Torn between opinions...(6 Posts)
I know when you're a mum you're pretty much held to ransom by the opinions of various strangers / government studies / advertising agencies etc, but how do you deal with it when it's in your own house?
Due to a long & winding set of tricky circumstances involving debt & the threat of marriage breakdown, my husband & I are living with our 3yo girl at my parents' house. We have not much privacy, as you can guess, and due to the hours my husband is working and my new job not starting for another couple of weeks, we are all around the house A LOT (my parents are retired).
Our little girl is going through what I consider to be fairly typical 3yo behaviour, she's started pre-school having never been to a nursery setting as a younger toddler, and sometimes she acts up a bit in a very boundary-testing way, but she isn't really badly behaved.
My husband, who has piled a lot of stress onto himself because of the circumstances, but who previously looked after her at home for a year whilst I worked, is convinced this is because she is over-tired, especially since she has been ill a lot recently. He is getting very insistent that she have a long nap in the middle of the day (basically put her down after lunch and let her sleep until she wakes up). My parents, who looked after her for a month whilst we were sorting out the moving in, believe it's just down to her age and she should be allowed to get on with it. There are quite anti- the daytime nap and think an earlier bedtime is the solution. It's worth noting that while she's been ill we've tried earlier bedtime (resulted in constant night waking and asking to come in our bed, then going to Grandma & Grandad when that didn't work). For the last 2 days I have gone with my husband's wishes and given her the nap, and for the last 2 nights, although she's taken a bit longer to settle, she has slept through with only a brief wake to cough well before midnight). She is grizzly after the nap for a short period but my husband's view is that this is because we haven't let her sleep long enough.
My parents will be her daytime carers once I start work, so I'm under a lot of pressure to let them do things in a way that fits in with them. My husband takes it very personally if I disagree with his advice, particularly since the last few days do bear out that he has a point...
So how do I get myself the space to work out what I think is the best response, and how do I stick to it when everyone around me has their own valid and relevant views?
Blimey! Umm I would have to say if your dh has been at home with her fir a year his instinct should be good also his way has worked. I would say talk to your parents openly but not too formally and say once you are her day carers if you think she is better without nap AND she sleeps at night we will do it your way but just for now this is the script.
Planetpotty, thanks for your observations. I do feel that the time my husband has spent with her makes him a pretty good judge; part of the problem is that because he's so stressed at the moment it's hard to tell whether he just wants her out of the way for a little while (subconsciously of course)! There are other issues going on but I think if we could just resolve this one we'd be back onto a more even keel. The night waking has resulted in all of us being very tired as well, making everything even harder to cope with, so having a full night's sleep 2 days running has been extremely welcome!
I think you trust your DH on this. If the situation were reversed - ie you had looked after DD for a year and were now living with his parents - I'm pretty sure that you'd expect things to be done your way and you'd know that you knew what was best for your DD.
Also, it does sound as though he's right! Your parents belong to a previous generation of childcare and the importance of enough sleep (and snacks - can be another bone of contention with older folk!) is better understood now. If she actually goes to sleep in the middle of the day then for my money that's the best indicator that she's not ready to give up the nap. Both my DCs keep naps going until they're not actually going to sleep - IMO that's the only way you can tell they're ready to give them up.
Octavia, thank you for your comments as well. We did continue with the nap until today - she was back at pre-school following the illness so we didn't bother - and she had a screaming meemie fit at bedtime, which was a bit earlier than we would normally do on a day with a nap. I'm fairly certain this means the nap is still necessary for her to have the energy to take her to the end of the day.
Funnily enough, my parents don't have an issue with snacks!
There are other tensions regards the "we do it this way" situation, which I'm struggling to find a way to tackle, mainly my DH's approach to "managing" DD - he tells me I'm not firm enough with her because when she's beside herself I keep myself at her level and try to ask her what's wrong, rather than taking his line of standing over her and telling her very strongly that enough is enough. My mother likes my approach, and gets quite agitated that DH will sometimes walk in when I'm trying to deal with DD and "take over" because she's concerned it will give DD the idea that only Daddy is authoritative enough to deal with the situation (also DD is starting to emulate his style and try to take the authority herself on occasion). I'm hoping this will all dissipate somewhat when we get back into our own place, but how the heck my mental health is going to survive that long I don't know!
Hollyberry - you are really in the middle of a lot of tension and it must be so difficult to make the right decisions. If I were you I would probably dither about trying to keep everyone happy - confrontation is difficult. However - you know yourself that this isn't going to resolve anything. She is your child and your husbands. You are not wanting to do anything cruel or unreasonable - people on here would tell you if you were. Therefore you and your husband must make the final decisions on what happens. Yes, your parents are entitled to an opinion but the decisions are yours, even when they are looking after her. The sooner everyone realises this (and that includes your daughter) the sooner the tension will be resolved. Your differences with your husband are likely to be easier if he realises you will back him against your parents - it must be so difficult for him in this situation. If your husband knows that when you disagree with him, your parents haven't had a hand in it he may well give more weight to your opinion and be less inclined to have to exert his authority. I should tell your parents, in private, that they are undermining your relationship by the interference no matter how well meant. To do this, try the 5 - 1 rule! Tell them five things you really appreciate about them before you mention the issue, count them off on your fingers if need be. Good luck.
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