Trying a Little Harder

Last night, as I laid in bed with my husband, I told him the truth. I'm worried about how our relationship is affecting our daughter.

I'm afraid that she's going to grow up remembering how much her mommy and daddy used to fight. I'm afraid she'll grow up thinking mommy is "lazy," or "annoying," or "crazy." I'm afraid it's changing her.

Big J has always had a strong personality, but it's only lately that I've noticed her apathy towards certain things. She just doesn't seem to care when she hurts someone's feelings. At least that's what it seems like. She can be loud and bossy and completely rigid, kind of like my husband. He even said last night that she's "just like me."

I want to try and change that but I'm just not sure how. How do you make a child empathetic? How do you make a 4 year-old see that's she's being rude or hurtful? The thing is, she's not like this at school. I've never once gotten a complaint or even a mention of something mean that she's done. I even asked the teacher if there's ever been a problem with her behavior. The answer was no.

So I think it's us. Don't get me wrong, I understand that part of this is natural. She's asserting herself. She's trying to push boundaries and find her own way in this world. I think those things are important. What I'm worried about is that she's growing up in an environment of negativity. Would things be different ff my husband and I tried harder to keep our mouths shut when we're annoyed with each other or if we tried harder at not letting the stress of everyday life affect our mood when we're with the kids?

All of this came about when I found out my brother-in-law and his wife are getting a divorce. They have a daughter and she's stuck in the middle. Her parents fight in front of her. Her daddy calls her mommy horrible things (so it's being said) and now they've had enough. My neice is 7 years-old. She's sad. She's worried. That's a lot for a little girl to feel.

A while back, another one of my husband's brothers was headed for a divorce. They have 3 girls. They didn't go through with it because of the kids, but sister-in-law says that they just don't care about each other anymore. How sad is that?

So I guess I've been thinking about how my husband and I treat each other because of all that. We've been there before, we've talked about the 'D' word but we always said that's not what we want. Things are just difficult right now. It'll get better. I just hope we can change things for our daughter's sake. I want her to grow up with a loving, supportive mommy and daddy. Not just towards her but towards each other.


Meg said...

That's such a hard thing to do, especially when you're so mad with someone. We're really trying to make an effort not to cut each other down in front of the kiddo. We don't fight a lot, but we're very sarcastic and negative in our teasing. Just make sure Big J knows you both love her and try your hardest on the other parts of it!

Christina said...

Wow, this post really hits me...because my husband and my relationship is in much the same place. I worry how it will effect our daughter...and us long term.

Lisa said...

Thanks for such an honest post. It is hard being married to anybody...it makes it so much more complicated when kids are involved.

Mama of 2 said...

I am not an advocate of staying married just for the kids. I honestly feel that in the long run that does more damage than it does good. Even though I can agree that a divorce filled with animosity and putting the children in the middle isn't any better.

I sounds as though you and your husband are in a tough spot. One that I believe that most married couples have been in at one point or another. I know my own hubby and I have. For us it took alot of growing up on his part and a great deal of my growing and changing me.

I pick my battles now and I am have also come to terms with things about my hubby that I can't change as he with me. Ultimately for us it comes down to the fact that neither could imagine life without the other warts and all.

I wish you and your husband the best of luck as you navigate this rather rocky road.

Ms. Porter said...

I wonder how many parents have been in the same situation. I know my husband and I have been through tough times and whether it's arguing, name calling, or just tough times...kids know. I am a huge believer in therapy...it's not for everyone, but those who are willing...it can be a saving grace. good luck. oh and by the way, how brave of you to post about this...