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>When parenting trust breaks down…

>Its true that you don’t know what you have until its gone.

We have a bit of a problem. Toddlergirl has been broken and the breaking of her and the getting it put back to rights seems to done something rather nasty to the relationship between Mr Muddling and me.
I’ve had to be the strict parent – I don’t want to be (who would, far more fun to be the nice guy) but someone has to do it and I see it that I love her too much to let her become a brat. Mr Muddling finds it very hard to be strict with her on everything, to not give into the big eyes and requests for more cuddles.
But we managed, I put the framework in place, maintained it and let them get on with occasionally blurring some of the edges from time to time. Then we had a horrid weekend of sleep – Mr Muddling has never just put her down, told her its bedtime and walked away to let her settle (which she does with me most nights). Long story short is that one night it took him several hours to comprehensively move her from disturbed and ready to go back to sleep to hysterical with tiredness and I had to step in eventually and settle her down. It was a Bad Night.
Trouble was she was then poorly, I was then poorly and instead of being one night it was 4 in a row and a habit seemed to have formed. Toddlergirl has wisely decided she prefers to be cuddled, stroked and calmed back to sleep in the night – I mean honestly who wouldn’t. And when he’s here, Daddy is more than happy to oblige.
Trouble is that he isn’t always here and we have a baby due who will need attention overnight and I can’t see how I can do cuddles and breastfeeding and everything else overnight all on my own. But Mr Muddling cannot see past unhappy Toddlergirl now to the problems he is lining up for me.
I’ve tried to explain (not easy in the dark of the night) and to show how these things build up to problems but where we are now is that I plain don’t trust him to go in, settle her quickly and leave – to not make things worse than they already are.
Yes her not sleeping is not good but what is so much worse is that I think I’ve lost the ability to trust him to deal with this. I spent a fair amount of last night, calming an unhappy Toddlergirl after he’d made things worse whilst bawling my eyes out.
This isn’t what I signed up for – we are a partnership and always have been. Trouble is not only do I not know how to fix the sleep problem, more importantly I don’t know how to fix us. And with Baby2 hopefully arriving in the next two weeks its going to be a lot worse before it can even start to get better.
I’m sat here crying again – I wish I had a magic wand to make this all better but I don’t…
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15 comments to >When parenting trust breaks down…

  • angelsandurchinsblog

    >You poor thing. It's so hard when you both want the same thing – sleep – but have completely different ways of going about it. Could you ask him to try your way for three nights to test it out? Not sure what will happen if it doesn't work in three nights, but hopefully it will work, she'll be sleeping like a baby again, and you can all prepare for the new arrival. Good luck.

  • Redbedhead

    >This really struck a chord with me and I really feel for you. I am also the one that seems to understand the 'short term pain, long term gain' issue and also the one that has to do unhappy child rescues at night.

    I do recommend 'No cry sleep solution'. Might be worth popping a copy in Mr Muddling's bag for his forthcoming trip and see if he gains from it?

  • Claire1982

    >I hate to say this but this was one of the things that split me and my ex up. He would rather be cuddling and let her get on with it as he thinks she's a baby and its not her fault (she's two and a half), whereas if she's naughty I put her on the naughty step, make her say sorry and reprimand her with a different tone of voice than normal. We could never agree on the discipline thing, and thats when the rot set in. Now that we aren't together, and he hasn't yet moved out, I am concerned that when he spends time with them on his own they'll get used to not being told off and will hate me for doing so when I'm with them.Its a really difficult situation to be in, as the last thing you want is to argue in front of toddlergirl about it. But you do need to sit him down and explain where you're coming from, even show him it in parenting guides to prove you're point!
    Good luck!

  • Brit in Bosnia / Fraught Mummy

    >How difficult. But, I think this is quite common in relationships.

    You need to sit down together and talk to him – not at night, not with a screaming child in the background, and work out what you want to do which both of you can agree on. Then stick to it (and point out when it isn't stuck to).

