In praise of Daddy Pig

Our daughter is a big fan of Peppa Pig, the eternal 4 year old and her little brother who have a happy time jumping in puddles, and going on adventures, often with their mum and dad in tow, and usually involving something going wrong and then being rescued. Daddy Pig is often the butt of the joke as he gets them lost or leaves something behind or is generally not up to the job. Mainly Mummy Pig is the brains and has the whole operation down pat.

In our house, I am often Daddy Pig. My husband runs a tight and smooth ship whilst I swan off to work, when I try to help, chaos often reigns and the kids definitely prefer Daddy’s cooking! I try and make up for my lack of domestic prowess by arranging lots of adventures for us as a family, and generally trying to be around to help. I am often more the entertainment than the grown-up and organise things for us to do.

I am beginning to see that the hapless breadwinner, who is not in charge at home, is what you get when you are out at work alot. Basically its quite hard to be superwoman, and I couldn’t do half of what I’ve achieved without my husband’s support.  I am quite happy with this, but now have empathy with many of my male colleagues at work for the first time. Some of them claim to get up in the night, do a full day’s work and do the school-run or look after the cooking and shopping. The main thing I’ve found that helps, is to show enthusiasm and excitement in all things domestic that the rest of the family have been up to and anticipate the number of jobs that are looking like they need doing round the house. I am definitely not great at that though.

My husband does however face discrimination in the work place. Our kids have  started asking “why doesn’t daddy go to work!” They are happy, healthy, calm and confident and well looked after, but that doesn’t stop me feeling bad when someone asks if my husband is going to get a proper job, so I can work part-time. His face lit up the other day when our daughter said “no not you mummy, daddy help me” for the first time. Colleagues who were stay at home dads describe the isolation and loneliness as the hardest thing to cope with, and the way that everything is set up for women, even applying for jobs that fit in around the school run cam be tricky if you are competing with women for a “caring job”. Being the token bloke in a room full of women is not an experience many guys particularly enjoy. One friend described the head of the PTA’s utter horror when he offered to help stuff envelopes with her, as it meant him going to her house alone during the day!

Anyway, what does the bible say about all of this? Peter 3v1:

“Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behaviour of their wives”

Submission is not a word I find particularly helpful but it keeps cropping up when I pray about my life! I know that if I try and put my husband first ahead of my concerns, and don’t just put all my energy into my work or the kids, our whole world works better.   I also think about this quote from Captain Correlli’s Mandolin:

“Just bring in the wood before she asks for it, and bring her a flower every time you come back from the field.  If it’s cold put a shawl around her shoulders, and if it’s hot, bring her a glass of water.  It’s simple.  Women only nag when they feel unappreciated.  Think of her as your mother who has fallen ill, and treat her accordingly.”

School days

It’s been emotional here today, as our oldest started proper big school in uniform. He loved it, and had a great reunion with his best friend Beth. This summer I have mainly felt completely broke, as I’ve felt bad I can’t afford to do all the things with the kids I would like, but seeing Jonathan so grown up at school today made it all seem ok. I am definitely rich in friends and family and with my lovely family even if I’ve nothing in the bank!

It feels like the beginning of a new chapter each year in September for me, more so than the new year. I also used to love school and new blank textbooks and new uniform and things to learn about. Over the last few years its been difficult to fit much in the way of education into my life, but the kids and work have provided alot of new learning opportunities! In December I’ve signed up to a course in writing blogs/features, so be prepared for an improvement!

I’ve also recently been given some magazines from the Mother’s Union which were a good read.. and I also like getting stuck into a good book. A couple of people have recommended “Building a Discipling Culture” by Mike Breen, so I’m going to get hold of a copy for this “term”!

If I’ve learnt anything though over the years its that learning involves listening, so I am going to try and make time for that too this term.. this is the Jewish version of a verse from Proverbs which seemed very apt for this blog..!!

Proverbs 25:11-13


11 Like apples of gold in settings of silver
    is a word appropriately spoken.
12 Like a gold earring, like a fine gold necklace
    is a wise reprover to a receptive ear.
13 Like the coldness of snow in the heat of the harvest
    is a faithful messenger to the one who sends him;
    he refreshes his master’s spirit.