Mother’s Day

The Weekday Parent

Parenting is a sometimes thankless job made even more difficult when the spotlight is stolen by a partner who does not always pull their weight.

Carl J. Petersen
4 min readMay 9, 2021

I am the maker of rules

Dealing with fools

- Lyrics often quoted by my mother

When tales are told around the dinner table at family gatherings, my father has three advantages over my mother:

  1. He is no longer alive.

Death tends to sanitize memories so that we focus on the positive sides of the ledger. Perhaps it is our mind’s way of protecting people who mean a lot to us after they are gone or a sense of fairness that people who cannot defend themselves should not be held accountable. Regardless of the reason, I am more likely to recall positive memories of my dad than vivid recollections of some very heated arguments.

2. He did not play a very hands-on role during my childhood.

If a parent off-loads the responsibilities of day-to-day parenting, then the path is cleared to make positive interactions count. Divorced parents with physical custody have to do the work of ensuring their children do their homework, perform their chores and eat their vegetables. Weekend parents get to have fun with their kids. While my parents were a couple throughout my childhood, my dad was a workaholic who was rarely home, and that made quality time spent with him a special event.

3. My dad got a lot better at being a parent.

My relationship with my father was a lot better as an adult than as a child. It improved even more after he retired. These newer memories tend to crowd out the outdated ones and tend to define how I remember my dad.

My mom with two of her grandchildren

My mother holds none of these advantages. She is very much alive which means that not only can her current behavior trigger memories of past indiscretions, but occasionally she can do things to make me angry in the present…



Carl J. Petersen

Parent, special education advocate and former LAUSD School Board candidate. Still fighting for the children.