Thursday, September 24, 2009

I chose the difficult road

It's true. When it comes to parenting, I chose to do things the hard way. And in one of many heart-to-heart conversations, I discovered that this is why the hubby is really through with having children.

You see, except for the fact that the hubby is RastafarI, he is a very middle of the road kind of brother. Not too extreme in any of his beliefs or actions. Me? Well, let's just say that's not how you would describe me. I often marvel at the fact that we actually get along since we are so vastly different. This applies most potently to our parenting.

See, whereas the hubby would have been perfectly happy to slap some Huggies on the baby and call it a day, I wanted to cloth diaper. After a bit of coercing, I got my way. We've been doing the cloth diaper thing now for years and while I loved and still love the idea of it, the truth of the matter is that it's hard work. Lately when Z2 poops, I want to throw the whole mess away not be in the bathroom hovering over the toilet with the diaper sprayer. It's gross. And I'm not really a fan of more laundry. But I can count on having to do a load of diapers every 2-3 days without fail. And there's pressure there too because without clean diapers, well, what's the plan? Elimination communication. (Wow . . . that's a whole other world that I can't even imagine dealing with now.) It's not the easy way.

Whereas the hubby didn't have a problem with the hospital birth of Z1 and the smooth way the insurance paid for it, I did. I really wanted a homebirth. And after weeks of fighting with the insurance company, they agreed to pay half of the midwife's fee. The other half, to the hubby's annoyance, came out of pocket. To him, what was a beautiful experience for me was a huge ball of stress for him . . . right down to the huge stain left on our tan carpet from the birth. It wasn't the easy way.

Then there's breastfeeding . . . he would not have minded in the least giving the boys some formula here and there or even all the time. It's mainly been my thrust to make sure they have received the very best. And as much as I'm thrilled to have been able to do it, I can't deny that it has really disrupted our lives in ways that are difficult to explain fully. Suffice it to say, Z2 wakes up in the morning screaming bloody murder for some milk. The hubby keeps encouraging me to wean. It hasn't been easy.

Then there's circumcision which I'm against and the vaccination issue and the decision to be a stay-at-home mom . . . basically for the hubby, there has been no ease in this whole parenting thing. Nothing has been straightforward. We've spent the whole time going against the grain. Or, more precisely, I have been going against the grain and he has been (supportively) along for the ride. Well, he hasn't just been along for the ride all the time. For some issues, I really had to fight him which I felt badly about but I just couldn't let the issue slide.

When I think about my desire to homeschool, this weighs heavily on me. It is definitely another thing that is solely "my thing" and it is decidedly not the easy road. The hubby would quite happily send the boys off to school because as he put it, he already pays his school taxes. Why spend money twice? And what does that mean about my return to work? He had always hoped that once the kids were all school age, I'd jump right back into the workforce and we'd make a lot more headway financially. The difficult road of being a stay-at-home mom means we give up a lot of luxuries and take a lot longer to do things that could be completed in a jiffy on two incomes.

And then add to that the fact that we don't really get any kind of significant breaks from the children since their grandparents have other priorities and everyone, in general, is quite busy with their own lives. And I really began to understand why he's so tired. And why he's through having children.

And then I began to admit to myself that I'm tired too.

I am eager to get back to the days when I could knit and crochet things, read books, exercise in peace. But I also have to admit that my children do bring me a great deal of joy and in all honesty, they move through these baby days so quickly that one more (only one more) wouldn't be the worst thing in the world.

Oh, I'd love to be one of those folks who romanticize the whole natural mothering thing and glorify it. But it's been a tough road to travel. And though I've never wavered, I definitely wish sometimes that I could be less bull-headed, more middle-of-the road . . . I don't really enjoy carrying poop-soiled diapers back home with me. That's actually not my idea of fun. I don't like feeling all stressed out in the morning trying to squeeze a workout and some chanting in before Z2 starts to demand to nurse. But these are things I really believe in and I really feel are important--important enough for me to go the extra mile.

I'm truly sorry about the way the hubby feels and often wish that the things that are important to me when it comes to child-rearing would also be important to him. But he's his own person and I respect and love that. I know where the hubby is coming from and so as of a few days ago, I've officially dropped the issue. Who knows if it will be picked up again?


Anonymous said...

I'm new at parenting but I cosign with the fact that it can be hard. My husband and I are pretty different in personality and in levels of crunchiness (he's really not crunchy). I've had to fight for certain things (no circ, paying out-of-pocket for midwife) but I don't regret it because I really feel like those were well thought out beneficial decisions. I'm sure we'll have some more disagreements and I'll continue trying to see his way but I know I can't compromise on things that I'm sure will cause more harm than good for my son.

I'm pretty crunchy in parenting but I'm ok with being noncrunchy at times. I just try to be judicious about it. For example, I'm cloth diapering but right now we use the disposables at night and when we go out to certain places where I know changing him will be difficult. I'm probably going to try some EC in the future too. The right way is the least harmful way that works for your family. Not to mention that sometimes the grass always seems greener on the other side.

I try to remember that there's a season for everything and nothing is permanent. This too shall pass.

alice said...

I don't usually comment (ahh, RSS feeds!), but I really apprecited this post. My partner and I have somilar tensions and we're not even *at* the parenting stage yet.

Being reminded that it's about finding what works, not what makes everyone completely enthusiastic, is a really helpful thing right now.

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