The previous post was supposed to be the introduction for this little essay, but it devolved into me bitching about getting up early in the morning while pretending not to bitch about getting up early in the morning. Enough bullshit, here’s the topic sentence:
My wife spends less time with our daughter than I do, which can make her feel like she’s inadequate as a parent.
As I mentioned in the previous post, we split the routine with our daughter. During the week my wife gets the early morning and evening duties (getting her up, putting her to bed for the night, and giving baths). I take care of everything in between. On the weekends we tag-team. The net result is that I have a lot more practice parenting.
I can usually figure out what the kid wants more quickly, and, as we enter the age of self-actualization, I can get her to listen more often. I don’t think that these are indications of my natural superiority as a parent. It’s just a simple fact of more practice, more time alone with our daughter to figure things out. Let’s not discount the fact the our daughter has more practice communicating and listening to me too.
This often leaves my wife frustrated (and feeling inadequate) when she has trouble with our daughter. She’ll often say things like “I should be able to [do whatever]… I’m her mom.” I try to be supportive in those moments. I know that she knows it’s simply a matter of experience, but in moments of frustration things can seem so much more dramatic.
The best thing I can do in those moments is to let it be. If I jump in and try to help it only intensifies these feelings for her. She doesn’t want to be rescued, she wants to just do it. I admire that and I try not to get in the way. It’s tough, especially at the end of a long day when her frustration just adds to the general household weariness.
We’ve talked about this many times. As best as I can, I let her figure it out without interfering. Sometimes her approach or solution to a moment with our daughter is different than mine. I’m learning to keep my mouth shut about that too. The difference in routine is never really that big of a deal. Me making a big deal of it only serves to intensify her feelings inadequacy.
It’s a working solution, and as we all grow together I’m sure that all of this will get easier.
This leaves me wondering about two things:
1) Do other SAHDs married to working moms have similar experiences?
2) Do dads that work feel the same way about their parenting skills as compared to the SAHM in their life?