I Wish We'd Made A Parenting Plan Instead Of A Birthing Plan

Rebecca Eckler quickly discovered that she and her husband don't always see eye to eye on parenting techniques

Coulda, woulda, shoulda!

The one thing my son’s father and I kind of…sort of…fine, completely forgot to do while we were expecting was, you know, talk about how we were going to parent and essentially raise our son. 

My son has the best father ever who is super fun, will play with him for hours, and even has the patience to take him grocery shopping.

But looking back, the one thing I had wished we had done while I was pregnantinstead of thinking and discussing baby names, designing his nursery, and trying out different positions while having sexwas to actually have a parenting plan in order. Or at least a verbal parenting plan in place. Or at least a discussion of ANY sort.

I wish we had discussed exactly how we wanted to raise our son, so we would always be on the same page. We are sometimes so not on the same page, we may as well be reading different books. Why? Because we were too busy deciding on what crib and car seat to get, instead of discussing the day-to-day. Also, both he and I were sort of oblivious to each other’s parenting styles.

I hate giving parenting advice to new mothers, or expectant mothers, but you’d be surprised (trust me) about all the little issues that arise when it comes to even the tiniest decisions. 

You think just because you’re having a baby that you’d be on the same page, because after all, you think you know your partner oh-so-well. Well...WRONG!!!

One of our first disagreements was over our son’s hair. My son’s father likes him to look preppy, and I always wanted a little boy with long hair, like a mini-surfer dude. You may think this sounds like a silly thing to argue over, but it pops up, and has numerous times. “No one touches his hair but me,” I’ll say, every time Daddy mentions that our son needs a haircut.

(Actually, I think our first argument was over the type of diaper. I found Pampers to be more effective. Daddy found Huggies more effective. See how the littlest issue can turn into a "thing"?)

And then there are Lucky Charms, yes, the cereal, which has also become an issue. I hate sugar cereals (okay, I like them, but I don’t want my children eating them!) and, in this instance, I wasn’t so lucky because I came home a few months ago to see a box of them on our counter, thinking “WTF?”

“It's just a one-time treat,” my son’s father promised, knowing how I feel about sugary cereals. Well, what do you think happened? That “one-time-treat” has turned into a daily breakfast for our son. Sigh.

I, too, am very anti-gun, and when my son was a baby, I did mention there were never to be guns in our house, even plastic ones from the dollar store. Flash forward four years, and everywhere I turn there are plastic guns. I just came home from a meeting one day to see them having a water gun fight in the backyard. (I know I didn’t buy them. And since my son is FOUR, I know he didn’t buy them.) Still, my son was having the time of his life, while I gave his father the stink eye.

Then there’s bedtime. I am strict about bedtime. My son’s father, however, loves to wrestle and pillow fight with our son…right before bed. He might as well give the kid a friggin’ lollipop.

“Now that you’ve riled him up, you’re putting him to bed,” I’ll say, because, “You wake him. You take him!” is the rule. (Or at least mine, which still leads to many arguments over whose turn it is.)

And then there’s the way we punish our super spoiled child. Daddy, whenever he goes out with him, pretty much buys him anything he wants. Not expensive things by any means, but he always gets our son a little treat. I get that our son is cute and that, yes, it’s easy to bribe him into behaving if we buy him something, but “No. You DON’T get a present every time we leave the house or every time I walk into the house.”

If my son throws a tantrum, his father will threaten with, “If you don't stop crying right now, I’m going to take ALL your toys away!” First, that would never happen. But, more importantly, I believe in the ignore-your-child way of parenting, when it comes to tantrums.

Make no mistake. This goes both ways. My son’s father hates it when he goes on a business trip and I bring my son into bed with me. I LOVE sleeping with my children, because I believe some sort of bonding does take place. My son’s father is anti-children sleeping in matrimonial beds at all costs, whether he’s away or not. So, of course, I let my son sleep with me, and that drives him crazy. 

And these are SMALL things. Don't forget you’ll have to discuss which school, camp,  activities, and perhaps nanny-share versus day care. Sure, it’s absolutely more fun to think of baby names and pick out cute onesies. But, at some point, you’re going to realize that you should have, would have, could have, discussed almost every detail about how you want your children to be raised.

How do you handle these little parenting-style disagreements? Do you wish you had had a parenting plan(ish) in place? Because I coulda, woulda, shoulda!


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