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Dad’s the ‘fun one’ – and mum doesn’t approve

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Millions of mums reckon they get a raw deal – because dad gets a hero’s welcome as soon as he walks through the door, new research has shown. Researchers found a large percentage of mums are left down in the dumps when, after a long day caring for the kids and laying down the law, dad becomes the centre of attention on his arrival from work.

It also emerged many find it hard because they feel they’re seen as the taskmaster while dad basks in the ‘fun one’ image.

The study also found around 70% of mums feel that they are often forced to play ‘bad cop’ when it comes to discipline, while dad plays ‘good cop’.

Paul Thompson of baby swimming school Water Babies, which commissioned the study, said:

“Mums are very often the engine of the family and do so much to keep domestic life running smoothly day to day.

“Inevitably, that means having to be the voice of reason or ensuring the children do what they need to, which isn’t always the fun option and so it’s easy to see why they feel they are usually the stricter parent.

“It’s important that both parents get time to properly bond with the children and concentrate on having fun away from the routine.”

The results also found around six in ten mums have been so concerned with the issue of the children’s perception of their dad that they’ve raised it with their partner, while others said the subject had led to arguments in the past.

Around nearly three quarters of the 2,000 mums studied said they tell the children off ‘far more’ than their partner ever does.

And more than half said their role of having to step in and make the sensible choices made them feel like ‘the fun police’.

The resulting feeling was most likely to be frustration while a quarter said it leads to them becoming upset and 30% regularly worry about whether they are too bossy.

One fifth even went as far as to admit that the difference in parenting roles often led to them feeling jealous of their partner.

Mums were convinced that their children associate them with homework, tidying and the boredom of the weekly routine while dads were more commonly associated with playtime and fun.

But when mum does get that chance to spend time with the kids outside of the weekly routine she finds her fun side – nine in ten said they become ‘the fun one’ when the tables turn and dad takes on the other duties.

Perhaps then it’s no surprise that the majority of mums wished they could factor in more one on one time to bond with their children than they are able to squeeze in currently.

Visits to the beach, playing in the garden and going swimming were cited as the top three family activities mums enjoy most.

Paul Thompson added:

“Neither parent should feel that they aren’t capable of having fun with their children and parents should always ensure they act as a team when it comes to making decisions.

“The results show mums don’t want to be seen as having to be the stricter parent or putting limits on the fun and are keen for more quality time with their children.

“Seeking out activities that allow mum time to be with her children without the hectic daily pressures is important in ensuring she doesn’t feel she’s getting a raw deal.”