Problem: My husband is unreasonable, and I am not.
To wit: he takes issue with my comments regarding his parenting (which is what he calls what he does). I agree that I shouldn’t interfere, but on the other hand what he’s doing is wrong, whereas my way is almost always right. Please note that I changed that last sentence from "always always" to "almost always." Hey, I’m not perfect! I can recognize this.
For instance, this morning I caught him helping our son get dressed. When our son is perfectly capable of getting dressed by himself! So I say, reasonably, “You don’t have to help him, you jerk.” I know this sounds harsh, but “you jerk” is our marriage shorthand for “unless you really think this is a special circumstance, and if it is I respect your opinion, although we both know deep in our hearts that it isn’t, doofus.” We have a few of these marriage-shorthand terms. Although only I use them. My husband is more given to hand gestures. Usually behind my back. (Guess what? We have MIRRORS, doofus.)
I can leave Scott alone when it comes to him mishandling the trivial stuff, but for the big issues, like buttoning, I have no choice but to step in. If I don’t, our son will be twenty and unable to button his pants. He will be chasing the other students around his junior-college dorm, shouting “BUTTON ME.” He will never have a healthy adult relationship wherein he can call his partner names for disagreeing with his parenting style. Because of my interference, someday he will stride confidently about his Ivy-league dorm, never looking down, because he knows—he knows in his heart—that his pants are securely buttoned, and will stay that way, until such time as he unbuttons them himself. That’s the kind of confidence Scott is undermining, people. I am saving my son.
On the other hand, Scott often butts in where he best should leave his trap shut. For instance, Sunday morning I was gently admonishing Henry for acting like a nutcase. This was part of a long-standing debate between the two of us, regarding maintaining a calm and quiet demeanor when the situation warrants it. It was not because I hadn’t had coffee yet and Henry was waving his arms about and shrieking LA LA LA LA while twirling around me. I was not “clutching my head and shrieking.” I was calmly and rationally explaining that I would be happier if he would lower his voice and cease any and all movement. Telling me to “lighten up” was unwarranted. Patting me on the shoulder was clearly condescending, and suggesting that I “take a break” was really too much. And really, kid’s not going to be scarred by a little high-pitched screaming. Who’s the one who really should lighten up? Answer: always him and never me.
I tell you, it’s not easy being a hypocrite.