little vindication.

For all those highly unpredictable {and less than enjoyable} baby classes. The ones, where rather than merrily clapping to songs alongside other babies, or playing with boxes of toys; my curious, head-strong boy was tugging at doors or cupboards, or burying under church pews and screaming bloody murder when he wasn’t allowed to continue his path onwards to the sprouting antennas of the church sound system. 

But aside from this furtive reveling, I felt something else. Or a lack of.  

I felt a level of detachment of someone who had not shared the encounter.  

And this made me realize, the same was probably for my husband.

When I recounted an early class exit or a tale of toddler woe, he was sympathetic, yes, but he had not felt the heat rise in his face and tears sting his eyes, having not ‘lived’ the parenting moment, himself. 

Mom Life

Moms tend to be heavily embedded in the general day-to-day running of their children’s lives. Traditionally it is us who take on the lion’s share of daily parenting, especially in those early years.

Of course, there are exceptions. There are stay-at-home dads and there are single-parent dads. But for the most part, it is women who adopt the primary caretaker role.

We may well have more dialogue with our children’s teachers, pediatricians, friends and their parents. In turn, we can be the first line of defense in safeguarding our child’s wellbeing and dealing with their difficulties.

It is often moms, therefore, who are subjected to the biggest emotional blows.  

Once, I asked my husband, what was his most challenging job. After a lengthy pause, he replied, “The finance job in Basra.”

It had been a rotation. In Iraq. A tough gig, no doubt.

But ask a group of moms the very same question and there will likely be little hesitation. And the answer, unanimous.

Good Enough

Will I ever be able to adopt the *cough ‘excellent’ parent mindset?

It seems doubtful. Particularly, when I don’t always feel worthy of the ‘good’ parent plaudit, never mind anything more superior.

But..I do try to be a ‘good’ one…  

In the latter stages of weaning, I remember making a batch of meals, along with baked bites for the freezer. *This is not a brag. I was a stay-at-home mom of one, who, crucially, enjoyed making baby/toddler food so much, that I had considered starting a blog. And perhaps with every pot or bake, I felt I was making up for some other perceived ‘shortcoming’.    

With the stuff now in containers in the freezer, I started to pull a fresh pair of pants onto my son to replace the lunch-splattered ones.  

Maybe…maybe… I am a ‘good’ mom… 

Distracted by the thought, I pulled the pants too high and my son face-planted the floor; immediately erupting into tears.

…Maybe not…

The universe had spoken…In what would be a common thread of motherhood it would seem.

Because, like many other moms, I am simply doing my not-so-perfect best.

And perhaps for that very reason, we are all far better parents than we ever give ourselves credit for.


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Looking for another taste of expat life, Vhairi M. relocated from Scotland to the cusp of the Woodlands in June 2019 with her oil-and-gas-finance-Excel-loving-husband, rambunctious son, Innes {August 2017}, and equally rambunctious, cocker spaniel, Luna. Prior to this latest international adventure, the pair lived in the other-worldly desert oasis of Dubai for several years. Whilst there, Vhairi worked on travel, food, and lifestyle magazines, which saw her eating witchetty grubs in the Australian outback, cooking breakfast with Gordon Ramsay, and sipping champagne at Prince Harry and Prince William’s {circa-Meghan} annual charity polo match. Nowadays, she spends much of her time writing children’s books. In 2020, Vhairi published a chapter book {Hamish Montgomery and the Cursed Claymore}, and a picture book {Great Auntie Betty and the Serengeti}, and looks forward to releasing more kidlit in the near future. Keep up to date with all her books news @vhairijanemoir on Instagram and via her website


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