jayfaye

Husband doesn't want more kids

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Hi all, first time ever on here.  Just ... needing some LDS-based support on this one, as our views on family have just become so different from the worlds'...

Here's the thing:  my husband and I have 2 beautiful children, a boy and a girl.  They are little handfuls; full of life, crazy energy, smart little boogers.  I know I should be grateful for what I have, and I am.  But I know I'm not done.  I have always, always wanted more than two.  Ideally, 4 seems perfect to me, and I have always said this.  And more than that, our family simply does not feel complete.

But my husband?  He has absolutely no desire to have more.  We've discussed it a few times already, but for some reason this weekend it's really hitting home:  We will not have any more.  I spent all list night crying about it, and even now I cannot stop the tears.  But he is unmoving.  Just this morning he said to me "I know the thought of not having more makes you feel sad, but for me.. I just feel relieved."  He doesn't feel capable of having more and is just not open to it.  As much as he genuinely loves our son and daughter, he does not enjoy small children.  He cringes at the though of more babies.  And while I have joy in the two already here, I still find myself heartbroken and grieving.  And it's only getting worse with time.

I will continue to pray for comfort, for a way to cope and find happiness.  I will do my best to have faith that all will be well.  And I will try my best not to goad him, harass him about it, or coerce him into having children he doesn't want.

But how can I have any hope when my husband feels this way?  If this is how things are now, what's the point in hoping for anything different in the next life?  How can I cope with the possibility of my eternal family being limited to what it is now?  I just... need to talk about it I guess.  Is anyone else facing this, or has faced it?  Please, share your experiences, thoughts and feelings with me.

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Hi Jayfaye-

I think I will post my personal experience, and then include an additional post with some church guidance on the subject.  I am a man, so I'm on the opposite side of the coin. I don't know you or your husband, so my experience is personal and may have zero similarities to your situation. First, let me say that I'm sorry that you and your husband are experiencing a "difference" of opinion. For the moment it may feel like he sees black and you see white. That is not to say that at some future point you "both" can't see grey together. Is it him that needs to change or is it you? In reality it most likely is "both" of you that need to change some version of your views. Let me explain. 

I have felt this way before: "He doesn't feel capable of having more .... He cringes at the thought of more babies."

I grew up in a family of 6 children. I spent my life playing/doing stereotypical guy things: GIJoe, guns, snakes, forts, climbing trees, skateboards, etc. My 3 sisters in contrast spent a lot of time: playing house, Cabbage Patch kids, babysitting, playing dress up, Barbie, etc. I hate to admit it but I wasn't really groomed for my own kids in the future. My sisters on the other hand had "I have always, always wanted more than two." In contrast my sisters were groomed  more towards having children. 

Fast forward to me being married. Sure my wife and I in our young naive years talked in passing about "how many children do you want?". We both said around 5-6. What did we know, we never raised kids before? It was an easy answer at the time. 

After our 2nd child, I felt much like your husband, but the question is "why" did I feel like your husband. Do you know why your husband feels "incapable"? Do you know why he "cringes"? Do you know why he "does not enjoy small children"? Since I can't speak for your husband, let me share with you "why" I felt these ways:

1. TIRED: I was tired. I was tired all the time. Tired, tired and more tired again. I worked full time and "felt" like I came home only to relieve my tired wife so she could rest, but I never felt like I was getting rest. We don't do our best work as humans when we are tired. We can be quick to anger, quick to judge and often times become hostile towards whatever it is that is making us tired... in this case it was "small children". 

2. SELFISH: It "seemed" to me that I had lost my free time. All efforts were diverted to raising the kids: diapers, bath time, feeding, Dr. appt, missed classes at church, etc. Where was some time for "me"? I felt like I had lost it and again looked to blame the source of my perceived problem.

3. JEALOUS: I was no longer the attention of my wife. My wife's attention "felt" like it had all shifted to the babies, BUT what about me?? Our discussions were always about the "kids", but what about "us" and our marriage? Our date nights evaporated. Our sex life seemed spotty at best, we were both tired and she didn't feel sexy and not in the mood. My eternal companion felt like she had abandoned ship and went off with the kids. I felt only like a "bread winner" and not much more. She was off at play groups (support groups) for other young mothers... who did I have? Again, who was to blame for my marriage feeling distant?  Of course it was those small kids again, so I "thought".

