Fatherhood: It’s about Compromise

My wife and I didn't realize how opposite we were until after we were married. The only thing we found that we agreed upon was our taste in furniture.

This was fun for a while. When confronted on the topic, we had our standard lines like "We complement each other" or "Opposites attract you know!"  We realized that we got each other to try new things. She got me to travel; I got her to break her cleanliness obsession. A fair trade, I thought.

While this may have been fun when it was just the two of us, once our family expanded, it became a bit more serious. We quickly discovered that our parenting styles were also quite opposite., and our conflicting ideas now affected others. So we decided to try to take the best parts of both of our personalities and make it work for everyone.

It really started before we had any children. She didn't think she wanted any. I was excited about fatherhood and wanted as many as possible. She finally agreed to one. When our son was born, I wanted her to breastfeed him. I felt it was very important. Suffice to say she was not into it, and refused. He got formula. Baby number one softened her stance on kids considerably, and we both decided we wanted a second baby. We had another boy, but by this time, she was all about breastfeeding.

At that point, I was happy but exhausted. I figured we were good with two kids, and that we were finished with baby making.But she insisted we needed a third! I could scarcely believe it, but her mind was made up. In fact, she wanted a third boy, saying she was used to them, and wouldn't "my three sons" be adorable. I was nervous about the responsibility of a third, but if I were to have one, I really wanted a little girl. I took a chance and agreed on the third. Our boys got a plump, pretty little baby sister named Amelia. She was always hungry, always crying, hardly slept. Precious, but more work than either one of us anticipated.

As our kids have grown, we still maintain differences. My wife is known to bribe the kids. I don’t give in to tempting them. When it comes to fatherhood, I let the kids do want they want (or not) when it comes to activities. Their mother is a bit more involved, wanting to choose for them. And like many parents with different styles, our kids have figured out that if mommy says no, ask daddy -- or vice versa.  

While, our differences haven’t always made things simple, I feel they have helped our kids --and our family in general -- become better-rounded.  My kids have gotten my wife's wanderlust and her fashion sense. From me, they've picked up a sense of humor and an interest in art and photography. Somehow, they've seemed to have absorbed the best of each of us. And that's something both their mom and dad are thankful for.
by John Vercelletto