Today I want to share a part of my own story with you.
When I got to know my current husband, I started noticing my thoughts about my boys and my relationship with them.I tried to envision us through my husband’s eyes. Imagined what he thought about us. And what I wanted him to think about us.
Did he see that I was a good mother?
Did he see how loving and fun my boys were?
Did he see HOW loveable they were?
Did he see how charming they were?
Did he see how well behaved they were?
These ideas were completely new to me. In my relationship with the boys’ father I never thought about whether he liked our sons. I took it for granted that he did. That he loved them unconditionally, like I did. I was never in doubt. And I never questioned myself in my role as mother or my boys’ amiability. But I did now. It scared me. I suddenly felt less confident in my role as a mother. I was also unsure whether my boys were just as charming in my boyfriend’s eyes, as in mine.
These thoughts made me do strange things.
I began to compare my boys with my husband’s children
I began to run an internal point system (on the children’s behavior and performance, etc.)
I began to notice who was most popular with the kids (was is my husband or myself)
To this ‘competition’ I had started (which I knew the points system to) I supplemented by telling my boys what to say to my husband and when.
I would for instance find myself telling to Jonas not to bother Jégwan right when he got home from work, but let him have some time to himself, otherwise Jégwan might get annoyed at him. I also reminded Jonas thank him for the lovely lunch with the cute hard-boiled egg (decorated with both a sad and a happy face) and that he should not give Jégwan SO many details about his day, because it would just bore him.
How I continued in that manner. I tried to constantly stay abreast of what I anticipated would happen in any given moment.
I tried to compensate for something I thought would happen. Or I pointed out when my boys had done something good that would serve as concrete evidence that they were loveable.
I furnished compelling evidence to my husband: My kids are amazing, so therefore you must like them. And he did like them. He was sweet to calm me when I was too pushy, but I was not convinced, so I continued until the day where we both noticed that Jonas had become uncomfortable around Jégwan. He glanced nervously at me when saying something to Jégwan (just to decode my expression.)
I was shocked, how could that have happened! I had done everything I could to help the two to converge towards each other…. I thought.
Instead, the opposite was happening. I had with my constant admonitions made Jégwan into something scary. An adult one should be careful and be cautious about saying anything or require anything of. I had signaled to the children that they could not just react spontaneously in a situation with Jégwan.
I had alienated my husband from my son. It made me sad. That was not been my intention.
What should I do now?
Jégwan and I had a long talk and we ended up with the following conclusion:
• I had to stop telling my children how they should act towards my husband. They should be able to react spontaneously and Jégwan would let them know, if he disagreed.
• I had to train myself to trust that he meant it when he said he liked my children.
• My husband had to remember to praise my boys if they deserved it. (I loved it.)
• I had to practice letting my husband discipline my kids, if needed. (I hated it.)
• I had to practice not to come rushing through the house to rescue my children from my husband, but instead to trust that he wanted the best for my boys.
• I had to practice NOT to handle conflicts in advance but as they arose, though I thought conflicts were dangerous and should be avoided.
It took me a year and a half to be at peace with this and feel comfortable letting Jégwan discipline my boys (and I his children), but in hindsight I can see that for us it was the only feasible way to live in a mutually respectful family where everyone can respond freely and naturally when a situation arises.
How has it been/or is it for you? Are you afraid that your partner doesn’t like your kids?
You are welcome to write a comment here.