Discussion of the book "Getting to 50/50" by Meers and Strober - Page 2 - Mothering Forums
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#31 of 44 Old 08-17-2010, 04:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I think when I read it I was in a hard place. I've always worked when my kids were young and have always felt guilt over it b/c I come from a very traditional religious background where "good moms stay home". It was never really a choice for our family, since my earning potential has always been better and more stable than dh's.


I'm sorry you faced this. I can't imagine feeling pressured to stay home. In my family, it was quite the opposite.

Good mothers work and do most of the parenting, according to my DH and my inlaws.

My inlaws never for a second said anything other than I should return to work to help DH with the finances. MIL was a SAHM herself, but she feels now that times are different. FIL thinks staying at home is more about the mom than the child. They were even critical of my SIL for choosing to SAH at the time, but now they've come to embrace it because she is able to be home during their visits, which they've said they like.

DH is very much anti-SAH. There was never a person who said I should be home with my DS in my family, except my own mother, who said I should stay home with the baby ("you're going to leave him in daycare all day?") but then she also said ("so you're not going to work and you're going to let your poor husband pay all the bills?").

I haven't felt any guilt - maybe because of the prevailing attitude of my family - but I have missed DS while at work, particularly when there are special events at daycare or milestone moments. There's been sadness, but no guilt.
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#32 of 44 Old 08-17-2010, 10:26 AM
 
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I do know that when DH takes DS to daycare, more often than not, DS will not wear sunscreen, might not have a hat for outdoor play in summer, may or may not have on socks, probably won't have a very nutritious lunch, breakfast might be donuts from the gas station, DH will forget to check in with teachers or the office because he believes that is something I do better, DS may or may not have all his medications...it's really up in the air.

More than once this summer, DH has dressed DS in jeans and long sleeves on very hot days when DS had shorts and short sleeves available. The explanation? DH was saving the shorts for a hotter day.

I think I posted previously that I once had this happen. I sent DH out on some errands on a Saturday morning with DS. They arrived at the bank, only to turn the car around and come home because DH had forgotten to put shoes on DS before strapping him in the car seat.

So, is that me not wanting to let go of control? Or generally bad parenting/mediocre parenting?

My DH might have a higher clueless factor than some. I'm not sure. I do know that this track record of his in parenting applies to his cleaning habits, his billing paying habits, his lawn mowing abilities, and his career.

Is it me? Or is it him?

There are plenty of tasks that DH refuses to do, wholesale. His explanation? "You are more skilled at this and I will "f" it up." DH has all kinds of rules. If something involves calling on the phone, negotiating, or talking to people directly - he's probably not going to do it and will kick and scream if I keep asking him.

And, finally, DH's idea of 50-50 is very off balance. For instance, I've asked DH to help with child care arrangments i.e. pricing, selecting, making calls. DH has refused to do any of that and will instead try to bargain to do something else. His offer? You do the child care arranging and I'll load the dishwasher/clean the kitchen TONIGHT. As in this one time.
Well, this is a little nitpicky, but since you asked, here's one person's opinion:

No hat or sunscreen=mediocre
No socks=different choice
Non-nutritious lunch- depends what you mean by that
Doughnuts for breakfast=different choice (not a great idea for every day, but he wouldn't do drop-off every day anyway)
Not checking in with teachers/ office-I don't know what this means; both schools where DS has been, there was no expectation for interaction with teachers at drop-off, other than a smile and a wave, and the first one had a daily form to fill out every morning, but I don't know what you mean by checking in
Not bringing all medications=a problem, but it depends how often it happens and how serious the need for them is; I've been known to forget my own medications sometimes
Jeans and long sleeves=depends how hot you mean by hot. I got the idea somewhere that you live in what I would consider a cold climate, so your definition of hot might be different from mine. In my world, long sleeves are acceptable if it's under 90 degrees.
Forgetting shoes= since it only happened once, not a big deal; it would be mediocre if it happened all the time

Actually my DH has some of the same social anxiety-type fears as your husband, but (1) he is very good at and dedicated to his career, and (2) when I tell him that compensating for his anxieties is becoming too much for me to handle, he listens to me, apologizes, and we work out another plan to make things more equitable. Also I happen to love talking on the phone-- and my father's family has a genetic quirk wherein most of the men are hard of hearing so that most phone conversations are held by women out of necessity-- so being asked to make most phone calls for DH never registered with me as much of a problem.
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#33 of 44 Old 08-17-2010, 10:45 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, this is a little nitpicky, but since you asked, here's one person's opinion:

