On picking your battles

My husband works a lot. Entirely overnight shifts, five nights a week, so he’s not home a lot. When he is home, our rhythm gets thrown off, the kids get rangy and stuff can get weird. There are a lot of reasons for this, but my biggest thought is that because Matt’s often working, he’s not as good at picking battles as I am.

Take, for instance, manners at the dinner table. There has been more than one occasion where, at the end of a GREAT day, where my toddler hasn’t wet himself, only half choked his brother out once (trying to hug him) and generally, no one (me) screamed, and Henry has said, “Mommy, get me milk!” I turn to get up because, well, it’s peaceful, everyone’s eating the food I made (another miracle, more on that another time) and bath time is soon, so I don’t want stress.

This moment without manners is a battle I’m not willing to wade into. Matt, on the other hand is a stickler. He insists. Henry cries. Lauchie cries. Everyone stops eating, I wolf down what I have and Henry’s bad behaviour escalates because suddenly, daddy is mad at him.

Eventually, bath time devolves into a hosing off and that only happened because Henry ended up peeing his pants while crying.

See? Not a battle I think is important.

Talking to other parents, I hear this is a common thread – the parent who is outside the home more often picks the battles that we tend to let go. I mean, I know that Henry knows how to use manners, and I know he’s not being pushy, he’s just 3.5 and wants some more milk with his dinner. And everything is going so damned well.

I guess it has something to do with not being around as much and wanting to assert your parenthood, and I can’t fault anyone for that, and I’m sure that my exhausted, exacerbated screaming of HENRY! When he’s really being quite bad is probably annoying to Matt.

What about you? Do you find yourself at odds with your partner when picking your battles?

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