T.S. asks from Leesburg, VA on April 11, 2010
Am I Controlling?
I am a SAHM of two boys ages 3 and 1. I have a good husband and overall a solid marriage. Even though my husband works a lot, he is also very much a hands-on dad. Now every once in a while I would give him some "direction" when he is with the kids. Little things like "I don't think they need jackets cause it's warm out" or "please wash their hands before lunch" or "make sure he brushes his teeth before you put him down". And I don't do it excessively, I know because I make a conscious effort not too. Now my husband says that this is me being controlling. And he brings it up especially when we are in a fight to use it against me and portray me as a controlling wife. I think it's absurd! Even though he is a good dad, I am still their primary care giver and their Mom and I don't want to give up the right to once in a while ask him to do things a certain way. Especially when I know that I don't do it a lot, many times I don't say anything even if I want to just to avoid conflict. Am I wrong? Am I a "conrolling wife"?
So What Happened?™
Thank you all for taking the time to read my post and give me feedback. I should probably, as most of you said, pick my battles and just let him be in total control when he is with the kids, just to avoid conflict. But I still don't think there is a good reason for me not to give him a friendly remainder once in a while. It shouldn't be a big deal in a healthy relationship I think that he is just being too sensitive. It would not bother me at all if he did the same to me. And he does, with other things, like "don't forget to close the window before turning on the A/C", just one example. It just makes me a bit resentful that he can give instructions to me and I can't to him because it makes me controlling. Double standards. Thanks again!
D.P. answers from Pittsburgh on April 11, 2010
I could have written that! LOL
You know what everyone says: Admitting you have a problem is the first step.
Now you know, so try to back off about certain things.
(Note: When I try to do this is backfires miserably...went to see a play and did not specifically TELL my hubby to give DS alergy meds at bedtime -- he SEES me give them to him EVERY night--did he do it that night? Nope. Sigh.)
J.D. answers from Philadelphia on April 11, 2010
my husband tells me silly things like that sometimes and it drives me crazy because I am the one taking care of the kids 90% of the time. Do I look like an idiot? have I ever been unable to care for them? He'll tell me really obvious stuff like what you are saying to your husband... like to wear a coat.
Should I not let them play with knives or lighters too? Darn! that was on my agenda for today! LOL... just kidding, but you get my point.
I think I would only remind him of the not obvious (and very important) stuff, like if they had medication that needed to be taken. But nothing is going to happen if they don't have a jacket one day or if they don't wash their hands. They will survive!
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T.S. answers from San Francisco on April 11, 2010
Dads and moms do thing differently, that's part of growing up with two parents.
He doesn't need "reminders," he is an adult. So what if the kids have a jacket if they don't need it? And they won't die from one missed handwashing (or the occassional sunburn, junk food, etc.)
You know that saying, don't sweat the small stuff? This is it, don't sweat it! Enjoy the BIG picture, as in, HE IS INVOLVED!!! :)
5 moms found this helpful
A.A. answers from Denver on April 11, 2010
I think perhaps you need to try to put yourself in his shoes. What you're doing in contradicting him in front of the kids is undermining him to your children and humiliating him in front of them. He is pissed off not because you're reminding him of something important, but because you're making him look like an idiot in his mind, in front of the children.
He really does need that to stop. You need to find external ways that don't come from you to help the situation if it really is something that is common to every day life. Maybe you make up a "Are you ready to head out?" check list that gets posted by the door that you encourage the kids themselves to go through any time that they're getting ready to leave. And then if he needs it, it's there for him too.
But you really do need to not contradict him in front of the kids. What is the worst that happens if they take a jacket when they didn't need it? Nothing really. They might learn from it.
Before asking any of these questions, ask yourself what the worst consequence is for failure or doing it wrong. If the answer is not something like "The child's infection relapses" then you probably don't need to say it, and he would appreciate feeling respected and allowed to learn on his own.