No hat or sunscreen=mediocre
No socks=different choice
Non-nutritious lunch- depends what you mean by that
Doughnuts for breakfast=different choice (not a great idea for every day, but he wouldn't do drop-off every day anyway)
Not checking in with teachers/ office-I don't know what this means; both schools where DS has been, there was no expectation for interaction with teachers at drop-off, other than a smile and a wave, and the first one had a daily form to fill out every morning, but I don't know what you mean by checking in
Not bringing all medications=a problem, but it depends how often it happens and how serious the need for them is; I've been known to forget my own medications sometimes
Jeans and long sleeves=depends how hot you mean by hot. I got the idea somewhere that you live in what I would consider a cold climate, so your definition of hot might be different from mine. In my world, long sleeves are acceptable if it's under 90 degrees.
Forgetting shoes= since it only happened once, not a big deal; it would be mediocre if it happened all the time

Actually my DH has some of the same social anxiety-type fears as your husband, but (1) he is very good at and dedicated to his career, and (2) when I tell him that compensating for his anxieties is becoming too much for me to handle, he listens to me, apologizes, and we work out another plan to make things more equitable. Also I happen to love talking on the phone-- and my father's family has a genetic quirk wherein most of the men are hard of hearing so that most phone conversations are held by women out of necessity-- so being asked to make most phone calls for DH never registered with me as much of a problem.
Excellent! Thank you! Really. This is good feedback. I was asking honestly - is it controlling (my court) or is it medicre (his court).

This is really good to hear and to gain some perspective.

I would like to know more about how you tell your husband compensating for his anxieties is becoming too much to handle. What does that conversation look and feel like? What kinds of compromises or changes do you work out? If you don't mind sharing...

I wonder if your husband chose his career deliberately based on his strengths or if he just became dedicated to it and decided to address hurdles based on his anxieties. DH has had soooooo much trouble in his career. His father sort of directed him into it because FIL felt it would be a lucrative and safe career. DH suffered a lot from anxiety and from feeling less than adequate because in college while he was gifted academically he didn't have a lot of natural ability / hands on experience in his field of choice while many of the students did. This made him very reluctant to apply for internships and so while other students got internships and more experience and more experience and then job offers came from that, DH sort of slid by and stagnated. He's had an agonizingly slow start to his career. He took forever to get into it, and so now, 15 or so years in, he's at where most people would be at the 4 or 5 year mark.

As for calls, I don't mind making them, but DH relies too much on me to do all the communication with the outside world. That's not good for him. There have been a few instances - like when I was in the hospital bed in recovery hours after the c-section and DH would not speak with or call nurses or doctors with the buzzer. He just wouldn't do it. There have also been times in the middle of the night where DS is sick with croup or something and DH won't help by calling the on-call nurse while I hold DS in the steam of the shower. So, I've had to set down DS, go to the phone with dripping clothes, and make the call myself when DH could have done it and made things easier on us all. I just want him to be an adult some of the time. I want to know that in an emergency he's there for us. That we're a team. Sometimes I feel like the school marm, or worse, his mother.
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#34 of 44 Old 08-17-2010, 10:59 AM
 
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Oh, in emergencies DH will always step up. That's never been a question. He'll call 911 or buzz a nurse or whatever.

The conversation I have: I wait for a time when we have at least an hour to talk, in case we end up having to do some kind of complex schedule, and make sure we both feel calm. Then I say something like "I have a lot on my plate right now, like x and y and z, and I won't have time to make a, b and c phone calls for you any time soon. It's just too much for me." Then he says something like "OK, I can wait for you to make the calls" or "OK, I'll send emails instead and see if that works," or "How about if I do x for you and then you can make the calls." If I don't wait for a good time, his response is more like "I can't talk about this right now," probably in a very exasperated tone.

We usually don't end up in an argument over that kind of thing lately, but when we do/ did, it's gone more like him shouting, "NO! I CAN'T do that! Don't you SEE how much I already have to do!" and me shouting "Well, I'm busy too!!" and that kind of thing.

