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'Gatekeeping' mothers - Page 2

post #21 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by plunky View Post
And god forbid the spouse on the "outside" wants circ or vax or whatever else.
??
That has nothing to do with being the gatekeeper. I'd no more allow my spouse to circumcise my son than circumcise my daughter or cut off any other body part. Vax? We'd talk about vax. We do talk about vax. We compromise on vax. There is no compromise on circ. Anybody who wants to cut healthy parts off my baby's body is going to do it over my dead body. Nobody would call me a "gatekeeper" if my husband wanted to cut off the baby's finger and I stopped him. What's the difference?

ETA: I'm also all for it if any dad stops his wife from circing their son. It has nothing to do with the gender of the parent who wants to cut.
post #22 of 79
Thread Starter 
I've enjoyed reading your opinions. I agree that some uber-controlling moms have made it impossible for their partners (and others) to help. I've witnessed a few incidents like these and I always cringe.

I would never take the child away from her dad (or another loving family member or friend). However, if the child is asking for me and trying to wriggle away from someone, I will be available. I've had my dd crying in someone else's arms, struggling to free herself because she wants to be with me, and the other person just won't let go. Anyway, that's for another thread...

I would never critizise other superficial things like outfits (though I've silently laughed about dresses worn backwards or swimsuits that have been twisted in impossible ways around a little body) or the choice of dinners.

But it's sometimes not that simple if one of the parents works outside the home all the time and spends very little time with the children. My dh tries, but he gets easily frustrated and calls me as soon as something gets a little bit hard. He is one to plop a child in front of the tv for the whole evening so he can surf the net and be left alone. Sometimes he won't even let her watch what she wants so he can have a music program he wants to listen to while he is on the computer. Of course dd would rather be with me. I actively play with her. And I would definitely love some time alone to just surf the web and shut the world out, but I don't like doing it to dd if I can't help it. And I want dh (or the grandparents) to feel that way too. I don't really say anything, but sometimes my irritation shows when I get back from somewhere and the kid is whinier and needier than when I left because no one has really paid attention to her.

I guess it is some sort of gatekeeeping in that I want everyone to be like I am with her... But, really, is attention so much to ask from her own dad? I know I have to work on some of these issues but it still grates on my nerves.
post #23 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
That said...I'd probably flip out in that circumstance, too. Of course, if I flip out on my spouse when other people are around, I'm not that likely to have people wondering if I beat him in private. That can, and does, happen when a husband flips out on his wife. The dynamic is just different. And, really - having a big scene between the parents doesn't exactly help build healthy relationships between the parents and the kids, imo
Well I certainly wasn't suggesting that I would act in a way that if I were a man that others might assume I was a secret abuser. Perhaps I should have used another term, but I was thinking flipping out to mean more like strongly asserting myself as well as letting my spouse know he was crossing a line. I don't think I would have to cause a big scene to do that. And I think it is far more detrimental to the kids to see one parent get walked all over all the time than it would be to witness that parent stick up for themselves and set up healthy boundaries. That would actually be a good thing in my book.

Also, I think if a father were to assert himself when a mom was being really out of line and super controlling he would have most people's support unless of course they were only with the mom's like-minded friends who she trash talks to. I know I have found myself secretly rooting for one guy in particular to do just that.
post #24 of 79
I wonder sometimes if it kind of starts when the first kid is a newborn and mom is the only one who can breastfeed. And so mom gets lots of confidence in being able to sooth the baby and dad, well, not so much. (This is in no way meant to suggest that people shouldn't breastfeed!) And then if mom is a stay at home parent that sort of perpetuates the cycle. Throw in certain personality types and . . . .

Well, who knows how it happens. But I do think this is a real phenomenon in some families, based on my observations.

Catherine
post #25 of 79
My DH and I have actually stopped hanging out with another couple because the wife is like this. I can. not. take. the way she constantly talks down about him and orders him around. She was constantly making comments about how she couldn't believe I "allowed" my DH to do x or y and how she'd never allow her dh to do that.

um, I married a grown up. He does not need my permission to pick out clothes for his dd or to play video games (both things she didn't allow)

I think lack of confidence feeds into men allowing situations like this to continue. Our culture tells men that they are incompetent. Seriously name a sit com where the dad has it together as a parent.
post #26 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tuckoo View Post

I have conflicting thoughts about this. I know I do it to a degree, and I would like to stop. But I also feel the 'left-out' parent has to have some responsibility and not sit and wait for someone to 'let' him or her take care of a child or do a chore...
The problem with that is stepping up and doing something that needs doing can get the other parent in a whole heap of trouble with the 'gatekeeper'. Basically a "your damned if you don't and damned if you do" relationship. Don't do anything, get in trouble. Do something and get in trouble. If both outcomes were me getting in trouble I'd take the easy route too.
post #27 of 79
Oh, I don't know. There is a wrong way to give a baby a bath, like leaving them unattended, or washing the bum and THEN washing the face with the same cloth. There is a wrong way to feed babies and young children, like giving them foods they can choke on or have allergic reactions to.

