My husband and I have very different parenting styles—and quite frankly, lifestyles. I believe in order; the world is chaotic enough on the outside without the chaos spilling over into my house. I fight the good fight of faith and black motherhood, keeping my children from going too far outside of the carefully crafted ark of safety that I have created. Bill is much more…permissive; whatever happens just sort of happen, then he hides from any negative consequences in a variety of ways.
This plays out in our household so much more now that I’m at home full time. As my husband spends the bulk of his time away from home (working, dealing in “manly” things, checking in with his crazy friends and taking care of his older children), he has found himself more discombobulated when he enters into our home.
The kids have a schedule. I have a schedule. We don’t vary too much from this schedule. I’m an educator, so I know the importance of consistency—especially in such a transient household like ours, where we move every 7 months on average.. When Bill comes home and says okay let’s do A, I come back with—sorry, we already have B planned due to C, D, and E. I think he has come to hate the natural desire for order in me.
The other day, we had a very aggressive conversation about our relationship. In the middle of these strong words, he hit below the belt.
“And I don’t know what this new controlling ministry is that you have going on, but you need to stop. You have [our oldest daughter] all nervous. She doesn’t know whether to come or go!”
It hurt. But I am practicing something we real Christians call “temperance” and what everybody else calls self control. Rather than get with him, I took a deep breath…and then I apologized.
Then I determined in my spirit that I would show him EXACTLY what my “control” bought him every day. And I stopped “controlling”.
I cannot describe the level of exasperation my loving husband experienced for the couple of weeks as I remained in the bed, eating snacks and watching T.V. The kids ate noodles and cereal for dinner; he ate whatever he could put his hands on. When the kids got in the tub, I did not bother to get them out—and as their yelling and splashing escalated, I watched his blood pressure go up (his office is across from their bathroom). When it was time for bed, as long as the girls were in their room, I was cool. I let him strain himself yelling and fighting them into bed. Time for school? I didn’t even get up—I directed everything from the comfort of my king size. Oh, and did I mention that house began to look like hoarders lived there?
So when I finally got up from my bed of affliction, my darling husband had a new attitude (trying to find clean drawers will do that to you). And I did what I do best: got everything under control.