Your H sounds more like my mother's mother every time you write about him. I don't know of anything to make negotiation easier with that kind of person. She is a prime example of someone my father just outright avoided! Well, the doctor put her on Prozac or something after she had a stroke, and she was a little easier to deal with then, but I wasn't living in the same country with her at that point so it's hard to really say.
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#35 of 44 Old 08-17-2010, 11:07 AM
 
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So, I want to clarify what I meant by "mediocre" parenting.

DH and I have the same parenting style generally. We believe in being gentle, kind, and responsive to DD. But, we do things differently. For example, if DD falls and hits her head somewhere, my husband and I will comfort her differently, but both are sensitive to her feelings. DH and I play with our DD differently. We hold her differently. We talk to her differently. But, we both do things with an underlying principle (generally AP).

If my husband and I were not on the same page and I was just to "let go" and let him do whatever he wanted, there would be major problems. I would not be okay with this at all. My mom, DH, and I pretty much all feel the same way about parenting. Even my own father, who I adore, I can't watch him do things with my DD because I fundamentally disagree with how he handles her. When I'm not looking, I"m sure he would try and give her some food that I disapprove of (We are doing solids very slowly because of some food sensitivities that DD has... my dad doesn't really believe they exist). That's just one example... there are a ton more.

Yes, a mom should learn to "let go" if she trusts her DH with her precious child. If not, I don't think it's good advice to just let things be.

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#36 of 44 Old 08-17-2010, 12:12 PM
 
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I do know that when DH takes DS to daycare, more often than not, DS will not wear sunscreen, might not have a hat for outdoor play in summer, may or may not have on socks, probably won't have a very nutritious lunch, breakfast might be donuts from the gas station, DH will forget to check in with teachers or the office because he believes that is something I do better, DS may or may not have all his medications...it's really up in the air.

More than once this summer, DH has dressed DS in jeans and long sleeves on very hot days when DS had shorts and short sleeves available. The explanation? DH was saving the shorts for a hotter day.

I think I posted previously that I once had this happen. I sent DH out on some errands on a Saturday morning with DS. They arrived at the bank, only to turn the car around and come home because DH had forgotten to put shoes on DS before strapping him in the car seat.

So, is that me not wanting to let go of control? Or generally bad parenting/mediocre parenting?
TIN - I've read a few of your posts in the past and it sounds like your DH is pretty out of it, so first of all

In my book that is classic mediocre parenting/lack of common sense so I would have to say it is him. But, how you handle this stuff when it comes up is also a factor.

My approach with DH has always been to address the problem directly without bringing up any marital/parenting stuff. On the daycare dropoff - have you and your DH agreed on what the standards are? From your post, I can't tell whether he's with you in theory or just lazy. Does he do the dropoff often enough to learn from his mistakes? Would a checklist or a prepacked bag fix a bunch of those problems? I realize that packing the bags or making the list is the opposite of 'letting go' but if I wanted something done my way over the objections of my DH, I would expect to meet him halfway. If every parenting issue is like that, then there are problems going on that are way beyond division of labor in the home.

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Yes, a mom should learn to "let go" if she trusts her DH with her precious child. If not, I don't think it's good advice to just let things be.
The child is theirs.
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#37 of 44 Old 08-17-2010, 12:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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TIN - I've read a few of your posts in the past and it sounds like your DH is pretty out of it, so first of all

In my book that is classic mediocre parenting/lack of common sense so I would have to say it is him. But, how you handle this stuff when it comes up is also a factor.

My approach with DH has always been to address the problem directly without bringing up any marital/parenting stuff. On the daycare dropoff - have you and your DH agreed on what the standards are? From your post, I can't tell whether he's with you in theory or just lazy. Does he do the dropoff often enough to learn from his mistakes? Would a checklist or a prepacked bag fix a bunch of those problems? I realize that packing the bags or making the list is the opposite of 'letting go' but if I wanted something done my way over the objections of my DH, I would expect to meet him halfway. If every parenting issue is like that, then there are problems going on that are way beyond division of labor in the home.


The child is theirs.
Thanks.

And that was just a list off the top of my head from recent things.

There are more...

It's my impression that my husband is mediocre in everything he does. He would probably agree with that. He's fine with being mediocre. Because then he's not "bad" or "awful." I honestly don't know how or why we got to this place in life where he started accepting mediocrity as fine. It makes me wonder what he really thinks of me. I mean, am I mediocre? Did he settle for me? He settles for mediocre in everything else in life.