4. DEPRESSION: being tired, selfish and jealous can only go on for so long before some version of "life kind of sucks" creeps in. 

So...

Did I want more kids? Um...Nope. My naive notion of 5-6 kids evaporated quickly. I wanted sleep, free time and my wife back more THAN I wanted yet another kid. The thought of more babies only = more tired, less free time, and less of a wife. 

Because you and your husband see black and white on this, you may need to step in and figure out the art of compromise. He wants 2, you want 4... perhaps you end up with 3 instead. My wife and I have 4 children, not 5-6, AND that is fine. Perhaps we might adopt in the future, but for now 4 is where we are at. I wish I could report that my wife and I really, truly discussed this in-depth during the time of 4 babies, but we didn't. It was only after the fact did we really come to terms on how to communicate clearly and identify root causes. You are in a unique position that you are seeking help "now". I would suggest speaking with your husband and getting to the very-very bottom of why he has made the choice that has. Don't settle for a surface answer, but dig until you clearly understand why. You may not like what he has to share, but at least you will really understand. In addition, once others have posted...invite your husband to read this thread with you. We are a neutral third party, and as such this thread my act as the catalyst to spark a more in-depth, less confrontation discussion. 

Next post will contain a more spiritual response vs. my imperfect human example. 

Edited by NeedleinA

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I can't get any more spiritual than that.

I'm a man and I have no kids.

It's unfortunate that you are in this situation.

I think finding his reasons and then trying to compromise is the best course.  Maybe settle on 3.

As a child we were 3, one brother and one sister.  But we did, i think, miss a lot or group fun or whatever it was that we saw the big group families doing. 

I think your husband might think of the kids.  Only two results in a somewhat lonely childhood.  4 or more certainly will give them a lot more close relations which will, if in a good loving home, benefit them.

dc

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Thank you for sharing that.  My husband is experiencing many of the same things you did:  tired, needing more time to himself, suffering depression.  He and I HAVE talked at length about his feelings on more children and his reasons, so I do feel I understand where he's coming from.  We've always been very open with each other on that front; communication is definitely not one of the things we struggle with!

Still, he is set.  He does not enjoy small children.  Parenting does not come naturally to him.  He hates that he can't reason with them, that their emotions and actions are outside of anything we can control.  Other factors in his life (which I won't get into now) have left him drained, struggling to find enjoyment in life.  He sees more children as more energy-drain, more time consumed, and more giving of himself that he simply does not feel he has the capacity to give.  Like I said, the thought of not having more is a relief to him.

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I cannot relate at all to your husband's position: I always wanted a large, nay, a very large family. Twelve children would not have been too many for me. (I did, long before I met my Jacquie, decide that she would be the one who chose how many children we'd have — I reserved the right to influence her choice.)

She wanted five, I twelve or more. We have seven. But we did it "right": we had the oldest ones first. That is, when they grow a bit, they actually help work with their younger siblings. Two children are actually the hardest, but with three, they play with each other, and they sorta kinda band together against the outside world. Even today, our children are their own best friends, some twenty-five or thirty years later. Even those who live away from the others (one in Idaho, one in Texas, and one in Arizona) still have stronger-than-average feelings towards their brothers and sisters.

There is no way to force your husband to want more children. But I know that I'd be terribly sad and empty without those last two or three children.

In the past five decades, we have learned how to separate sex from marriage and marriage from children. That's depressing. People have lost the ability to love children just 'cuz they exist. Every child, the adage goes, brings his own loaf. I say that each child brings his own heart.

Raising children is hard work. It is fraught with heartache and problems of every kind. It is tiring, it is frustrating. But the compensations of love and joy and mutual support overweigh the obstacles and issues. I'm in my late 60s. Our sons call me about things around their houses that need fixin'. They ask about politics, religion, and economics. They tell me that they respect my knowledge and opinions beyond the world's 'wisest" and it just plain vindicates all the nights with fevers and vomiting. Our daughters call about recipes (sometimes even mine), and Sacrament meeting talks. They want to know how to tell if a child has an earache or toothache and what to do about it. We are grateful to have the experience to share, but even more that they trust us to know.

