Adventures of Darth Daddy

Monday, June 12, 2006

Very preceptive, young Jedi

I seemed ot have really touched on something when I wrote about being disconnected. Im glad that I did. I don't have friends to go "hang out with", so here is the only place I can feel free to express how I real feel. There is some concern, from time to time, about too much honesty. I'd hate to find out that my wifes coworkers are chatting behind her back about things that are none of their concern. However, I think that being able to talk freely here outweighs that. I sometimes say rude things - I call names - and if anyone were to ever hold it back up to me, I will accept ownership. Better to vent here than to boil over in real life.

I think Jim touched on something key to my stress level with my wife. In a typical relationship (and I use typical lightly), the wife is home with the kids and learns all the "ins and outs" of their manorisms. In our case (and all at home dads), it's me with that inside information. It can be ackward when the wife tries to handle a situation with the kids, (and fails) AND I know how to settle it very quickly. I try to step back when I can , and let her "be the mommy". But there are times when I find I have no patience for her incompetence. I start thinking "I know that I have the inside information, but Im just a guy. You're the woman - you're supposed to know these things. You have all this training with kids, work with kids, and have degrees in stuff dealign with kids. I'm not supposed to be good with this".

I was interviewd recently by someone wanting an inside veiw into the mysterious world of at home dads. The question was asked about division of labor/ responcibilities. Im not sure of how the question was worded, but the interviewer seemed stumped when I discussed "Built in necessity". I explained that, for the most part, I do everything. Not because it's expected of me, but because I can. Im a guy - we can do stuff. This does not always make for a happy wife, who starts to feel un-needed. So I try my best to find things that she enjoys doing - and I either "don't have time to get to them", or I completely screw the pooch a few time (and she'll take over that job). Bath time for example. I am fully capable of giving the kids a bath / shower. But I've always set that aside as her duty - she'll feel needed, and it gives them time alone.

Ken's comment about being expected to do all the "guy stuff", and the chick stuff as well has merit. I must add, however, that my wife LOVES to cut the grass and do yard work. She is a tom boy who loves to work on her car, has done her own oil jobs, changes tires herself and even replaced a water pump on her own (mostly). What I find is that people looking in (the relationship) like to classify things as "gender specific" activities. Work on the car = male stuff. Change a diaper=woman stuff. But I gotta say that most of the marital conflict Im experiencing isn't primarily from swapped gender roles. It's stemming from my not only having a "good idea" of how to handle things (with the kids), but also having the experience which adds credidibility and accuracy to my thoughts. I'm very much a "if you can't do it right, get the hell out of the way and I'll do it myself" type person. Good with lifting things, good with working on machinery - very bad when dealign with your spouse (regardign your kids).

OK - I wanted to talk a bit more about the above topic, but it just deosn't seem to flow tonight. Lots of differnt fragmented thoughts that probably are a bitch to read along to. Let's get to my subject header :The perceptive young Jedi.

Im guessing that the non-verbal cues between the wife and I are much more evident than I thought. Lately, the wife has been adding things to our converstaions that just don't make no damn sense. I stare at her, waiting for her to tie her comment in, SOMEHOW, to what we're doing, and it just never happens. Then, she gets this look of disgust, rolls her eyes at me, thows up her hands, and says "Whatever". I ask "What'd I do?", she replies "Im trying to talk to you, and you just give me this blank look."

EX: We are in a store .The baby is being fussy. He throws his paci on the floor. Logan picks it up. I tell him "It's very nice of you to pick up baby's paci, but he can't have it back right now, because he's not supposed to throw it". He hands it to mommy. She turns and tells me "The reason he picked it up was becasue I pointed to it". In my head, I'm thinking "So fuckin what?!". I just prasied the child for doing something good - and explained why he can't give the paci back to his brother - what the hell does your pointing at it have to do with anything?? Why does this moment have to be about you?

As I said, I only thought this - but it must have shown on my face.

The wife and I don't yell- we don't scream at each other. Our warfare is much more subtle. But lately, Logan has been gettign very VERY upset when I don't show the wife affection. If I am heading off to the Dojo, or they (the wife and kids) are going somewhere without me, I make sure to gets hugs and kisses from the boys. Logan has been getign upset and saying"I want you give momma hug and kiss too".

This really makes me feel bad - I don't want them growing up with memories of us being distant to each other. That isn't the template I want them to base their own marriages on. I want my kids to grow up remembering that mommy and daddy loved each other - didnt' hit each other - and were excellent to each other. But that's not what I'm (we're) modeling. I was suprised that Logan (at 3) seemed to pick up on those times when I wanted nothing to do with the wife, and has acted like a go-between.

Maybe a part time room at the looney bin is what's needed. Chip was dead on balls accurate saying that stress is the enemy. Hang in their Mike. For Butterfly, I must say that the self reflection you mentioned is exactly what I get from my aikido class.

And Keith - I've gotten so bad recently about losing my cool with other people, my son now has started to ask "Dada, why you say that word?" Or " Dada, why you call her that?" I've started to inform the wife, when we trade off the kids at dojo time, what new and creative words the kids might have picked up from me today. She also is unamused.

**ON a funny note - Logan has started to take one of Lances steering wheels in the car with him (when he rides with the wife). When someone stops in front of her van, he'll start laying on the toy horn, and yelling" MOOOOOVE! MOOOVE! Hang up you phone and drive!!!!!".
At least he hasn't thrown "JACKASS!" in their yet!!


  • At 8:44 AM, Anonymous chip said…

    yeah, stress sucks. But it sounds like the wife is stressed too, and that part of the problem is her own issues. It's good you set aside bathtime for her to be one on one with the kids. Maybe more of that would help, like bedtime stories? I know that's a lot for you to give up, I loved putting my kids to bed, but I also know that sometimes I'd get irrationally mad when my wife started putting them to bed and spending lots of time talking to them at that time.
    Kids do pick up on stuff like that as you're seeing. But you can't fake it, cause they see through that too. Probably the best for them to see is a realistic view of relationships, that it's not always fun and roses, that relationsships include conflict, the key is how to deal with the conflict.

  • At 10:35 PM, Blogger KC said…

    "Hang up you phone and drive!!!!!" -- wow I thought I was the only person who shouted that stuff in the car. You'll like -- and you should get the free bumpersticker.

    As for "incompetence" you've gotta stop thinking that about any part of the wife. She's darn competent, but she's not knowledgeable like you are about certain things. And, it may not matter to her that she is or isn't.


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