The Hero Daddy used to make me very angry. He would come home after a full day’s work at the office, and I a full day’s worth of in-home war with two tiny toddlers. I would be covered in peanut butter and jelly, a plethora of bodily fluids, and living in a sweat pants purgatory because nothing cute fit or because it just wasn’t worth getting my one pair of jeans sticky.
And here he would come, Hero Daddy, swooping into the house in his clean clothes greeted by the sweet sound of tiny feet running and little voices shouting “Daddy’s Home!” When not two minutes ago those same tiny feet were trying to kick me in the face as I changed a diaper and the little voices were screeching things like “I don’t want to” and “No Mommy” and just plain screaming.
Hero Daddy could all of the sudden make everything funny. All of the sudden when Hero Daddy tells you to eat your dinner it’s hysterical and a really fun game. When Mean Mommy asks you to its battle lines drawn. When Hero Daddy tells you it’s time to put on your pajamas, it’s a laughable time filled with dancing while you jump into your jammies. When Mean Mommy tells you to put on your pajamas it really means it’s time to run away and throw your pjs into the dog kennel.
Mostly Hero Daddy made me angry because I wanted to be him. I wanted to be the one with whom the children laughed all evening long. I wanted to be the one to be able to solve tears with a joke and a playful threat of having to sleep in the chicken coop (one of the children’s favorite). I didn’t want to feel like Mean Mommy all the time. The one who tells them to do everything and the one who seems to make them cry.
But then both girls finally started sleeping through the night, and it hit me, I’m not Mean Mommy, I’m just Mommy. I am the one in the trenches every day with these little loves of mine and I am the one to enforce boundaries and do the disciplinary actions all day long. I am the one who tells them to eat every three minutes of every meal. I am the one who takes on the battle of what you can wear today and how much TV you can watch and how far away you can run down the sidewalk and if you can eat those marshmallows you’ve just stolen out of the pantry. But I’m also the one they call to in the middle of the night when they are sick or scared. I am the one they want to show their artwork to and the one who they can ask to hang it on the fridge. I’m not Mean Mommy, I’m just Mommy and the more I realized that the more I loved Hero Daddy.
In truth, I have a Hero Daddy. My Mom was the everyday parent, the one I yelled at, fought with, laughed with, confided in and cried to. But my Hero Daddy was there every time I needed him to calm me down or make me laugh, teach me how to race a 400M or to sing harmony in a duet, take me out to ice cream before dinner and to make me feel like the most special little girl God ever created. And he still makes me feel like that.
Every little girl deserves that. My little girls deserve that.
And Hero Daddy, with his clean clothes and loud dinosaur stomp as he chases them around throwing them into fits of hysterical laughter right before bedtime, does just that. When he sneaks them cookies while I’m in the other room, makes jokes about stinky things and teases them out of a tear fest he really does make these two tiny girls feel like they hung the moon.
And as every child does, they deserve that feeling and will remember it for the rest of their lives.
Turns out, Mean Mommy and Hero Daddy make a pretty good team after all.
And it seems to be a pretty universal theme…
To quote Phil Dunphy from Modern Family “Let’s not play Good Cop/ Mom”