My husband is a better mom than I am.
He is patient, neutral, and he knows when to stop talking. Like an email or text conversation, I am never quite sure when to stop. Do I say one more thing, or leave things be as they are? Sometimes I wonder if I have left the conversation unfinished, or if the person at the other end has just lost interest. When I’m having a conversation, I generally expect a response.
The sought-out response from my kids = cooperation.
When you deal with kids you need a different set of rules. I am a reactive person. I don’t follow rules very well. As a parent you say your peace and, given the age of my kids, let the kid figure things out. I (apparently) harp on and nag. I get my point across in so many ways the kid is now engaged in the “last word” battle, rather than reflecting on what I have suggested. I, too, often forget what my point is because now I’m trying to backtrack out of an argument I somehow started and just want my voice to be the loudest one.
My husband knows when he’s ahead and when to quit. He can bite his tongue far sooner than I can. He gets more done with his patience and silence than I do (loudly) rallying around with empty threats.
I don’t do well with appointment times. Before we can be there on time we need to leave the house. Getting myself ready is one thing, so factoring in unexpected distractions and stubborn refusal in another person is a complete guessing game.
Given my mystical powers of anticipation, I should know that instead of putting on his shoes my kid will go and seek out that tiny eraser that may be buried in the bottom of the toy drawers. Or that he may need to play 5 more minutes of some game he found last week on the computer. I should know this right? I am his mother.
But this changes, daily. He doesn’t like to get dressed and so today when he asked for help I gladly jumped on the chance to hopefully get something done. He likes his independence but resists doing the routine stuff. Getting dressed can be a chore from taking off his pajamas to not wanting to wear socks to just not wanting to do it. So today when I came upstairs he instructed me to “just pick out whatever and I’ll put it on.” And he did. And it got done. And together we got it done in minutes.
However to offset this speedy cooperation and success, I spent 15 minutes trying to get him to come downstairs to put his shoes on. My husband told me to stop nagging. The kid even yelled down from his room to tell me that the more I yelled at him to hurry up the slower he would go. It wasn’t his fault per se; this is how he is hard-wired.
If he could do things differently he would.
And so would I.
But for now I nag, through gritted teeth. I have to be somewhere. We have to go. Now.
And my husband is the better mom.