I’ve written a lot about my journey through mom life. Talked about the joys and sadnesses of watching my daughter grow up. Discussed making friends and the changes in old friendships. However, there is one relationship that I haven’t really covered. And that’s my relationship with my husband and how becoming a mom has changed it.
I have known my husband for over 18 years. We’ve been married for 10 of those years and parents together for almost 5 years. There have been numerous times over the years where we would argue about both petty things and some bigger issues. However, the only subjects that seem to matter the most (translation: really get under my skin) have been surrounding our life as parents.
The main cause for contention? He is constantly undoing my parenting lessons! Well, okay. Maybe it’s just that he puts higher values on other things than I do. But whatever the reason, I feel as if he doesn’t reinforce the things I try to instill in my daughter.
For example, during the week, my little one is actually very good at picking up after herself. For any mother, you know, this is a huge win! Unfortunately, during the weekends, when my husband is home and I’m out teaching classes and running child-free errands, I often return to a house full of clutter; a sea of toys and crafts that have been taken out and not put away. While it is not done purposefully, my husband undoes my lessons by not saying anything at all. Does he not see the mess accumulating? Does he assume I will clean up after everyone? These are the thoughts that run through my head.
Finally, after a few instances of feeling this way and bottling it up (then lashing out at some unrelated thing), I decided to calmly discuss this with him. I explained how I felt he didn’t care or value the way I handled situations during the week. How it actually felt disrespectful. He explained that his time with our daughter is often limited and he just forgets those things as he’s just trying to pack everything she wants to do into a short time. It was a good conversation where we both understood where the other was coming from.
At the end of the day, I just really want 2 things. I want my daughter to feel like we are a united front. Kids can sense when parents are at odds and that can affect them in numerous ways. Secondly, I want both my husband and I to have an active voice in parenting. We are very different people, with very different family backgrounds. It is inevitable that we will disagree on things and place varying values on issues. The key I found is to discuss versus placing blame. It’s definitely easier said than done, but when I look at my daughter I know it’s important to try my best. Some issues may not be so easy to relate to each other. Sometimes, someone will need to back down and let it slide. Just like marriage itself, it’s a compromise and no one has the right answer.
So as the weekend came to a close, I looked around my house and saw the toy picnic basket who’s contents are strewn across the kitchen table. Instead of letting it bother me so much, I let the sound of my daughter and husband chatting while putting a puzzle together in the other room drown out the negative thoughts in my head.
There will always be things to clean and put away. But there won’t always be a lazy, rainy Sunday when my little one will want to sit in the family room and work on her Moana puzzle with dear ole dad.
So this one, I’ll let slide.