The short term is always harder than reality because the rough seas are immediate and drowning a harsh possibility. But beyond the horizon, the sea is calm and the harbor peaceful, the beach inviting and the palms cool by their shade.

Sorry that nothing I say will "work" on your husband. He's his own agent. If he changes his mind, it will be he who does so. But my experience is that children are the true joy of life, and those who have few will have less joy in the long run than those with more.

The lost needle, above, probably is closer to the reason than anything I'd imagine. But that's something you can judge better than we. There is only One Who can work on his mind. Ask Him to help. Use all your spiritual power to that end.

Lehi

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We're at a point where people are starting to ask us if we plan to have more kids. (We have two). I'd be happy to have more, and I think my husband would also like more. However, we also want to be in a different work day situation than we are in, as this is a huge obstacle for my husband. We both work full-time, different shifts, so my husband does a big share of the minute-to-minute childraising. And it's very hard on him. Myself and many others think he's a great dad (I often prefer him to be the disciplinarian as I think his temper fuse is better handled to small kids) but it's not really for him. He has stated before that he just couldn't handle another kid going the way we are going now. This isn't to say he hates the way things are going and doesn't love his time with the girls, just that he can't take a third kid. Our decision is that when we get to a point where I'm at home full-time.

His reasoning for no more kids at this time: He just can't do it. And I get it. (It's another reason why more traditional homes are easier that way).

So, what specifically is bothering your husband more than just feeling relieved? I don't think this should become a point of contention, but it could be part of the discussion.

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4 minutes ago, Backroads said:

So, what specifically is bothering your husband more than just feeling relieved? I don't think this should become a point of contention, but it could be part of the discussion.

It's the workload.  The demands.  The energy needed.  He feels unable to give more than what he's giving right now.  And he can't bear the thought of more sleepless nights and the demands of a newborn.

 

He feels spent with life.  (Bear in mind, he's only 27 and I'm only 28)

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How old are your children? I think no one should even think about making that decision as long as there's a child 2 or under in the house. 

My first was colicky, and until she was about 2 I would get physically ill at the thought of doing it again. But shortly after she was 2, I felt the pull and hubby agreed. Then came #3, then twins, and that threw both of us for a loop. They are 5 now and I feel like we're still recovering LOL.

 

We have discussed whether we're done and we've both determined that I have all I can mentally/emotionally handle. I'm thankful my husband honors that and takes my health very seriously. On that vein, I finally a couple of years ago sought treatment for depression. I wish I had before I'd started having babies. I would have enjoyed babies and toddlers so much more. The difference in how I feel and my capacity for dealing with stress and fatigue is a night and day difference. I don't know if that's a factor in your husband's feelings, but it's worth considering.

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3 minutes ago, Eowyn said:

How old are your children? I think no one should even think about making that decision as long as there's a child 2 or under in the house. 

.....We have discussed whether we're done and we've both determined that I have all I can mentally/emotionally handle. I'm thankful my husband honors that and takes my health very seriously. On that vein, I finally a couple of years ago sought treatment for depression. I wish I had before I'd started having babies. I would have enjoyed babies and toddlers so much more. The difference in how I feel and my capacity for dealing with stress and fatigue is a night and day difference. I don't know if that's a factor in your husband's feelings, but it's worth considering.

My daughter is 4, my son is 2.

 

Depression is certainly a factor.  He also seems to struggle with anxiety and possibly PTSD (he had some traumatic experiences on his mission).  He has sought help a few times, but nothing long term consistent yet (which I am encouraging him to do).  He once said to me, when he was in an upswing, that he felt more open to the idea as his issues got better.  Which of course gave me hope, which of course has now been crushed...

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9 minutes ago, jayfaye said:

My daughter is 4, my son is 2.

