Saturday, September 10, 2011

Dealing with Only Child Syndrome

I've mentioned that my husband is an only child, which isn't so bad usually.  I'm an older child.  I have a younger brother.  So I guess I don't understand what life is like for only children, but I have friends who are only children and they adapt just fine.  Here are some of my personal frustrations.

1) Uninterest in having female children- Hubby's concern is that he can't understand or relate to girls because he isn't one.  My frustration is that he's not willing to even try.  We don't have any girls so he's happy.  I'm royally unhappy because I think it's biased and sexist.

2) Uninterest in having any more children- When we went through pre-cana he knew that I wanted four.  He said he would give children a try with one or two.  I thought it meant more dealing with the lack of sleep and money and that sort of thing.  What it's translated into is if he feels stressed.  Toddlerhood doesn't stress me.  HB throwing copious amount of food on the floor and smearing it into his hair doesn't get to me.  Hubby nearly goes into fits over the whole thing.  The word no is thrown around a lot as are the phrases "don't do that" or "let me do that for you."  This is especially irritating as I'm trying to teach HB how to do these basic table skills on his own.  And because of this, Hubby doesn't want more children.  He also doesn't like babies due in large part to the fact that he's unwilling to sacrifice sleep and he's a light sleeper.  He even yells at me for going to bed late because of chores.

3) Uninterest in anything besides his own interest- My husband's interests include the following: board games, video games, fantasy/science fiction books, science, the computer, and heavy metal.  Now that doesn't sound bad.  It's sounds like a nice list right?  But ordinarily most people are willing to budge a little and branch out.  They may not have any interest in say baseball but they are willing to go watch a buddy's game or take their child to t-ball.  My husband has no other interests and particularly hates anything else.  Classical music or Christian music or pop rock is usually on in my car.  When Hubby gets in, he turns it off or turns it to his heavy metal station.  I mention taking HB out for a walk or to color with chalk on the patio to spend time with his dad while I clean up or work on something and I get a groan.  My husband has no interest in the outdoors.  He has no interest going places.  He says he wants to relax, but he also says that he wants us to be around other adults with children so HB can go play with them instead.  We just moved.  Making friends doesn't happen over night.  He grew up spending time with family every week.  That's just not really realistic.  He also has no interest in church because he hates listening to the music which means I go to Mass by myself and deal with the toddler alone.  He groans when I ask for help.

The other problem is my child is a social creature.  He has a room with toys but if I'm in the kitchen cooking, he will hover over by the kitchen.  If I go to the bathroom, he will take the toy in there with me.  He doesn't like being alone.  Contrast this with his father, who rather spend the rest of his days alone.  And so I ask Hubby why did you marry?  Why did you say you wanted children?  And he says he thinks it's way better this way.  Yet today he laid on the floor bemoaning his boredom and lack of interest in playing with his child. 

As you can tell, I've reached my limit.  I'm frustrated and irritated.  I feel like I'm living with another child.  I finally just told him that he's the adult and he needs to compromise with the desires of his child.  "Oh, I love him," he says.  "I just don't have any interest in those kinds of things (meaning taking a walk or coloring or anything like that." 

I don't know what to do.  I guess I'm seeking advice.  Does anyone else deal with the stubbornness of their husband?  How do you handle it?  How do you help them get past their selfishness and see the joy in having people in their lives?  How do you handle their stress over normal childhood behaviors and personalities altogether different than their own?  I'm to the point that if this doesn't get better that he might need to start spending more time at work where I don't have to hear the whining or making an appointment with a marriage counselor.  This really isn't about my relationship with Hubby; it's more about Hubby's relationship with his children.  And I'm concerned that he's pushing them away.  I've tried to talk about this before, but whatever I'm saying doesn't sink in and he says that he's tired of the lectures.  Am I the only mom out there defending their children with their husband?

1 comment:

  1. I don't have a method to make his attitude change but I can tell a cautionary tale. My ex-husband was exactly the same way with our 3 girls. He didn't do the hands on stuff, didn't play with them, didn't attend their school events. His interests included video games, hunting, fishing, music and like your husband had little or no tolerance for things that didn't interest him. It actually got to the point where he resented how involved I was in their lives. We divorced(we weren't Catholic), and although he started by taking them for visitation, he was generally bored by them, and had them visit less and less, took no interest in their activities, dreams or friends, etc. The oldest is now 20. She and her 16 yr old sister refused to attend his birthday last month and have contact with him only briefly every 2-3 months. The 18 year old only slightly more. Now, he can see they are interesting people with whom he would like to have a relationship but he never built the relationship when they were children, and the felt it as rejection. So now they reject him now that the tables are turned. It took him until it was too late to realize what he had lost by not taking an interest in boring little kids. Luckily for the kids of his second marriage, he is doing better with them. And luckily for my older girls(we have 2 children together as well), I married a man who treated them as his own from day one.


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