Now when it comes to parenting you generally think you would procreate with a like-minded person. A person who has the same morals and values as you. A person who has their own ideals of what is right and wrong. I imagine for the most part, we all do. I have. Before Mr Tammy and I had children we talked about certain behaviours we would like to teach to and pass on to our children. What we didn’t always talk about however was the way in which those lessons are taught, or learnt. It just wasn’t a topic of conversation.
Turns out however we don’t always agree. We do parent similarly on many an aspect, but crucially not all. If I were to describe my parenting I guess the closest thing would be a ‘gentle parent’. The term that is floating around at the moment. I read a brilliant post by The Incidental Parent about it, which I urge you to check out. Anyway I am, to my surprise, all about the love. I thought I would be the strict one. The not standing for any bull from my little terrors. Turns out I am the soft touch my Grandma and Nanny Pat was. I am all for solving tantrums with a cuddle and standing to attention at the first cry. I am not as quick to reprimand and punish and I had anticipated.
I believe this is largely down to age. My two are so young at one and two, that I am told they physically are unable to understand the difference between right and wrong. Their frontal lobe is apparently not sufficiently developed to filter out the bad and will remain that way until their teens. I don’t know what my excuse is. Perhaps when they are older to know better the stricter parent will materialise but until then I remain part of the softly softly crew.
Mr Tammy however, is from the school of hard knocks. Ok no he is not but he is however in favour of the naughty step, tellings off and the more disciplined approach to teaching right from wrong. That is not to say he doesn’t shower them in love. He does. He is the first to kiss, cuddle and love his children. He is affectionate and caring and the always more than willing to praise them for good behaviour.
Yet we collide. I am raising spoilt brats and he is raising the next Von Trapps (pre Maria). Apparently.
When my eldest was a nocturnal baby of about 8 months, I was 5 months pregnant with my second (yes really), sleep wasn’t her thing, which incidentally meant it wasn’t our thing. I would be in and out of the room every hour, sometimes I would just stay there. I was knackered. Enough was enough and Mr Tammy insisted I took a leaf out of his book of parenting. That I let her cry to self sooth. So there I sat after 8 months of trying it my way listening to her cry. Then in my hormonal sleep deprived state I started to cry. So there we were both crying with a wall between us. Needless to say I was back in her room before long. Actually correct that, Mr Tammy was in her room cuddling her back to sleep. Turns out he couldn’t listen to it either. So what had we achieved? Not a great deal. The baby still didn’t sleep and Mr Tammy and I threw some nocturnal abuse each others way. Standard. What we did however agree upon is that we are different and that is ok too.
Then there is the hitting. Oh man does my boy like to hit. I try to explain to a not yet two-year old that it hurts and it’s not nice. He doesn’t give two shits and hits again, and so on and so forth. Mr Tammy opts for a stern word in his best ‘telling off’ voice. I am not sure either has the desired effect. Yet try we might, albeit differently.
Essentially we might approach aspects of parenting differently but that doesn’t make either one of us wrong. Far from it. The world is made up of different people who all make different decisions for different reasons. I am also not saying I have never lost my shit and been shouty mum. I have done so more than I care to admit. I am also not saying that Mr Tammy never spoils or showers his children in love and affection, perhaps when a stern word is what is needed most. Ultimately, for us, when you differ over something so important as parenting, it is important to realise it and talk about it, to not fall into the trap of undermining or complaining about each other. To not let parenting collide, as best you can. I am not saying we have always avoided said trap or never whispered ‘you fucking knob’ not so quietly under our breath. I am also not saying it will be plain sailing from here on out or that we won’t disagree along the way but nearly three years and two children into this shared journey we are getting there.
What about you? Do you and your partner ever differ over parts of parenting? Do you argue about it or just live and let live? I’d love to hear from you.