I Can't Deal With Parenting Criticism From My Husband

Love & Sex 24

I was slamming dishes around in the kitchen after dinner one evening a couple weeks ago, completely frustrated from a long day of kid-wrangling. It had been a school conference day and the weather was miserable and I was at my wits' end with children running around the house making their endless pshew pshew pshew noises and leaving piles of toys and socks and half-eaten yogurt containers everywhere they went.

In the midst of my grumpy much-needed venting about my day, my husband said, "Wow, so you'd make a really great stay-at-home mom, huh?"

And then? I killed him. No, really: I am writing this from jail, although I expect to be released any minute now because WHAT JURY WOULD CONVICT ME.

Let me be clear on this: my husband doesn't normally say stupid, shitty things to me. He's usually 100 percent loving and supportive, and only behaves like a Cro-Magnon occasionally, like for instance every morning when he leaves his cereal bowl on the counter.

I don't know exactly what prompted his statement, only that I suppose I did sound a little overwhelmed from one whole day of being home with both kids. The problem was, he seemed to have forgotten two very important things: 1) I am a stay-at-home mom, and have been for over a year, only I also have a job with daily deadlines to balance on top of all that stay-at-home-momming, and 2) that's the sort of thoughtless comment that earns a guy a LIFETIME ban on fellatio.

If you're wondering what sort of conversation we had after he said that, hoo boy, I can assure you it was lengthy. I told him he'd hurt my feelings, for one thing, and I asked him to imagine how it would feel if he was blowing off steam about his day at work and in response I implied it was because he was bad at his job.

I also reminded him of a conversation we'd had over three years ago, one that I've never forgotten.

It had happened during a morning after I'd had a difficult night with our then-4-month-old. I was sitting in our bedroom trying to feed the baby while he thrashed around and fussed, and in a moment of exhaustion and great irritation, I told my husband that I didn’t have the patience to deal with children.

Without missing a beat, my husband said, "I know."

“Wait,” I said, stopping the rocking chair and putting the bottle down. “What do you mean, you know? You know the kids require a lot of patience, or you know I don’t have enough?”

“Both, I guess,” he said.

I think both of us were tired and cranky that morning. I was exaggerating for the sake of complaining, and he probably didn’t much feel like placating me at the time. Still, I felt like I’d just gotten the world’s worst performance review, made all the more devastating because the job was mission-critical.

I still feel that way, you know? The kids are older and my duties are different, but this is not a job where you fuck around, this is the job of caring for the people I love more than anything on this Earth, and if I am a screwup at this, then there is no hope for me at all.

It's funny how there are certain lines we cannot bear to have crossed. I don't care if a thousand Internet strangers tell me I'm a horrible mother, but it's the one thing I ask from my partner: do not go there. Not even if you're mad, or you disagree with me, or you think you're being funny. Just don't. Because if you do, the words will sink into my brain and I will never, ever, ever be able to erase them.

(I'm pretty sure he gets it now.)

Has your partner ever criticized your parenting, even as a joke? Were you able to brush it off, or did it sting?

Image via Linda Sharps



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Rose Martinez

I know how yourself, I cannot stand parenting criticism from my hubby. One time he tried to chim in on breastfeeding positioning while I had a starving baby thrashing and screaming in my arms and for some reason couldn't get my shirt undone. I almost lost it right there, but I had the thrashing screaming baby so I waited until baby was gulping down milk, and by then hubby could already see I was just holding baby face up until I got my breast out then I put him tummy to tummy.

Not to mention I was flustered enough without his remark, he learned at least hope so.

fraoch fraoch

I just tell the hubby that I can move out and he can raise the girls himself if he thinks he knows better than me...I've only said it 2 or 3 times until he got the point, he doesn't criticize me anymore even in a joking way.

