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'Gatekeeping' mothers - Page 3

post #41 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Viola View Post
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!
I just want to say, I fully believe that DH dressing DD when she was little is the reason DD has the sense of style she now has.
post #42 of 79
Well, I think this dynamic can happen, as can others that affect the distribution of labor in a family.

But the making of a named syndrome and writing whole magazine articles about it ... I see that way more often about women than men. At least in regards to parenting. I tend to ignore articles like this.
post #43 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by onemomentatatime View Post
Well, I think this dynamic can happen, as can others that affect the distribution of labor in a family.

But the making of a named syndrome and writing whole magazine articles about it ... I see that way more often about women than men. At least in regards to parenting. I tend to ignore articles like this.
To his credit, Brazelton does at least give lip service to the idea that men can do it too.
post #44 of 79
Guilty!
Cattmom, I think you understand me and might just be my new best friend.

If only I could just curb my desire to carve "this is what St. Paul meant when he said husbands should worship their wives" onto the brain of every poor, impressionable young adult male of my acquaintance...
post #45 of 79
Quote:
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.
To me, this is a legitimate concern about the way your DH is parenting your DC, NOT gatekeeping. To be honest, I know what the term is *supposed* to mean(I actually saw a talk show a few years back that illustrated this concept very well ), but I feel like it's also being used to label women who have a legitimate concerns - we're told to accept how our DH/SO's do things, and let them do it "their" way, lest we be considerded controlling or a nag. But all too often, I've heard of DH/SO's purposely doing a half hearted job so they won't be asked again. I also think labels like this could be yet another mark against a women who does AP, while her SO may not.
post #46 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by cattmom View Post
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.
Yes, I agree w/ this. I love my DH, but in the first few years of DD's life, it was very hard for me to leave her w/ Dh at all. The first time I left (30 minutes to pick up dinner), I came back to find DD screaming, red and sweaty and sobbing, in her crib. Dh had "tried to make her happy, but she wasn't, and she might as well cry in her crib as in my ear." Now, Dh was having a hard time adjusting to parenting--he is doing so much better now-- and I suppose the only way to have made him "better" was to leave him w/ DD more so that he could develop a love for her which would make it hard for him to just dump her, sobbing, all alone in her room.

But you know-- I felt like, as a young mom who was struggling emotionally w/ things myself, and drained and hunrgy and tired all the time from being the only one who could nurse or get up in the night (because he, again, would always say, 'Oh, just leave her, she'll go back to sleep!"), I did not have the energy to play matchmaker between an infant and an adult. It was truly, in our case, a lot more work to "let" him do things, because it wasn't just letting go (and oh, how happy I would have been to let go!)-- it was convincing him to do it, telling him how to do it, and then making sure, 30 minutes later, that her diaper *had* been changed. It got to the point that I didn't even ask him any more, because it made me so sad and angry when he said no, or just avoided and avoided and avoided until I had to do it myself, that it was easier emotionally to let it be.

My situation may be *somewhat* unique, but I think it's probably just an exaggerated form of what happens for a lot of people.
post #47 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaterPrimaePuellae View Post
Yes, I agree w/ this. I love my DH, but in the first few years of DD's life, it was very hard for me to leave her w/ Dh at all. The first time I left (30 minutes to pick up dinner), I came back to find DD screaming, red and sweaty and sobbing, in her crib. Dh had "tried to make her happy, but she wasn't, and she might as well cry in her crib as in my ear." Now, Dh was having a hard time adjusting to parenting--he is doing so much better now-- and I suppose the only way to have made him "better" was to leave him w/ DD more so that he could develop a love for her which would make it hard for him to just dump her, sobbing, all alone in her room.

But you know-- I felt like, as a young mom who was struggling emotionally w/ things myself, and drained and hunrgy and tired all the time from being the only one who could nurse or get up in the night (because he, again, would always say, 'Oh, just leave her, she'll go back to sleep!"), I did not have the energy to play matchmaker between an infant and an adult. It was truly, in our case, a lot more work to "let" him do things, because it wasn't just letting go (and oh, how happy I would have been to let go!)-- it was convincing him to do it, telling him how to do it, and then making sure, 30 minutes later, that her diaper *had* been changed. It got to the point that I didn't even ask him any more, because it made me so sad and angry when he said no, or just avoided and avoided and avoided until I had to do it myself, that it was easier emotionally to let it be.

My situation may be *somewhat* unique, but I think it's probably just an exaggerated form of what happens for a lot of people.
I wanted to say you are not alone! DH and I have gone through very similiar things... We both work full time so care of DD is split between us. So I have no choice but to trust him... and in the begining it took A LOT of nagging, that I'm sure would label me awfully... but it was important things to me that society as a whole may not agree with...

