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 Post subject: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 6:25 pm 
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The most frustrating part of parenting for me hasn't been the kid, its been the change to my relationships with people, especially my co-parent. I know I'm not alone, so I thought it would be nice to have a thread where we can vent and get support. Obviously none of us want to bash Dads or men or make any generalizations, but sometimes it helps to get wise PPK perspective on an issue that you just feel stuck in.

Since we've had Leela, I really notice that it has kicked our conflicts up about 10 notches. Before, we didn't have much to disagree on, but with a little one that we both adore, we find ourselves in conflict sometimes and less willing to just back down. Sometimes each of us feels like the other isn't doing it right, and often our responses are triggered by our own upbringing, so it all gets really complicated, and we aren't maintaining a rational distance. Plus our priorities are shifting and we're trying to figure out how to meet changing needs with diminishing resources.

My issue at the moment is that I think that my partner's soothing, which worked really well at the beginning (singing loudly and rocking her in the face of her inconsolable crying) is now overstimulating her, because it is now a different type of fussy. So she gets overstimulated, sticks her tongue out, he thinks she needs to feed and he gives her back to me. All of this is in the space of about 15 mins, so my delicious hour long breaks to have a long bath or watch TV have become rarer. But he doesn't think he is overstimulating her and he objects to me telling him how to parent his kid.

He is fantastic as a Dad - he looks for every opportunity to be with her and snuggle her, and he is so into learning about babies now. And he is still great as a husband - constantly checking in and being supportive and sweet. Its just I wish I had an easy strategy for communicating about a difference in parenting style past right and wrong.

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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 6:42 pm 
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I made a lot of mistakes when I first had Zola. I had so many expectations of myself to be the perfect mom, and I think I sort of took over. My husband did the overstimulating soothing and I would get anxious and say, "Just give her back to me and I'll nurse her." I never really gave him the chance to figure it out for himself, and I think that's what every parent really needs. Some space to figure it out. Make mistakes, see what works and what doesn't. I really, really wish I could have seen that in the beginning.
We started arguing over who was doing the most work, and who was stressing who out. I did all the baby stuff, and he did all the household stuff, and neither of us really appreciated what the other was doing.

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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 6:51 pm 
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I'm sorry, you lost me at hour long breaks. This is something I did not see until age 3.

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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 7:00 pm 
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I used to get them! I don't any more! He takes her, sings loudly at her, she gets overstimulated and then he gives her back! I don't want her back, I want a bath and to watch a movie.

And of course after he gives her to me, then I sooth her, comfort her and calm her and he goes and watches tv. grrrrrr. I miss baths.

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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 7:00 pm 
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I have a feeling I am going to need this thread soon. I am going back to work tomorrow and we are going to need to find a whole new balance between work, babycare, household stuff and personal time for the both of us. We will both be working equal amounts of time and both be spending time alone with the baby.

Before the baby I did most of the household stuff, just because I like doing it. I enjoy cooking and cleaning. My partner would always step in if I asked and help me get stuff done. Now that the baby is here I need him a lot more with household stuff because I am needed more by wolverine and I just don't have all that time to do things and it is just going to get worse on days I work.

We argued for about a week about the fact that we didn't want our lives to change much when having children and he felt that things were changing more than he expected them to. We both knew things were obviously going to change but had a hard time with not making time for ourselves. My partner would get resentful if I told him I needed him to watch the baby during a time he wanted to be playing music or playing video games. We got over that hump pretty quickly once he really realized how much the baby really needed of our attention at any given moment and we couldn't REALLY scedule set time for ourselves because things could come up.

The newest arguement has been parenting style. Wolverine has had a few break downs where he is inconsolable lately and it really upsets me. My partner gets agrivated that I don't just put him down and let him cry because he knows there is nothing I can do to calm him and I will just sit there and hold him and cry myself. That has been the biggest struggle with parenting for me, when I can't do anything to soothe my kid. It is hard for my partner to watch and he also still thinks that the CIO method is what most people do and he think it works or something. I have a hard time letting him know that a newborn can't understand that CIO thing and just needs to feel comforted. Mostly because it comes up in the moment and I am already upset and really defensive of my kid and can't calmly explain it to him.

Anyway I am both looking forward to going back to work and letting him have his own time with his son to figure things out and equally terrified that I won't be there with a boob for my child. Hopefully the responsibilities with even out without too much heartbreak too. only time will tell.


