This is going to make some of you Wife-Number-Two-haters smile.
Wife Number Two: I had a big blowout with Husband Number Two this week about disciplining our kids. And then I had a revelation.
One of the biggest problems between me and Husband Number One was parenting. He thought I was indulgent. I thought he was absurdly strict. We undermined each other constantly, as I tried to protect the kids from his rigid temper and he tried to enforce the household rules. I remember one time in particular: He threatened not to come to our 5-year-old's first soccer game because he was furious at me over a discipline dispute. It was a weekend morning. He was hollering at the kids for not dressing quickly enough. One of them was in tears, struggling with a shirt button. I told my ex to back off, unequivocally and in front of our children. At that moment, I thought to myself, I'd do better at this alone. Much better.
Fast forward several years. Husband Number Two and I have an amazing partnership. We support each other. We approach life, love and family the same way. We rarely argue.
But there are times I find myself thinking that my beloved is -- dare I say it? -- too permissive with the kids. He's too quick to dole out presents and gloss over inappropriate behavior, even when I'm rolling my eyes on the other side of the room, clearly signaling my frustration. And let's remember, I'm a pretty easygoing parent myself.
I understand why Husband Number Two does what he does. We don't get nearly as much time with his kids as we'd like. So there's immense pressure to make the time we do have happy and fun. Neither of us wants to spend those precious hours giving time-outs. But the kids need parents, not playmates.
So here's my revelation: Husband Number Two and I are not so exactly the same, at least not all the time. And I suddenly have some empathy for Husband Number One. Did he feel like the constant bad cop? The parent who always takes away the ball before the glass windowpane breaks? I want to be fun, too, but some days there just isn't room for that.
Still, it's different this time around. The blowout this week -- which would have resulted in a multi-day cold war in my first marriage -- is already resolved. Within hours, we'd talked about it. We both apologized. And more importantly, we tossed around some ideas about how to parent better -- together. That would never have happened with Husband Number One.
Another thing that's different now? I actually look forward to the makeup sex.
|Wife Number Two is a writer, mom and expert on what happens when you scorch the earth and leave your husband. She and the love of her life (the guy she left FOR) spend most of their time raising their blended family of five kids and trying to avoid grenades lobbed by their ex-spouses. Her hobbies include reading, working out and occasionally blowing off steam with faithful girlfriends who understand life is too damn short to be miserable!|