2011 17/05

Territorial

I recently read an article in Parenting Magazine titled “Help Has No Fury“.  The article, written by father of two Shawn Bean, completely hit home for me.  He talked about how moms can often times become pretty territorial.  Not necessarily with other moms, but with their spouses.

Let me try to explain, at least how it appears in my own life…

Me: Tim, can you please get the girls dressed for church while I feed Talon?

Him: Sure.

Ten minutes later I will walk out into the living room to find Abbi wearing a sleeveless shirt (mind you, it’s winter), purple skirt, blue tights, and red shoes; Zoe will be wearing long sleeve shirt with stains, her sister’s skirt, leggings, and crocs; neither of them will have their hair brushed…but they are “ready to go”.  Umm, no.  Not happening.  Time to head back to the bedroom, girls, so mom can fix this major wardrobe malfunction!

Tim is astounded that I would have a problem with this.  After all, he got them dressed. To his defense, yes, he did get them dressed and that was what I asked.  The problem? I was hoping for a nicer ensemble and for a brush to go through their hair.  So, we leave for church — me, upset because we’re running late and I had to take the time to get the girls dressed after I asked Tim to do it and Tim is frustrated because, if I wanted it done a specific way, then I should have just done it myself.

This is the scenerio that plays out all too often.  Not just about clothes but pretty much anything.  I have a general idea of how I like things to be done and, when Tim doesn’t follow it to a “t” (with or without me telling him what to do), I get irritated.

Wait…that made me sound like a complete controlling bitch.  Not so!  This only happens when we’re talking about the kids and the stuff around the house.  After all, those are my “jobs”.  If someone came into his office and started doing stuff, he’d expect it done his way. The problem with all of this is that, when he comes home, my “jobs” become our “jobs” and it’s hard for me to make that switch.

This has really been the biggest struggle, I think, in our marriage.  Or at least it causes the most tension.  The catch of it all is that I really don’t want Tim to just roll over and let me be the ultimate decision maker, doing every little thing I say.  The truth is that I need him to not do things exactly the way I would do things.  Our kids need him to not do things the way I would do them.  He lets them “express” themselves and lets them wear these crazy outfits, while I reign things in a little bit and explain that it’s probably not a good idea for Zoe to be wearing capris when there’s three feet of snow on the ground.  We are a good balance.

And that’s the key — explanation.  When I take time to explain why, then Tim understand that it’s not about me controlling the situation but about seeing the great picture.  Like Shawn Bean said in his article, when his wife took the time to explain that she didn’t want the kids to have pizza for lunch because they would be having it a party later, then it made sense to him.

What do you think?  Are you territorial with your spouse?

** Editor’s note: It was brought to my attention that I might not have been clear enough in this post. My husband does not intentionally dress our kids like clowns.  He just allows them to dress themselves.

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