Like any other couple, my husband and I bicker. Sometimes about the small stuff, other times about bigger deals. By now we have figured out our process of resolving these things and coming to an agreement so we can move on…most of the time. But there are also those things that we niggle and argue about over and over again. This kind of revisiting drives me crazy. I hate saying the same thing over and over, but for the love of me, can you please put your dirty dishes in the dishwasher and not next to it??
There came a point when I realized that one of the issues that we kept coming back to was general parenting. As I write this our daughter is nearing eighteen months old and it has been the biggest joy and test on our relationship. My husband is an amazing father, it is one of the many reasons I married him. He is doting, fun, protective, thoughtful and would do anything for our daughter. Alongside that, I have realized we have different parenting styles. We have the ultimate same goals, but the way we get there can be different.
Before I sat back and thought about it, I was really letting some of these parenting things get between us and I was losing perspective. “You can let her cry if she is having a tantrum…she doesn’t need her blueberries cut up…. let her feed herself…please don’t let her use her pacifier out of her crib.” I chuckle at myself as I read some of these, but at the time seeing my husband take a different approach to feeding, discipline, sleep (and so on) made me feel like all the things I had been working on with our daughter was going out of the window. It really grated on me. I also think in my mind, if we weren’t doing things the same way our daughter wasn’t going to learn as effectively and our team parenting was non-existent.
So, I decided it was time for a change in mindset. It was time for me to take a step back from parenting and make room for two styles of parenting in our house. Staying at home with my daughter means that I have had the time to figure out strategies that work for me in the million different scenarios that parenting throws at you. I needed leave room for my husband to figure out what works for him and my daughter in their relationship. Yes, we still have the same expectations, but my husband and I are going to persuade my daughter to get dressed, or go to sleep, or eat in different ways. I really like things done my way, so for me this process was hard for me. I had to be conscious in every situation to not jump in and insist things are done my way.
Along with the change in my thought processes there were a few other more tangible things that helped me take a step back. I took a trip with one of my best friends to Vegas for a long weekend last month. I had a great time and so did my two favorite people back home. As I write this, my husband and daughter are at ‘Donuts with Dad’ at the library. So we are building in some special time for them to have together on a more regular basis too.
It has taken a lot of self-reflection to get to this point. To be honest it is still something I am working on and I slip back into old habits. But it is worth trying, because my husband and I are better for it. And my daughter and my husband’s relationship has more room to blossom.