I was talking to a friend of mine last night. He's happily married (going on 6 years) and has two children with his wonderful wife (both friends of mine from college).
Anyhow, he was asking about Nate, my 7 month old. Poor kid has been feverish the last few days and things had taken a nasty turn yesterday morning. He asked if John was sticking around to help out with Nathan because of how bad his fever was.
I was actually confused by the question. Why would John stick around? I could handle Nathan well enough on my own.
He explained, "No, I'm not implying you can't take care of Nate. I'm saying that if he were my son, I'd stick around to help out because I'd want to do what I could to make things better."
I shrugged my shoulders and said, "Meh. He probably doesn't think there's anything left for him to do and he did bring the Motrin I asked for."
He then said, "Is he at least coming early tomorrow?"
I actually laughed out loud and said, "No. There is absolutely zero chance he'll be here early."
Again, I was confused by the question. Why would John come early when I could take care of Nate?
However, at 3AM it hit me why my friend had been so appalled that John shirked his responsibilities in such a manner. Somewhere in between Nate puking all over the bed, floor, me, the cat (sorry Lucy) and waking up Vince with his inconsolable sobbing, I could've used a hand (or 10). Having not slept and struggling to properly care for this poor, sweet baby who couldn't get comfortable was just not working out well for anyone, Vincent included.
Had John actually recognized that his place was with his family, he would have been able to put Vincent back to bed, help clean the mess, possibly soothe the baby while I cleaned the mess, or any number of things. But John doesn't view family as a priority unless it's his "turn" to do so.
Problem is, parenting is not babysitting, but that's precisely how John has always treated it. It's infuriating, because you cannot cut up parenting like that. It's not always a 50/50 thing, but he nickels and dimes and will hold grudges until the field is made equal in his mind.
And stupid me, it never occurred to me just how incredibly asnine this has been. So many times in the past I've simply made excuses for him as to why it was okay to treat things in this manner. "Oh, he just wants to take Vince to play basketball and it'll be good bonding for them." "Oh, John has a dodgeball game to attend, I'll watch Vince, no problem." And when I'd suggest doing things together as a family, I'd always go out of my way to understand why he just couldn't do them. "Oh, he must be tired from working all week" (COMPLETELY ignoring the fact that I'd been doing the same), or "Oh, he hates being outside in the heat, so it's okay that he skips out on the Children's Garden this time..."
My God, it's like I had Stockholm Syndrome. I made excuses and extended sympathy instead of calling him out for his selfish, juvenile behavior. Worse, I WAS STILL DOING IT!
So when he came over the other morning, I ripped into him. He was taken aback and angry with me for blowing up the way I did (and in truth, I probably could've come up with a more diplomatic way of addressing the situation). That being said, I frankly didn't care.
Because ya know what his response was to me? Complaints. About how tired HE is and how hard it is from HIM to travel back and forth. About how hard juggling work and parenting responsibilities is for HIM.
Oh shut your face.
He's seriously so far out of touch with reality that I'm amazed he's made it this far in life.
Guess even Stockholm Syndrome has its limits once you realize what's actually going on.
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