If you haven’t heard it, let me be the first to tell you that marriage and parenting are AWESOME. However, they require a lot of work. If you’re not committed to putting in the work, then you might as well not embark on the journey.
Case in point!
My wife and I have been fighting an uphill battle with getting our toddler to sleep. She’s approaching three years of age, and one would think that she’s never had a sleep routine. And, she does. However, she’s determined to make the routine work in her favor.
Every day for as long as I can remember, we put her in her bed. She gets up. We put her back in the bed. She gets up. And, the same song and dance goes on and on until she falls asleep hours after putting her into her room.
We make the room comfortable for her. We make sure that she has music. We. We. We are putting in a lot of effort. But, the result on most nights is the same.
So, I decided to try something different. I set the firm boundary as directed in some parenting material on bedtime. However, I didn’t give the memo to her mother. Well, I did leave the material on the table. But, I didn’t let her know that I was prepared to use it.
What transpired next is that the failure to communicate led to a breakdown in further communication between my wife and I. Uh oh! How exactly did that happen? I’m so glad that you asked.
Well, I’m the firm one. My wife is firm in her own way. And, our daughter is very aware of this dynamic. After I set my firm boundary, which worked for quite some time until her mother arose from her studies. We found ourselves back at square one. This time, I decided that I was no longer a participant in the song and dance. I exited stage left. As I left, I stated that the two of them would have to decided who was going to be the boss without my input. That’s not a direct quote. But, something to that effect.
No harm! No foul! Or, so I thought!
My loving wife, who hadn’t been very firm with our child, became firm with her loving husband. Uh oh!
Now, we’re communicating. For the record, we weren’t cussing and yelling and screaming. However, the short conversation was very unproductive. Which means I went in my room and she continued putting the child to sleep. (You notice she went from my daughter to the child…right?)
In our frustration, we left it alone until the morning. Tension continues growing. And, everyone is in a bad mood. No one is courageous enough to put pride aside and talk to the other, and we let it fester. After the kids get out of the car for school, we attempt to have an assertive conversation about the previous night. Attempt. Both, still, in our feelings about the other’s actions makes it difficult to understand the other’s position. But, we tried and failed!
Eventually, we made it back on to the same page. It took the distance and time created by the work day. By the end of the day, we had grown tired of being frustrated and angry with each other. We gave the other the benefit of the doubt. We were able to, adequately, express our position and own our part in the situation.
So, It wasn’t my intention to hurt her feelings. It wasn’t her intention to hurt mine. Despite our intentions, we didn’t Speak Life into our situation. We allowed the song and dance of the bedtime routine to uncover our vulnerabilities as parents! And, I tell you what…
I’m glad that we did! Now, we’re a more united front in this thing called marriage and parenthood.