One of the greatest struggles of any relationship — particularly as parents — is when one parent is more dominant, while the other is passive. Both types can be great at parenting, but when you're on opposite ends of the spectrum it makes finding middle ground difficult. In a perfect world, we'd all be perfectly matched with a mate that compliments our personality, but reality means sometimes having to compromise. So, yes, there are fights every couple has when one person is a passive parent that will, undoubtedly last the length of the relationship.
I know this to be true on a deep, personal level, as my partner and I strive to find the right balance as parents to our children every single day. I'm definitively the rule maker and enforcer, while my partner, for the most part, passively exists. He's a great father and our relationship is a good one, don't get me wrong. We've found a way to make this dynamic work and, make no mistake, parenting with a passive partner can work beautifully. It's just that, sometimes, opposing parenting techniques come to a head in the worst of ways.
While he's an active participant once I've pointed his passivity out, it can be frustrating to use my time and energy to highlight what I perceive to be obvious. I know he doesn't mean any harm and it's just his personality, but that doesn't help when I'm trying to raise our two children and need him to, you know, co-parent. Over the years,we've found ways around these tiffs, but here are some of the fights we've had because he's just so damn passive.
The "Disciplining The Kids" Fight
Having a passive partner means waiting for too much to build up, then waiting for some kind of minor explosion. My husband is very calm and laid back nearly all the time, but if he's finally had enough he'll quickly yell about something I would usually just shrug my shoulders at.
We've had more than a few arguments over his "wait until I explode" decision making, because he lets things go that I think he shouldn't, then chooses to be upset over things that have little0to-no merit (in my eyes).
The "Morning Rush" Fight
I freakin' hate mornings with a burning, fiery passion. I've never been a morning person and while my partner is, there have been times we've had miscommunications about who's doing what to get everyone everywhere they need to be. I can't help but think if he weren't so passive about things like our morning routine, we'd have a lot less arguing before I'm had my first seven cups of coffee.
The "Bedtime Blues" Fight
Likewise, bedtime is its own horror show. Depending on how exhausted our kids are, the whole routine can take anywhere from a few minutes to an hour. I'm only one person, so if he's there it'd be cool if he'd play a more active role so we could get it done a little faster. You know, without me having to ask.
The "Anything Involving School" Fight
School, and anything regarding school, needs its own separate planner in order for the adults in charge to keep things straight. I work from home, meaning I'm here with the kids when they're not at school. Doing the stay-at-home thing, however, doesn't make my schedule any less jam-packed. When one kid joins a sport, I assume we're tackling it as co-parents and not just me doing all the heavy lifting. My passive partner doesn't intend to be uninvolved, but how many more times do we need to fight about it for things to shift?
The "What's For Dinner?" Fight
Meal planning is one of my most-hated activities. I enjoy cooking, watching cooking shows, and eating yummy foods, but I don't enjoy going through all the work of planning, shopping, and lengthy meal prep only to have my kids completely reject whatever it is I've served them. My partner's willing to eat whatever I make, with no complaint, but it's be amazing if he were the one to take on all these responsibilities, too. You know, get up and cook a few nights a week so maybe I could be the passive one for a bit.
The "Money" Fight
There's little my partner and I clash on more (aside from the way we parent) than finances. Coming from two different backgrounds and perspectives, my dominance and his passivity go to battle whenever there's a monetary issue — especially if it has to do with a kid-related thing like school fees.
Typically, I'll sell something or write an extra thing or do whatever it is I have to do to pay for something. My partner tends to tuck the bill away for safe keeping, forget about it, then tell me about it once it's too late. It's a pain, which is why I have to stay on top of everything myself.
The "Quality Time With The Kids" Fight
When my partner comes home from working all day, I understand he's tired. His job is taxing and he's really good at what he does. However, not only am I home all day with two kids, but I'm doing all the chores, running all the errands, and working the equivalent of two full-time jobs. Couples like us probably have similar arguments about why, when he's finally home, he's not spending any quality time with the kids. Once he's had enough down-time to get in the zone (which is more than I get being home all day), I wish he'd put his phone down, stop being so passive about everything, and get in there and do something.