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DH and I do it differently

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I spend a LOT of time thinking about what kind of mom I want to be, the values I want to reflect to my children, the type of home I want them to grow up in... I prefer to avoid television completely, don't like plastic and battery operated toys, try to give DS whole organic foods, and make a sincere effort to respond to his overtures when he makes them (he's 15 months). Now, DH is a great, loving guy and a really good dad overall. Before DS was born, we agreed in theory on the parenting decisions I've already mentioned. DH loves co-sleeping, extended nursing, ECing, and many of our natural parenting choices. But he relates to DS differently than I thought he would, differently than I *wish* he would sometimes. He gets so caught up with work and his own personal stuff, he doesn't seem to have much energy left for DS sometimes. He is a lot more likely to buy DS a cool new plastic toy or offer him a cookie than I would be, and doesn't always respond to DS's obvious attempts to play with him. DH is also starting to flip on the TV a lot more when DS is in the room, and even encourage him to watch it a little.
I know that fathers and mothers relate to children differently, I read some interesting stuff about that in Tine Thevenins "Mothering and Fathering", but I think this is more than that. We previously agreed on the 'no plastic', 'no TV', no sugar stuff, but DH seems to be changing his mind now that it's a reality.
I want to encourage him to interact with his son in his own way, but I didn't realize I would disagree with him about it. Maybe my expectations aren't realistic. I'm a bit of a perfectionist, and have sort of an 'all or nothing' attitude about these issues. DH works hard and is tired when he gets home, maybe it's too much for him to be as responsive as I think he should be. It often seems easier to hand DS a toy or flip on the TV than take him outside for a walk or something. I just think of all the tired mornings and long days I have, and I still have to get up and take care of DS and be a good mom, I never really get to take a day off.
I don't want to try to dictate to DH how he should relate to his son, and I haven't brought this stuff up to him because I don't know what it's like to have to go to work every day and come home and try to have enough energy to be a good dad/husband. I guess I'm confused about whether this is an issue of differing priorities, or if I'm just not understanding what it's like to be in his shoes.
post #2 of 10
I know where you are coming from . . .we have our issues too. I think the main thing is that you dh wants to spend time with your son and that's sooo important. So many kids don't have dads around at all. I know that sometimes I want my dh to do things with Abi that I think he should do with her, and he has his own ideas. I think that what matters most though, is that they are spending time together. Abi loves her daddy so much.

It's hard trying to share your child's upbringing with someone else. I often think that when I lived alone (and no child) my life was so much less complicated. It was a huge adjustment for me to learn to share even small things like the toothpaste and just have to not stress about when dh didn't squeeze it from the bottom. I was an only child after my brother died so that may have been part of it.

When I say things like life would be easier if I lived alone, I then think about how much dh means to me. We've had a lot of issues where we didn't agree this year, and where we realized we walk two different paths. The big one has been religion. We both just had to let go of the idea that we would always be on the same path, and instead learn to value and accept the person the way he or she is. My dh is a good person and when I get all stressed about little things I just have to step back and remember the big picture.

I don't want to sound like I'm preaching at you. I'm just sharing the knowledge I've gained from having to share my life with someone for the last 6.5 years.