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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 7:12 pm 
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Semen Strong
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((((hugs tank)))))

I do not know if this will help, but my husband watched a Dr Phil episode (seriously) and Dr Phil had Dr Sears on to say that CIO is bad for babies.. Since then he has been uber-protective so that she doesnt cry. Here is the episode: http://www.drphil.com/slideshows/slides ... &null=null (its on pg 4)

Here is a Psychology Today piece that is pretty convincing.

That said there seems to be debate on the issue: http://www.babble.com/baby/health-and-s ... harm-kids/ but it seems clear that no one argues for an upside for the baby in letting them cry it out. The best it offers is that it gives the parents a break, which can be a very good thing.

Also, I think wolverine is too young for CIO to give any real benefit. I thought that you had to wait until 3 months for the baby to be able to understand that crying does not get attention.

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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 8:28 pm 
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Tofulish wrote:
The most frustrating part of parenting for me hasn't been the kid, its been the change to my relationships with people, especially my co-parent. I know I'm not alone, so I thought it would be nice to have a thread where we can vent and get support. Obviously none of us want to bash Dads or men or make any generalizations, but sometimes it helps to get wise PPK perspective on an issue that you just feel stuck in.

Since we've had Leela, I really notice that it has kicked our conflicts up about 10 notches. Before, we didn't have much to disagree on, but with a little one that we both adore, we find ourselves in conflict sometimes and less willing to just back down. Sometimes each of us feels like the other isn't doing it right, and often our responses are triggered by our own upbringing, so it all gets really complicated, and we aren't maintaining a rational distance. Plus our priorities are shifting and we're trying to figure out how to meet changing needs with diminishing resources.

My issue at the moment is that I think that my partner's soothing, which worked really well at the beginning (singing loudly and rocking her in the face of her inconsolable crying) is now overstimulating her, because it is now a different type of fussy. So she gets overstimulated, sticks her tongue out, he thinks she needs to feed and he gives her back to me. All of this is in the space of about 15 mins, so my delicious hour long breaks to have a long bath or watch TV have become rarer. But he doesn't think he is overstimulating her and he objects to me telling him how to parent his kid.

He is fantastic as a Dad - he looks for every opportunity to be with her and snuggle her, and he is so into learning about babies now. And he is still great as a husband - constantly checking in and being supportive and sweet. Its just I wish I had an easy strategy for communicating about a difference in parenting style past right and wrong.


Can you comfort her and then give her back to him? Can you leave the house for your breaks and force him to come up with his own method? Give up the baths for now and instead go and buy yourself flowers.

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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 8:30 pm 
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Yah I don't think he thinks we need to let him always CIO. He just gets flustered when he sees both of us upset and he wants to just give me a reason to put him down. Him saying that we shouls let him CIO because he will never learn that crying isn't a way to get attention is more a desprate attempt to say SOMETHING to me to help. It just upsets me more and he doesn't understand that. He works all day with a bunch of ladies with a few kids each who I am sure are giving him all sorts of "advice." I think if we actually sat down not in the moment and discussed CIO vs attachment parenting (which we have in the past) then we would be more on the same page, its getting through those tough moments that we are having issues with. Sometimes when wolverine is upset it gets us into arguments and that's the hard part.

ETA: I agree. I think he just needs his own time with her so he can learn for himself what works and what doesn't. If he is just going to pass her back to you then you need to leave the house even if it is just to go grab a coffee or something. Make sure she is well fed and just tell him you are stepping out. I have found that my partner needs to learn soothing techniques on his own or he won't use them, he will jsut say "he's hungry, here" and hand him back off to me.


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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 9:44 pm 
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Tofulish wrote:

My issue at the moment is that I think that my partner's soothing, which worked really well at the beginning (singing loudly and rocking her in the face of her inconsolable crying) is now overstimulating her, because it is now a different type of fussy. So she gets overstimulated, sticks her tongue out, he thinks she needs to feed and he gives her back to me.


I just read this aloud to my partner because it is the exact argument we have been having(except add rainforest white noise to the loud singing). It's like he hasn't noticed that you have to adapt as the situation changes...and she changes so quickly.

But he did just cook me dinner and reliably changes dispers during nursing marathons, thank god. I'm just trying to make time for us to at least acknowledge the hard work we are both doing to try and make this new parenting thing work.