I do make check lists and pre-pack bags. It gets to be old after a while, but I keep doing it. If I didn't pack the epi-pen for DS, no one would. DH has even said "we don't need it. How many times have we used it? Never? We'll be fine." He is right - you're only unprepared so long as you don't need something.

Does DS really need sunscreen? A sun hat in summer? Depends on one's perspective, I guess. I would say yes. DH would say, if you remembered it, great, if not, no sweat. But what if you don't remember the next time, and the next, and the next? Then is it neglect or mediocre parenting.

I sort of take my cues from daycare. Do they ask us to put sunscreen on the kids? Yes. Do they ask us to have an epi-pen available for DS? Yes. There are rules for licensure and I think they are set by decent standards of care for a child. That should be good direction for DH. He doesn't want to always have to listen to his wife, but if he took his cues from how they handle things at daycare, we'd have such an amazing improvement in how he does things.

No, DS won't die from lack of sunscreen, but he could die from lack of an epi-pen. And I really think both are within DH's ability to handle if he puts some thought into it.
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#38 of 44 Old 08-17-2010, 01:25 PM
 
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The child is theirs.
Yes, I know. But, in the case where a mother suspects less than stellar care going on, I would encourage her to take control and ownership. I would expect the same of a father if his wife were neglectful.

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#39 of 44 Old 08-17-2010, 05:24 PM
 
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It's my impression that my husband is mediocre in everything he does. He would probably agree with that. He's fine with being mediocre. Because then he's not "bad" or "awful." I honestly don't know how or why we got to this place in life where he started accepting mediocrity as fine. It makes me wonder what he really thinks of me. I mean, am I mediocre? Did he settle for me? He settles for mediocre in everything else in life.

I do make check lists and pre-pack bags. It gets to be old after a while, but I keep doing it. If I didn't pack the epi-pen for DS, no one would. DH has even said "we don't need it. How many times have we used it? Never? We'll be fine." He is right - you're only unprepared so long as you don't need something.

Does DS really need sunscreen? A sun hat in summer? Depends on one's perspective, I guess. I would say yes. DH would say, if you remembered it, great, if not, no sweat. But what if you don't remember the next time, and the next, and the next? Then is it neglect or mediocre parenting.

I sort of take my cues from daycare. Do they ask us to put sunscreen on the kids? Yes. Do they ask us to have an epi-pen available for DS? Yes. There are rules for licensure and I think they are set by decent standards of care for a child. That should be good direction for DH. He doesn't want to always have to listen to his wife, but if he took his cues from how they handle things at daycare, we'd have such an amazing improvement in how he does things.

No, DS won't die from lack of sunscreen, but he could die from lack of an epi-pen. And I really think both are within DH's ability to handle if he puts some thought into it.
That sounds really frustrating. I'm not denying that your DH is negligent, but can change the way you communicate about these things? Sounds to me like you are expecting him to 'think it through' and 'take his cues' instead of trying to work with him to set an acceptable standard. Have you said to him what you said here about the daycare's requirements?

ETA: I know you have been working on your DH's parenting for a long time so forgive me if you have already tried this stuff.
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#40 of 44 Old 08-18-2010, 09:07 AM
 
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TIN, it sometimes sounds as if you are married to my dh! It is kind of funny, how they kind of do the same things. I already said that in another post, my dh has add, (as have I and probably the kids) - and it feels as if he does not use his head - ever. (and he is a doctor, he is well liked, and the nurses love him for working so hard - sometimes that makes me think)

Once he dropped dd in her daycare group room - which was totally, utterly empty. As in nobody there, because the whole group was at an outing. She was found by another staff member, happily playing - all alone approximatly 30 min later. She was three and a half years old by than. He said: See, she was fine, did not cry or anything! Seriously!
I hate that! I love dh dearly. But I am afraid to leave the kids with him. Sometimes I have to. And nothing really happened - yet (wait, he nearly set our house on fire once and did not notice until the neighbours came running)

He leaves the kids asleep in the house to walk the dog (They won´t wake up ever - seriously!) - not longer than ten minutes (that´s what he said!)

I would so get custody in case of a divorce. I don´t even know what to do about it. His parents are the same.

But he does help around the house. He really does. His priorities are often a bit messed up, though. Like we don´t have anything to eat at home but instead of shopping he would remove all the dead twigs from the trees. And than he is angry because I am upset that he was at home all day without actually doing anything that really needed to be done (like washing the kids cloth)

*Sigh* But I love him, and he is a really nice guy. Empathic and intelligent and good looking. Just weird.

