Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Don't let your need for order tromp on Dad's role in kids' lives
Annapolis: Is it absolutely awful or (I'm hoping) kind of relatable and funny that, now that I'm a stay-at-home mom, I prefer not having my husband around most of the time to screw up everything I've accomplished with the kids? I only ask because I worry I'm giving off "Good thing Daddy's not here, he can't do anything right" vibes.
Carolyn: I'm going to go with awful and relatable. It's really important that you keep this squarely in mind: The best outcome for your kids isn't for everything to go according to plan. The best outcome is for them to have good, stable, individual relationships with each of their parents — and if their lives are orderly and their rooms clean, well, that's the icing.
And with that in mind, please open your mind to a little stylistic chaos here and there, and let your husband . . . remain? become? fully invested as Daddy. If there's something you've set up that's good for them and it's really working, like a stress-free bedtime routine, or if your differing styles have the unintended effect of undermining your authority, then talk to him about it privately and explain why you need him to hold the same lines you do. But, again, on the little stuff, let go and don't minimize their daddy into obsolescence. They need him.
Hold out for decent friends to keep wedding madness at bay
D.C.: Is it just me, or do weddings (and their planning) just bring out the worst in people? I hate being engaged. Everyone has an opinion and has no problem sharing it and telling me what I should and shouldn't, can and can't do in ways that are horrifyingly rude. It's like open season on brides everywhere. I feel paralyzed with every decision, thinking that whatever I choose, someone close to me will hate it, say so, and judge me for it.
Don't even get me started on how people throw around the B-zilla word. I'm surrounded by vitriol about what is supposed to be a happy thing. How do I get through this?
Carolyn: Project to if/when you're pregnant, and realize that brides have it good! Nothing like being told that you're part of an entire generation of parents who spoil their kids/don't know what they're doing/park kids in front of TV and video games because they're too career-absorbed to do the hard work at home/hover and micromanage everything/(your "get off my lawn!" rant here).
Or project to when you can't have kids, and everyone asks you when you're going to "start a family," or when you don't have kids, and everyone tells you how selfish you are.
Sorry. This is just my way of saying that, if you let yourself take public discourse as the way of all people right now, you're going to start believing that ax-grinding has become everyone's favorite hobby. Thing is, though, the sane and/or boundary-conscious people do outnumber the judgmental doinks, it's just that they're (obviously) quieter.
You can't choose your family, and we all have to deal with checkout-lane busybodies, but you can choose your friends. Hold out for discreet and decent ones, and treat them well. Oh — and congratulations, too.