Our Parenting Priorities Are Out of Whack

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My husband's parenting priorities are totally out of sync with my own.

When it comes to parenting our boys (ages five and seven), my huz, "E," focuses his efforts on two things: personal hygiene and sibling bickering. Examples:

E has a Zero Tolerance policy when it comes to bickering and fighting. If the boys are playing Super Mario Whatever on the Wii, and someone's character powers up with someone else's magic whatever, the boys will fight. If E is around he will enforce the Zero Tolerance policy with an iron fist. Arguing over a Wii game? No Wii for one week!

You know who E is really punishing when he takes away the Wii for a week? Yep, this mama. I'm a work-at-home mom and, I confess, I sometimes rely on electronics to distract the boys while I'm on a conference call or trying to meet a deadline.

clean handsOn the personal hygiene front, E has issued a mandate that the boys wash their hands before EVERY snack or meal and after every trip to the loo. I realize that this is not a bad rule. But each of my boys pees and eats a dozen times a day. In order for me to get them to wash their hands just one time, I'm required to yell/beg/plead for four to five minutes. Do I want to yell/beg/plead two dozen times a day? #nothankyou.

E is also a stickler for undergarments. Sometimes when he helps the boys get dressed in the morning he will discover that someone didn't wear underpants under their PJs. Seriously, all heck breaks loose when E makes this discovery. I, on the other hand, am just so happy that the boys donned their PJs all by themselves the night before. To heck with underwear. In fact, I may not even be wearing any right now.

My own parenting priorities have very little to do with pee, underpants or bickering. I focus my efforts on healthy eating, exercise and sleep. I'm the one who's hiding fruit in their cereal and surreptitiously sliding veggies onto their plates at dinnertime. I'm the one who accompanies them to the backyard to play each day. I'm the one whose head spins when it's 8:00 at night and they're not yet in bed.

But I do realize something. Something important.

It's actually really good that E and I have different priorities. Imagine for a moment if E were like me, and we were both lax about hand-washing. Or if I were like my husband, and neither of us cared much about healthy food choices.

It's good that we balance each other out. We are in sync after all. Yet, I'd still like to tell him one day:



Photo Credit: arlingtonva.


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