Ouch! The Vicious Cycle of a Parent’s Confidence Crisis

by doodaddy on September 27, 2007

Working Mom is behind the door on my right, trying to put Boobaby down to sleep. Boo is fighting. She’s been overstimulated all evening, and my wife hasn’t felt like she’s done the best job bringing her down.

Working Mom gets worked up a lot about her mothering skills.

  • Upset that she’s not doing a "good enough" job as a mother.
    • Which, of course, makes her more upset.
      • Which, of course, makes it harder to meet the baby’s needs calmly and head off tantrums before they happen.

That’s why they call those cycles "vicious." Yah.

HS feed

If I can feed this thing without getting it or me upset, I can feed anything…

And it’s the worse for her because I’m good at this stuff. Not down to anything innate, of course: I’ve just had more practice. I was a teacher! My job for 15 years now has been to pay minute attention to groups of children and keep them excited without getting overexcited. And when I wasn’t working, I was doing almost the same thing with wild animals at a rehabilitation hospital!

And, it should be mentioned, I’ve also had a lot more practice with our baby, all thanks to the generosity of my wife.

So this stay-at-home parenting gig is the job I’ve always trained for; it makes sense that I’d be good at it. Why does my wife feel so bad about that?

And… why do I feel so bad about that?

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in stay-at-home guilt,Working Mom ·

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Xbox4NappyRash September 28, 2007 at 3:35 am

Simply because you are a team, she feels bad, you feel bad.


Kelley September 28, 2007 at 3:43 am

You feel bad about it cause your wife is in pain. That makes a good husband (I would pat you on the head but THAT would be patronising….) She is in pain cause the world says that as women we are supposed to do the child rearing and work and have a clean house and and and.
When our girls were toddlers I worked long hours and my husband stayed home and took the girls to playgroup. It broke my heart EVERY SINGLE TIME the girls would go to him instead of me. When they cried for him instead of me. When they wanted him instead of ME. I am the mother, that is what I am supposed to be and society has conditioned us to believe that.
But it was a wonderful experience for my husband to have and he is grateful that he got the opportunity.
Go give Working Mom a hug from me and tell her I know how she feels. However this is the small stuff and however much it smarts right now, she has a much more important job looming not too far in the distance…. raising a confident happy teenager.


Annie September 28, 2007 at 5:00 am

I don’t really have an answer for you – but if it helps her, I’m no good at the settling down for bed thing either. I hand over to my husband in the evening for that because some days by bedtime I’ve had more than I can take. Maybe it’s a Daddy thing?

Also, it’s great that you are actually able to put into practice that which you’ve done in your career. I know many parents, teachers and nannies for example who can discipline and do everything ‘right’ with other people’s kids, but have problems applyling all the correct things to their own kids – sad but true. You do great!


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