    But so difficult to do when you are so pregnant and everything is changing. Toddler Girl is in for a real shock to her system.

    But, as I said before, I think many many couples have to deal with this. Have faith, you will sort something out. xxx

  • cartside

    >That's a really hard one. I don't know any advice, it's so hard when you disagree about how to go about things. Sitting down again and talk it all through may help? I'm sure you've done this, but sometimes you have to drill a message down, say it so often until it gets boring. Personally, i do all the settling at night – because hubby doesn't have the confidence to do it. The confidence issue to be "tough" is important, often men don't have the confidence to deal with it this way because they've not had the same amount of practice. Leave him to do all the settling for a week – that may upset routine, but he'll soon find out how important night time sleep and quick settling is.

  • Vix

    >It is so hard finding a happy medium isn't it. We have the opposite problem in that Paul jumps straight to his angry voice before giving them a chance to sort themselves out. It is infuriating as it inevitably ends in either child crying and him feeling bad but he seems totally unable to find another route.

    I sympathise with the sleep thing, night before last I had to go and sleep with Clara and last night it was Phoebe (it was that or screaming so they woke the other one and then having to deal with them both playing up), I am shattered now and just praying that they decide to sleep tonight or I will be totally on my knees (and my mental health suffers if I am too overtired!).

    Much love to you and sleepy vibes to TG xx

  • Hearth-mother

    >This so sounds like my husband too. The pattern is identical. The only thing I can say is that habits seem to be broken as quickly as they are made,so the sleep thing may sort itself out. And as far as methods go, if you are home all day then you are IN CHARGE and make up the rules. We established that as a rule between us a long time ago.

  • Domestic Goddesque

    >My husband has a similar issue in the softness department, so I send sympathies and hugs. He is realising that with Babydeux on the way things need to change. Just hope he, and Mr Muddling, crack it before arrival of bundles of joy xxx

  • Muddling Along Mummy

    >Thank you for all your helpful comments – we do need to talk and at a time that isn't fraught with having to deal with the problem

    I got a bit tearful when we spoke earlier today so hopefully he'll know how important this is – fingers and toes firmly crossed that perhaps tonight things go better!

  • More than Just a Mother

    >Oh gosh, you poor thing. What a difficult situation to deal with. I am lucky in that my husband and I have the same approach to parenting, and particularly to bedtime routines. But that's been achieved largely through talking lots, and by seeing that what we're doing yields results. I hope you and Mr Muddling find some common ground. xx

  • whistlejacket

    >I really sympathise, I think the only thing we argue about is having different ideas about how to deal with the children. It can be stressful enough when your child's not sleeping well or misbehaving, and my eldest has reached the age where we can't discuss these things in front of him because he understands too much. Sometimes a day at the weekend can be spent in a miserable stand-off while we wait until he's in bed and we can work things out. The pressure of a new baby arriving can make it very hard too. I hope you manage to get an agreement soon. I do most of the bedtime and night-time issues just because it's easier and more consistent. Yes I end up doing more of the work, sometimes that can be easier than stress and arguments!

  • Uninvoked

    >Aww, I sure hope things get better for you.

  • A Modern Mother

    >Nothing like being sleep-deprived to bring out the best in people … I can relate…

  • Anonymous

    >Just found your post through various other blogs. I have 3 children, and I swear that whilst my 2nd and 3rd pregnancy were nearing the end, the youngest at the time got into the worlds-worst sleeping pattern. They sense a new sibling! I panicked both times this happened, but strangely they settled down as soon as the baby arrived. They were not perfect, but you will cope. You forget you are pregnant, and once the baby is born you will feel hopefully much better. Best of luck :0)

  • Muddling Along Mummy

    >You know, it almost is as if she knows things are changing which at 18 months can't actually be true surely

    We're getting there – fortunately Mr Muddling has begun to realise that I'm not just saying these things for dramatic effect and that actually it does need working at (pain today for good things tomorrow!)

    Fingers crossed it continues over the weekend when he's around …

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