As an at-home dad and primary caregiver to our two year old son, I am confident and enjoy being in control of the parenting as well as the ebb and flow of the schedule for him on a daily basis. Consequently, sometimes I “get caught in the minutia” and don’t recognize the big picture when watching my wife parent. Her style is so completely different than mine and I often have difficulty letting go and relinquishing control. Reflecting, I should recognize the importance that her different parenting style is extremely healthy for our son to be exposed to, and I need to loosen the reigns a bit. After all, he needs variety. Always the diplomat in life, has parenting turned me into a dictator or the “Gate Keeper?” I know I just need to be more relaxed when passing the torch to my wife for a while, but it will take some work on my emotional competencies. She is wonderful with him…dare I say it, maybe even better than me.
These reflective thoughts arose as I read a relevant article in the May issue of Crib Notes – Can Stay-at-home Moms and their Working Husbands Get Along? by Laurie Puhn:
My friend told me that she loves her husband, but she can’t stand him when he offers opinions on raising their young children.
“When my husband has parenting suggestions I get annoyed, even though he certainly has the right as the daddy to be a part of the decision-making process.”
Despite her admission of his fatherly rights, the emotional tug of “You don’t know what you’re talking about!” is too much of a draw and they get into unnecessary fights. After all, she doesn’t tell her husband what to do at work, so why should he interfere with her job at home?
Now, this is an extreme case (“can’t stand him”), but it makes you stop and think for a minute about how you process and respond to your partner’s parenting advice/suggestions.