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Future Father Material?

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  • #876584 Reply

    Hi guys. Just wanted to get your input about a situation. I love my husband very much, we have been together for 12 years and are coming to that point in our lives where we need to make the decision to have children. We are 35.
    My husband did not have a great childhood with his father and is aware of the multiple things that lacked, which created a very weak bond between the two of them and a lot of resentment and future anger issues on his end.
    There are many things I know he will do and be great as a father, I know he will be involved I know he has a lot of love to give. However there is something I’m very concerned about.
    His job is very stressful. He’s exhausted and tired and often times grumpy. As anyone would be at the end of the day but him particularly more so with the stressors that he works in. A lot of times he is quite agitated with small things and quite impatient. I have noticed this increasing as he gets older. My concern is what is this going to look like once we bring a baby into the picture? I know getting up in the middle of the night to tend to cries, having a child make messes that you have to clean up, those things that come along with a child I can’t even imagine adding onto his plate right now without him blowing his lid and potentially psychologically damaging our future child. It seems like it would bring out the worst in him. I can handle his anger and impatience but sometimes it’s very difficult. A child wouldn’t understand. Am I jumping to a conclusion on this one? Is there something I’m not considering? I know that at some point he does want children but he definitely cannot imagine having them right now …however we are about 35 and we’re gonna have to figure this out sooner than later. Thanks.

    #876591 Reply

    I am a pretty angry and impatient person in general. I’m not that way with my daughter though. She is 4 now and I am her primary caregiver. At times it can be frustrating but somehow it is different with her. I don’t think the way he acts is necessarily an indication that he will be angry or inpatient with his child. I have a strained relationship with my parents too, I have taken a few parenting classes to make sure I don’t do some of the things they did to my daughter.

    I would talk with him and see if he would want to take some classes, I learned a lot from parenting classes.

    #876593 Reply

    He’s told you he doesn’t want a child right now. I think that’s your answer. It’s worth revisiting, and talking in depth, but why would you want to drag him hesitantly into parenting? That could be the recipe for future resentful feelings.

    If his anger issues are affecting you, that needs to be addressed. Everyone feels stress and anger, but most people do not take it out on other people. Has he considered anger management, or therapy? Or a parenting class?

    I would also like to say, most people who are barely holding on, on the brink of erupting in anger are probably not the ideal candidates for parenting. Because the stressors go up, the sleep goes down, the money is stretched farther, the free time dwindles. These are good thought exercises to have before having a child. Calm the anger first, then see about the child. Personally, I have seen the most lovely children push the limits of even the most patient and calm people I know. Children are not for the faint of heart.

    But most importantly, he said he can’t imagine having a child right now.

    #876594 Reply

    You could have described my husband almost to a T. His job is stressful. He works long hours sometimes. He is a neat freak and can be stupid about his desire for a perfect clean house. He also is easily agitated and impatient. But, we have kids, and he is a good dad. He is able to tamp these behaviors down for the most part with the kids. Is he perfect and never ever lets his impatience or whatever pop up with them. Of course not. I doubt there is a parent alive that is always Suzy Sunshine with their kids. There is no guarantee anyone will be a good parent. You are really the only one that can assess how bad the agitation and impatience is to see if it can be turned off and on based on the situation. Is he awful? Does he act like this everyone? It sounds like a really in depth conversation is overdue.

    #876595 Reply

    Have you considered that his saying “at some point he does want children,” “but definitely not now” may be his way of saying he doesn’t want kids at all? It’s something to think about. He’s probably aware that children would be highly stressful for him.

    And what if the stressful job situation never changes? This sounds like a very unhealthy situation for you both, even without bringing kids into the mix. If his job is messing him up that much, that’s not sustainable. It’ll wreck his health and your marriage.

    Also, jobs are not the only thing that can drive someone’s stress levels through the roof. So it sounds like along with maybe considering another job, some therapy to learn how to better manage his own stress would be helpful.