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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 10:59 pm 
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I am kind of glad we aren't alone in this! It puts things in perspective for me, and I hope that is the point of the thread. I do think parenting is stressful on even the best relationships and it helps to get advice from sane people (ie not babycenter)

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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 11:03 pm 
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So far the only concerns/issues I have are that V feels uncomfortable being left alone with Jordan for too long and isn't very good with poopy diapers. For now, I am mostly manning all baby duties and napping when possible and V takes care of food & cleaning. I really want to figure out a way to encourage him to do more with Jordan and realize that he does know what he is doing and he is a good parent. We're both so new to this, I don't know what to do to boost his confidence.

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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 11:19 pm 
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This thread is making me laugh a little because my husband still tries the same thing to soothe Alba that worked when she was a newborn - a tight swaddle and bouncing like crazy - only now she's four months old and hates having her arms restrained...ah well...I really do try to focus on the fact that he's a kind, involved dad and not micromanage the little things. There are things he's so great at too, like letting her lie on her belly over his arm so she can hang her arms and legs down and zone out. It's so charming and it's totally their thing together.

Parenting together, sorry to be trite, but it is such a damn roller coaster. We're in a such a good place with the baby, maybe because we've done it before and we know for sure this too shall pass. But oh my Lard, the almost-three-year-old is pushing every button ever invented and we're in conflict every other day about what the heck we should be doing with this kid. Time outs? Redirection? Am I too soft? Is he too strict? Did we ruin him after all? It's really hard and thank god we also all love each other like crazy.

One thing that's been helpful to us is that my husband really responds to reading something instead of just hearing it from me a thousand times, so we'll try reading a parenting book together and sharing reactions and seeing if it works for us. I freely admit that I can be pretty unyielding about what I think is the right way to parent, so it's been good in really tough times to see a couples counselor about parenting issues.

Looking back to when number one son was born, I can see that I was a little off-balance, and it became me and and the baby on one team, my husband on the other. For us the killer issue was co-sleeping - it just didn't work for my husband at all, physically or mentally, but I refused to compromise and as a result we still rarely share a bed for more than a few hours because our son still wakes up and needs someone to sleep with him. But there's stuff you can only know by doing it, seeing what happens, and then trying something else if it doesn't work.


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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 12:56 am 
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I am really good at figuring out what Lorelei wants. Whether she is sucking on her hand due to teething as opposed to being hungry, when she is overstimulated or tired and cranky, etc. I think even when she changes her moods I can pick up on it really quickly and intuitively now. When I can't handle her and she is tired cranky and nursing doesn't work though, Dad has gotten really good at soothing her to sleep in his arms and I really love it. We both know that she is constantly changing and that the same thing isn't going to work every time. Sometimes I am better at soothing her, and sometimes he is better at soothing her. If that means I won't get the bath this time... that's okay I know it will even out in the end.

We both try and do what we are best at in order to help the other person. I am good in the kitchen and getting meals on the table so I do a lot of the cooking. I am better at playing and talking to her so I do a lot of that. He tends to get her more during the day because I am up several times every night feeding her and I miss out on sleep. Recently, he has started watching her for an hour in the evening so that I can work out and get my body back. I never have time to do that for myself when I have her by myself.

We have always communicated really well. We don't tend to fire off words without thinking about them first. I know you guys love and care about eachother maybe you just need to take a breather before you say something regretable and escalate something into an argument.

I second pointing him to resources that reinforce what you are trying to accomplish or the direction you are taking in parenting.


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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 10:12 am 
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Right now for maybe the last week and a half Nate and I are in a really good place with Grey. I feel like we have hit our stride, but I am sure that will change in a couple weeks. I have to try really hard to not tell him what to do or give him suggestions all the time, I am trying to let him figure out his own way to parent, unless there is something he is doing that I think is harmful. I also tell him each day when learn something new that Grey likes/doesn't like so he can use those things and he does the same to me.

Yesterday he took Grey for a three hour hike! I got to make cookies and knit. This was the first break I have had in months really. My parents watched Grey a couple times ut Nate hasn't since the beginning of November really. Before I left for my trip I would even have to take Grey to the grocery store on weekends or evenings because Grey would just scream without me and it was really hard on Nate and on me. Anyway, that seems to have passed, thank god.


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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 10:32 am 
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Littlebear that is amazing! Congratulations and I hope things just keep getting better and better for you guys!