Darshani
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Darshani, I don't think you're preaching at all. I feel the same way, DH is such a good person I don't want to be hypercritical about his parenting style. You know, I am an only child, maybe this is really a control issue for me - not being in complete control of the one thing I spend most of my day doing, raising our son.
post #4 of 10
Sahara,
Your situation sounds a lot like mine. Dh is busy and doesn't always have the time/energy/inclination to do the things I think he should with ds. He too will give a cookie, or encourage a little tv instead of really spending time with ds. After much thought on the matter I think I finally understand where he is coming from. Ds only really wanted me (he probably would have warmed up to dh if he would have made an effort). He spent most of his early months nursing continuously or crying. When dh would hold him he had no idea how to comfort him which made him feel helpless (and inadequate I think). This made him not want to spend time with ds even though spending that time would have solved much of the problem. He was also kind of jealous of the close bond bteween ds and I. By the time dh realized there was a problem ds was 10 or 11 months (he is now 15 mo) so dh would try to "buy" his affection by giving him all the things mama would not allow. It made him feel like he had something to offer which gave him more confidence in his parenting skills. Now he isn't so bad but still turns on the tv for ds or gives him a little bit of junk food and he doesn't devote as much attention as I think he should but they have a great relationship which I think is more important in the long run. The other thing that really helped was just to explain that the early part of life was dominated by the mother (breastfeeding, nurturing, etc) and the child will naturally move more toward the father later on. This made him feel like his turn would come, and that his role was just as important as mine.
I don't know if our experience will help at all, but I just wanted you to know that you are not the only one facing this
post #5 of 10
Hmmn. . . my first thoughts are to make it 'easy' for DH!

1. Keep a few 'treats' around that you feel comfortable with: freeze-dried fruits & vegetables? Home-made cookies (freeze individually on a sheet, transfer to freezer bag & thaw as needed), etc.

2. Have a selection of 'approved' videos for him to watch with baby. We have very little 'screen-time' in our house, but do have three (three!) Kipper videos for emergency use. They are sweet & gentle and each segment is 8-10 minutes long, so I feel like one "Kipper" now and then won't hurt. We also have a few kids' yoga/exercise videos. That would certainly encourage more interaction and not be as passive as just 'watching' together.

3. Find out toys your husband likes and stash them! I buy toys that are appropriate (we, too are anti-plastic, battery, etc.) and put them away in a special place in the basement. If there's a special occasion, I get one out of my 'stash.' If your husband has an interest--music, art, trains, wooden animals, pirates, games, etc. seek out and buy these things ahead, then let him know where they are. Most of the conventional toy stores are stocked with junk so that's all he'll be able to bring home from one.

As a mother, it's your job to make it 'easy' for your child to know and to do the right thing. Do the same for your husband! Once he gets used to having things a certain way, he'll see the difference!

Hmmn. . . I had another thought, but I've lost it, now.
To be continued. . .
post #6 of 10
Yikes!
I didn't read ahead and hadn't even thought about the possibility that a partner would try to play good-cop, bad-cop in a bid for attention!
That the kind of thing divorced couples do, though, so if that's the case you need to sit down and talk about what you feel is best for baby and why, and how! (and focus on the BABY--not either of you)

I think I'd approach it, though, with the assumption that he was NOT being subversive to things you have previously discussed and thought you'd agreed on, but instead is simply tired, anxious, uninspired,or just plain unsure 'what to do with baby!'

(The latter is my BIL. His conversation with our children is hysterical. He quizzes them on spelling, math, etc. and has no concept of them being unique individuals with their own personalities, ideas and interests. He's the same way with his own 4 children. If I ask him what one of them is interested in to get birthday ideas, his response is something like "Right now she's studying the civil war and taking piano lessons." When I talk to the child, I discover she's crazy about dogs, drawing and science fiction and would rather learn to play the flute!)

Go ahead and 'make it easy' for DH with having appropriate treats, toys, etc. available and see how it goes.
Sometimes it's hard to 'walk the talk'!
If it's all 'right there' and easy for him and he continues to do these things, then you two might need to re-evaluate your shared parenting goals in order to provide consistency and a 'united front'!

Good Luck!
post #7 of 10
I have the same exact problem, and I havn't dealt with it very well, so maybe you could learn somthing from my mistakes?

I have always had a hard time keeping my lips zipped when my dh does somthing I don't like. And now I've made a mess of things. It is so very important to present a united front to your children. They should not see you argue with your husband over childcare issues. They learn from this that they can pit you against each other to get what they want.

Of course, that doesn't mean you shouldn't communicate with your dh about your feelings, just do it later when the kids aren't listening.