Do you still love your dh? Do you want to stay with him? working through the problems? Does he?

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#41 of 44 Old 08-18-2010, 12:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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That sounds really frustrating. I'm not denying that your DH is negligent, but can change the way you communicate about these things? Sounds to me like you are expecting him to 'think it through' and 'take his cues' instead of trying to work with him to set an acceptable standard. Have you said to him what you said here about the daycare's requirements?

ETA: I know you have been working on your DH's parenting for a long time so forgive me if you have already tried this stuff.
I'm working on the communication part. I really am. I sometimes say nothing, don't raise my voice, and don't say anything negative, and DH is so conditioned to hear things I'm not saying - my assumption - that he still reacts the same way. It's like he's on auto-pilot in the marriage. He'll say he heard me say something, which I didn't say, and he responds to what he thought I said, but it's his imagination. It might be something I did or said in the past, but even when I actively refrain from engaging with him, he still "hears" things. It's either history or it's that DH never stops to take a breath and so he wasn't really listening back then or now, and he just assumes he knows what I am saying or going to say, he's never really heard me.

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Once he dropped dd in her daycare group room - which was totally, utterly empty. As in nobody there, because the whole group was at an outing. She was found by another staff member, happily playing - all alone approximatly 30 min later. She was three and a half years old by than. He said: See, she was fine, did not cry or anything! Seriously!
I hate that! I love dh dearly. But I am afraid to leave the kids with him. Sometimes I have to. And nothing really happened - yet (wait, he nearly set our house on fire once and did not notice until the neighbours came running)
Wow. That is stunning. Leaving a child in an empty room? I'm not sure my DH would ever do that - although I've been very surprised by him before so never say never. But I can totally see DH using those excuses! He does use those very kinds of exuses! "She was happily playing, didn't get hurt, so what's the problem? No harm, no foul. Relax!" I can totally hear him saying that. DH is constantly saying "no harm, no foul" and "relax" to whatever he did wrong that didn't have major consequences...at least major consequences this time. I always wonder, though, why risk it? Why skate by?

It might be ADD. DH is sooooooooo unobservant. So incredibly unobservant of the world around him. And he has no memory. He forgets things quickly and easily. And he can't pay attention to an entire paragraph of text or words. It sure seems like ADD.
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#42 of 44 Old 08-18-2010, 06:47 PM
 
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I'm working on the communication part. I really am. I sometimes say nothing, don't raise my voice, and don't say anything negative, and DH is so conditioned to hear things I'm not saying - my assumption - that he still reacts the same way. It's like he's on auto-pilot in the marriage. He'll say he heard me say something, which I didn't say, and he responds to what he thought I said, but it's his imagination. It might be something I did or said in the past, but even when I actively refrain from engaging with him, he still "hears" things. It's either history or it's that DH never stops to take a breath and so he wasn't really listening back then or now, and he just assumes he knows what I am saying or going to say, he's never really heard me.

It is so hard. DH and I are *just* at the point where we can really communicate, especially about divvying up the family stuff, and we have been together for 10 years. Ridiculous, isn't it?
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#43 of 44 Old 08-18-2010, 07:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It is so hard. DH and I are *just* at the point where we can really communicate, especially about divvying up the family stuff, and we have been together for 10 years. Ridiculous, isn't it?
We've been married for more than 10 years. Dated for more than 5. We're going on 20 years.

It is ridiculous.

Things got a lot harder after pregnancy / baby.
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#44 of 44 Old 08-20-2010, 04:07 AM
 
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Unfortunately, in our case, even with the diagnosis, it does not really make anything easier. I am more understanding. Sometimes. But I want him to see that there actually is a problem and actually do something about it. We have an adult add expert working right in the same hospital he is working. Did he ever talk to her? - NO!
The letter from the department with the diagnosis states that he does not have massive problems at work or at home, therefor there would be no need for medication at this point. I am wondering what he actually did not tell them about the problems he does face. He lost stuff, he missed deadlines, he did not get were he should be career wise. He is a really good doctor, but he works at an university and there is no university career at all. And he is really smart and hard working. It is only about his missing organization skills, that he is not able to perform as he should

I am trying as hard as I can, but sometimes I just cannot do anymore

Hugs to you, I know what you are going through!

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Refbacks are Off