Leela sorted our difficulty out. She was exhausted and refused to have him hold her. I pointed out that she was exhausted and he was overstimulating her, and he shifted to a calmer being. So I watched TV and cooked for an hour. It was awesome. Having a kid definitely gives you new appreciation for time and rest!

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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 10:34 am 
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Tofulish wrote:
Having a kid definitely gives you new appreciation for time and rest!


FOR TRUTH.

Man, our relationship has always had an ebb and flow, but kids really up the ante. It took us a really long time to really get to a comfortable place being a family of three vs family of two. I am very glad that adding a fourth member has not been nearly as difficult.

Most of our arguments stem from either feeling one of us is being too critical of the other or foolishly trying to parse out who actually has it harder. What's working lately is being quick to apologize (and forgive), really supporting each other getting alone time (sometimes it is incredibly difficult to find the time, but it is always a huge mood booster), and trying our damnedest not to compare.

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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 11:42 am 
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Axel Foley wrote:
Parenting together, sorry to be trite, but it is such a damn roller coaster. .....we're in conflict every other day about what the heck we should be doing with this kid. Time outs? Redirection? Am I too soft? Is he too strict? Did we ruin him after all?

indeed. it doesn't get better, just changes. we have the absolute same conversation at age 12. except Mr T really doesn't want to talk about it, since he didn't grow up in a "parenting" type situation (the kids raised themselves/each other).
i was really lucky in babyhood in terms of us both doing the same things, but now, well, Bad Cop and Officer I Refuse To Discuss This basically sums it up pretty nicely. On the other hand, besides being the Discipliner, I also get a lot of the trust, the happy times, and the confidentialities. I feel bad for Mr T because he misses out on it, but he just walks away a lot because "all you girls do is fight all the time". Given, he gets along much better with Sprog than my father did with me (my dad was the Discipliner) but sometimes I feel bad that he is missing out.

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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 1:11 pm 
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ismloveyoubobbybrown wrote:
Tofulish wrote:
Having a kid definitely gives you new appreciation for time and rest!


FOR TRUTH.

Man, our relationship has always had an ebb and flow, but kids really up the ante. It took us a really long time to really get to a comfortable place being a family of three vs family of two. I am very glad that adding a fourth member has not been nearly as difficult.

Most of our arguments stem from either feeling one of us is being too critical of the other or foolishly trying to parse out who actually has it harder. What's working lately is being quick to apologize (and forgive), really supporting each other getting alone time (sometimes it is incredibly difficult to find the time, but it is always a huge mood booster), and trying our damnedest not to compare.



ah yes, my partner and I have totally fallen into the who-has-it-hardest trap too. I admit, a lot of the time it has been ME in the wrong because I feel like I work full-time and then go home and have to immediately take over childcare because Howard needs a break. The fact is, we both need a break but hey, having a kid is a full-time job. All I try to do is imagine how badly I would need a break from the kid after being home with her for 8 hours alone (ahhh at my snidest I have pointed out that at least Howard gets a break while Dahlia sleeps for 2.5 of those hours while I never get anything like that whatsoever) and try to remember I am LUCKY that I have a very easygoing job, even though I feel like I'd rather be home raising my kid and having a relaxing pregnancy.

I do feel like we went through a kind of shock period after she was born and we really truly had to accept that it was gonna be hard and consume our lives. We're in an ok place now most days, and I'm trying to expect the worst when it comes to adding a new baby to the mix so that maybe the shock won't be so hard.


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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 2:10 pm 
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Tofulish wrote:
Its just I wish I had an easy strategy for communicating about a difference in parenting style past right and wrong.


I have some advice, but please take it with a huge grain of salt because all of my parenting experience is with dogs and not human babies. However, my partner and I have had similar arguements regarding how we are dealing with our dogs' behavior issues and the only thing that helped us was stepping outside of the different dog training theories we each subscribed to and looking at actual results of our methods in each situation.

For instance, my rescued pibble, Callie, has a lot of anxiety issues, and because her previous owners abandoned her, she has separation issues. My partner likes Caesar Milan, and me not-so-much. We were having problems with Callie getting super excited when we got home and jumping on us and nipping us. My partner would of course try to correct this behavior and when he ultimately couldnt calm her down he would do an alpha roll. i would tell him how mean I thought he was being and no amount of "proof" that the alpha roll didn't work would sway him. He would just get defensive.

