I thought I knew you but..


My husband and I were together ten years before we had kids.  I thought we knew each other like good books.  I could read his expressions and he was the first person I told good exciting news to.  It was him and I and two cats and life was simple. 

Two kids later, it is appharent that we were raised on completely different planets.  I was born and raised in America.  My parents were born in a boom time here, but I went to live with my grandparents when I was ten.  My grandmother kept house like you would not believe.  I mean the women could have had the Queen over every night and there were lots of knick knacks, but I must say by the time my brother was born 2 years later, and the great grands she has eased up tremendously!

My husband was born on an island.  His parents are British and were born during WWII.  He had a nanny and a cleaning lady and gardener.  His parents were both professionals.  He wasn’t showered with toys or clothes, like I was. 

So I don’t know how I didn’t forsee that we would vary in our parenting styles.

My best friend is married to a Canadian and she comes from (what to me is typical) a family who when they fight have arguments and yell, like my family.  Something along the lines of the loudest wins, even though that is not true.  But also in family discussions people get excited and get loud. Her husband was not used to this and neither was mine.  Therefore we have this joke about fighting like Americans.

One thing we do agree on, is we don’t spank the kids.  After that we are on different planes.

I will give in to the kids to keep them quiet in a store or public, with treats.  I will also give in when they are fighting at home and if I threaten time out and they cry, I’ll be like ok, that was a warning and I may say that several times. I give in and the kids know it. 

If he says time out, there is time out.  He believes gifts even small ones should be always reflected on behavior and not as a way to calm a child in a store. 

His opinion is that we have too many toys (and we do have a lot), but in America we have instant gratification, good or bad, it’s there.  He didn’t grow up like that.  I like to buy the kids toys and they aren’t spoiled, they don’t expect things, I just see things and like to treat them because I know they will enjoy playing with them.

His other big thing is respect.  We used to live on his island and respect was a big thing.  You needed to say good morning to everyone, kids had to address older people in a polite fashion and people just didn’t act rude.  He had to call his teachers sir. Wow we all know that’s not how it is here, so his big thing is having kids who behave and who respect people and who have manners.  I am trying very hard to do this also, because I think it’s good, but you try getting a toddler to have manners. He sees the end result of them being respectful adults and I see them being kids. 

We do encourage and involve the kids in community service and helping others and giving back and they are good in those situations.  Where we have problems is at home behavior and when we are all out together. 

He is a great dad, but Brits aren’t as nurturing as Americans or at least the way he was raised and I am super comforting to the kids.  I fuss over boo boos.

It’s just something I never expected to be so varied on and something I would have never expected after being together and knowing each other.  But we are trying to make our little family work well together.

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