This week, after spending the weekend with me and my girls, CBG and I had a long conversation about the whole blending families/co-parenting thing.
The conversation ended in an argument. Actually, two arguments if I’m correct. Or maybe it was one long argument with a small cease-fire in the middle. I’m not even sure anymore.
In any case, things didn’t go well this week. We each got defensive about what the other person was saying. Parenting is a sensitive spot for both of us. And as I wrote about earlier this week, I am more than a little bit judgmental when it comes to other people’s parenting styles. And you know, of course I apply that judgment to CBG, too. I mean, if I do it to myself, why wouldn’t he be a target as well?
He and I have very different parenting styles. I feel his judgment, too. I can feel it emanating from him when I’m in a stressful situation with one of my girls. I do my best to remain patient, loving and understanding…and I can tell that he’s sitting there thinking that I’m being too soft with them. It’s difficult sometimes for him to give me sympathy when I’m exhausted at the end of the day when he thinks that I should have “brought the hammer down” to reign in their behaviour. But I’m just not that kind of mom.
And on top of that? I resent any sort of implication that I might not be “doing it right”. I KNOW that I’m a good mom. I KNOW that, for the most part, I am parenting my girls both well, and the way that I want to parent them. The last thing I need right now is to have someone inserting even the tiniest doubts in there.
Last weekend when we were with my girls, little things happened that irritated me. CBG handled a couple of situations differently than I wanted them to be handled. They weren’t even huge deals, and I allowed them to bother me more than they should have. He chose to apply HIS style of parenting a little more than MY style of parenting, and guess what? I judged him poorly for it. I’m sensitive when it comes to my girls, particularly because they have a very involved Dad and CBG and I will never really be in a situation where he will be a huge influence in their lives.
Our conversations this week (after we were able to move past hurt feelings and defensiveness) ended with the decision that we each need to work to respect and honour the other’s choices when it comes to parenting. I laid out some requests for CBG in terms of my girls, and he promised to work on them. I made a vow to myself to go easier on him when he makes parenting choices that I don’t always agree with, particularly when it comes to his own kids. It’s not my job to judge, it’s my job to support.
I’ll be honest and admit that I am nervous, going forward, about our ability to put our differences aside and parent effectively together. I comfort myself with the stories I’ve heard this week from others who have told me of their own relationship differences and how they’ve found ways to make things work for them. Will CBG and I be as successful in that regard? I guess only time will tell us for sure.