Andy and I are having a marital dispute. A lover's spat, if you will. No, it's not about money (we don't have any), sex (see previous), or religion. (see a pattern here?) We're add odds about parenting. We know that all other parents never argue about their kids and how to raise them so this may be really hard for all you perfect people to understand, but please, bear( looked this up, BTW, bare with me would be an invitation to undress) with me.
You see, Andy thinks that it is A-OK to let our children a) eat McDonald's and candy regularly at each meal b) watch TV for as many hours as their little eyes and minds can handle c)go outside unattended (Caro), well with the dog. I think that is is A-Not-OK to a),b) or, c). Andy and I are yin and yang, life opposites, and I get that this is what makes two people a perfect pair, as apparently do thousands of years of philosophers and Paula Abdul. Yet, when you are trying to mold two little beings into role model citizens and agents of do-good change, or at least kids able to wipe their own bums and say excuse me after farting and burping, you can't be at opposite ends of the parental spectrum.
Andy is relaxed in his parenting. As I see it, he believes that our home is just another upstate farm, and our little girls are goats frolicking in the pasture. Goats that watch ipads and eat candy. Ok, I'm being dramatic. Our kids aren't farm animals and Andy is not a farmer but he is a really busy, working parent with three jobs and many houses to care for, bills to pay, taxes to file, snow to remove, kitty litter pans to clean, and emails to blast. Plus, he is a total softie and the girls do have super cute faces and big eyes with those long lashes that look bizarrely long when they blink at you. He believes that kids can do anything in moderation. And by moderation, I mean eating chocolate at 6 am and watching My Little Ponies from sunrise to sunset.
While I wouldn't survive a day in the military, my parenting style is a little bit like boot camp for kids. It's safe to say that I'm fairly rigid with respect to all things in life. I like rules and following them. I like others to follow them to. I follow a routine every day and I think peace and harmony comes when others follow a routine and rules. And by A routine and rules, I mean MINE. Plus, I worry about everything so I'm worried about what eating too much junk will do to their teeth and the rest of their bodies. I worry that they aren't getting enough appropriate stimulation when they watch TV and uh, well, duh, I'm worried about Caro outside, alone. Especially since the day that a woman across the street at the dentist came running up to the house because she heard Caroline crying in our yard saying she was lost and couldn't find her mommy. (I was watching her out the window while I folded laundry.)
When people date they talk about compatibility. Are you attracted to them? Do you think they are funny, charming, witty? Do they make you feel like a better person? Are they your soul mate? Do you have the same values? When people think about getting married, do they talk about what they are going to do when their future baby won't fall asleep on her own? Do they talk about whether they will let the baby cry it out or will they let the baby sleep in bed with them? When people date they think about whether or not their sex life will stay hot. They don't think about what the approach will be when future child asks how she was made and follow up with many, many but whys and hows. The things long-time couples never tell you. Or maybe, in our love-struck youth, we are just not listening.
Friday was a beautiful day. Charlotte colored inside and Caroline begged to play in the yard with the dog. I broke down and I let her go out. From the couch by the window, I played dolls with Charlotte and watched Caroline run around. She was ok. She stayed where I could see her. She read a book in the hammock. She didn't get hurt. This morning, I went to the pool. When I got home, the TV was off, the ipads were away, and the girls were playing with each other (and by playing I mean taking the other's toys and screaming.)
We all know that being in a relationship is about compromise. We can't always have everything exactly as we wish and the more we push for that, the more we push away those we love. Andy and I have never done this parenting thing before and we've never done it together. Andy and me, yin and yang, somehow finding balance in the chaos we call a family.