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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 6:55 pm 
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Pinko, yes. Your last paragraph sums it up nicely! I understand that ideally, we would all have enough free time to ourselves to do whatever. But it can be hard to take someone complaining about never having time to themselves when that person, say, takes a 20 minute shower alone EVERY day. (He doesn't always shower alone anymore, now E often showers with him, but still.)

For whatever reason, we had those sorts of problems a lot more with one kid. Probably we're both better at time management (and expectation management) than we used to be. Also, when there are 2 parents and 2 kids, it becomes obvious that it's not at all reasonable for one parent to be in charge of both of them most of the time.

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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 9:20 pm 
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It does give you a whole new appreciation for alone time.

I love driving without L in the car, because she hates NPR, and has a very definite set of preferences for the music that can be played. When I drive alone, I get to hear the news like a grown up. So nice.

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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 11:19 am 
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c&s, I think I agree about the whole 2 kids thing. I'm not gonna say that my partner and I have given up on having time alone, but we are a little less bitter about it.
if anything, I'm concerned most about the fact that I can't get Howard to like, leave the house by himself and go do something. He's extremely unhappy living in NYC and doesn't even ever feel like seeing any of our friends, so his "alone time" actually means being in the house with us but watching baseball while I take care of the kids. Being so antisocial just can't be good for him. In a lot of ways I benefit because if I want to go see a band or something, he's automatically home anyway because he just doesn't wanna do anything. We desperately want to move somewhere, anywhere, away from here - if we went out west, we'd have a lot of family around to occasionally give us a break, even though I'm not entirely keen on spending lots of time with the family haha - but it just doesn't seem possible with the whole job market/economy being what it is. I'm constantly frustrated by Howard's misery, even though I completely empathize, and it makes me resentful because I want him to be happy and enthusiastic about our lives, you know?


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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 11:49 am 
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coldandsleepy wrote:
For whatever reason, we had those sorts of problems a lot more with one kid. Probably we're both better at time management (and expectation management) than we used to be. Also, when there are 2 parents and 2 kids, it becomes obvious that it's not at all reasonable for one parent to be in charge of both of them most of the time.
This is good to hear. I keep thinking about how having another kid is going to work when I am still the one who does most of the planning, feeding Ada, getting things ready to go out, etc. It's not like Andy doesn't do stuff, he does, but I think since I'm with her all of the time I have a better idea of what needs to happen. And things change so much day to day that a lot of the time he just waits for me to tell him what needs to be done. Which I understand, but it's also frustrating at the same time. Does that make sense? Sometimes I just wish I could get a mental break.

Pinko, Andy too has been really good about not doing things after work as much. But yeah, he caaaan do something if he wants to without it being a big production. And he can ride the subway to work and read something while doing it. And eat lunch withou cleaning up food afterwards. And use the bathroom without entertaining Ada at the same time. And yeah, when I do get some alone time on the weekend I feel like I need to rush because I'm thinking about what Ada needs. Totally not his fault, but it's hard not to be a little resentful.

This morning I got mad at him because he didn't get any dishes done before he left so the kitchen was a disaster and I was up a bunch during the night so I was exhausted. Instead, he was playing with Ada while I showered. Now I feel bad for getting mad. I think it must be really hard for him not to see her for more than an hour or so a day during the week.


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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 9:51 pm 
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sashi wrote:
And things change so much day to day that a lot of the time he just waits for me to tell him what needs to be done. Which I understand, but it's also frustrating at the same time. Does that make sense? Sometimes I just wish I could get a mental break.


This is so helpful to me. One of my biggest frustrations is that I see all the stuff that needs to be done, and he seems to see none of it. He'll do stuff if told, and that is so helpful, but I resent the having to think for both of us. Its like "OK, I have 10 minutes to clean the kitchen, and in that time I need B to do x,y and z" versus just having him notice all the stuff that needs to get done and doing it. Stuff like, I am going upstairs. Hmm. I should look around and see what needs to go up with me, instead of going up empty handed and leaving a dirty diaper on the coffee table and the fresh diapers downstairs so that when I go up, I have to take the baby, the dirty diaps and the clean diapers. Our solution is to create a spot for everything to go upstairs and him trying to remember to look at it. And every night, he spends several hours downstairs with no baby, watching TV, so it should be pretty easy to empty the dish rack, put dishes away, wipe down a counter or two, during commercial breaks. All stuff that I otherwise have to get done while making food, and entertaining Leela and cleaning up as I go, so that our house isn't a complete disaster. But I don't notice a lot of the stuff he does routinely like take the garbage and all the recycling out.

sashi wrote:
when I do get some alone time on the weekend I feel like I need to rush because I'm thinking about what Ada needs. Totally not his fault, but it's hard not to be a little resentful.


