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November 08, 2006

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the best thing I ever did for my children was to get out from the middle of their relationship with their dad...to quit managing it and let him learn to trust his instincts same way I did....trial and error.

good post.

Wow...this definitely rang true for me. I struggled with this issue the past year and feel we're making some headway. I think what I always hated was how my husband would be gone for 2 months and then when he returned and watched our daughter for a few hours on his own, he was suddenly an expert on how to "handle" her. What pissed me off even more is that he actually was right in some ways because he had that objective perspective from being away!!

nice to hear he knows his stuff.

This is so familiar to me, but I'm such a control freak when it comes to Dawson.

What's worse is that I bitch at my husband for not "doing as much" with our son, but then I bitch when he tries to take charge.

I suppose that makes me a hypocrite. Ugh. I honestly think women are brought up with the knowledge that we should be supermoms, yet we want help, but when we're offered the help we don't want it anymore.

I hear ya on this..I think the thing that bothers me the most is when they offer their advice like you have no clue...I mean do we tell them how to do their job they go off to every day? Alas, sometimes they are right...and that is even worse.

Amen Metro. A-to-the-men. (no pun intended).

And Lisa B. I agree wholeheartedly. We like to be good at what we do - no matter what it is...

Love this! It was such a relief for me to just let the irreverent one have at it. When he is in charge, the kids go to bed much later than they should, they eat too much sugar, they wrestle too much before bed...but when he is in charge I have 2 hours to my self. Two whole hours. Ah well! They can have their Twinkies...I will have my two hours!

We owe it to our daughters to put the "co" in parenting.

Before I had a child, I had many a job. And in any job I've ever held, I've always felt that no matter how big or small the task, I wanted to do it to the best of my ability. I took great pride in my work -- because my performance reflected on me. And I was very protective of my "turf."

I think most women are like that. Being the expert of the child (especially when one stays home) is their "turf." And when the hubby tries to infringe on that turf, we get protective and pissy. They might be good at their jobs, rising in their careers, but we want to let them know that we are pretty damn good at our jobs too.

That's my theory. (That's how it feels for me, anyway...)

As the wife to a stay at home husband, our role reversal has brought on some really unexpected emotions from both sides of the fence. Lately I had been feeling completely inadequate as their mother, and paralyzed by the thought of losing control over the household. And he feels like he's been totally stripped of contributing capabilities and thinks I have I'm so lucky that I can escape the kids on a daily basis. Seems the grass is always greener on the other side. We have a lot of kinks to work out.

But basically, I guess what I'm saying is I can totally relate to what you are saying. I was never one to "co", and now I have to, and it's totally distrupting my rhythm.

Insightful and rings really true - whether you stay at home or not, whether your spouse is an equal partner in parenting or not. I'm trying to remember an article I read about this not too long ago, was it in Time? Newsweek? I wonder if it's just part of nature that a mom thinks she knows what is best for her child? That only she really knows her child? After all, can anyone deny that there is a different connection a mother has with her children?

But I do think we have to give the fathers a chance. Heavens knows I'd like my children's father to be a much more integral and active part of their lives, than mine was.

I'm lucky in that my (ex) husband is an excellent father. Although he was never home much, when he was, he stepped right in and helped, played with the girls, put them to bed, etc. We are divorced for almost three years now and other people think I'm crazy for letting him take them while he is home from Iraq, which is a few weeks at a time. But I trust him completely. He has taken them to Aruba, Hawaii, Gatlingburg, and I have never worried about him as a father. Now my first husband? Oiy, I won't even go there. He didn't have a clue about kids!

Once again, excellent post.

I have let the Hubby actually parent a little more than normal lately. Maybe cause I was the onw gone for awhile. He doesnt do things the way I do them (aka The Right Way) but at the end of the day, Grace is happy and healthy and loved. Thats all that matters anyways.

In our house, my husband has the flexible job. So, he gets to feed our daughter, take her to day care, pick her up, and feed her dinner. When she's upset, she cries for him -- all the freaking time. It is a heartbreaker for me. Fortunately, my husband does let me mother our daughter without interfering when I do try. I am so not looking forward to the time when she weans, because then I will lose yet another thing that brings us close.

well said, well put, rock on. i know i for one could use to let go a little more as well.

This is not a problem exclusively for SAHM's. I have a huge problem with this too. I want it both ways even though I know it's better for all of us if I can just step back a little.

I think that since this is now our "job" as a SAHM, we want to be the best at our job. It is infuriating when someone else can seemingly step right in and think they know how to do our "job". It's human nature, or maybe just ego that we want to be in control.

Anyway, glad to hear from others that we have to let go when baby # 2 rolls around!

It's tough for me to remember to relinquish the reigns. Being a control freak and all that.

But I married him, bred with him, surely to goodness at one point I thought he was adequate...

Then I take a deep breath and walk away. If I come back and everyone is still healthy, all is good.

I will overlook and try to forget the time he let the boy spray paint his penis fire engine red.

Or the time I left the kids and came back to find two (out of three) babies with stitches in their perfect little bodies. So not how I left them...

