Could’ve, would’ve, should’ve! The one thing my son’s father and I kind of…sort of…fine, completely forgot to do while we were expecting, was, you know, talk about how we were going to parent and, essentially, raise our son.
My son has the best father ever. He’s super fun, will play with him for hours, and even has the patience to take him grocery shopping. But our parenting styles couldn’t be more different. It’s like we were issued different parenting manuals.
While I was pregnant, we were so busy deciding things like what crib or car seat to get that we forgot to talk about the day-to-day of parenting. Instead of just discussing baby names, designing the nursery, and trying out different positions while having sex, I wish we had actually worked to get a parenting plan in order. Or at least put a verbal parenting plan in place. Or at least a discussion of some sort. Because now, we’re so not on the same page. You might think that the person you’re having a baby with, that partner that you know oh-so-well would be of the same mind as you. Well…WRONG!
One of our first disagreements was over our son’s hair. My son’s father likes him to look preppy, and I always wanted a little boy with long hair, like a mini surfer dude. You may think this sounds like a silly thing to argue over, but it pops up time and time again. ‘No one touches his hair but me.’ I’ll say, every time Daddy mentions that our son needs a haircut.
I think our first argument was over the type of diaper we should be buying. I found Pampers to be more effective. Daddy found Huggies more effective. And then there are Lucky Charms, yes, the cereal, which has also become an issue. I hate sugar cereals (Okay, I like them, but I don’t want my children eating them!) and, in this instance I wasn’t lucky, because I came home a few months ago to see a box of Lucky Charms on our counter, thinking ‘WTF?’
‘It is just a one-time treat.’ my son’s father promised, knowing how I feel about sugary cereals. Well, what do you think happened? That ‘one-time-treat’ has turned into a daily breakfast for our son. Sigh.
I am very anti-gun, and when my son was a baby, I did mention there were never to be guns in our house, even plastic ones from the dollar store. Flash forward four years, and everywhere I turn there are plastic guns. I came home from a meeting one day to see them having a water gun fight in the backyard. (I know I didn’t buy them. And since my son is FOUR, I know he didn’t buy them.) Still, my son was having the time of his life, while I gave his father the stink eye.
Then there’s bedtime. I am strict about bedtime. My son’s father, however, loves to wrestle and pillow fight with our son…right before bed. He might as well give the kid a friggin’ lollipop.
‘Now that you’ve riled him up, you’re putting him to bed.’ I’ll say, because my rule is ‘You wake him. You take him’.
And then there’s the way we punish our super spoiled child. Daddy, whenever he goes out with him, pretty much buys him anything he wants. Not expensive things, by any means, but he always gets our son a little treat. I get that our son is cute, and that, yes, it’s easy to bribe him into behaving if we buy him something, but, I’m more like, ‘No. You DON’T get a present every time we leave the house, or every time I walk into the house.’
If my son throws a tantrum, his father will threaten with, ‘If you don’t stop crying right now, I’m going to take ALL your toys away!’ First, that would never happen. But, more importantly, I believe in the ‘stoically ignoring it’ method of dealing with tantrums.
Make no mistake. This goes both ways. My son’s father hates it when he goes on a business trip and I’ll bring my son into bed with me. I LOVE sleeping with my children, because I believe some sort of bonding does take place with co-sleeping. My son’s father is anti-children sleeping in matrimonial beds at all times, whether he’s away or not. So, of course, I let my son sleep with me, and that drives him crazy.
And these are SMALL things. Sure, it was absolutely more fun to think of baby names and pick out cute onesies. But, now, if I could go back, I’d discuss almost every detail in advance of baby’s arrival.
How do you handle these little parenting-style disagreements? Do you wish you had had a parenting plan(ish) in place? Because I could have, would have, should have!