Like CIO... DH was okay with letting DD CIO, I am FIRMLY against it. And we talked and had fights about it at times where he just did not want to go through the whole pacing with her crying... but I knew he would not go against my wishes because he didn't want to deal with me yelling at him more about it. In my first month back to work I called A LOT. Just to check up and make sure I didn't hear DD freaking out.

Some would have likely labeled that gatekeeping because I was "hovering" over DH calling at least once an hour.

But, it was very very hard and traumatic for me to return to work. And I think a lot of women can empathize with that. I could not bare the thought of DD possibly sitting at home freaking out because she missed me and Daddy handling it all wrong.

We got through it... and after months of naggin DH has actually come around a lot more to AP ideals. So, in the end my "gatekeeping" is creating a more happy and balanced family. IMO, anyway.
post #48 of 79
Quote:
I wonder if it isn't the fact that society tells dad they are inept. I think in part societal roles play a part. I do think it is getting better but........
...and that we live in a very mom-centric culture. The majority of advertising, books, blogs, products and other media concerning children are almost always geared toward moms. Same with cleaning products. Do you ever see an ad where a dad is washing the dishes or sweeping the floor? Rarely. There is still a cultural assumption that women are the caretakers of children and the home. As long as we continue to buy into that assumption, many will assume that women are best qualified for that role. Disclaimer: not talking about the role women play in breastfeeding, etc., just that dads may be left at the sidelines even after those initial stages.
post #49 of 79
I totally believe in it, because I fell into it myself briefly. I was the one with the maternity leave, so I took care of our son for the first year way more than my husband did. So I was the de facto expert as well as the one with the breasts.

The truth was that I made plenty of mistakes, but I made them in solitude; I'm probably still unaware of a lot of them. And like 99.9% of mistakes (and I say this as someone who lost a child to a series of medical mistakes) the consequences were not very grand.

Somehow all the other person's mistakes – and I was often right there refusing to cede control – seemed worse. What's worse was that I kind of treated him nastily about it – my body language and everything gave off strong "you screwed up" vibes rather than "we're learning together" vibes. Part of that was just burnout. But once I was aware of it I noticed how far I had gotten from treating my husband as an equal parenting partner. That was humbling.

Returning to work helped the most because my husband was in charge of the morning routine on his own without me. Now I'm the one who screws that up when I have to do it.
post #50 of 79
It's one reason why good parental leave (NOT maternity leave) policies are so important. If fathers don't have equal access to supported parental leave, it reinforces, on a social/cultural level, the whole sad mistaken notion that they aren't capable.

I think gatekeeping exists. When I hear a father caring for his child referred to as a "babysitter" eg. a mother saying that her child is going to be left alone with someone for the first time - and that someone is the father - there's likely some gatekeeping going on.
post #51 of 79
ollyoxenfree, I hear that sometimes too. And a lot of people just assume it as well. I left DD with my aunt for maybe 15 minutes while I put gas in the car once and then commented to my mom later that it was "the first time I left her with anyone". My mom gasped and said "She's never even been alone with daddy!?"

Uh, yeah, she's been alone with daddy! I don't count that as leaving her with someone. Dad is not a babysitter. My mom was sooooo much a "gatekeeper", in the sense that my dad could do no right with us, even if it was something inconsequential.
post #52 of 79
I have to agree with olly -- when dad is refered to as a babysitter something isn't right.

Being concern is one thing being controlling is another.

I have a friend that struggles with the control thing. She lives in TX. Her son (13 at the time) spent a hot day in a sweat shirt because her ex-husband did not tell him to put on a different shirt. Her son got a heat rash. Dad's responce he won't do that again will he. He made sure ds had plenty of water. But at 13 a child should know to go change shirts. She was less than happy when the doctor and rest of us agreed with the ex. This dress and clothing issue came up in court. At 11 this child had never picked out his own clothing. She would chance him down with jackets or change of clothes. She would get mad and berate ex because he would not take cooler clothes because it had warmed up since morning.

This control almost lost her joint custody of her son. It cost her the marriage. She is getting help because she has massive control issues. I think if he ex hadn't left she would have lost her son.

Once, she flipped out that her ex and her parents let the son go on a boat, because he could have drown. There was no alcohol involved. Everyone had a life vest because the ex is anal about both. Showing concern, making everyone wear a vest is good. She was gatekeeping when she wanted them not to do it at all unless she was there.
post #53 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by lolar2 View Post
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.
Ah, but how to tell the difference? Especially in a major post-partum hormonal soup? I think there's a lot of grey areas and the very existence of grey areas makes the whole issue more complicated.