The second child will bring everything into sharp relief; you will be forced to let go a little and if Huz is worth his salt, when he is present he will really BE PRESENT and demonstrate a unique perspective and ability as The Daddy.

It's not just you... those of us who elected to stay home and do this SAHM gig are labeled "lucky". It is rare anybody will tell you how hard it is and how thankless and how demanding and how your old job was better in some ways, if only because your whining, cranky boss didn't actually follow you into the toilet when you had to pee.

It's never easy; but then, there is what is easy, and there is what is right. We just have to find what is right for us.

I have a friend who did EVERYTHING for her daughter because her husband was not involved with "kid stuff" at all. Both by his choice as well as her design.

Then this friend had her second child.

Her husband learned was it was like to be a parent and she learned she's not always right and her way isn't the only way.

So true! I always have to tell myself this. It's easier with him and yes, sometimes H is right and sometimes knows what is best for her before I do. It's so much nicer in our house because we both parent and I don't seek total control, Mommy knows Best type stuff. Gives me a break too!

This is very true.

But I would like to add that although I am a financially contributing member of this family, I am still the main parent. My husband is only home on weekends. I think mom is always the mom, regardless. But when Sunday rolls around, I am on vacation. I either leave the two of them to rough it out on their own or sit on the couch and vegetate, letting daddy know if there's a dirty diaper to be changed. At least that way my husband gets an idea of what it's like to be the main parent, if only for a few hours. So fine, he might not ever know what it's really like, but at least I get a kick out of him compaining about being accompanied to the bathroom every time he goes.

Kristen you are awesome! You always seem to know how to put things into perspective. I suppose that's why you are writing and not me.

You know, The Husband is the best parent. I'm the best parent, too. We're both the best parents.

It's not his fault he can't talk to The Talker sometimes; he's at work, and has to play catch-up with the relationship stuff. He would get mad, and it took him a while to realize he was behind, and he stopped being mad after that. He's the best. And I'm the best, too.

You want to know something? I have never thought of it that way. I thank you and, if he knew about this, my husband thanks you.

That is one of the hardest things for a mother to learn, I think. Great post Kristen.

I always thought that I was the only one who understood my daughter or could satisfy her needs the "right" way until one day, my husband said a little indignantly; "Daddy's do it different." And I got it! Not better, not worse, just different. Maybe a little slower on the uptake but maybe even this delay is better than my immediate reaction to her every want and need.

I do this, but I'm a much bigger asshole than you and generally don't admit it.

Well, here's a twist on that...MY husband completely skipped co-parenting and went straight to parent management. It's like those young guys who come out of military school and they are like generals or something. I've managed to keep my kids alive for 13 and 10 years respectively and now hubby wants to critique my parenting skills, remind me of all the things I USED to do that I no longer do (Um, honey, they just don't get as excited about puppet shows at the library anymore!) and definitely define what a "normal" 13 year old girl should be doing. And for those of you with sweet little toddlers...there's no such thing as a normal 13 year old girl! It's an oxymoron.

Sorry...caught me at a weak and bitter moment!

I definitely understand what you mean...about that's "how we pat ourselves on the back," when it can feel like we're not getting any outside validation or respect from society, (or even sometimes appreciation from our spouses).

I also think that you've made some generous and hopeful remarks here. So, first of all, in the short term, I'm so glad that your weekend with your husband seems to have gone better than the last one. I mean, it contained a spa trip for you, right, and it sounds like at least some overtures on his part to help with Quinlan. Those things alone sound like cause for some celebration. And, if you've had these insights and it's helping you be more open to accepting what he can give, that's even more wonderful and optimistic. Yahoo for that!

But, don't feel too bad about having trouble letting it go. After all, you have been having to do it by yourself, and I'm sure it's hard to switch off that feeling that you do have to do everything during the times he is in town. Once you're all under the same roof again, it might be easier to feel safer really letting go.

One last comment-do you think it's easier for you to let go, or even think about it, with some of your recent successes? Maybe actually getting some respect and recognition for your writing and super-cool blogs has helped you feel validated as you, not just Q's mom, and that makes it easier to share the parenting with him? Just a thought. Because for me, I'm still searching for a way to regain more of my personal identity and get some of that outside-of-motherhood respect that I've only recently come to realize I do actually miss, and maybe even need. Your success in doing that is just part of why I find you inspiring (and cool, of course).

Ok, sorry for another long comment...I've got to learn how to be more succinct!

Or is it that we are a tinsy weensy bit jealous of our men because they seem to so effortlessly know what our kids need before we do? Sometimes I am; but then I am reiminded of how much I really do love to see them interacting together... and it makes the DH really sexy to me!

(I do this to my hubby too. I brush off his suggestions, yet it seems he is right.)

It took me a while to let go. But life is infinitely more pleasant now - for all of us.

Exactly...

Really? Really? Gosh, thanks.

I think this is a really insightful post from you, and I know it's not always easy to get to this kind of realization.

Damn those men who actually can do some things right sometimes--therefore proving that we sometimes get it wrong. Damn them.

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