Yes, I feel like the primary caregiver is always on standby, even if its just mentally. I love the idea that Butternut mentioned of making the other partner the expert in something. My doula suggested early on that one's partner can be "the one in charge of all things bath" which means that there is at least one area where you aren't on standby, but someone else can take over completely, feel competent about, and be the go to for you if you ever need anything. I am having a hard time giving up all control, but for now, Brett is in charge of childproofing. I have done zero research and hope to keep it that way.

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I was up a bunch during the night so I was exhausted..


I also think that things feel way bigger and more out of proportion the less you've slept. If I haven't had enough sleep, Brett can't do anything right, because I am just so cranky, and I have to be able to pull it together and be great with Leela. We've been having Brett spent extra time with Leela in the am, while I get an extra 90 minute nap alone, because I need to get healthy and sleeping alone is just so much more restful.

I am glad to know other people have challenges too, and I expect it just makes you stronger as a couple to navigate them together

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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 7:43 pm 
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Everytime B watches L, he pulls out every toy she owns to play with her, and then leaves them out when he goes. So then I have to put away every toy, and watch her and make dinner and feed her etc.

So today, I just asked if he could pick up as they go. Just if she is done with a toy, put it away. And his response was that he does enough around the house. His mother had 4 boys and did everything around the house - she shopped, cooked, cleaned, watched the kids and his stepdad never had to do anything,* so why should he have to. He said its no wonder he never wants to come home, if I am going to keep giving him things to do. Oh and he also said "You're the one who wanted the kid and now you want me to have to help you do stuff."

what the fizzle?

So, am I a jerk for wanting him to do more than just watch her when he watches her? For wanting him to do some light picking up as well, so I don't have to? Please tell me this is going to work out.

Oh and I made the exact meal our acupuncturist wants him to eat - a broccoli and zucchini chowder with miso (from Vegan Girl's Guide) - and was told it wasn't really his taste.

*her mom lived nearby and would watch the kids so that she could do stuff as well

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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 8:03 pm 
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wow, um, brett really needs to check himself. is that really what he said?

i would be so angry i don't even know what i would say. i'd probably go stay somewhere else for a night or two, actually.


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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 8:11 pm 
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Yes it is. I am having a hard time, because (1) I am really sick (I am on antibiotics for a sinus infection) and (2) I feel like our marriage is bipolar - we went out for his birthday brunch and he kept talking about how lucky he is to have me and how much he loves me, and how sorry he is that he is so grumpy all the time blablabla, and I thought "Oh we've turned a corner" and now we're back to this.

I feel like talking has no point any more. And we seem to be going from zero to 60 these day in conflict. If I say anything, he busts out the personal insults and calls me a bisque and a nag, and its all in front of Leela and I see that as abusive, because she totally notices it, but he doesn't seem to care. I then spend the next ten minutes getting him to calm down and say my piece, he seems to get it, looks contrite, apologizes and nothing changes. Its a huge waste of energy.

And in front of our counselor, he is all "she is amazing and I love her and I need to do better." He is totally unwilling to say anything else that is there for him. And I never badmouth him to my family or anyone off the PPK, so everyone is like "You have the greatest husband! He is SO supportive!"

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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 8:20 pm 
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Yikes. I'm so sorry Tofulish. I am absolutely livid on your behalf. It is incredibly disrespectful, unkind, and frankly misogynistic to treat you that way, to expect you to be this bizarre '50s housewife that does everything domestic so he can hang out with the boys, and to call you a bisque for expressing a need or a boundary. Lots of love to you.

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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 10:42 pm 
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"Put away any toys you take out" is not unreasonable. If it's a rule that a three-year-old can follow, then surely an adult can follow it, too.


