Guest Post: Role Reversal Experience – Mr Infrastructure

This is the first guest post on Planning With Kids and I am very proud that it comes from my gorgeous husband! Here is his experience from trading roles with me last week (completely unedited!!!).

Back in 2003, Anika Sorenson (world #1 female golfer) addressed the media after her final round in a men’s tour event. She said,

“Felt was a great week but I’ve got to go back to my tour, where I belong. I’m glad I did it, but this is way over my head”.

While I feel this quote in some way aligns to my recent experience, I can confidently say its not a perfect reflection.

You will recall from last week’s Role Reversal Experience post, last week I traded my office desk and chair for 5 days in the role as a stay at home parent. I performed all the tasks Planning Queen normally would, from making the lunches to walking the kids to school, taking Possum to dance class to making 5 evening meals in succession. Apart from only very minor, but much needed assistance, PQ did very well to refrain herself getting involved. I was thrown in the deep-end, and had some very interesting learnings:

    1. The role of the primary carer is fundamental to teaching the kids good habits in preparation and timeliness. My attitude and approach becomes a beacon for how the kids react to obstacles and issues.
    2. Hey, I can cook an evening meal! I love a good process which is what PQ gave me with her simple recipes.
    3. Don’t put butter on sandwiches when the kids have told you three times already!!! – it can get nasty!
    4. It takes time to re-wire your everyday activities. Day 1 and 2 were murder however by Friday I was on the ball with routine, process and maneuvering through roadblocks (see point 3).
    5. It also takes time to re-wire the kids view of the “goto parent”. PQ normally gets afternoon tea, except for last week. PQ normally organizes lunches, except for last week. In some way, last week may have altered their perception of my role. Ongoing involvement could now re-enforce it.
    6. It’s OK to forget someone’s name if you haven’t seen them in months. It’s not OK if it’s only a matter of days. (Apologies to some of the kinder and school mums.)
    7. Playing games with the kids is most enjoyable when there are no outside distractions or time pressures. Unfortunately busy weekends, pre-sleep periods and a mind half on the office are not conducive to increasing fun. I need to change this!
    8. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Attempting too many tasks, just like at the office, results in a sub-optimised outcome, anxiety and frustration.
    9. Chose a better week to conduct a Role Reversal than the final mountain week of the Tour de France. Late nights wear you down.
    10. As apron-culture states, “Kiss the Cook” for the wider home-role they perform. Life without it would be messy, undisciplined, lethargic and average.

This week I used a different skill set to conduct a role for a sustained period which fortunately isn’t way over my head. While I did struggle earlier in the week, I was well and truly in the groove and enjoying what it gave me by the end of the week. In fact, this observation was made by a mum who recently changed from full-time employment to full-time stay-at-home mum.

While I definitely could get used to it, I’ve got to go back to my tour, where I belong. Like so many others, other pressures and objectives dictate this.

Mr Infrastructure