Motherhood and fatherhood are different experiences but both revolve around love for a little one.

Differences Between Motherhood & Fatherhood

by Melissa Willets

Although the motherhood and fatherhood experiences are different, these two roles are becoming more and more similar in many households. While traditionally moms did the brunt of the work in raising the kiddos, dads are starting to take on plenty of parenting duties typically relegated to the estrogen set. As HealthyChildren.org points out, the amount of time daddies are logging with their little ones has increased in recent years. Still, motherhood and fatherhood will never be identical experiences for parents.

1. Discipline

As the website AskDrSears.com notes, typically, moms and dads discipline differently. While many moms are in the trenches of parenthood day in and day out, dads may only offer occasional rules and guidelines. Because of this, moms can tend to be stricter, while fathers may allow the kids to get away with more. For instance, dad may not press the issue of cleaning up the playroom, reasoning that the kiddos will simply take the toys out again later. AskDr.Sears.com also points out those mamas tend to focus more on a tot's feelings, while papas rely on a direct approach to discipline. For instance, if a mom warns, "Stop coloring in that library book," and her cutie begins to cry, she may worry about having been too harsh and hurting his feelings. Meanwhile, a dad will say the same thing and think that he has made his point.

2. Balance

For many moms, motherhood is a full time job. Although HealthyChildren.org notes that an increasing number of fathers are choosing to stay home with their honeys, this is still more common for moms. While stay at home moms experience many rewards from their role as primary caregivers, the job can be draining. Additionally, according to AskDrSears.com, mommy burnout is a common phenomenon. For a mother who has reached the end of her parenting rope, it is recommended she take some time for herself and find more balance in her life. Whether this means squeezing in an exercise class sans kiddos or getting out with friends occasionally, you feel much better and will likely be a better mom when you aren't feeling "trapped" by your tots 24 hours a day.

3. Guilt

Mommy guilt is a common emotion that many, many moms experience, whether they stay at home with their kiddos or they work full time. Because a mom's role has traditionally been to take care of her children, she may feel guilty for doing anything else, whether it is in a professional capacity, or whether she wants to do something for her personal enjoyment. Meanwhile, a dad views his role in the family as being a provider, so leaving for work in the morning doesn't spark feelings of guilt as readily. If you suffer from mommy guilt, remember that you aren't alone! Talk to your fellow mommy friends about how they cope with similar emotions. This may prevent guilt from taking over your life, and may empower you to find healthy ways to manage your feelings.

4. Behavior and Learning

Moms and dads bring different things to the family table so to speak. As KidsHealth.org notes, it is important for kids to have both male and female role models. That means they are learning things from mom and dad. Mom may instill patience and understanding in her tots while dad challenges little ones to master new skills. "You can catch the ball!" Mom may be the one to teach junior how to put on his own coat while dad may help him learn how to ride a tricycle. Dad models calm conflict resolution and mom models compassion. Together, mothers and fathers shape the totality of a tyke's childhood experience.

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