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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 10:47 pm 
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Ha! I love that! Thanks for the laugh Larisa! And thanks for the love. Its sometimes hard to ask yourself if you're really being completely unreasonable in wanting help with your kid when you're a stay at home parent.

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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 3:56 am 
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I would probably have told him off. He's the parent too, it's his job to parent. And if he wanted the same situation he had with his mother, he should have married her. He has things to do when he comes home because that is his job. When he is at work, you are a stay at home parent. When you are both home, you are both parents. Parenting isn't optional for him because he has a job. It is hard and he has to deal with it. Also, total bs about you having to do the work because it was your idea to have a baby. Pretty sure he participated in that.


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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 6:00 am 
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i think you're being pretty patient, Tofulish. "you wanted this baby, you take care of it" is fightin' words. will he trot that out when the kid is old enough to understand what he's saying? i know he's under stress but that's not acceptable for you or for her.

I think parenting at any age is challenging, but before you get to the point where you're causing trouble with the kid's expectations, let me ask- what would happen if you didn't pick up the toys, if you just left them?
I had something similar at home for a while- when anyone else cleaned they refuse to touch anything of mine- as if I had cooties, my teacup, my shoes, anything kitchen-related. So instead of fighting, when I cooked, I started cooking just for myself. Washing only my clothes. Shopping only for myself. No arguing, but showing how ridiculous it was. It cleared up pretty quickly. I wonder what would happen if you just left the stuff on the floor and shrugged it off. Stay at home mama doesn't equal household slave.

as for the insults in front of the kid- can you bring this up in counseling? because this is not good for you or Leela and should be nipped in the bud.

hang in there tofulish!

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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 6:18 am 
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Tofulish- what he is saying to you is so disrespectful and cruel. I cannot imagine my partner saying he never wants to come home. What a horrible, cruel thing to say to your partner. I'm sorry he is treating you like that, and I hope you both can find a way to communicate better and be better housemates.


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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 10:07 am 
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Wow. You are right, calling you a bisque in front of your child is abusive. She is watching her parents to learn how to behave, and even though she's not speaking yet, she's storing away every word she hears. Mr. Mitten and I have certainly had some rough patches, and there were times during the first year of Walter's life that I entertained marital escape fantasies, but I draw the line at verbal abuse in front of my kid. I do not want him learning that it's okay to treat me, or his future partner, like shiitake. It sounds like you and B have some issues to sort out regarding expectations and fairness, but your first priority has to be shielding Leela from witnessing name calling and verbal attacks. That is an emotional safety issue. If he is not on board, then fork him, he can stay with one of his dude-bros.

Edited to add: I'm not saying it's unacceptable to ever argue in front of your kid, because that's bound to happen. But there's a huge difference between modeling healthy conflict resolution and modeling name calling and personal attacks.


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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 10:57 am 
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Seriously T, that is rough. I think everyone else already said what I had to say, but yeah. That honestly sounds (from across the Internet) like incredibly childish behavior on his part. It's like exactly what I go through with the Emperor re:cleaning up his own toys, except he doesn't know the words bisque or nag yet.

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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 10:59 am 
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And personally, I would find it unacceptable for my partner to name-call even NOT in front of our kids.

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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 12:08 pm 
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coldandsleepy wrote:
And personally, I would find it unacceptable for my partner to name-call even NOT in front of our kids.


This.

Sorry you're going through this Tofulish. Honestly I don't know how I'd get over being told that I was the one who wanted the kid. That's just... sad.

I feel like you take a lot of abuse in exchange for the ability to be home with Leela and it shouldn't have to be that way. As a stay at home mom, B should be appreciating all that you do. Whoever it was that spelled out the fact that when he isn't working, you both should be on a level playing field as parents, is so incredibly right on. Hope things get better for you guys!

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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 3:45 pm 
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+2

The "it's your kid" thing is so so far over the line that he's in a whole other country. Definitely something worth discussing at counseling. I said something to my husband about that and the "not wanting to come home" line and his jaw hit the floor. I wonder if he's just saying these things to try and hurt you. Did he have these sort of behaviors before L was born?

((hugs)) I hope that he realizes soon that his actions are harmful both to you and to Leela.


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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 3:55 pm 
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Tofulish, I'm sorry you guys are going through this. Do you think he said it all in the heat of the moment nd did he apologize after? Not that that makes it ok, but hopefully he is realizes that he is wrong. Those re some seriously hurtful things to say to you and Leela.