L25 L25

I love you for this article!!!!!!!!!! Oh my goodness.... I JUST had a lengthy conversation about this with my husband last night.. I'm a stay at home Mom and alot of times it leaves me feeling kind of unaccomplished, I don't have a career or a title, or a paycheck. When someone asks where do you work?  It's not like you can say.. well I work my butt of raising kids at home, nobody cares. I just have to say " Im a stay at home Mom" Anyways this is what I was telling my Husband last night as he's reassuring me that I have the most important job on the planet ( I needed that!!)  but I say... well if you really thought that why do you say things to me about how I'm not good at it? ( Like this very article!!!)  And he actually felt really horrible that he made me feel that way, he didn't think that these little comments were taken seriously. It made me realize that Men just don't get it... not because they don't want to but because they just don't know how important it is to us as Mom's. Anyway, I felt better this morning, and although I'm not getting dressed up to go to a job that makes me feel like I'm important in the world, I know when I hear my daughter over the baby monitor groggily saying " Muh Muh", "Muh, Muh" and giving me "huggies" when she wakes up, that'll make me feel like I'm the most important person in the world... well to my kids anyways :)

nonmember avatar Melanie

Yes, my hubbie is lucky to be alive (lol) after one fateful dinner conversation where I tearfully complained that between working at an office full time, two toddlers after work every day and ALL weekend I was severely lacking "ME" time and I felt like I needed a break... To which he responded, "Don't you consider leaving for work every day as your (time away from the kids) ME time?!!" (insert deafening silence here...) he was lucky we were having stew so there weren't any knives on the dinner table that night or you and I would be sharing a cell! LOL!!

Autoc... Autoclave239

Wow never. Not even as a joke. Sometimes he's off base with "helpful" suggestions when I'm frustrated ("you can take a nap if you want, just put her down!" Gee thanks, never thought of that, how about you try and see how it goes...). But being told I'm a bad mom, or that I'm obviously not cut out for this? I would be thinking long and hard. Not pretty.

Zacks... Zacksmama82411

sometimes just tries to get under my skin (only like 2x, we have a t 1/2 month old) but he seriously had the balls to ask me if i dropped zack the other day... i couldnt believe it! (zack was crying when he would hold him a certain way and it was gas, just like mama said) im not a stay at home mom, but i work my arse off to vclean our house, take care of my husband and our 3 month old, then he asks where the heck is my fleece? and i replied back, i dont know, its not my turn to watch it! and searched everywhere... then his mom was giving me a cut and dye that night and looks at him and says 'i think you left a grey fleece at our house on thanksgiving... um! not my fault hubs! lol but hes good more than mean, i promise!

29again 29again

After 20+ years, I've heard a few comments.  At the time, they were terribly hurtful to me,  However, time has passed, and he has realized that none of us know the perfect answer to everything.  He has made mistakes along the line, as have I, but we both try (now) to perk each other up instead of tearing each other down.  But there are still comments from time to time, usually out of frustration and/or misunderstanding.  Communication is absolutely necessary!!    And it helps to realize that men are basically clueless about raising kids and running a household at the same time!  LOL  :)

nonmember avatar Terry

Linda, I just have to say I thoroughly enjoy your articles. You have a great perspective and I look forward to your witty commentaries on life&parenting. :)

My husband knows better by now Lol doesn't mean he's perfect. I'm a SAHM w/one kid in 1st grade and three girls still at home so even on slow days, it's still busy around here. However, I occasionally forget to do something and it seems like that's the one thing he notices. "Oh you didn't get it done?" W/a tone like, "really you couldn't find time in between wiping butts or laundry or feedings or grocery shopping or paying bills or making phone calls, etc to dig thru our unpacked boxes to find the cord for the printer?"grrrrr! Yes I do have downtime but it's like five min here, five min there....I have been guilty of dng the same to him at times. I'll make some comment like, "well I'm the one home with them all day" and he takes offense to that. And I didn't mean it to be hurtful or spiteful. It's just the way it is.

LKRachel LKRachel

I always look forward to your articles and this one is no exception.  so funny but also so true!  My husband hasn't made comments like that but he has been subjected to the noisy putting up of the dishes.  If he ever does though......lifetime ban on fellatio.  love it!

gotta... gottalovemal

Every once in a while I leave DH with our daughter for an entire day and let him appreciate what I go through. He always needs a baby break when I get home.

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