Eventually we sat down and looked at Callie's issue together. instead of trying to change his dog behavior philosophy, i pointed out that Callie was still nipping at Timbot after he did the alpha roll so maybe we could try some other approaches. We came up with 5 ideas, I let him contribute 3 and I added 2, none of them could be the alpha roll. Then I let him try all of them to see which worked best. We ended up using a mix of one of each of our ideas, redirect her energy to a toy followed by a walk as soon as we get home.

So maybe you could point out to your partner that his soothing isn't working for you because you're not getting the hour to yourself that you need for the sake of your sanity. He's not doing it wrong, it just isn't getting the desired result...then maybe you could come up with other ideas together.

Hopefully this helps!


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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 2:41 pm 
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That sounds great! No grain of salt needed - its all really just about talking to your partner, no matter what the subject matter is. Also your pibble is adorable and is Timbot a Frenchie? Too cute! And yes, alpha rolls are horrible - I'd never let anyone do them to my pibble or my daughter ;)

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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 11:02 pm 
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Tofulish wrote:
That sounds great! No grain of salt needed - its all really just about talking to your partner, no matter what the subject matter is. Also your pibble is adorable and is Timbot a Frenchie? Too cute! And yes, alpha rolls are horrible - I'd never let anyone do them to my pibble or my daughter ;)

Ha! Timbot is the partner...guess I should've clarified! The Frenchie is Stella. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2012 6:50 pm 
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You are not babysitting if she is your kid.

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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 9:18 am 
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Tofulish wrote:
You are not babysitting if she is your kid.

YES.
It drives me nuts when people say that.


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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 12:49 pm 
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The who has it harder game is such a trap! I have a much older daughter, whose presence in my life predates my partner. Yet I find myself getting into I do more, I do more--even though a year ago, I was content to do *all* of it as a single parent.
Then there are different styles, different buttons, kids who are old enough to see those different styles and different buttons and try to work it...It's hard.
It's also hard for me to take things at face value and not get into a whole does this mean that. We're planning on starting the baby route, and it's tempting to take every bump now as some sign--"oh no, if this is now, what happens when we have a baby together!"
And knowing better doesn't stop my head from jumping to all this.


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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 9:25 pm 
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Location: Cliffbar NJ
So excited for BabyFriday!!! You are one of the best moms I've ever met <3

Yeah the who does more is tough, and if you focus on what you aren't getting it is so easy to miss what you are. Brett pretty much only works half days now - he is home with us until 2pm and then goes out for about 5 hours. And he makes me breakfast, takes her so I can eat in peace and then walks the dog etc. He does most of our housework and our laundry. I might have the sweetest deal ever, but I still sometimes feel like I do so much because I am the default caregiver. I am the one who wakes up during the night with her, I do most of the diapers, and I am the one who has to ask for coverage if I need to go to the MD, PT or even just take a phone call that I can't have a screaming baby on. And he is great about being the coverage, but it rankles that if he can't cover her, I am the one who has to shift appointments, find other alternatives etc. And that resentment could eat our entire relationship for breakfast, because it kicks off an entire spiral of resentment and treating each other poorly, so I have to keep remembering how lucky I am to have someone who loves us both so much, who is here for us and provides so much etc.

I don't know if this is the case for everyone, but I think that both of us snapped right into our parents' dynamics. Brett and I come from families where the mother and father were both competing for the love of the kids (being the better parent) and really had no love between them any longer. So the tone of our interactions often slips into each of us thinking we are the "better" parent and making the other wrong for something minor and then blowing it up into "you're the bad parent, I am the good parent. If you were the good parent you would .... " And it happens so easily and in an instant... And then boom - its a whole world of anger and resentment and nastiness. and we find ourselves being as crappy and disconnected from each other as our parents were. We work really hard to keep moving through the triggers and apologize and acknowledge that both of us are good parents and there are many right ways to do things, but the first reaction is often not a very nice one.

The kid part is easy. Leela is awesome and really there are only ever 3 things wrong for her - she's hungry, wet or gassy, and all of those are so easy to alleviate. Plus because she is so young, I feel like both of us identify strongly with her and so we want to love and protect her like we wanted to be loved and protected as kids. We both love her to pieces, we sing to her, we snuggle her, no one ever gets mad at her.

That said, having to move through this dynamic is a giant growth opportunity and our relationship is a lot better off for it.

_________________
My oven is bigger on the inside, and it produces lots of wibbly wobbly, cake wakey... stuff. - The PoopieB.


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