My dh now feels inadequate as a father because of my disapproval of his methods, and I wish I hadn't done that to him. My son has learned not to respect his father as well. This has created a lot of problems for us.

In the long run, your children's respect for their father and their security in the knowlege that their parents are united is much more important than having a perfect diet, absolutely no plastic or battery toys, and no TV. It has taken me a long time to learn that, and I'm still struggling.
post #8 of 10
I too can relate...
Sometimes I feel like Dh isn't totally insync with the AP parenting, in fact, I know he isn't as we discuss it constantly...well not constanly but alot....

He likes co-sleeping, but wonders if she would be better off in her own bed/crib, but thinks it's too late now...
He isn't totally into the extended breastfeeding...and he thinks that I carried her to much so that is why she is clingy now....

Mind you he is coming around as she is growing (she's 11months) and he is seeing and understanding why AP is soooo much better for her and all babies.

The reason he has had to be converted is that he is the baby and was never really around kids/babies, his mom didn't breastfeed any of them, she didn't really respond to their crying either...infact I commented about the fact that I slept with dd in the hospital after she was born and she didn't go to the nursery, and she said when my dh was born she told the nurses to take care of him and bring him when he was hungry, as she needed to rest and get ready to go home with him, and she had 2 others at home.... I really feel for him...and they all have issues that IMHO are because they were forced to be independant too soon. None of them sleep well....Dh is such a light sleeper.....but I'm getting off topic.... And MIL isn't that bad now....actually she doesn't really comment to much as I nipped that in the butt early in dd life....

The best way that we have dealt with anything that comes up, is I talk talk talk and he listens and talks about his feelings. Then I will pull out a book or study or just plain tell him...I'm not doing anything that doesn't feel right to me....I know that she is his daughter too, and I don't expect him to do things the same way I do, but I do expect him to meet her needs and respond to her.
I will be going back to work on the 31st for one day a week, and he is really just getting to take her on his own (anyother time I've been in the house....), yesterday I went to help a neighbour in her garden and left dd and dh for 1 1/2 hours...when I got back, they were laying in bed and she was sleeping on his chest.... ....I know they will be ok, and that he understands and does listen ....

I think I made him sound awful in this, but he isn't...he's a sweetheart and loves his dd, he's just new to AP...and I really think that Men need that horomone surge we get when we are pg, and after babe is born...don't you think?:

Jen
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Teresa,
I love your ideas! I think I will definately try to make things easier for him. I don't think theres a subversive bone in his body, he falls into turning on TV and reaching for snacks because it's easier when he's tired. You're right, I'll just have to make it easier for him to make the choices we both agreed on.

Mama2jonah, you are so right...

"In the long run, your children's respect for their father and their security in the knowlege that their parents are united is much more important than having a perfect diet, absolutely no plastic or battery toys, and no TV."

Thats why I've been so careful not to criticize him, and wanted to talk to you mama's first!! I think we've been headed down that road, DH feeling less and less adequate as the months pass, and I want to stop it before it gets out of hand.

Jen, I think my DH has a little extra mothering hormone in him anyways, he's always been loving and nurturing the way you describe your DH. I think co-sleeping and babywearing create inconveniences for the father that just don't exist for the mom. I try hard to listen to DH when he is feeling left out and let him know that he is still very important to me. He always appreciates having his feelings acknowledged, and we both remind ourselves of how important it is to be fully present with our DS while he is so young.
post #10 of 10
you are soo right...there are incovniences for the dad, and I do see as she gets older he definately sees the advantages to the AP parenting.

I too am taking the advice about only having "approved" foods etc...ready at his disposal...and we do talk about alot of things...

In fact...last night, he suggested that we move the sofabed and video game stuff into Evelyn's room (with the computer), so that it is an extra room for when we have company.....I was a little shocked to hear the suggestion...but I'm jumping on that band wagon and moving Evy's dresser into our room....lol....its her room too....

Men....sometimes I just don't get them But I definately wouldn't want to be without him....

Jen

edited cause I can't spell.....
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