Sometimes I underestimate my husband. Okay, I often underestimate my husband. We have been married for 11 years and “together” for 18 and I wonder sometimes if I will ever appreciate him for who is. I think he wonders this too.
So when I was pondering out loud about needing a little inspiration to write something, I didn’t really expect him to give me a response that would be meaningful. Actually, his first response was “how about women who self tan all winter and how it looks weird.” Yeah, thanks, that’s a great parenting topic. But then he said “or about how great husbands are?” I probably rolled my eyes because according to him that is my immediate communication response, but then I thought, Perfect!!
My husband and I are very different. I love talking to people and am a magnet for anyone with a need to talk about their latest problem. He loves talking to the TV on football Sundays and considers his fantasy team to be his closest and most reliable peeps. I like to workout at the gym. He likes to workout at home. I am the Queen of small talk. He is the Jester in the crowd. I am scattered and a bit flighty and he is structured and organized. My ADD and his OCD have had to come to terms with each other, although they still call each other out time and again. Yet when it comes to parenting, we couldn’t be more in synch.
We have all been told that structure and consistency are important parenting goals to strive towards to establish expectations and for our children to feel safe and secure. So when one parent is inconsistent and works against the other parent’s rules, our children don’t know what to expect and either follow the rule they prefer, or follow the lead of the parent who is present and change it up for the other parent when necessary. So what gets accomplished? The children learn to either work the system or they learn to work against the system. Either way, they are on their own.
When we are on the same page as our partner, our children know what to expect. They know what we will tolerate and what we won’t. They know that when you say you must do your homework before you go on the computer and then turn your back, your partner will turn the computer off before they have a chance to argue. Majority rules and you and your partner are always the majority.
In our house, if I have a headache, my husband ensures the kids are quiet. This teaches my children to respect and care for others and that partners look out for each other. I also often give my children directives and then forget them 5 minutes later by my own distractions, until I hear my husband say “I heard your mother tell you to brush your teeth.” Thank goodness someone is paying attention to me and that my husband is reinforcing this. He is supporting me and validating that what I say needs to be adhered to and respected. We are a united front. And nothing, no nothing, makes me love him more than when I hear him say, “don’t talk to your mother in that tone.” My Jester in shining armor protecting me from the harsh tones of the villagers.
I tend to be very opinionated (shocking!) in my parenting views and we often discuss how we want to handle situations with the children. And thankfully we agree on most of the resolutions. We are big on trial and error parenting and trying new tactics when old ones are worn. We support our children’s passions together and talk to them in our own style when they experience their woes. This is when our differences compliment each other the most. Our children have parents with two very different personalities, offering two very different perspectives with one message of uncompromising love.
So will I continue to underestimate my husband? Probably. But I will never under-appreciate the role he plays as my partner when parenting our children or the admiration I have for him as their father. After all, everybody loves the Jester.