So Much To Think AboutWow Mammas! Thanks for all the posts!! You guys have some great advice, and quite honestly I can say I hadn't thought of it from some of your perspectives, so I appreciate you mammas posting your thoughts. I am not offended by any of your comments - I am glad to hear the "truth".
What I hadn't thought of (that many of you raised) is the fact that if I do move on to have another child with someone else, it may not work out like my perfect "fantasy" - the two sibs adoring each other, playing happily, going on family trips together, halloween dress-up parties together, Christmas morning giggling over gifts, etc. (all the things I had with my sibs). There are so many issues I guess I didn't think of. And I am glad to hear that some of you think a father is more important than a sib - ultimately, that is the question I am struggling with.
I do admit - perhaps part of my wanting another child is b/c I have this image of a "perfect" family, which mirrors my childhood - I had such an amazing childhood - I want to give that to DS. And that includes kids (plural) opening gifts together Christmas morning, playing outside together until dusk, going on family trips together, joking around the dinner table, snow-ball fights in the backyard - all the images/memories I have of "the perfect childhood" are of more than one child (I come from a family of 3 kids).
It is a blurry line of whether this is for "me" or DS. I feel that it will make me happy to give him those things, b/c I think it will make him happy. (Does that makes sense?).
I see families with one child out at restaurants sometimes and feel so sad for the child - the parents talking, the child always seems to be sitting quietly not talking. Or I see only kids trying to make friends when we go on vacation - versus the sibs playing together. It just seems sad to me.
It just comes back to my original question - is it more important for DS to have a dad and mom living together (what if we are arguing all the time) versus a sibling? When I say I am willing to work things out if DS will agree to another child it is because, as one PP put it, I do feel like DS doesn't care at all about my happiness. I have never felt that he has. I feel like if he would agree to have another that he would be taking a step towards caring about my and DS happiness. When I feel he is being totally selfish, I feel like he is not worth working things out with.
Background on DH - he is very stubborn and has always hated change. He gets in his comfort zone and does not want anything to disrupt that. After dating for 3 years, I said I wanted to get married, he said "can't we just stay the same? Things are so good...". I said, "I was clear at the beginning of the relationship that I wanted to get married someday and have a family" and I told him that if we weren't engaged by the end of the year, that I thought we should move on (i.e. break up) b/c we obviously wanted different things. He proposed in November. Once engaged, he said "we should have gotten engaged sooner". Once married, he said regularly that getting married was the best thing he'd ever done, he hadn't known life could be even better than dating.
We had agreed before being married that we would have a child, (and think about a second based on how it went with the first). After we were married, he kept putting it off saying "I am scared to have a child, I don't want it to change things, can't we just stay the same, things are so good...". (Yes, he actually said those same words again). After 4 years, I finally said "you knew I wanted a child when we got married, I married you with the understanding that we wanted the same thing. If you now don't want children, then we need to consider moving on b/c I want a family and was clear about that from the beginning". 2 months later, he said let's start trying. We got pregnant right away. He loves DS more than anything in the world, says he never knew he could love anyone so much, and says he is so glad we had DS, he never knew life could be so rewarding with a child.
So you see a pattern here no doubt...I guess a few things happened in the meantime...
This is my side of things of course, but when DS was born, DH suddenly became selfish. Life was no longer revolving around him, it was revolving around DS. I started seeing this very selfish side of him that I really disliked.
Here are a few examples off the top of my head...as a newborn, DS would only sleep on my chest and only if I was sitting up for the first month so I slept on a chair. Our bedroom is over the garage = cold, and it was the coldest January in 50 years, (minus 25 celcius reguarly). I was nursing all night w no top on, sleeping on a chair and a small blanket. Our room was freezing so we had a space heater. DH would get up in the night and turn off the heater b/c HE was hot!!!! (He was in the king bed with a down duvet and flannel jammies on). We argued every night - he could not comprehend (or in my eyes didn't care) that DS and I were freezing all night. He still kept turning it off. Fight number 1. This arguement continues to this day, 2 years later b/c we co-cleep and DS refuses to have blankets, I night nurse so he and I freeze and are up all night as DH keeps turning off the heater.
And it all went downhill from there. Some of it is just silly.
If DH is hungry, he actually takes DS's food from his plate b/c HE wants it he says, even if DS wants it. MY HUSBAND TAKES FOOD FROM MY TODDLER!
After I was up all night nursing/walking DS, etc., he would roll over in the morning and say "can you get up with DS? I'm sooo tired" after he had slept all night.
He told me I am "spoiling" DS for Christmas - I have bought him 3 gifts. DH is not buying him anything b/c I have apparently bought him "enough", yet DH gives me a list of 10 items he wants (including a leather jacket). He says he doesn't want me to spend any more money on DS for Christmas b/c he wants me to pay for us all to go to ClubMed in February, (aka put DS in daycare so DH and I can drink pina coladas by the pool - again, he doesnt' want me to put money towards DS in case it takes away from something DH might get).
