Tag Archives: children

Bad Husband, Good Father?

12 Oct

I seem to live my life in commercials (compared to my son who lives life in musical numbers), because I keep picking up nuggets of confusion and blogging about them. So in today’s online therapy, here’s the fun phrase I overheard: “Bad husband, good father.” Really?

At first blush, this is perfectly understandable. As the son of divorced parents, there is a huge difference between a father who’s there for you versus a father who’s not. To quote another commercial, “Your kids don’t need the perfect parent, they need you.” Simply being there makes a HUGE difference. My dad was in the Navy, so he physically couldn’t be there, but he tried as best as he could through letters, but there was a big difference. So I have a lot of appreciation to those divorced dads who stay in the same area, make sure to take the kids half the time, continue to be a parent even though they’re no longer married to their mom. To the kid, their relationship to your mom is less important. At first…

However, parenting is just another relationship, just like marriage – there are different needs with adults than with kids. So naturally, a relationship with your spouse is exponentially more difficult, because your needs are different and often harder to fulfill. If the kids wants junk food, and you refuse to give it to them, sure you’re got a tantrum for a few minutes and then life goes on. If your wife wants you to stop X, and you don’t want to stop X, this will continue on and on for… weeks? Months? Years? That lingering “tantrum” will poison your relationship for a long, long time.

That poisoned relationship will affect your kids, whether you like it or not. I certainly remember the day my parents divorced – it was done remotely, again because my dad was in the Navy – but it made an impact on my life. That anger can make things difficult for everyone in the family. Even when you stop that behavior, or start doing something to mend the relationship, it’s hard to forget that anger. For the one trying to change, when that anger is still directed at you… what’s the incentive to keep with the change?

Man, that was vague! I guess what I’m trying to say is that… yes, you can be a good father but a bad husband, but it’s preferable to try and be both. I’ve been married 14 years and I find it a wonder that anyone stays together. Relationships are hard work. However, being a good father is… a little easier. It’s still difficult, but it seems to be easier to keep your kids happy than to keep your wife happy.

Then again, my kids are only becoming teenagers now – I’m sure that as they become young adults, they’ll get more of those adult complexities, and they’ll hate me half the time too. Then they’ll become parents and they’ll forgive me, just like I forgave my father, because it’s only once you’re in their situation that you understand what your parents went through.

What do you think? Is there a happy medium you can make between all your family members? Or do you find relationships with children harder? Let me know in the comments below!

“Furbaby”

30 Sep

I cringe when I hear the word “furbaby.” I love my pets, don’t get me wrong, and I’ve spent way more at the vet than I feel comfortable with. But they’re not your children – and people using that word tells me something fundamentally wrong in America.

Now if you’ve had your kids, you’re waiting for (or have) grandkids, you get a pass. I understand the nurturing gene and how it doesn’t turn off after child-rearing age. I understand wanting to pour that into a pet. But don’t expect me to start talking to your “furry child” as if it’s going to speak English any moment now.

What really scares me is that the term is shifting down to younger and younger women… and let’s face it, it’s mostly women. (See Nurturing Gene) I’ll admit it, relationships are hard, children are a pain in the ass, but… that’s how we exist as a species. I didn’t realize until I had kids how different that experience is.

Pets are far easier; they don’t talk about, they want to be pet (unless they’re fish). All you have to do is feed them, walk ’em, clean up after them… and you get unconditional love. Now full disclosure, I have two cats, several fish, and way too many snails. The amount of work that goes into an aquarium is a serious pain in the butt; didn’t realize how much that was when the daughter wanted some fish. My older cat barfs on the carpet every other day. I have to do that with kids, too, but let’s face it… my cat doesn’t talk back about doing his homework.

The problem with the term “furbaby” is that it tells me that I should treat your pet like your child. Not just you do, I should. I’m not against animal rights, but don’t think animals have the same rights as humans. Your furbaby is not going to take care of you when you’re old. Your furbaby is not contributing to our society. Furbabies are the reason we need to import thousands of people into America just to keep our population rate just above replacement level (that’s 2.2 children / adult, in case you’re wondering).

Now you can say there are couples that can’t have kids, or you can’t get/keep a partner, or kids shouldn’t be brought into families that don’t want them… all valid points. Just don’t pretend your pets are your kids. They’re pets.

Too harsh? Not harsh enough? Tell me in the comments below!

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