    But to answer your original question, I’d be very, very, very hesitant to have kids with the man you described. Yes, it’s quite true that many people can rise above their upbringing and/or emotional issues, and become amazing parents. It’s also true that some people can’t, and do lifelong emotional damage to their children.

    #876596 Reply

    I agree with Essie. I think the people who do rise above their unfortunate childhoods and learned tendency toward anger work very, very hard to overcome it.

    He doesn’t seem to have approached his anger issues in that way and you haven’t seemed to point that out as an marital issue, either.

    I would never, ever advise someone to start working toward having children if your chosen partner has expressed anything less than delighted enthusiasm. This is not a decision to be made for someone else, or to be taken lightly.

    #876599 Reply

    “My job is stressful. I had a bad childhood.”

    These are excuses, not reasons. They describe about 90% of the population. That doesn’t give him license to act like a pill for how many years now? And you accept this? At what point will he take responsibility for his crap moods? Would he accept this behavior from you? You didn’t discuss having children before getting married? You said, “that point in our lives where we need to make the decision to have children. We are 35.” Most people get on the same page with that before they get married.

    If you wait until he’s in a better mood, you’ll be waiting for … never.

    #876600 Reply

    I’d go to a marriage counselor and say, “His crap moods are a drag, and they’re preventing us from having children.” Notice it’s his moods, not his job, that are the real culprit.

    #876602 Reply

    I know you wrote in about his anger issues in the context of parenting future offspring, but even if you don’t have kids, that sounds really unhealthy for your marriage. Can you live the rest of your life with him being stressed and angry all the time, getting agitated and impatient, with it getting worse and worse every year? I would table the kids discussion for the next few months at least, and try to get a handle on that issue. I definitely wouldn’t bring a baby into the situation, and you are wise to think twice about parenting with someone who already has an anger problem.

    I also agree with @Anonymousse that if your wife is 35 and you’ve been together for 12 years but are saying you “cannot imagine having children”…that’s not the behavior of a person who ever wants children. That’s the behavior of a person who will run out the clock. (Did you not talk about this before you got married??)

    #876603 Reply

    I know you are thinking you would be around to run interfere and cushion the kids from your husband’s anger, but what if you divorce? Your kids would be alone with their dad for days at a time without you to calm dad down, or sequester the kids so they don’t make it worse. What then? Think long and hard if you would trust this man, how he is now, alone with loud, messy kids for a week.

    #876604 Reply

    It sounds like your partner could benefit from counselling, both to unpack some of what happened with his dad and his stress or any anger issues.

    It doesn’t mean he might not make a good parent – I know some great parents who had horrible parents themselves. But as he hasn’t had good behaviour to model after, it might be less stressful for him if he gets some support.

    Lots of people have stressful, busy jobs and get a bit grumpy sometimes; not all of them take it out on their kids. It depends a lot on exactly how stressed he is and how well he is coping with that stress – tha he is ‘quite agitated with small things and quite impatient.’ suggests he might benefit from some kind of therapy to help redirect his emotions. I do a busy, stressful job and made a conscious effort to be extra patient with my much younger brother when he was a kid. I knew he wouldn’t be able to understand that. It’s good behaviour for grown-ups too, but it’s extra important with kids – cos it’s easy for them to think you’re mad with *them*

    You’re right, it’s important to keep our emotions under tighter control around kids and be more patient. The difficult thing is, we only know what he’s like through you.

    If you feel he is unpleasant or scary, and you feel that when he’s mad it’d be bad for a kid to be exposed to it, it may be worth focusing on therapy first before having kids. So that he can be in a better place before you guys add the stress of kids to the stress of work.Yes, you’re 35, but that doesn’t mean you have to have kids right away if it would mean exposing them to *that*.

    #876605 Reply

    Helen’s comment is important, because this is what it sounds like when someone has kids in an abusive situation. If you feel that you’d have to protect your kids from him, then having kids is not the right answer.

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