 

Depression is certainly a factor.  He also seems to struggle with anxiety and possibly PTSD (he had some traumatic experiences on his mission).  He has sought help a few times, but nothing long term consistent yet (which I am encouraging him to do).  He once said to me, when he was in an upswing, that he felt more open to the idea as his issues got better.  Which of course gave me hope, which of course has now been crushed...

Give him time. Really, time to get better and not deal with the weight of disappointing you by not wanting more children (stress). Just do your best to shelf it for awhile, don't bring it up and certainly don't push him on it, and let him focus on getting stable. That can take awhile with mental health. It's hard because I know it's a real hurt and concern, but while you have very small kids and he's dealing with real health concerns, his perspective is going to be skewed. That's just depression and anxiety. It's the kind thing to do for him. Lean on your Heavenly Father and ask for patience for you, and healing for him.

Something else I thought of as I read Needle's post: is he getting time to himself? Does he have hobbies and time to pursue them say, one night a week? One thing that really helped my husband's stress level was to give him 15 minutes or so to himself after work. A smile at the door, hugs and kisses hi, and then the kids are kept busy. I learned that it was really important for him to transition from Working Guy to Dad Guy. Besides, everyone wants/needs time when they get home from work to wash of the day and take a breath. (That includes you. Maybe work out a schedule where you each get a night off during the week? That might even increase his confidence in being with the kids.)

Edited by Eowyn

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4 minutes ago, Eowyn said:

Give him time. Really, time to get better and not deal with the weight of disappointing you by not wanting more children (stress). Just do your best to shelf it for awhile, don't bring it up and certainly don't push him on it, and let him focus on getting stable. That can take awhile with mental health. It's hard because I know it's a real hurt and concern, but while you have very small kids and he's dealing with real health concerns, it's the kind thing to do for him. Lean on your Heavenly Father and ask for patience for you, and healing for him.

Something else I thought of as I read Needle's post: is he getting time to himself? Does he have hobbies and time to pursue them say, one night a week? One thing that really helped my husband's stress level was to give him 15 minutes or so to himself after work. A smile at the door, hugs and kisses hi, and then the kids are kept busy. I learned that it was really important for him to transition from Working Guy to Dad Guy. Besides, everyone wants/needs time when they get home from work to wash of the day and take a breath. (That includes you. Maybe work out a schedule where you each get a night off during the week? That might even increase his confidence in being with th

Edited by jayfaye
mistake

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He does get time to himself.  More than I do actually, which I'm okay with, cuz I get mine when I need it.

 

I know he needs time.  I'm trying to give him that, and praying for peace in my heart.  I do love him, and don't want to push him.  I know it will only cause more heartache...  What I'm feeling right now is hopelessness.  I don't see him coming around, and I believe that I have to resign myself to how things are...  

Like I said before, I feel like my heart has broken. :(  I can only wait and pray,, and there's no assurance that anything will get better.

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3 minutes ago, jayfaye said:

He does get time to himself.  More than I do actually, which I'm okay with, cuz I get mine when I need it.

 

I know he needs time.  I'm trying to give him that, and praying for peace in my heart.  I do love him, and don't want to push him.  I know it will only cause more heartache...  What I'm feeling right now is hopelessness.  I don't see him coming around, and I believe that I have to resign myself to how things are...  

Like I said before, I feel like my heart has broken. :(  I can only wait and pray,, and there's no assurance that anything will get better.

I know that right now it feels hopeless. But really, really, honest and true, there is time. Don't let this possible heartache of not having more children (that I honestly think is very likely to change with time and recovery on his part) rob you of today's joy. You have 2 children you adore. I sound like a cliche old lady, but really do enjoy them as much as you can because they grow SO fast.. And yes, I'll say again: there is time. They are still so little, and you are young.

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55 minutes ago, Eowyn said:

You have 2 children you adore. 

Even if you don't have another child ever again... "you have 2 children you adore". Count the blessings you "have" and don't let yourself focus so sharply right now on what you think you don't "also" have. My brother and sister-in-law have zero children and several miscarriages to show for their years of marriage. Probably would do back flips for years if they could have but just one child. 

