Saturday, June 13, 2009

Love and marriage and a baby

There are days when parenting is hard. There are days when working on a relationship and marriage can be hard. Mix the two together and occasionally it's a recipe for disaster. I love my husband and cannot begin to express how grateful I am for his commitment to be a truly active and involved father for our daughter. For instance, he loves to cook for her. If it were up to me, the poor child would probably exist on crackers and fruit (I am not the most inspired cook). But from the moment we introduced Peanut to solid foods, Gboy wanted to be in charge of her eating. Since she was exclusively breastfed until 6 months of age and refused the bottle after just a few weeks of trying it out, he never really got a chance to feed her until she was 6 months old. From that point on he's been making her a steady (and healthy!) diet of homemade soup, skillet dishes, gourmet hamburgers and the like. This is just one example of his amazing parenting skills.

And is often the case with two unique individuals, we have different priorities, interests and strengths as parents. As a result, we have been known to disagree and argue about how to parent. Today was a perfect example. On our short ride to town, Peanut started to fall asleep. Gboy began his usual routine of entertaining her in an effort to try to keep her awake. Since switching to one nap per day (usually going down at about 12:30) Gboy has been paranoid about letting Peanut fall asleep in the car for a catnap in the morning. Once upon a time, namely during the transition from 1 to 2 naps, if she fell asleep in the morning for say 20-30 minutes in the car, she would often struggle to nap later in the day. This was difficult for us since she wasn't napping much at all on a good day at that time. I'm not sure I think that a 15 minute car nap this morning would have prevented her from napping later in the day, but he was adamant that she be kept awake. I argued that perhaps we should let her sleep (she'd been awake since 4:45 this morning!) and just see what happened. More disagreement and discussion ensued.

What frustrated me most about the whole thing is that I'm not even sure what upset me or bothered me most. Was it that I felt he was criticizing my admittedly lame attempts to help keep her awake while he tried to drive? Was it that I felt my strategy was better? Was it that this is one battle I'm just not interested in fighting? Was it that the act of keeping her awake *every* time we get in the car (since it seems this happens all the time) is just so monotonous to me that it's become one of those parenting jobs which is inevitable and monotonous and I'm feeling selfish because I don't like that there are things about parenting which aren't all fun and games?

I just don't know. All I know for sure is that this was a juggling act that involved two people I love and it's a challenge to make all the players happy all of the time.


  1. It comes up from time to time with my husband and I, too. I ALWAYS get offended. In my head I think "uhh WHO has been with this child ALL day? Who has to deal with this cranky child, come bed/nap time?" Yeah it's not pretty. Once I think about it for a bit and I'm able to see his side, I'll have a calm conversation about it with Husband. One of us will get our way, but not after making sure our points are heard and validated. I'm the type to just throw my hands up to avoid an argument, but sometimes I'm willing to fight to the death over a subject. ESPECIALLY when it comes to a sleeping child.
    I hope you can figure out the best way to deal with this situation and make yourself and hubby happy.
    Good luck!

  2. i agree with the above comment, especially about him not being with the child(ren, in my case) all day. also, what's at issue is his insistence on a blanket solution when obviously (to me, anyway) this time maybe she did need to sleep after all, since she woke up so early this morning. *hugs* i often have to grit my teeth on the weekends because my DH is such a bonehead sometimes. and i'm very stubborn!!

  3. Sleep stuff always raises tensions here!

  4. I think sometimes these problems do emerge because, try as a working Dad might, he is not the primary care giver and sometimes it is hard for them to accept that a mother usually knows her child best.

    I 'try' to back away a bit when Cowboy is home on the weekends. I'll offer advice, but if he insists on doing something one way (provided it is not dangerous of course) then I try to let him do it AND he is the one who will then deal with any fall out.

    After all, we learnt about our child through trial and error, and they should be given the same opportunity if we want them to be an active parent as the child grows up.

  5. We were just chatting the other day about how when our eldest was a baby, we'd argue about so many things related to her upbringing! Now we hardly argue at all. Both of us has changed and learned as we went of course.

    Downside to getting the upper hand is a case of paternal uselessness: 'what should I do???'. Don't know which is more annoying.

    My vote would be to let the kid sleep! These things sort themselves out in time.

  6. Well, the thing I kept thinking of after I read this post was that Peanut had been up since 4:30. That means you and/or Gboy had also been up since 4:30. Conversations under those conditions are best shrugged off, in my book. Saying that, I'm about to lay down with Jun for a nap. It's too late for nap time, and she won't go to sleep till too late tonight, but...I'm tired!