I know I have sometimes been guilty of gatekeeping. I had to bite my tongue last night when my dad and my DH set the table with the "wrong" soup bowls. DH does often ask me what outfit to put on DD. I know I should let him pick, but I also know he'll send her to daycare in a short sleeved t-shirt when it's 40 degrees out.

For us, what works the best is for me to leave the house. If I am out of the way, DH isn't tempted to ask me for help and I"m not tempted to give it. We've got enough of this under our belts by now that DH is quite competent and I am generally able to ignore stuff like poopy diapers left in diaper pails for too long (no dog at our house so this is less tragic).
post #54 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by onemomentatatime View Post
But the making of a named syndrome and writing whole magazine articles about it ... I see that way more often about women than men. At least in regards to parenting.
IME, women are about 1000X more likely to be reading articles in parenting magazines in the first place. So, pointing out that "gatekeeping" is unhealthy behaviour on a woman's part might serve the purpose of causing someone to take stock and realize they're doing their partner and child(ren) a disservice. Pointing out that such-and-such behaviour on the part of men is unhealthy isn't likely to do that.
post #55 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tuckoo View Post
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.
I know this is just the one example. I don't think it's necessarily bad that your daughter didn't get watch what she wanted to, that your dh put something else on that he preferred. In fact, I think that can be really healthy.

For you one part of being a good parent means putting children's programing on TV (you're referring to kids tv, right?). Certainly that's what I do/did. I know I was happy to do this for a long time. Besides, I was curious about the kids shows. I think we moms are happy to immerse ourselves in a baby/toddler centric world, at least more than the guys are. Well that's our choice.

It's our choice to forgo time on the net in order to focus on the kids.

I've made a lot of sacrifices in order to parent the way I thought I should, and some of them I now think weren't really necessary. It's not so bad for children to live in world that isn't focused on them.
post #56 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Girlprof View Post
DH does often ask me what outfit to put on DD. I know I should let him pick, but I also know he'll send her to daycare in a short sleeved t-shirt when it's 40 degrees out.
Does he wear a short sleeved t-shirt when it's 40 degrees out?

I have no idea if either of these come to play in your situation, but aside from true gatekeeping (eg. mom wanted her child in a specific outfit, dad put her in a different one, and all hell broke loose), there are two dynamics I've seen quite frequently with the issue of clothing being inappropriate for the weather:

1) The parent is comfortable in the cold, and doesn't think about the fact that the child is much smaller and likely to get cold more quickly. IME, this one tends to resolve itself pretty quickly when the focus is on increasing the parent's awareness of the child's increased susceptibility to chills, but tends to be ongoing for a while, if each incidence is simply "fixed" with "oh, it's too cold for a t-shirt - she should wear this one instead".

2) The parent sees that baby is dressed, and just doesn't give any thought at all to whether the clothes are appropriate for conditions. (I think sometimes, they forget the child can't speak to say "I'm too cold/hot".) Again, I've seen this one resolved more effectively by using the "dress the baby the way you're dressed" yardstick than by just saying "too cold/hot - give her this".

As I said, I don't know if either of these are what's going on with your dh or not, but I thought I'd throw them out there. I know I've had a tendency to just fix the immediate problem (child dressed in clothes that are too warm/cold), instead of discussing the overall issue.

I've never been a "gatekeeper". However, with both ds1 and dd1, my partner was unemployed (my ex just...was, and dh wasn't legally able to work in Canada yet). In both cases, we were living on pretty much nothing, financially - but we were both home, and both interacting with the kids all day. Actually, in both cases, my husband did most of the childcare, apart from breastfeeding, in the early days, because he was home, and I was post-op. DH had a steeper learning curve than my ex, because he'd spent less time around babies/young kids - but he made it up the curve pretty quickly. He honestly had a way better intuitive understanding of what was going on with dd1 than I did. (Fortunately, he didn't "gatekeep", either.)
post #57 of 79
I haven't read any other replies...sorry, I have a headache and reading is agitating it!

I tend to be hyper sensitive (read: CONTROLLING) when it comes to a lot of things...my DH is VERY laid back, until a person tries to exert their will over him...then, he swims up stream! So...I kind of run the program around here, what we eat, how the house looks, etc...and he, because he doesn't care about those things, goes with the flow and this has made for many very laid back years for us in our home.

