When I was much younger, I thought I’d like to be a single parent. I’ve never been much good at compromise so I thought it would be a better idea for me – I’d get my way every single time. I would be the only boss! What I didn’t think about was how difficult parenting actually is. I mean it’s freaking time-consuming! There are no guaranteed breaks. Nothing ever goes according to plan. I’ve actually stopped making plans because it bothers me too much
if when things don’t work out the way I intended. So I’m very grateful to have a partner, someone I can ‘tag in’ when I need a break, even though he doesn’t get home from work until after 10 pm. Hey, a break is a break, right? As long as I know there’s a light at the end of the tunnel at the end of a particular horrific day, I’m okay.
Then there are days like today. Today I don’t have a partner, I have another dependent. I have a large child with the most annoying blank stare I’ve ever seen. It’s the kind of look that contorts my face and makes my eyes glow demon-red with frustration. Okay, not really, but that’s what it feels like on the inside. It’s the kind of stare that makes me wonder why I bother trying at all.
I remember my mother telling me she couldn’t wait for me to have kids so I’d ‘understand’. Well it’s not the kids that are driving me nuts – at least not yet. It’s him.
The difference between him and me is: I try. I know how that sounds but it’s true. When I’m home with them, which is just about every day, I make sure they get fed when they’re used to eating, naps, baths, diaper changes, play time, change of scenery, bottles. Basically, we have a schedule that we’re all used to and it’s comfortable for all of us.
When it’s S’s turn, it’s like he’s being stubborn on purpose, just to prove he can do things the way he wants to do it. They miss naps, don’t ever get their teeth brushed in the morning, stay in their footie pajamas all day and never leave the TV room. S plays video games from the couch and pretty much ignores them. At night, he flat-out refuses to give them a bottle before bringing them upstairs to go to bed. He brings them up, plays with them for a little while, puts their PJs on (assuming at some point during the day, he felt like getting them dressed), and all the while they get crankier and more tired. Then I’ll come up and start brushing their teeth and casually ask if they’ve had a bottle. No, of course they haven’t. So here we are, about 45 minutes past their regular bedtime and they haven’t even had a bottle yet. And I will have to rebrush their teeth. And this is the day that’s supposed to be my ‘break’.
I know how this sounds – like I’m a controlling maniac who is using this blog as a device to bitch out her poor husband to a bunch of strangers on the internet. It sounds horrible. It sounds just as horrible when I say it to him on a daily basis. It’s always something. Not one day can go by without him doing something to piss me off. No, the world doesn’t end because they’re off the schedule for one day, but it would be nice if I felt like S was on my team instead of some rogue player who steps in once a week. Like he’s a freelance parent or something.
This morning, I got out of the shower to come downstairs and find my 1-year old twins in their feeding chairs with a try full of fresh peaches and no supervision whatsoever. S was in the kitchen washing dishes (here it is – the PRO: I’ll give him props for that – he’s really good about washing dishes). They have been eating solid food for only a few months. I have told him, I don’t know, A MILLION TIMES, that he needs to be in the room with them when they eat. Not necessarily staring at them the whole time, but at least in the room able to look over every once in a while. I’ve tried to explain to him that choking is not the loud production we often see depicted on TV. It’s quiet and then it’s too late. So what does he do? He waits for me to be somewhere else so he can sneak off and do things the way he wants to. And then when I catch him, I get the look. It’s the same look my dog gives me when I come in to find he’s pooped on the floor. I guess it’s better than the blank stare though.
I’m honestly at a loss. I know I need to be less controlling but I also need to be able to trust him to have better judgment when it comes to our kids.