If you have one parent who has spent time boning up on baby care (and everyone on this board has to admit it is an impressively serious and steep learning curve at first), it can be hard to go take a shower and come back and see your young child about to make a meal of the "do not feed" list, thoughtfully laid out on the high chair tray by your partner, who is sitting in another room answering e-mail.

It is especially hard when the partner - a funloving, doting dad who loves children and loves to play - doesn't feel like learning any of this stuff, and isn't interested in what you know about it, either.

We're not talking about putting dresses on backward here - that stuff is pretty cute. But the safety things, and the major, major annoyances, like constantly leaving dirty diapers anywhere in the house, could make any woman barking mad. I'm sure most people would say I should be glad he changes diapers. I would be, if the dog would stop showing up in the living room with her face smeared with baby crap.
post #28 of 79
I have to work full-time outside the home to make ends meet. Therefore, my husband HAD to figure out how to take care of our baby from 8 weeks of age on. And she was colicky. And the learning curve was steep.

I feel like he loves her even more than he would have because of all the awful and wonderful times they've had together. If you REALLY have to take care of something/someone, you love that thing or person in a deeper way.

So, even though it broke my heart when he would call me sometimes, in the beginning, to say that she had been screaming for 3 hours and nothing was working...I'm glad it happened the way it did -- because those two are TIGHT with each other.
post #29 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by cattmom View Post
Oh, I don't know. There is a wrong way to give a baby a bath, like leaving them unattended, or washing the bum and THEN washing the face with the same cloth. There is a wrong way to feed babies and young children, like giving them foods they can choke on or have allergic reactions to.

If you have one parent who has spent time boning up on baby care (and everyone on this board has to admit it is an impressively serious and steep learning curve at first), it can be hard to go take a shower and come back and see your young child about to make a meal of the "do not feed" list, thoughtfully laid out on the high chair tray by your partner, who is sitting in another room answering e-mail.

It is especially hard when the partner - a funloving, doting dad who loves children and loves to play - doesn't feel like learning any of this stuff, and isn't interested in what you know about it, either.

We're not talking about putting dresses on backward here - that stuff is pretty cute. But the safety things, and the major, major annoyances, like constantly leaving dirty diapers anywhere in the house, could make any woman barking mad. I'm sure most people would say I should be glad he changes diapers. I would be, if the dog would stop showing up in the living room with her face smeared with baby crap.
This doesn't sound like it has anything to do with the "gatekeeper" thing at all. If someone is responsible for a child's care, they need to be responsible.

And, I don't know anybody who would think you "should be glad he's changing diapers", if he's leaving them around where the dog can get them. I'm sure there are people who would say that, but I don't know them (or, possibly, they carefully hide their Neanderthalic views of this when I'm around).
post #30 of 79
People are talking about frazzled moms who don't want to accept help. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I think more than a little of that "gatekeeping" is due to real problems, rather than just hormones or a bad attitude.
post #31 of 79
But "gatekeeping" is, by definition (it comes from T. Berry Brazelton's books, by the way, as best I can tell), correcting things that don't need correcting for the sake of control. If you are correcting things that do need correcting, it isn't gatekeeping.
post #32 of 79
I know a couple of families like this. We spend less time with them than we used to because it can be hard to be around them. The moms always are so controlling, annoyed with their partners and tired - but they bring some of that on themselves, really. They freak out about everything - from the way the kids clothes are put on, to how the bottle was made, to the kids getting "too" dirty, nap not being done right and on and on. I can imagine it is a difficult dynamic to live with as their partner. And while I don't feel sorry for the partner who backs off, I can see how it develops. To me, it just seems like a general lack of respect for the other person in a parenting role.
post #33 of 79
I see what you're saying about the definition of gatekeeping, but I think in practice it gets fuzzy. As time goes by, you realize your partner doesn't know what he doesn't know. Worse, you don't know and can't anticipate what he doesn't know. Whatever happens could be something completely trivial. It could be something ultra serious. As it grinds on, it makes sense to keep the baby in your arms and the diaper bag by your side, showers be damned. But to the outside world, you just look like a big nasty gatekeeper. I don't know why I'm still talking, but I think there's a way to see it from the gatekeeper's point of view - that it's not just a case of different parenting styles. I suspect in a few generations this problem will be gone.
post #34 of 79
I know SO MANY women like this. Like pp said "damned if you do, damned if you don't" for the fathers. If they do anything it is wrong & so they don't do anything & it's still wrong. Geez , if everything I did was wrong I'd give up trying too - it sure is easier to do nothing & be wrong.

