Three Lives of Me

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Airing Our Dirty Laundry

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Every normal married couple argues. It’s healthy and expected to have disagreements Two different people trying to be on the same page, right?

Well, my husband and I have two topics that we tend to disagree about the most: kids and finances. I’m pretty sure we’re not out of the ordinary here. Yet, with us being a blended family, it’s obvious which issue ranks as #1.

My husband had no children prior to our marriage, so child rearing was completely new to him. He looked to me for direction at the beginning. Not making any moves against what the kids were used to. His goal was to develop relationships with them as my partner, not their father. Once we married, the direction changed from the latter to him being the leader of our home and parent to the two younger girls.

Since I had been a single mom for ten plus years, it was difficult at first to have someone else lead. And honestly, at times it still is. When you are used to one way of doing things for so long, it’s not easy to adapt to the new. My husband and I have a great deal in common, but when it comes to our parenting styles, we are completely different.

He was raised by the “spare the rod, spoil the child” method. I was raised that way for some of my childhood, but not entirely. Being the youngest and “only” (my brother is 13 years older and was out of the house not soon after I was born) my mom started off strict, but faded off by the time I was 10. This is not to say I was hellion, I’m saying if I wanted it bad enough I just had to say please until she got sick of me saying it (I think three was the magic number).

So you see where I’m going here as to why we don’t always see eye to eye on how we raise the kids. It turns into a power struggle with him wanting to rule with an iron fist and me wanting to grant their every wish. We just can’t seem to come to an agreement on this. And as I’ve mentioned us learning to compromise is part of having a successful marriage. But when it comes to this area of our relationship, why can’t we figure out how to negotiate?

Because I’m a sucker when it comes to my kids. Yep. They know how to play me and boy did the tween play me good this weekend.

She’s been dealing with some stress and I felt she needed a break. My husband agreed, but his terms were different than mine. I was good with her going to a friend’s – he wanted the friend to come to our house. After much harassment by yours truly, I told the tween she could go. But her laundry was to be completed first.

About a couple of hours later she told us she was done and was on her way. The following day she again was allowed to go hang out with a different friend (and again after much harassment by yours truly).

Fast forward to today.

We were going from room to room cleaning the house as a family to get the chores knocked out quickly so we can enjoy our day. Things were going smoothly until we came to the tween’s bedroom. As I was straightening her dresser, I went to push some clothes in her drawer, but something was off. I opened the drawer and felt around some more and discovered that not only were the clothes not folded, they were completely soaked. As in she took them from the washer and put them in her drawer.

As in her laundry was not complete. As in she left the house knowing.

As in I flew off the handle and screamed at my husband to let her have a break.

As in I was. Oh. So. Very. Wrong (Insert several curse words here and here).

I was mortified that she lied to me. To us. She looked us in the eye and we trusted her answer. We trusted her. And she broke that trust. Here I had fought for her to have an opportunity to have some fun and she took advantage of that. I went against what my husband felt was the right decision for our children.

This wasn’t the first time, either. There have been a few times that he’s been able to see what I haven’t for so long. It’s not because he doesn’t love them. It’s because he has a fresh look on the situation. He’s able to pick up on the things that I’ve turned a blind eye on due to managing what used to be mine on my own. So, here I was thinking my husband was being overbearing. While he’s doing his part in parenting what is now ours and making sure what the kids used to get away with then doesn’t happen now.

Instead of thinking he’s being too hard on them, I should start with myself – I’m not hard enough.

As I’ve said before, I do put my husband first. Most of the time. There are those few times, though, that I clearly fail, like this one. The mama bear in me takes over wanting to protect my cubs when she really should permanently hibernate because there’s no need to protect them from my husband. Their dad.

I really wanted to kick myself for creating an argument that didn’t have to be. It may be normal but it isn’t always necessary. I always tell him we should fight together and not against each other. And what was I doing? Everything I shouldn't have as his wife. Lucky for me, I have a forgiving husband. The one who knows my crazy. The one who knows I'm trying. The one who knows I'll make it up to him.

And I guess that's the upside to arguing - making up.