Also, if you value your marriage, take what he says to be what he feels, whether you agree with it or not. Choosing to believe random people on here who say "no, you're not controlling" while it might make you feel better about yourself, will be damaging to your marriage if you believe them over his feelings on the subject. Right or wrong matters much less than the fact that this is how it feels to him, and he needs a resolution to a pattern that's hurting his feelings, even if you hate that he calls it that or needs it.
3 moms found this helpful
C.M. answers from New York on April 12, 2010
I wouldn't characterize you as "controlling" as much as I would say "micro-managing." The implication is, the micro-manager does not believe the "micro-managee" to be competent enough to fulfill a given task or role in his own way. If you, the micro-manager, trusted that your husband could adequately maintain your children's health and well-being, the minute details would not require such scrutiny.
Instead of saying, "Please make sure you wash their hands before lunch," I would simply ask when we are about to eat, "Could you please take them to wash their hands?" It comes across more like a request from one equal partner to another than an instruction. I have also been in a position similar to his, because Grandma babysits while I am working. Yes, I spend the day at work, but there is a definite difference between simply telling me my child hasn't eaten dinner yet and adding a comment like, "You'll need to feed her when you get home." Really? If she hasn't eaten I should feed her? I always smile and nod, but the implication is infuriating. Before you make comments like, "His diaper is dirty. He will need to be changed," please hold back and ask yourself whether he really would not have figured an appropriate course of action on his own. Or, if you do not feel like changing it yourself, just ask, "Hey, could you change his diaper for me?"
Also, if you have a routine for naptime, bedtime, etc., just defer to the routine and you won't need to say anything at all. If tooth-brushing is part of the bedtime routine, then your husband will brush the children's teeth when he puts them to bed. If his choices differ from yours (i.e., which shirt your child will wear today) and it's not that serious, let your husband be the adult too. Your children's fond memories of your husband's active role in their lives will benefit the kids far more than an extra handwashing or two.
3 moms found this helpful
J.G. answers from Chicago on April 11, 2010
i think that if you respect him and you obviously trust him since you married and had kids with him, you should let him make his own decisions about things that have to do with the kids. imagine how you would feel if he constantly gave you "friendly reminders" on how to act with and raise your own kids. I know i have a better intuition than my husband and i feel that as a woman we have a better feeling about things that have to due with nurturing and caring for the little ones. but if a man is trying to be a good dad and as you said he is a good dad, why not let him have at it and make decisions also. he is their primary care giver too if you are both living in a single household as a single family. unless he is doing something that you think will hurt the child then i think you should take the time they are with their dad and read a book, take a breather, relax and take a long shower. let dad be a dad and you will see what a well rounded person you end up raising because he got the best of two people. good luck
3 moms found this helpful
C.P. answers from Provo on April 11, 2010
I think any one of us mothers could have written that. I just try to remember that sometimes life can be the best teacher. If he puts a jacket on the kids when it is warm then he will be holding it while they are playing at the park. Next time he will remember that this was not such a good idea. If they get cavities from not brushing their teeth then let him take them to the dentist. He will make sure that they brush their teeth. When it come to the hand washing I would teach the kids that germs will make us sick and we need to get rid of germs. It is really hard for a mother to step aside but I do feel that your husband wants to have a little part in raising the kids. Good luck!!
2 moms found this helpful
C.C. answers from Washington DC on April 12, 2010
To be completely blunt, you are treating your husband as though he's an incompetent idiot. He's right to resent it, and I would too if I were in his shoes.
A friend of mine once criticized how her husband was changing their child's diaper. He never changed a diaper after that.
Unless you want to find yourself without a partner to raise your children - keep your mouth shut. Even if your husband does "screw up" the kids will be fine.
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A.O. answers from San Francisco on April 11, 2010
No you are not a "controlling wife", you are Mom. My husband tells me often that I make him feel like an idiot when I give him "direction", but the kids are usually ours to take care of and it's hard for us to let someone else do what we consider to be our realm of expertise. It would be like us going to his office and telling him what to do. The hardest thing to do is bite our tongues and let the guys be Dad without direction. They will learn soon enough.
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