Originally Posted by Tuckoo
Hmmm... Yes, I see what you mean and I can see how someone could just give up.
However, when I think of a reversal of roles, if my dh saw me doing something for dd and said he knew a better way of doing it and gives me a bunch of thought-out reasons, I think I'd be thrilled he's so interested and I'd like to give his approach a try. But that's me. AND that would be because it's about dd. Because if, on the other hand, I got a crazy impulse to do something to, say, my car and I thought it was a helpful and cool thing to do, and dh got all bossy and said I did it wrong... Well, you know, he would take care of everything about the car from now on, I probably wouldn't EVER have the initiative to do that again.
Which gives me more to think about...
Well... I don't want to sound like a downer but I'm trying to think of more than a very few times that a parenting decision (other than the sort of easy baby stuff like cloth diaper, etc.) is as easy as evaluating well-thought-out reasons and implementing them.
For example: Bedtime routine. I think most parents agree that a bedtime routine is a good thing. Then, of course, it's Thursday and one parent comes home late and really wants to reconnect so they keep talking to the child for ten minutes past official bedtime start and then they find a funny puppet on the floor and start laughing and then the puppet tickles the child and before you know it they're wrestling on the bed and...
In swoops the parent most invested in routine and says AUGH WE SAID ROUTINE!!!!
But the fact is that the other parent is honouring something - spontaneous interaction, connection, whatever. It's just (in the opinion of the grumpy spouse) ill-timed or misguided. It's a conflict of two rational impulses. And yes there can be an element of who 'pays' the next day in tiredness (but conversely, who 'pays' if moments of tickle-joy are not taken over time and the relationship degrades).
I don't think the main issue in gatekeeping is lack of thoughtful discussion or even a lack of rational thought.
I think the main issue in gatekeeping is the emotional response on the part of the gatekeeper which gives off a fairly consistent signal to the other parent of: You're doing it wrong.
Not only that but if you do it wrong I will be upset and there will be payback whether that's me swooping in and taking the child away, huffing about, withholding affection, gossiping about it with our friends and family, putting you down in front of others, or whatever.
And yes, I do think that's a problem for many couples and I do think most often it's the woman who is giving off that signal (but not always). Our society supports a wife telling "funny" stories about her husband's incompetence at parenting where a husband telling the same isn't as acceptable (and the same is true in movies and ads and things). And so on and so forth.
In our house I would say my DH is the more natural AP parent; his first instinct tends to be more towards the co-sleeping, attention-giving end of things. When we went through our experience it was really not about the grand philosophical issues but about control - mine.