For no particular reason other than it's too hot out to do much and I'm bored with housework? I've just been thinking about my relationship with DH a lot lately, how we've grown together and our future... maybe because I'm pregnant and we're going to have our first baby together.
We've been together for over two years now... when we first met, he questioned a lot of my parenting, some of it critically. I heard a lot of stories about how his mom had raised him. The only discipline-like thing he did directly with the kids in the beginning was back me up... the kids, DS especially, pretty much idolized him right off the bat... so they'd want to show him something or play with him, and he'd say "I'd like to do that, but your mom asked you to XYZ and I see you haven't listened to her yet, so maybe later."
Once we'd been together a little longer, he'd occasionally speak up about things in a way I didn't agree with... he thought DD should eat her dinner because "Your mom worked hard on that!" DD is a 'picky eater'... she's sensitive to textures and doesn't like a lot of strong flavours. We've had several discussions around food... it's probably been one of our more major issues. His reasons for wanting her to eat had nothing to do with nutrition or food waste... things that didn't get eaten were saved for another meal. Basically, it boiled down to him being raised in a 'clean your plate' household... it was seen as disrespect to his mom to not eat what was served (and a lot of it!) I saw his perspective as an implication that my ego was so fragile that it hinged on whether a 5 year old was able to force down food she doesn't like in order for it to remain intact. It took a looong time for him to understand that the kids should eat to satisfy hunger, and not to impress anyone else!
It really, really bugged him whenever the kids actually were disrespectful to me. My son was pretty defiant with me, and DH's backing me up/enforcing my rules with him went a great length toward getting his behaviour under control again. However, my ex in-laws would occasionally say things that would cause minor set backs. DS came home from one visit having learned that I don't own our house, I rent it and the landlord is the boss of the house (I hadn't gone to any effort to hide the fact from him, just didn't make a big deal of it) SO DS extrapolated from that that he didn't need to do as I say, because I'm not the boss of the house. DH didn't live with us yet at that point, but would stay a few days at a time. He tried talking to DS about it, and told him everything DS has is because of me, etc. I told DH to just let it go for now, I've got it covered. Dh said it looked like I was just letting DS get away with it, and he would have gotten a spanking for acting like that. I said "Just wait." By then it was suppertime, and I set places for DH, DD and I and called everyone to the table. DS came sauntering in and asked "Where's mine?!" and I casually answered "I don't know... ask MIke." (Mike was the landlord) The look on DH's face was priceless... his jaw literally dropped. DS sighed, got himself a plate and sat down to supper with us, and I never heard a word about me not being the boss again. That was a turning point for us...
The kids would get upset whenever DH had to go back to his place, and actually started begging me to let him move in with us! they were almost 5 and 7 when we got together, so probably very good ages to accept a new person, plus he's just a really fun person to be around. The people at the place he was living broke up when we'd been together about 7 months, and it was at that point that I invited him to move in with us. We had talked about moving in together, and both wanted to, but thought it's be better if we waited a little longer, just for outside appearances. we talked and talked through each little parenting issue that came up. I listened to his opinion and he'd listen to mine and we'd come up with a game plan together. I made sure to acknowledge whenever he made a good point, or when I noticed him doing something like making sure both kids were included, that sort of thing.
I didn't realize how much things have changed until a month ago, when his mom came for a visit/our wedding. She brought her 7 year old grand daughter (A) with her... trigger city for DH! All week I was hearing things like "She doesn't even wait for her to do something right, she's on her case all the time!" and "She flips out over the littlest things!". She'd complain that you 'have to' yell at A, because she doesn't listen otherwise... and he noticed that his mom does almost NO listening herself! He noticed her getting on A's case for interrupting, but that she interrupted a LOT! He'd actually turn to me, or whomever was talking when she was done, and say "So, you were saying?" so we could finish!
By the end of the visit, MIL was having a lot of trouble with the 'live and let live' policy we'd been going by. She complained to me about DH telling the kids the plan in advance, because A keeps asking when things are going to happen, and I just replied with "I'll mention it to him." She told a bunch of stories where she'd done things against a parent's wishes, and the kid had a miraculous turn around in their behaviour. her kids were 'good eaters', her kids got the belt for talking back, etc. DH drove her and A home, 16+ hours over two days, and it was eventful! She aired all her concerns about our parenting, and spent quite a bit of time giving him the silent treatment when he replied unfavourably. MIL has been really awesome about just adopting the kids as her own grandchildren, and that means the world to me, so I don't really care that she doesn't approve of how we're raising the kids... as far as I'm concerned, she can say her piece and we'll go about things as we see fit... but she's really getting to DH! I think one of the few things he could still learn from me is how to pass the bean dip!
Since the visit, I've gotten a lot calmer about how things will be with the baby. The first year with my other two was hellish... I was over tired, had PPD and had no support from XH. I knew things would be different this time... DH is a very involved dad, he considers himself very lucky to have us and it shows. I think I'd sort of resigned myself to getting through the first year or so, when I could sleep more and the baby starts to play and walk and stuff. I'm actually getting really excited about what it's going to be like... having a new born is a lot of work... but I bet it's also a lot of fun when someone actually wants to share the experience with you!