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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 6:23 pm 
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<3 Tofulish

Everyone's pretty much said it, so that's kinda all I got. His daughter is learning how men treat women, even now. I hope he realizes that.

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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 6:36 pm 
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Awwww thanks! Its really rough. His parents had a horrible marriage as did mine, and we both agreed never to ever re-enact our parents patterning in our marriage, but its all easier said than done.

He did apologize and we had a conversation recommitting to not using language or raised voices etc in front of Leela. But I am looking at what No More Salt once said "If only the human heart understood the concept of sunk costs....." and wondering whether this is something fixable for us, or whether I'm better off out.

We need to figure out a broader model to communicate about things that need to get done in the house that is going to work, and he needs to be committed to that, and sadly at the moment, his response is "well if you wouldn't nag..." He does do a lot in the house and I recognize that, but it can't be that he does what he wants and then I have to do the rest. I don't want to just let the house go completely - I spend so much time here, and it was so depressing earlier in the year when it was just filthy, plus given that she eats everything on the floor, I don't even think its safe.

I really don't want a divorce. They are stressful, and any difficulty we have now is just going to continue in our co-parenting, so even if we do get divorced we are going to have to work on this.

I think the part that is so tough is that we have stood together on so much stuff in the past, and we genuinely adored and were so passionate about one another, so to have come to this spot is just hard. Before we had Leela, I couldn't believe how many of my friends worked so hard to get pregnant only to get divorced a few years later. I mean you do so much to get to having this amazing person, and then your relationship goes south? But now I realize what a strain it puts on your resources and how deeply it triggers your family patterning....

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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 6:57 pm 
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well, like i said before, there is nothing like the first year of child-rearing to bring out the worst in each other. i'd be very cautious about recommending a friend leave a marriage before the 2nd year (except for the obvious untenable situation). it's a really rough time, you're both trying to adjust to a big life change, and just because it's something that lots of other people do doesn't mean it should be easy to do gracefully. mr. bird and i argued about some really stupid shiitake the first year especially and said some mean things. we've totally argued in front of tzipi before too.

i don't think either of us said anything like what you described though, so that really concerns me. i would again suggest that he get checked for anxiety and depression. a lot of what you've been posting sounds like he is not dealing emotionally with the stresses of having a new family. i think i mentioned before how he sounds a bit like my friend's husband, and when you see him interact with his wife and child in a more intimate setting, it's really clear how his anxiety makes him snap and bisque at his wife.

i'm really sorry you're dealing with this. i hope you can find a good solution and soon. it would be such a shame for brett to miss out on the joy and excitement of watching leela grow and develop this year because he is so caught up in trying to blame you for everything.


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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 7:28 pm 
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I also wonder how much is the stupid fear of whether he has cancer, overwhelm about needing to change his diet, etc that is driving this. We both feel like we can't take One More Thing.

I had a mini-meltdown (didn't yell or scream or anything, just got overwhelmed) when he asked me to revisit Leela's diet with our acupuncturist, because Chinese medicine says no flours and no fruit and a ton of other restrictions that is going to make BLW much less fun. According to CM, her immune system is just developing and the flours, sugars etc will overload her gut, which is the seat of the immune system, causing life-long health issues and allergies. No pressure or anything.

A friend of mine told me that her cousin was just diagnosed with lung cancer. He is 33 and it is everywhere. He was fine in October, had a cough for 5 months and literally in 2 weeks between x-rays the nodule became a mass on both sides with mets throughout his body. He is at Sloan Kettering and if chemo doesn't work he has 2 weeks to live. It is just blowing my mind how fast lung cancer moves.

And Brett isn't willing to get a CT scan until he has insurance even though he could get one for under $300. I wish I just knew for sure it isn't cancer and then we could deal with everything else, but with that over us too, it feels very daunting.

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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 10:49 pm 
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Tofulish, based in what you have said I think B needs to make some serious changes. That being said a friend once said to me that in the first year of marriage you will think about divorce many, many times. Get through the first year and see how things are then. I know that there were many times I thought that everything would be easier without Nate. I think B is being a huge jerk and he may be under stress but that isn't a reason to be an asparagus to you.


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