Edited by NeedleinA

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57 minutes ago, jayfaye said:

He does get time to himself.  More than I do actually, which I'm okay with, cuz I get mine when I need it.

I know he needs time.  I'm trying to give him that, and praying for peace in my heart.  I do love him, and don't want to push him.  I know it will only cause more heartache...  What I'm feeling right now is hopelessness.  I don't see him coming around, and I believe that I have to resign myself to how things are...  

Like I said before, I feel like my heart has broken. :(  I can only wait and pray,, and there's no assurance that anything will get better.

jayfaye, you and your husband are still young. As your children get older your husband may have a change of heart. While you practice patience, enjoy and treasure your children. Be extra thankful that you have them and those feelings of hopelessness may subside.

M.

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Jayfaye,

Im sorry to hear of your heartbreak and disappointment. When you mentioned that your husband struggles with depression and possibly PTSD, I got it, and at this point, your husband is wise not to want know, at least at the present time. Rather than focusing on your desire to have more, which is completely ok, focus on supporting and helping your husband, as much as you can, heal. Those are awful mental illnesses to deal with, and that is what they are; mental illnesses.

Who knows, perhaps when he is more healed and feeling better, he may change his mind. Yes, your are grieving the loss of not having any more and that is ok, but for now, don't focus on your desire to have more, focus on the fact your husband has some serious  health issues that need to be dealt with.

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12 hours ago, Maureen said:

jayfaye, you and your husband are still young. As your children get older your husband may have a change of heart. While you practice patience, enjoy and treasure your children. Be extra thankful that you have them and those feelings of hopelessness may subside.

M.

Excellent advice.

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14 hours ago, jayfaye said:

Parenting does not come naturally to him.  He hates that he can't reason with them, that their emotions and actions are outside of anything we can control.  Other factors in his life (which I won't get into now) have left him drained, struggling to find enjoyment in life.  He sees more children as more energy-drain, more time consumed, and more giving of himself that he simply does not feel he has the capacity to give.  Like I said, the thought of not having more is a relief to him.

It's because you're doing it wrong. Being a parent is actually quite easy and natural, but due to modern parenting dogma it has become a drain.  I completely understand where he is coming from. I'm not going to presume how you are parenting but I will ask some questions.

1) In your life who are you most dedicated to? In your husband's life who is he most dedicated to?

2) What is your role as wife? What is his role as husband?

3) Do you work outside the home?

Modern parenting dogma, has children as the center of the family.  Everything must be for them, mother and father must always be constantly doing things for them.  The "good mommy" and "good daddy" are always playing with their children, watching t.v. programs with them, entertaining them. Their sole purpose in life is to be 110% engaged in the lives of their children.  No personal sacrifice is too great for the "good mommy/daddy". When the father/mother who is extremely exhausted from work/stress/life, is home and the Child asks them to play, shame on them if they say, "I'm exhausted, go play by yourself downstairs". Whatever the child asks for, the child must get, most important is attention-no boundaries of space exist between parent/child, the Child must have unrestrained access to the parent at all times and all places. No place in the house is off-limits to the child, the parent's bedroom, the office, etc. When a child questions a parent's actions, the parent must give a reason, the child deserves to know why things are the way they are.

If any of the above is in some way what you are doing, you are doing it wrong!!!

Let me give you a hint, your job and his job as a parent isn't to explain why or reason with a child, a child is an inferior being.  Your job is to train them to be adults, not to explain. You don't train a dog by talking to the dog-you train by action. Of course you can't reason with a 4 year-old, you never will be able to. Here's a hint, if you don't teach strict obedience to a 4 year-old, you will never be able to explain and reason to a 16 year-old.

Learn the 4 magical words of parenting.  "Because I said so". Live it, love it!!! Learn to be an authority figure, love being an authority figure in your child's life.

There is absolutely nothing better in this world than raising an adult.  I love it-training the next generation is awesome-it is my legacy to leave this world a better place through my children.  My greatest desire and regret in this world has been and always will be that I didn't have more children.

Proper parenting is not exhausting in the least bit, it is exhilarating!!

Edited by yjacket

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14 hours ago, jayfaye said:

My daughter is 4, my son is 2.

