I realise those words in the middle of everything going on outside of the walls of our homes may come off as shocking or uncaring but the truth is, is that I'm blessed.
Everytime I check Facebook, scroll through my Twitter account, or read the news I am bombarded with how horrible things seem. It makes sense to me because everyone loves to shout about what they are upset over and whisper their thanks but frankly...it's overwhelming right now. I constantly find myself asking my husband if my reactions to some of these things are valid or just pregnancy hormones rearing their ugly head because
|Makes me laugh every time...|
In theory they are right.
I see it play out so different in my day to day. Wives who can't say anything good about their husbands, husbands who are just going through the motions in life, people bashing each other for stupid things. I'm a part of several "Crunchy Mama" groups on facebook. You all know the type...organic food, baby led weaning, baby wearing, CIO / non CIO fighters, cosleeping,circumcision, placenta pills, gentle parenting techniques...It's very draining some days. I realise that I was born in the wrong era when I am on those sites because I refuse to co-sleep, don't have a clue how to baby wear effectively, and definitely believe in Spankings. These women balk at the idea of not hugging out a tantrum ( yes that's a thing now...) but then turn around and get so upset with their men. Most days it's a man bashing fest on some poor schmuck who works swings and won't help out around the house. We all hear about those men all the time right ladies? The guys who come and go "as they please" without kids in tow and don't know how to get their laundry in the hamper. What I realised though when telling my husband about some of the crazy is that most of these men probably don't have a clue what to do at the house, with the kids, concerning all the crazy practices in place. My husband and I parent in a "middle of the road" type manner because we are very different people. We talk through situations and come to an agreement on what works for us as a whole. I get the impression from so many that that isn't normal. It's mothers laying down the law for their kids. Baby wearing, sharing the bed, breast feeding...is all good if the father is on board and understands it. Let's be honest, most men don't understand it.
Men don't understand why there is a 5yr old laying between him and his wife.
Men don't understand why the kids HAVE to be in the bathroom with them when they just have to go pee for a second.
Men don't understand why they are expected to hug out a screaming child who is being disrespectful to them over a toy they don't even own.
Men don't understand why they have to get up in the middle of the night to keep you company when you solely breastfeed.
I don't understand why we expect them to be us.
I am a very different person than my husband. My patience levels, reaction times, go to methods...they are all different than his. I couldn't fathom handling a situation like him so why do we as moms expect our men to handle things like us?
Our lives breakdown more than we realize because of decisions we make. If you choose to breastfeed then I applaud you. It is tough and exhausting at times. It's not a fun road for most moms. It's also not easy for dad. Breastfeeding is so much more than food. It's a bond that makes your relationship unbreakable with your child. You become their comfort and their safe space. Dad's can't compete with that. We put our children in a position to need us as moms and then get upset when the dad's don't help out. We take the kids to the store because the dads can't feed them. We get up at night because the dad's can't feed them. We arrange our entire day around this small child and they don't...because they can't feed them! Little by little it trickles down to other things around the house. We cook while baby wearing because they throw a fit otherwise. Dad isn't their safe space. We clean while having a little person follow us around because we're their best friend. We vacuum at certain times because of their schedule. Which the schedule! The almighty schedule that dad's have no say in because they aren't a food source or a comfort source. We have put our men in a position to not be able to help and then we get upset with them for not doing so. We nag them for not playing with the kids more, bash them behind their backs for not understanding how "our home" works, get upset with them when they run errands for us "without the kids", (and my personal favorite) get mad when they watch the older kids while we moms run errands with the baby.
Most men I know are trying.
They think that they are helping you by either staying out of your way or running errands outside of the house for you. They work in the yard to make sure that your house looks good. They are actually trying. We're not letting them.We've boxed them into this corner where we are our children's be all, end all and then get mad when they don't participate like we do. The same women who don't yell at their toddlers because they are having "grown up emotions that they can't communicate" always seem to be yelling about their husbands over emotions they are not allowed to say. I was blown away when my husband told me a few years ago that he didn't feel like a parent because he didn't feel included with me and monkey. He was the back up parent. I was the primary feeder, comforter, playmate, and disciplinarian all rolled into one. I was getting upset with him for not helping out and then I found out that it was partially my fault. I set him up for failure as a dad. I set him up to be of no good to me as a spouse. Then I would get mad about it. Looking back it's childish at best and destructive at worst. We had to have a come to Jesus meeting about how we parent. How many Dad's feel like they can't do that? How many are in the same positions but don't have the energy anymore to fight for their voice?
|Monkey was so little!|
As women we need to evaluate the decisions made concerning our children. We need to take into consideration the impact it will have across the family. If you breastfeed, great! Just don't get mad when your husband sleeps through the night or you have to take your kids to the store with you. If you have a spouse with a shorter temper then hugging it out may not be the way to go if they're not on board. Better a middle ground strategy than two totally different approaches that confuse the child. If you have a schedule in place, write it down for your spouse and place it somewhere convenient for them. If you co-sleep make sure your spouse is ok with it and talk about the length of time you'll do it. Their bed is their safe space too. They have a right to have a say in it. Parenting is about merging two people's ideas into one small kid. You have to be on the same page for it to be effective.
The biggest issue though is one that is so simple. Stop tearing each other down.
Build each other up.
See the world from their point of view and try to understand where they are coming from. Stop assuming they are out to make you look bad or undermine your decisions or trap you in the house with small 4 foot energy sucking monsters. Communicate to each other what you want. I'm not a mind reader and if my husband is one his memory wouldn't remember what it had read in the first place. We both know this. We write out what we want from each other so he has a way of reminding himself down the road and I have a way of feeling secure concerning what page we are both on. It seems drastic sometimes but it works for us. Find what works for you. Even if the decisions are hard and not the direction you prefer.You have to be a strong supportive wife in order to have a strong stable husband.
The more we build each other up as parents the better off our children will be. The more equality shown in a home on a day to day basis the better our children will understand what it is. But none of that happens if we don't communicate and parent together. I genuinely believe a loving mom and involved dad makes a world of difference with children and how they turn out as adults. I think our boys need strong male role models to help teach them and guide them. I think our girls need active involved women in their lives to teach them how to be ladies and have respect for themselves and believe in themselves. I also believe if we tell a child that they are special and worth listening to but then yell at their other parent or talk about them behind their back that we will have undermined everything we were trying to teach.
As a nation we want the violence and hatred to end in our world.
As a nation we have come to the consensus that good parenting is where the change begins.
As a family, we believe that good parenting starts with both parents being on equal grounds, with open communication, and with equal say in how the children are raised.
As a wife and mother I know that if I constantly downplay my husband and make him feel like a failure than I have set him up to fail.
I'm Blessed. I'm blessed because my husband believes the same things. I'm blessed because he fought to have a voice in our family as a parent. I'm blessed because he believes that being honest about our family is the only way to fix the problems that arise. I'm blessed because he trusts my judgement because he knows I value his.
This world is crazy and scary and i want to bury my head in the sand some days but when I look at the issues that arise and the solutions being offered I know that our family can survive. And if our bungling struggling little family can work through issues than I know there are others out there that are too. I know that there are enough amazing children being raised by some extraordinary people and that because of them our future isn't as scary as we think it is.