Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Mixed messages

I've heard of couples getting married and when it comes time to start planning a family they hit a speed bump. Or even a brick wall in some cases. Those couples clearly never discussed whether or not each wanted children. My husband and I dated for several years before getting married so we had plenty of time to discuss children and we both agreed we wanted to have them. I knew that I didn't want to get to that point and be like "ok, let's make a baby and he look at me like I'm crazy".
My question is, do couples discuss child raising and rearing ideas? I'm sure there are some that do. We never did, not really. I do remember before kids we would jokingly say, "If we ever have a daughter she's not wearing this or that" when we would see some young girl wearing something inappropriate. I never really thought about how we would raise our children. Until now..
My husband obviously has different ideas than I do. Well... not to bash him without giving him a voice on this...but he obviously has NO ideas on what his plan on raising them is. It's come to a point now that our daughter is 6 1/2 and our son is 2 1/2 that he needs to grow up. I feel like I'm the only one who is an adult when it comes to taking care of the kids.
Yes, hubby takes care of the obvious. He can feed them meals, get them bathed, help with homework and get them to bed. And he's really good at entertaining them when it's involving a computer or video game but anything else in between I might as well write a manual. It frustrates me!!
I would rather have our children enjoy outdoor activities(weather permitting) versus sitting in front of the computer or television. If the weather is bad, then stimulate their minds with board games and crafts.
I agree that the kids need snacks between meals, but small portions and healthy snacks. Not an open bag of Doritos (found the almost empty bag in the computer room) on which both kids graze on for a half hour and then don't want to eat lunch. That just gets under my skin because we had already discussed our daughter not eating snacks because she does not get them in school. So she is already used to going in between breakfast and lunch without a snack. Why does he have to go against me on that issue? I have a hard time with the food anyways because I was a chubby kid through from 4th grade to 8th grade and I don't want my daughter dealing with that.
I guess I could put a stop to the unhealthy eating (since I am the grocery shopper) and not buy those items anymore. Hmmmm, now there's an idea..
I really do think, before this gets too far I need to sit down with the hubby and discuss our parenting ideas, goals, expectations and what such. I need to see if he has any ideas. Because we need to be on the same page about our children. We're sending them mixed messages and later down the road when they get into those teen years we're going to need to be a united front.

So maybe we need parenting counseling or a book. I am not sure.


Tiffany said...

I think you are right - communication is definitely the key. Nice blog!

Kingdom Mama said...

In my experience (and this may not be yours), my husband will quiet his ideas when mine our too loud. I think the Daddies assume that the Mommies have it all under control (which we don't). I hope the two of you will get a chance to sit down (maybe over his favorite dinner) and talk all of this out soon. I agree that it is so important to be on the same page!

Megan said...

My Hubbs and I also dated for a long time before getting married and had time to talk about these things (and did), but have still bee surprised about the amount of conflict that can come from raising children together.

Sitting down at a date night when you're not in the heat of the moment is a great way to talk about it - each of you can calmly discuss your points of views. The bottom line for me, though, if we cannot get past an impasse, is that I told my Hubby I trust him to lead our family, so I need to submit to his wishes - even (or especially?) when it comes to the kids.

Also, I have found that when I ask him for help with things, I have to let go of my control and let him do it his way. (I'm not saying you struggle with this, but I do!) Like if I ask him to help get the kids dressed, I can't then criticise his choices of clothes. (Or better yet, I could lay out their clothes in advance and then we can all be happy!) I know this is a tiny, insignificant example, but I've found this mindset can apply to many things and go a long way to encourage (rather than undermine) our husbands.

I'm rambling! Best of luck to you!

Jessi said...

My husband and I have not had children yet but we both want a large family. I am very into the healthy eating, outdoor playing, imagination building, exploring the world through experience and not husband is open to it but didn't have that kind of childhood. For him, I think it's that he won't be able to live up to *MY* parenting ideas. I know it's something we need to talk about and put a little planning into *before* we have kids. Thanks for the post and for the encouragement to figure it out!

*found you through the Bold Blogging carnival*

Jessi said...

To clarify-HE thinks he won't live up to my parenting ideas. I think he'll be an awesome dad and that he doubts himself too much.

Shelby said...

Visiting from Kingdom Twindom. Love your post.

Amber Ford said...

My hubby and I have had different parenting ideas, and like you, I wish we had talked about them before getting married and beginning the journey. Maybe I wouldn't feel so much of the time like our children are our guinea pigs in parenting. :-) Although your inside view into the snacking/tv/video game seems too much like dejavu, because I also was an overweight child, our main dilemma lies in control: I grew up in a house where everything was controlled and I had no freedom to be who I wanted to be, and my hubby grew up in a house where he could do anything he wanted. Of course this has flipped, he tries to be more controlling than his parents were out of fear that he isn't parenting enough, and I try to let up more out of fear that I will control like my parents did and not allow them enough creative expression and freedom to grow.

I see a pattern: fear. So for us, a way to resolve this is to grapple with these fears from our own childhood, together, and in prayer, and heal. And then, together, decide on some ground rules that are non-negotiable. Deciding on them is not easy, and being consistent with them is certainly not easy, but it is all a starting place.

To open conversation, honest prayers, and God-honoring parenting....

Chennifer said...

Hi! I found you through SITS - and I loved your post! Looking forward to reading more from you!

Now to this post in particular - me and mi novio have been together for 3 years now, and will marry next year. We enjoy talking about how to raise our future children - and especially when it comes to languages, since they will learn 3 languages (we speak spanish and swedish on a daily basis, and believe that it's important they learn english fairly young, as we both did).

I guess that communication is key, as Tiffany wrote. And I think that even do we have talked about this for a long time, when we have children we will have to continue talking about it - how to raise them.