 

Ahh... I kept reading and reading - waiting for this question and answer.  Makes ALL the difference. Take a step back. Breathe and let him breathe.

Stop talking about it for now and let a little more time pass.  Even if it's just 6 months. 

The difference between 2 and 3 is pretty big. In another 6 months it's possible your husband will feel less pressure, start to enjoy the kids a little more (MANY guys do not really bond and enjoy the kids until they are 3 or so - it's not uncommon!) and it also gives him time to work through some exhaustion and depression which also go hand in hand a lot of times. 

My husband also adds; for some reason the thought of a 3rd child scared him.  Not only was he exhausted, but he said for some reason he felt more financially scared supporting a 3rd child; although there was no reason for the fear. Why would a family of 5 be much different than a family of 4?  It shouldn't really; We already had a girl and a boy. We had baby furniture, bedding, car seats, etc. and clothing for both sexes so really, the 3rd child wasn't going to be the financial investment the first 2 were.  But he was scared of the financials.  In the end we did nothing for a few months... just 'wait and see' and then we started to 'not not try' and when it happened it was great. We knew it was time.

 

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2 hours ago, yjacket said:

It's because you're doing it wrong. Being a parent is actually quite easy and natural, but due to modern parenting dogma it has become a drain. 

Modern parenting dogma, has children as the center of the family.  Everything must be for them, ...

Proper parenting is not exhausting in the least bit, it is exhilarating!!

I certainly agree with you about that.  We have today adults who cannot be adults, nor leaders nor teachers.  And so the children are raised to be selfish monsters.  Very common here in the Los Angeles area.

Again, the traditional way is the best way to go, where the children are children and the adults are adults.

dc

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Hey guys.  Again, thank you for all the support and advice.

Yjacket, we actually do not submit 100% of our time and energy to our kids.  My husband and my children are of equal priority to me, and to him I am the priority.  The issue with our children is HOW energetic and demanding they are.  And I have had many an experienced parent, caregiver and even professional remark upon how demanding, smart and energetic they are.  Just a challenge that comes with intelligent, affectionate kids!

 And yes, Yjacket, even proper parenting can be exhausting, if only because ones' kids are always on their mind.  Let's please refrain from passing judgement on others, everyone's situation is different. :) 

Anyways.  By the end of the evening I was able to re-strengthen my resolve to help my husband get the help and healing HE needs.  I was able to tell him just how badly this has affected me.  I realized a big part of what was upsetting me was that he didn't truly understand what it meant to me.  His own words were "I didn't realize this was something it could take your whole life to get over".  (he's very logical and pragmatic.  not at all an emotional person.)  He understood once I likened it to grieving over a lost loved one.

 

So, for now at least... We will be focusing on getting him sorted out.  If nothing else, proper healing will better allow us BOTH to enjoy the two kids we have.  Who knows if anything will change.  I'm trying not to get my hopes up, I don't deal well with disappointment.  But I do know this:  Love is a choice.  And I will choose to love my husband and be by his side as his eternal companion.

 

<3

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3 minutes ago, jayfaye said:

Hey guys.  Again, thank you for all the support and advice.

Yjacket, we actually do not submit 100% of our time and energy to our kids.  My husband and my children are of equal priority to me, and to him I am the priority.  The issue with our children is HOW energetic and demanding they are.  And I have had many an experienced parent, caregiver and even professional remark upon how demanding, smart and energetic they are.  Just a challenge that comes with intelligent, affectionate kids!

 And yes, Yjacket, even proper parenting can be exhausting, if only because ones' kids are always on their mind.  Let's please refrain from passing judgement on others, everyone's situation is different. :) 

Jayfaye, 

I'm not passing judgement.  I've simply been where you and your husband are. I've been there, done that, got the t-shirt to prove it, almost had a wrecked marriage (and now have a pretty decent one) and know how to get out of it. If you don't like the medicine, that's fine; no skin of my back.  I'm just telling you from experience what works and what doesn't work-you can take it, leave it, throw it in the trash.  I don't care. You came here for advice.