I honestly think a lot of it is the current attitude towards men of "it's like I have a third child". It drives me batty actually. Yes, they need to step up more but they also need support in that (as in, stop emasculating them from the get go).
post #35 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by zinemama View Post
We see this sort of thing on MDC all the time. Mothers who are exhausted from wearing their babies all day long and nursing them all night - yet who refuse to take a break and recharge for a few hours, because that somehow equates to "leaving" their babies, even though the child would be with its own father.
I don't think that is necessarily gatekeeping. I mean there are people who will give the "Oh, you deserve a break" speech to new mothers, who find it more stressful to leave the baby. At least in the first few months. With my first baby, I actually started my choir rehearsal up again right away, and it was a stressful mess. My husband sort of figured out how to comfort her, but for him it was pacing with her while she cried for the entire time I was gone. It was a bad scene and if I had just waited about 6 months, it would have been easier. But I got the thing about deserving a break, and it just wasn't fun and didn't feel like a break. I think there was a biological reason for that.

On the other hand, some people are extremely picky about things and may treat their spouses like children themselves. I'm really not one of those people, but my husband has this engineer kind of mind where he wants a flowchart or illustrated instructions for doing certain aspects of childcare. It is annoying as heck. I remember when I would ask him to get up with the toddler one day a week, and he said he didn't know what I wanted her dressed in. I told him she had a closet and drawer full of clothes, pick something. His response was something like, "Well, OK, but you won't like what I put on her." Put her in a diaper, but her in a gunny sack, I don't care. Sheesh!
post #36 of 79
So, suppose you say to your partner - Hey, stop! You just washed her bum with that cloth. Don't use it on her eyes. Here's a fresh one.

Your partner could see that as a needed correction, as a couple of PPs put it.

Or if he does't like getting corrected (and who really wants to be corrected by another adult?) he could see it as motivation to do his own learning on baby care (maybe dig out the literature from the baby care class you both took?)

Or he could see it as "getting in trouble" as a couple of PPs put it, and view his wife as an emasculator who is treating him like a third child.

Who is really getting in trouble in this scenario?
post #37 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by cattmom View Post
So, suppose you say to your partner - Hey, stop! You just washed her bum with that cloth. Don't use it on her eyes. Here's a fresh one.
Honestly, if my husband were bathing her and using the same washcloth on her bum as her face, I doubt I'd even be in the room. He'd be the one giving her the bath, so I wouldn't have to do it. So I wouldn't even notice.
post #38 of 79
It was her first bath. We were both there. And you might notice later if it led to pinkeye.
post #39 of 79
I think it's biological and hardwired. I don't know about anyone else, but my husbands (two different ones) have all collapsed with colds two or three days post-partum, worn out with the stress of baby-having and pregnancy and all else. (The medical term is couvade, if you wish to google.) Unfortunately, this coincides with my baby blues, of feeling desperately under-supported and over-emotional, and therefore reinforces the idea in the back of my head that I should be doing it all, and be able to do it all, and all that crap.
Saying that, I left DD when she was 5 days old for half an hour in the pub over the road for my works Xmas party. Daddy had a bottle of EBM (didn't use it)- she slept on his chest the whole time and as a first-time dad with two step-kids, it was the single best decision we made in our family. It didn't happen again for eight months, but that was OK too.
post #40 of 79
I think the gatekeeping is referring to superficial stuff.

Like the things that bug me but that I would NEVER correct my DH on. Parenting-wise, he makes odd clothes choices for DS-- not wrong, just the clothes don't really go together. Sometimes when DH feeds DS, DS gets a really odd selection of foods. Not unhealthy, or dangerous, just... weird.

Housekeeping-wise, DH does a very half-a$$ed job of doing the dishes, or cleaning the bathroom, and I have to work really hard to bite my tongue. My feeling is, if you are going to do something, do it thoroughly. Sometimes I'd almost rather he didn't help, but I'm not going to say that to him! Don't want to discourage him from trying.

Serious parenting issues (like one partner who struggles with rage, or disagreements on discipline / hygiene / safety issues) are another whole can of worms. I can see where it could get fuzzy (not sure I'd stress about a newborn getting pink-eye from getting her face washed with the same washcloth that her bum was washed with, though). But a partner who wasn't interested in figuring out what he doesn't know and needs to learn would be incredibly frustrating.
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