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Third Party Faux Pas

I have been (mis)using ILIASM as a sounding board for parenting in a SM, because I could not find any group close to IPIASM (living is overrated, parenting is everything) on EP.

Today we went to our son's pediatrician, you know, the woman who's a great doctor but in the habit of slapping me on the back whenever I make a feeble joke. After checking on our son, she starts chatting about toddler behavior, because my wife complained a little what a hard time she has managing our son. The kid is bored, so my wife takes him out of the office. The doc asks me a couple things about my babysitting hours, and I reply truthfully.

After five minutes of this conversation, she blurts out "You are doing an excellent job. Could you please call your wife back so I can tell her to follow your strategy about behavior control?" I am already quaking with trepidation at this point, but I call the wife.

As the ped moves ahead, I can literally feel my wife turning into a porcupine. The atmosphere is electric. At some point she says, "ah, but on a few occasions he has shouted quite loudly at [the kid] --- I can't do that, especially when the child is not well." Then the ped patiently says, "First, everyone loses it once in a while with their children; keep yourself in control and of course don't hurt the baby, but why be ashamed of feeling or expressing frustration? Second, well or not, the child is not allowed to hold you at ransom. When the child is not well, give extra comfort, not indulgence."

This is why I love the state of mutually assured refusal so bloody much. If this happened during the years when I was an abject beggar, I would be assured of the couch for months. Oh the outrage that I might do some things competently, or --- heaven forbid --- better than her.

But hey, I am pretty sure I am not a great dad; I just get by. And I am glad the ped is happily married with no ulterior intentions. She probably does read the situation a bit by now, though.
ulae ulae 41-45 8 Responses Dec 5, 2012

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First, thanks so much for all the comments. While most ILIASM denizens are still working out their survival strategy, I am, as Bazzar once quipped, in a "post-Lazarus" stage. So I post more about day-to-day travails of the SM. Hopefully someone gets something out of it, I certainly do.

Second, yes, there certainly the relief and pleasure in validation (by an expert, no less), but I am trying very hard not to get the gloating get to my head. There's miles to go before the kid becomes a confident, self-aware, independent individual. So much can go wrong on the way.

Finally, so much about relationships are non-verbal expressions. My wife would freely admit that when it comes to fixing the dishwasher or a hammock or recovering a file system, she is no match to me. Not to speak of music, literature or movie appreciation. But you see, some of them are optional, and you can get other people to do the other things for a fee, so none of these are as valuable as being (in a shallow way) social, bringing up a kid, and work. She never said all this, of course. Well, I guess I have my own share of snootiness toward her family. Although, if something about my parents or siblings annoys me, I tend to say it openly in front of her. In contrast, her parents and siblings are perfect, as far as she is concerned in my company. In particular, she was brought up to be very resilient, whereas I am this bundle of emotion that's no good in this tough world.

I am certainly glad I was well past the "everything is ok bar sex" when I joined EP. But I must say thinking aloud on ILIASM has substantially helped me understand where the chasms are.

Do you also get from W the presumption that women are de facto better at looking after kids, comforting them, connecting with them emotionally, and understanding them than men?

In those sort of 3rd party situations, I would have to suppress glee and hilarity rather than fear of her reaction though.

You ARE doing a good job as a Dad.

That is essentially all you need to know.

Your missus' opinion is pre-ordained (she is a ******* know-all who is never wrong) so you are never going to get her approval on anything you do - let alone some acknowledgement that there are some things in life you do better than her.

From your writings it is clear you love the kid, that you have a consistent attitude, and a predictable (and caring) disciplinary code. It also appears you have a lot of fun with each other. These are excellent things for the little sponge to soak up. And believe me, he WILL be soaking them up.

It would be easy (from you past writings) to bag out your missus' inconsistent attitudes with the kid, but to what point ? You will never change a ******* know-all's attitude about anything. It just is what it is.

There is at least ONE parent here doing a good job of parenting.

TWO would certainly be to the kids advantage, but as elkclan has said before - "that train has left the station".

(Personal opinion) - your kid IS going to wear some scars from being in this dysfunctional situation, but as there is at least one solid anchoring point for the kid, the kid will likely figure out his mother as time goes by. I would just about bet that you are seeing the signs of him manipulating her in evidence already. (And I bet for sure you have observed him trying to manipulate you too. That's what kids do.)

All you can do is hope that he makes an informed choice about his life partner later on. By showing him some boundaries now, you have him in with a shot at that time.

You ARE doing a good job. Know that. Know it for a fact. What anyone elses opinion is is not particularly relevant.

Tread your own path.

I'm sure you a good dad. Just shows that the pediatrician hurt your wifes narcissitic ego.

Altough it does feel good for an outsider to acknowledge what a good job your doing.

Stay Strong & Good Luck

Ulae,

Commenting about parenting is totally appropriate. We've got a baby at home, too. I'd guess that most SM's involve children as they're sometimes the only logical reason one would stay in an unsatisfying marriage. If a marriage is already having massive problems, or if there are passive-aggressive power issues between spouses, parenting is going to be a great challenge and unfortunately another battlefield. Keep doing your best for your child. You're obviously doing it right if the Doc's so enthusiastic.

I only have one argument with your story Ulae. I'm sure you ARE a truly great Dad.
And it is good to know your Ped. is not afraid to "tell it like it is". . . much better for your child's sake than ***** footing around trying not to upset his mother.

y'know, as annoying as your W's reaction to all of this was? it must've felt really fiercely good for the ped to appreciate, and try to ask your W to model, your techniques. because I am quite sure that, left to her own devices, your W would foofoo all you do, as well as handle your child in many differing yet equally negligent (albeit with her own best intentions). so enjoy that feeling of vindication. keep on & best of luck.

OK, non-parent weighing in...and I don't at all mind you discussing parenting issues here; they're huge issues in SM.

(picking my jaw up off the ground)

I'm sorry you have to go through this, Ulae..wow.