Far from passing judgement, I'm telling you, if your husband is not priority #1 above your children, then you are doing it wrong. There are no ifs and or buts, he must take priority over the children.

Now, I caveat that with for the 1st 2 years of a child's life that child takes priority, simply b/c if they don't they die.  As soon as they can walk, somewhat talk, mostly clothe and feed themselves the priority shifts back to your spouse. If that isn't the case, then you are doing it wrong.

Yes, I know about energetic and demanding children; I've got several small ones (more than you and similar ages).  I've got a small child energetic child who intellectually is about 2 years above his age, has skipped a grade, highly intelligent and incredibly energetic, incredibly demanding, etc, etc. etc..  I got news for you unless they are mentally ill, on some sort of medication, or sick, 95% of ALL children are energetic and demanding.  That is just the nature of children.  Children will be as demanding and as an energetic drain on you as you let them!! That is quite simply their nature.  You can toss most "professional" opinions about parenting in the trash-they aren't worth the paper it is printed on.

Yes, everyone's "situation" is different, but proper parenting is a learned skill-set that has several underlying basic foundations.

Do you ever wonder why some moms are extremely calm, collected, their children are well-behaved. And other families have children that run all over the place, mom is frazzled all the time and it looks like helter-skelter?  It ain't the kids.  I guarantee, if you took those "wild, energetic, demanding" children and put them in the calm, collected family, in fairly short order they would be right as rain.

No parent is perfect, but there are underlying guiding principles that will ensure proper raising of adults and save you and your husband's mental health in the process.

There is quite a different between being concerned about your child and thinking about how to best raise them and being exhausted by it. Generally speaking parents get too exhausted by it, by quite frankly being too involved. I provide the framework for my children, the sand-box so to speak, the operating rules within which they operate.  As long as they operate within that box, I do not care what they do. Child: "Dad . . .I'm bored" Me: Son, you've got toys, go figure out something to do, if you're bored, I certainly will figure something for you to do and I guarantee you won't like what I'll have you do (i.e. go pick rocks or weeds, etc.). Honestly, for a 4 year old-it's a piece of cake. You have toys, go downstairs and play-I don't want to see you for several hours, mommy is going to cook, clean, etc.  Or even better, to the 4-year old, I'm going to clean, you will help me-here is a duster, go make yourself useful.

The 2-year can be challenging, simply b/c the 2 year old goes through the terrible twos wherein the proper parenting and discipline for a child is set. But generally more terrible when parents are afraid of their proper authority. Two-year old throws a tantrum.  Son, stop now or you will go to your room.  Son doesn't stop. Son-go to your room. Nothing. Then me:, pick up child (by the heels upside down if necessary, carry child literally kicking and screaming), put child in room on the opposite side of house with a baby-gate.  Scream all you want in here, outside, no screaming. Child screams for hours on end-I don't care, I've got several doors between me and the child, I don't say another word to the kid, I don't go back and "check" to make sure they are all right, I don't sing a lulliby, or bend down to the floor look I to eye with the child and say "honey please stop screaming". No,when the child stops screaming, I go to the room and let him out.  Rise, lather, repeat.  Eventually, child learns when I say go to room, child goes to room. Child then very, very quickly learns . . . oh I hate being in my room, if I shut-up, I get out. The hour long screaming goes to 30 min. then to 10 min. then to 5. Then to I give the Child my "look" that will freeze Hell over, and they shut-up real quick. I do not get emotionally involved in their drama or in their disobedience.  They are the one who disobeyed, not me-so I ain't gonna feel the least bit of emotional pain when they disobey. They will!!

When you get to the point that a look will shape them up, it isn't exhausting.  I find with my children, when I am not the proper Authority, when I don't act like a Superior Being to them, that is when it becomes exhausting.  Parenting is exhausting when children don't do what they are told to do . . .the endless battles, the endless saga of the same problem over and over and over. "I just want you to stop screaming" To the 4-year old, "Honey, this why we put our toys away because we want to have a clean house, so honey can you please put your toys away"  Oh my goodness, been there, done it, make me gag now at this point.  Now, it is quite simply in a firm voice. "Son, put the toys away now", but dad why? "Because I said so", but why? "Because I'm the dad, you're the child, get busy" and walk away. Child doesn't do it, "Son, you didn't clean your room", write 25 sentances "I will clean my room", or "Oh that's too bad, you're not going Joe's birthday party". Weeping and wailing ensure, me I don't care.  I'll go in the other room and laugh about it. My wife and I are talking, child interrupts, I give the child a look, "son you are interrupting, grown-ups are talking wait".