Well. Then, baby came. The one thing I always hate to see, is a dad who feels like he can't get it right because the mama doesn't know how to "share"...just relax and let dad do things his way. So...before our baby was born, I promised myself that no matter how unconventional his ways, no matter how hard it was for me...I would put aside my "I know best" controlling ways and would NOT step on his toes when it came to the practical aspects of his parenting...

There are a couple of things I cannot bend on...things like circ, vax, CIO, I consider those to be health issues and since I'm the one who does the "dirty work" of researching until my little eyes are bleeding, he lets me steer the ship for the most part in making those choices...I summarize what I have researched and he nods his head and says things like "you're right, we're not putting that junk in our kids!" (circ was a little more trying than that, but you get the picture) - HOWEVER....

When it comes to what DD wears when DH dressed her, how he puts her to bed, how he holds her, how they play, EVERYTHING....it's none of my business. He is sort of a "strong silent" type when it comes to taking criticism...but you can see in his eyes that he wants to do things right and if I were to constantly be harping on him "That's not how I bathe her" and "If you want her to sleep, you have to do it this way" - it would hurt him and discourage him....so, from day one, I let him do it his way.

I was a perfect parent before I had kids...weren't we all? I knew exactly how everything was going to go down...it was GREAT! Then, she came...and I had to learn how to be a mama, by being a mama. I wanted DH to be a good dada...so I let him learn how to do it. Yeah, we have always shared tips and in an exhausted moment of frustration after he worked for an hour+ to get her down I would say sometimes "Yeah, I know...it's been hell to get her down lately...I've been walking her a lot next to the noise machine" - but nothing ever beyond that unless he asked for help.

The truth is...the reason they have such an incredible relationship now, is because he stuck with it, even when things were hard. The thing that makes me feel close to my DD is that we've overcome a lot, I've had to learn how to be a mama, right along side her learning to be a human...and he shares that same kind of bond with her as well, because I left him alone to learn how to do it HIS way.

So...he learned the long hard way how she likes to be put to sleep by him (yeah, it's different than the way she likes me to put her down) and she looks crazy when he dresses her...and sometimes I grimace at their play, which seems to be much more physical than the way I play with her...but also much more wild and imaginative....and I love that she has her own, special kind of relationship with him.....but what I love most of all, is seeing the look of pride on his face when he unviels her newest fashion look and says "DADA STYLE!" - because it means that my original plan and the numerous times I've bit my lip and repeated "stay out of it, it's none of your business" to myself have paid off. He loves her and is confidently her father, she loves him and completely trusts him, and he has foud his feet as a parent....he has found his DADA STYLE!
post #58 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by rajahkat View Post
I've never had any problem letting dh do his share of childrearing. Frankly, I'll go nuts if I don't have time to myself, so from the very early days of our baby-having, I would go out alone, and dh did his part, his own way, and that works for me!

It's the housekeeping I can't quite figure out. I WANT more help, but I think dh does a half-a$$ed job, so then I just get cranky about his "helping" So, I'm unhappy if he doesn't help, and I'm unhappy if he does.
This was close to our situation. I discovered that if I make a detailed list of whats needs to be done, like sweep & mop floors, clean and dry counters, unload and load dishes, clean out sink instead of just clean kitchen, DH does a really good job. The last list I made had 25 things on it to do. It sounds like a lot but with the detail it really wasn't, for example cleaning the kitchen was 6 items instead of one. DH only did about 8 things and then took DD outside and played with her, but he did an awesome job and I had a break afterward to just relax for an hour. My problem had been he didn't know what I expected him to actually do when I asked him to help clean up. If we really clean our house well on Saturday it stays fairly clean till about Thursday with minimum upkeep.
post #59 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marsupialmom View Post
I wonder if it isn't the fact that society tells dad they are inept. I think in part societal roles play a part. I do think it is getting better but........
I totally agree with this. Dh and I have always been equally involved with the kids.

Once when dd1 was a baby he took her out to give me a break and he got the typical weird stares and "are you babysitting". To which he replied "no, i'm parenting"

A month ago I took dd1 to the movies and he was waiting for us with dd2. He needed to change her diaper and of course there was no change table in the men's washroom. When he inquired about this issue, the staff told him there was only a change table in the women's washroom. So of course says "that's unfair well what am i supposed to do?" she responded with "where's her mother?"

dh's reply was "where's your manager".

this is common. the men's washrooms generally do not have change tables and are almost always filthy.

A lot of people we have come across in real life are completely unaccustomed to a hands on dad.
post #60 of 79

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Edited by GoestoShow - 1/3/11 at 12:00pm
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