Opposites attract, and that is probably why my very masculine husband is a great fit for girly, nurturing me. We have a son who knows exactly who to turn to when he wants specific things, because we are so different in our parenting styles. For example, bath time is quite an adventure. Little man knows I’m more of a push over, so he’ll ham it up and pretend to cry to get out of a bath, and I have to snuggle him and coddle him and bribe him with toys to get him into the bath tub. My husband picks him up and basically tosses him in, washes him, dries him, and is done- all without giving little man’s protestations a second thought.
Bedtime is another story. I couldn’t get our son to sleep without nursing him, and when I finally weaned him I could only get him to sleep by driving him around in my car until he dozed off. My husband holds him and walks around, ignores his crying, and within 5-10 minutes our son is fast asleep. I could never get away with this. I’m the one my son reaches for when he wants to get away from people who won’t put him down, because he knows I’m an easy mark and won’t be able to resist his pouting when he asks to be free to run around. As a result, my husband now bathes our son and puts him to sleep each night, while I take care of feeding him and reading to him. We split our parenting duties based on our strengths.
I often hear it’s good for children to have parents with different styles, especially if one is more nurturing (because babies need their boo boos kissed) and one is better about discipline (because who wants to raise out-of-control, spoiled brats?). My husband and I are a team and are a united front, but our adventures in parenting, combined with our totally different approaches to handling things, certainly has our smart little guy already plotting how to get his way. I admire my husband’s methods (and could learn a lot from him) and have a feeling we had a lot of excitement to look forward to over the years with our son.
How do you handle parenting with your spouse? Are you the same? Do you struggle with the differences?