When You Don’t Agree on How To Parent!
I am so fortunate to have an amazing husband. We have been together for almost 15 years, and have had very very few arguments. Sure we have disagreements and “discussions”, and we also have times when we are just sick of being around each other, but we rarely ever fight.
I guess we have this understanding that there are really very few issues which both of us care enough about, as to not allow one of us to “stand down”. In other words, whoever cares more about the issue gets to have the final say if we are unable to come to some kind of mutual agreement. And given that my hubster is INCREDIBLY easy going, and I am more of the passionate and persuasive variety, I tend to get my way… a lot.
It also means that when hubby disagrees or puts his foot down, then I really know that he has a good reason for it and I have to respect that.
But the other day we found ourselves in unchartered territory. We were discussing the best way to handle a particular parenting issue. I had my reasons for wanting to handle it the way I thought best. My reasons were theoretical, and came from a place of love. My husband had reasons for wanting to handle it the way HE thought best. His reasons were practical, and came from a place of love. We both felt very strongly about our positions.
We talked and talked and talked, but it became apparent that neither of us were prepared to stand down. Whilst we acknowledged how the other person felt, and their reasons for wanting to handle it in their chosen way, we realised that we had reached a stalemate. I felt incredibly frustrated. I was frustrated because I felt like I wasn’t presenting my case well enough – because surely if I had, then he would be agreeing with me. I felt hurt, because I’m the Mum – surely Mums know best when it comes to parenting? I felt a little lost – what to do from here?? Don’t all the books say that consistent parenting is the be all and end all of a healthy, happy home?
But then my ever-wise hubby said “There is no mistaking that we love our children with all our hearts. We would travel to the ends of the earth for them, and all we want for them is the very very best. But we are two different people. We see things differently. Our children see US differently. Yes we are Mum and Dad, but we are also two different people. And our children are smart enough to know that. We handle things differently, and that’s OK. It doesn’t mean we don’t support each other, and it doesn’t mean we don’t love the children the same way, it just means that sometimes we’re going to handle things differently.”
It was a lightbulb moment for me.
My husband is a fantastic father. He is a hands-on Dad who is involved with every aspect of our children’s life. Of course he is going to have his own opinions on the best way to handle situations. I didn’t write the book on parenting, and I’m never going to force my opinions on him, as I certainly wouldn’t expect him to do that to me.
And this is one very tiny little blip on the parenting radar. I have to remember that we have made hundreds… thousands of decisions together on a daily basis ever since we conceived our first bubba. And 99.9% of the time we either agree, or agree to disagree. There are going to be times when we DO do things differently, and that is something I will have to accept. Because as long as it comes from a place of love, then who I am to decide who is wrong or who is right?
Our children know that they are loved, and they know that Mum and Dad are an awesome team, but they also know that we are individuals with our own ideas. So while we do agree the majority of time, I guess at some points, we will handle some things differently. I’m learning to be OK with that. I owe it to my children, and I owe it to my husband. And I am hoping it will make us stronger as a family in the long run.
Are you always on the same page as your partner with parenting issues? How do you deal with differences of opinions?