I earn 3x what DH makes, he keeps asking me to make more, get more promotions, bonuses etc. so i can buy him a car and a big house. Every house I suggest is "too small" for him. He has me "pay" him his days wages when he takes a day off to be with DS to accomodate my work schedule.
When I was pregnant, he kept asking ME to rub HIS feet. I kid you not... Never once did I get a back massage. (Is that just in the movies?)
He will walk in when I (or DS) is watching TV and just change the channel to the football game - totally inconsiderate.
He has never taken my car to get it gassed/fixed/oil change, he never scrapes the ice off my car, he refuses to help me with my laundry (I bring in 3/4 of our income AND work 60+ hours/week AND am on my own with DS in the evening due to DH schedule - he is in a union in a job with lots of time off, but works evenings).
I buy most of DS clothing and toys second hand, DH complains that I buy too much for DS, but then wants me to buy him new shoes, a new bike, etc. and he only wants "the best", (but crap is "good enough" for DS).
We had our biggest fight about what daycare DS should go in to - I got him a spot in a very good but expensive daycare (that I was paying for), but DH wanted to put DS in a daycare where they were nearly bankrupt, had the owner's son helping in the classroom, they left a boiling pot on the stove open to the kids area while they gave us a tour, and they went for "walks" in the parking lot of a busy plaza - DH said it was "good enough" b/c it was cheaper. It was all about money - he didn't want to sacrifice any of "his" lifestyle for DS. Totally unacceptable in my eyes, and totally selfish.
His reasons for not wanting another child?
- "He wants to be able to work out every day", and my promise that he can have time to work out, #1 would stay in daycare, I'd manage #2 (I'd have a year off mat leave making $90K from my employer!) is "not good enough".
- "He wants to be able to go out to dinner", we go out now on our own about once/2months, my promise that we'll go more often "isn't good enough".
- "He doesn't want the extra cost" (even though I bear most/all of the cost). He doesn't want to reduce any money benefitting him...
- He "wants to put his feet up and have a beer and not worry about whether DS is going to fall and hit his head", (his words); he wants to "get drunk and not have to worry about rolling over on DS" (we co-sleep). The funny thing is, he doesn't drink very much, yet this is one of his reasons for wanting another child??? Promises of cribs and bottles don't mean anything, (and he's had several weekends away with "the boys" so it's not like he doesn't get to do that!).
- He just generally thinks it's too hard, he likes to sleep and says it's hard work having a baby. His words.
Yeah, we have some fun times, but I hate the selfish side of him I have seen since DH was born. I understood him putting himself before me, we both approached our relationship as "equal partners", but I can't understand him putting himself before DS. I want to spoil DS, DH wants me to spoil DH. He just seems selfish and immature to me.
When I say he is a great dad, he is very gentle, kind, loving, affectionate and caring towards DS (other than taking his food now and then!). He plays with DS for hours on end, and he teaches DS all kinds of things. DS adores him incredibly.
I personally wonder if it is a power thing - b/c I make 2/3 to 3/4 of our income (and I make a lot of the decisions around DS's care) I think DH may feel that this is something he has "control" over. I have seen him make decisions b/c he "can" before, not necessarily b/c it's the decision he feels is right. But I don't know how to get out of the "power" position to deal with that. He is controlling in minor ways, which I've talked to him about. I've talked to him about a few of the thing above, and he does "try" sometimes, but most of the time is clueless or pretends that he is.
I do think that perhaps "leaving" isn't the answer. I do want to think what it would do to DS, I just don't know what it would do to DS. My parents divorced when I was 18, it was horrible, but I survived and my parents are both happy now, there is a lot less yelling in their homes. (Life was great until I was 18 and my dad had an affair, so I really did have a great childhood from my perspective, at the time).
I guess I am struggling with two big things - I have always looked at my life, figured out what kind of life I wanted, set a goal and then did what it took to get there (historically only having myself in the way). I have always been very goal oriented. I guess I am approaching this the same way, (I want a larger family). But the problem is that it would have to be at a cost to DS, which I am not sure I'm willing to incur.
My other issue is that DH has always needed a little "nudge", and then is so glad I "convinced" him to do something after the fact. However, I think he means it this time, and I have to be prepared to actually go if that is my decision.
Anyway, enough babbling on...(although this really is therapeutic!). I really appreciate any more advice or experiences anyone chooses to share. This is a huge decision and not one to take lightly. I do agree that counselling should be a priority for DH and I. I really appreciate all of the "realities" of step-families that some of you have shared. Perhaps nothing is perfect and I'd be trading one set of problems for another.
*sigh*. At least you have all convinced me not to just leave, which was the point I was at when I wrote the first post.