My husband is apparently furious with me over a Facebook post I
made. I know this because during our argument, he brought it up
and I could actually hear his teeth clenching. He doesn’t usually get
So here is what I said: “I know this is awful, but I am so happy that
my daughter has finally gotten to the age where she wants to do
some things by herself in her room. I’m sure I will soon be eating
Why was he so furious? I told him that at some time, virtually every
mother and father has probably felt like that. That wasn’t the
problem. He told me (through clenched teeth) that his problem with
it was that I had made such a NEGATIVE statement, and front of
EVERYONE. He basically couldn’t believe that I had the temerity to
say it out loud.
What the hell?
First, I told him I thought it was a positive statement – I was posting
about something that made me happy. No. It was NEGATIVE. I
guess we can’t admit out loud that our little darling has ANY
annoying issues, because you NEVER are allowed to feel that your
children are annoying. At least not out loud, apparently.
A little bit about my daughter. Since the minute she was born, she
could not be put down on her own. She had to be held at all times, or
she just cried. Our final solution was to buy a sling that we could
wear across our bodies, so that she could look out and be held, and
we could have some hands-free time.
As a toddler, she could not be left with toys to amuse herself on her
own. She had to be touching us, and she had to have her hands all
over what we were doing.
She is almost ten, and the “Mommy look, Mommy look” thing has yet
to be extinguished. While I was writing this I was urgently
summoned to another room for something I HAD to see. What was
it? Her dragon game had accidentally put a dragon with the word
“butt” in it next to a dragon that had the word “head” in it. Ha ha ha,
hysterical! For that I was summoned away while I had a head full of
words that were in perfect order and needed to be written down
while they were still there. I’m sure you writers can relate.
When she was a baby, my husband thought he could stay with her
and continue to work at home. You can guess how long that lasted.
We had a brilliant idea! An in-house sitter who could keep her as he
worked. Know how long THAT lasted? Yeah, we had to put her in
daycare, because we both had to work. And I cried like some crazy
fool when we brought her there, because I never wanted her to be a
As she got older, things didn’t get better. Even with two adults in the
house, she so constantly demanded attention that we resorted to
hiring babysitters a couple times a week in the afternoon just so we
could do some things on our own. We seldom left the house, but the
sitters saved our sanity. And that was HIS idea.
Later, as we had yet another worried discussion about how she so
completely could not function alone, my husband thought that
maybe it was because we had so many sitters paying attention to her,
that she had gotten used to it. No. I don’t think so. She was that
way when she started, which is why we were driven to hire the
You must understand that throughout her lifetime, we have fretted
over her lack of inner resources. It’s not that my husband didn’t see
the issues. It’s not that he didn’t think that her neediness was
So when I made the post, it was because in the last year, she has
gotten to where she wants to watch Minecraft videos, on her own, in
her room. You have no idea what a relief this was, to have her come
home and not instantly glom on. She gets upset when I go out to get
the mail without telling her. I couldn’t finish peeing before she was
looking for me, even after I told her I was going. “But it’s taking you
such a long TIME!”
And saying that was a relief was BAD? How exactly? Oh. We
mustn’t admit that we don’t want to spend every waking minute with
our child. (This from a man who constantly says he refuses to care
about what other people think).
I guess that wanting to get a thought in edgewise makes me a
What the HELL? It’s not that he didn’t recognize that she has an
issue with playing alone.
And the thing is, I’ve never stopped accommodating her. I feel that if
a child wants attention from a parent, and that parent has it to give,
that you should spend it with your child. After all, they grow up so
fast, right? So just like I dropped everything to see the Butthead
Dragons (had I known that was what was so urgent, I wouldn’t have),
I have spent my life with a kid treating every little thing as
important, because to them, it is. I have lavishly praised
achievements, set limits, looked over homework, and made a point of
never refusing a hug, even with onions browning and chicken grease
all over my hands. I’ve heard my husband refuse hugs: in the
middle of something, busy now, carrying stuff.
So why can’t I say what I said? Why can no one know? Why can’t we
let others know about things that are real? Is he playing the
competitive parent game? Totally not like him. Does he just not
want any chinks to show in our perfect armor? Not really like him
either. I honestly don’t understand, this time, what torqued him off
Gentle readers, can you help me? Am I a terrible parent? Should
that awful thought have been stifled? Please weigh in on this. Am I
missing something? Help!