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Just a Guy Who Talks TOO MUCH!

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Learn a lesson from me: Don't vent about marital problems in earshot of your kids.

man with mouth taped shut

Bruce Sallan:

I have a big mouth. Anyone that knows me knows I'm highly opinionated and my family, in particular, lives with me both repeating myself and just droning on endlessly. It's as if I don't get an "Okay" or "Yeah, Dad" I assume my boys haven't heard me.

Recently, I've begun a very stupid habit of complaining or voicing out loud issues between my wife and I, venting and expecting a sympathetic ear, to one or the other of my boys. I'm not voicing anything of a deeply personal nature, but it is still inappropriate discussion for them to hear from their dad, about their stepmother.

Our biggest bone of contention relates to the cleanliness and order of our home. She likes it Felix clean while I'm fine with Oscar messy (the opposite comedic characters in Neil Simon's seminal play "The Odd Couple"). Dog hair in the bed doesn't especially bother us. Needless to say, the boys are boys and tend to feel as I do about this general issue.

That, of course, is NOT the issue. With a blended family, I should be doing everything I can to support my wife, (their stepmom) and when or if I disagree with her, I should only discuss it with her. We are struggling to find a balance on our respective wishes and desires, as every blended family strives to do. I have to just "shut up" sometimes, without a doubt.

But, while I tell my boys how perfect I am, I'm clearly imperfect -- an ongoing "work-in-progress," and clearly, just a guy!


next: Olympic-Size Family Traditions
8 comments so far | Post a comment now
Sharon February 20, 2010, 6:46 AM

Bruce - you’re a big-time writer - hire a regular cleaning crew NOW! This isn’t worthy of fighting, though it does sound as if she’s a bit more anal than need be but that is her way of having some control in your home!

Dennise February 20, 2010, 11:14 AM

I have the opposite problem. My husband barely talks, let alone about anything important!

Chris (Tessasdad) February 21, 2010, 7:43 AM

My wife and I have the same problem (except I’m Felix and she’s Oscar). Ironically, as I’m typing this, my wife is on her hands and knees scrubbing the kitchen floor. Man, I love that woman!

My advice would be to turn the tables on her once in a while and surprise her by going the extra mile to clean up (you and the boys) to show her you hear what she’s saying.

Bruce Sallan February 21, 2010, 7:52 AM

Thanks Chris for the comment and suggestion. Unfortunately, when I get down on my hands and knees, it kills my back. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking with it. There are other things we can and should do (more often).

Emma February 21, 2010, 10:00 AM

I think a man who talks who talks is much better than one who hides in his cave. There is no doubt Bruce, that you not only talk but reveal everything — maybe too much.

pammylala February 22, 2010, 12:48 PM

Bruce, as a child of a blended family, I appreciate your insight and newfound committment to discussing your marital issues with your spouse as opposed to airing the issues in front of or with your boys. My experience is that it makes kids uncomfortable and also reinforces any negative feelings they may have privately with their “stepmom”. I think this approach is a great sign of respect for all members of your family!

Kat Wilder February 28, 2010, 10:04 PM

It doesn’t make a difference if it’s the “real” parent or a “step” parent; parents need to be careful about what they say in front of their kids.

Disagreeing about the level of cleanliness is no biggie; but anything that could be construed as being critical about the other person’s cleanliness or lack their off (“Why are you such a slob?”) isn’t cool.

And don’t worry; your kids already know you’re not perfect, no matter what you tell them! That’s a teen’s job.

Britanie March 29, 2010, 8:51 AM

I’m with dennise. My husband never talks and when he does nothing of importance comes out of his mouth. I try to get him to express his feelings more but 8years later he still rather just keep quiet.


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