I didn't daydream about weddings or marriage when I was growing up. Instead, I looked at my mother and thought: That's what I want to do. I want to be a mom. I thought this even before I thought that I might also want to be a writer.
And so, as I hopped from relationship to relationship over the course of my teens and twenties, after considering a guy's hotness factor, writing ability, intelligence, kindness, and ability to make my stomach do flip-flops (I'm picky), I asked myself, What type of father will he be?
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Which is pretty much how I ended up married. As a commitment-phobe, most of my relationships ended after a mere two months but, when it came to Michael, I saw in him the father he could eventually be.
That and he was really persistent.
We recently ran a piece here in which a woman wrote in asking for advice because her husband wasn't the father she thought he'd be. She wrote: "One of the reasons I married my partner was because I believed he would be a great father. Now that we have a 2 year old, I am underwhelmed—and disappointed—by his parenting skills." Reading her story made me anxious because, in the four years we've lived together, my husband and I have learned the worst about each other and, as a result, I've come to wonder, Will he really be a good father? And by the way, am I gonna suck, too? I Don't Respect My Husband's Parenting Skills
What do I worry about the most? My husband's temper. I know that this is hard to believe coming from the person who once dumped cookies on her husband's freshly-cleaned pants, but there it is. We're the type of couple that doesn't actually fix relationship problems until we've had a long, loud, drawn-out fight about it. So in a way, I find our fighting healthy. But what I don't find healthy is my husband's short fuse... the way he loses his temper and snaps at the little things. Because how will he react to all the little and less-charming things that children can do?
And what does he worry about when it comes to to me? He worries that I'm not authoritative enough, and that the kids will walk over me. This fear is not unfounded. When I used to do volunteer work with young children, they totally made me their bitch. So will the child I raise be rude, wild, and undisciplined... and will it all be my fault?
My mother was such a great role model to me. It's no wonder that—in answer to "What do you want to be when you grow up?"—I often answered "a mom." Well. That and "a ballerina." I'm only now just beginning to see her faults, and to realize that she, too, was making it up as she went along.
So in addition to being a little less hard on myself, I hope that my husband and I can also be a little easier on each other. Because, while I may be a bit of a wuss, and he may be a little bit overstressed, we need to figure this out together.
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Fingers crossed that our kids turn out OK.
Did you have the same worries pre-parenthood?