When you become a parent, your whole life changes. You have an entire human being to take care of and it’s not just about you anymore. Your task list will grow and can become overwhelming. This is where roles and responsibilities for a mother and father need to be established.
Between appointments, grocery store runs, housework, and sometimes school or work, you might start to feel like you’re not getting the chance to slow down and enjoy the little moments in life.
When you think about the roles and responsibilities of a parent, you might think of things like making sure 3 meals a day have been made, washing clothes, giving your children baths (if they are still young), and making sure your children are doing well in school.
But if you really think about it, there is much more to being a parent than just going through the motions. As much as it can be a very stressful role to play, you will feel a great sense of accomplishment.
On top of these everyday life tasks, you are also responsible for teaching your child pretty much everything. You’re literally teaching them how to be a functioning person in society.
you can’t do it all.
When the topic of roles and responsibilities of a mother and father come up, you need to understand that it is a discussion that should lead to a team effort, not a way to try and do less.
As a parent, you need help. You need a moment to take care of yourself.
This is why establishing certain roles and responsibilities with the other parent is key in making sure you do not exhaust yourself while also making sure your children are taken care of.
We tend to often neglect our own needs because we don’t establish these roles from the beginning and it gets to a certain point where the family becomes out of function. We want to give our kids the world but it is impossible to do that without setting up a structure that allows you to do so. Your kids may come first, but you can’t pour from an empty cup.
If you have a partner or are actively co-parenting with your child’s other parent, you can alleviate some of this pressure and stress by taking on equal roles in your child’s life or at home.
Teamwork makes the dream work.
Let’s be honest, you can not do it all. If you manage to do it, you’ll likely find yourself feeling like you missed out on experiencing parenthood because you had to spend so much of it stressed out and not fully present.
If there are two parents in the home- there is no reason that one parent should find themselves taking on the majority of the responsibilities at home or with the children.
For example- dad could tidy up the living room while mom bathes the kids. Dad could do an activity with the kids while mom is cooking to keep them engaged and keep them from interfering.
If you find yourself taking on every task on your own, you may grow resentful toward your partner and experience a burnout from overworking yourself.
It can be helpful to function as a team unit- giving each other assistance and time to care for themselves as well. On the days where we feel out of it, our partner may pick up a little bit of our slack.
The important takeaway from this though is to understand that teamwork is important in all of this.
The problem with “traditional” roles
In society, there is a list of “traditional roles” that takes place in a family. These roles and responsibilities of a mother and father have been passed down from generations.
An example of roles would be the mother doing all of the housework including:
- Family management
- Helping kids with homework
- Taking them to and from school
On the other hand, the father’s role is to “lead.” You may find irony in this, as in this traditional role, the mother seems to do all of the “leading.”
The main role of the father in a traditional sense is to:
- Bring money home for the family
- Be the protecotr of the family
- Essentially be the face of the family
The issue with traditional roles is that it is all too easy for men to use this to relieve themselves of all responsibilities when it comes to their children and their home. It fuels a dynamic called financial abuse.
This is where the man controls all of the ins and outs of the money, leaving the women and children to depend entirely on him.
In order to survive, the woman may put up with an intense amount of mistreatment and unfairness for the sake of having a roof over their children’s heads. Being the sole caretaker of the children- they may find it impossible to work, making this cycle very complicated to break.
Some mothers do everything they can and struggle in poverty, only to have their children taken away because their father, who has done none of the work in raising his children, has money.
These things are not unheard of, and it may even scare some women into staying with their abuser for the sake of being with their children.
On the other hand though, women may take advantage by not wanting to work or find a job. They think that men should have the sole responsibility of bringing in the income and that they can play the role of being a housewife forver.
Both situations should not happen and should be avoided at all costs.
This will not only bring fairness to the table but will also make sure that no one gets burned out in the process. Parenting should be a fun and rewarding experience so setting up the roles and responsibilities as a team unit is key.
What if the traditional role is what We want?
Some parents DO prefer the traditional family roles.
If it is something that the mother and father have decided they want to enforce, that is at their discretion. Not every man needs to be the breadwinner and not every woman needs to clean and cook.
It may just be the best option for your family, and that’s okay, so long as both parties are comfortable with their roles. It’s all in communication and what works best for not only the children but also the parents.
Our roles are different, but our involvement isn’t.
As a mom and a dad, your roles may not be the same, even if you divide the housework and childcare.
Mothers tend to be the nurturer as expected because it’s biological. That doesn’t mean that the father shouldn’t be nurturing or affectionate to their child.
Regardless of what roles you take on in your home, the thing that the kids notice the most is who was involved and attentive. Don’t shy away from doing things for/with your children because it is “outside of your role.”
These are core memories being made for your child, and you want them to remember that they were and are always loved.
If you’re feeling stuck in your roles, switch for a day!
Have you ever heard someone say, often sarcastically, “if only I could be the dad for a day”? I have.
This often comes from overworked, underappreciated, stressed-out parents. While the father is snoring loudly, the mom has to stay up with the baby. On the other hand, while the father is working 40+ hours at a job, the mother is at home watching TV.
If that is the case, have a conversation about switching some of the roles you do. If you’re feeling burnt out and feeling like switching roles for a day, try it!
Propose the temporary role reversal in a kind tone.
Listen- we understand. It’s frustrating to have a consistently full plate and no help clearing it. Stress can lead to anger and resentment, and you may take it out on your partner which is the last thing you ever want to happen.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed in your role, it is important to communicate with your partner first. A simple discussion could lighten your workload and bring understanding to the situation.
If you don’t have the conversation, resentment will build, and your problem won’t be solved.
Make sure that you are not using a harsh or accusatory tone when communicating because this can trigger your partner to instinctively get defensive, which can lead to bigger issues down the line.
Final Thoughts – Roles and responsibilities of a mother and father
Being a parent requires a lot out of you. The challenges and life-changing routines that you will experience is what truly makes this journey a memorable one.
A big factor in making sure that you can get through this with ease is by establishing the roles and responsibilities early on to make sure that you understand what aspects you will take care of versus your partner.
Without having a strong foundation, you will only make this harder on yourself. You wont get to enjoy the journey and will feel like you are not fit to be a parent.
All in all, we have challenges that make us want to quit but being a parent calls for you to push through and strive to be the best for the sake of your children.