I do not let my children come between my wife and I.  She is priority #1 and I am priority #1 in her life (okay besides God).

I take raising my children, extremely seriously, nothing besides my wife and God is more important in the world.  I do not take them seriously.

And far from me being a heartless, cold Father, I can't tell you the number of times they come and give me hugs, kisses, Daddy you're the best dad ever, etc. etc. etc.  It's awesome!!

I have been where your husband is. I did not want more children at that time, because it was exhausting, draining, everything was out of wack. We couldn't manage the kids we had, they were draining, demanding, my needs as a husband weren't being paid attention to, I wasn't being a good husband, nothing was in its proper place. So no, I made a decision not to have more children at that time, I didn't want anymore b/c I felt we couldn't handle anymore. To my everlasting regret, I made that decision; now I am simply thankful for the ones God gave me.  Today, I know how to parent, my wife knows how to parent and it's not just a "well I think this is the best way", it's more about attitude then anything else.  I'm not perfect, but I know the underlying principles that will lead to success. I've lived through the absolute chaos and personal hell of not proper-parenting and I've seen the peace, calm, serenity of proper parenting.  And it makes a world of difference; I do have small children who are your kids age.

 

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2 hours ago, jayfaye said:

Hey guys.  Again, thank you for all the support and advice.

Yjacket, we actually do not submit 100% of our time and energy to our kids.  My husband and my children are of equal priority to me, and to him I am the priority.  The issue with our children is HOW energetic and demanding they are.  And I have had many an experienced parent, caregiver and even professional remark upon how demanding, smart and energetic they are.  Just a challenge that comes with intelligent, affectionate kids!

 And yes, Yjacket, even proper parenting can be exhausting, if only because ones' kids are always on their mind.  Let's please refrain from passing judgement on others, everyone's situation is different. :) 

Anyways.  By the end of the evening I was able to re-strengthen my resolve to help my husband get the help and healing HE needs.  I was able to tell him just how badly this has affected me.  I realized a big part of what was upsetting me was that he didn't truly understand what it meant to me.  His own words were "I didn't realize this was something it could take your whole life to get over".  (he's very logical and pragmatic.  not at all an emotional person.)  He understood once I likened it to grieving over a lost loved one.

 

So, for now at least... We will be focusing on getting him sorted out.  If nothing else, proper healing will better allow us BOTH to enjoy the two kids we have.  Who knows if anything will change.  I'm trying not to get my hopes up, I don't deal well with disappointment.  But I do know this:  Love is a choice.  And I will choose to love my husband and be by his side as his eternal companion.

 

<3

Glad to hear this. Wishing you both the very best, and that he finds the healing he needs. :) 

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3 hours ago, yjacket said:

Jayfaye, 

I'm not passing judgement. 

...

When you get to the point that a look will shape them up, it isn't exhausting. 

yjacket

I think you are 100% right here.

When I hear parents who say "my kids are the most important thing in my life" I cringe.

The most important thing for any parent is to be a parent, not a follower of the children.  The children do not know how to lead the way.

I know a lady that has raised 4 good children, now adults and they knew what the "look" was when they were not doing what the mother demanded.  They learned discipline, and most importantly, self discipline.

It sounds like you have learned how to do it right.

dc

 

I think there is another common problem out there today.  Every parent in the world thinks their kid is "special".  Smarter, more energetic, more clever, and better looking.

They aren't.  And they shouldn't be raised that way.  It's all that false pride that is promoted today. 

Trying to raise children to think they are "special" ruins them.  I think there is another thread here about that. 

It's the link about the "GYPSYS" in another thread.

dc

Edited by David13

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