A few weeks ago I was one of a few fortunate bloggers to receive a free copy of Kathi Lipp's new book, i need some help here! HOPE for When Your Kids Don't Go according to Plan.
I have been reading everything I can get my hands on from a parenting perspective, as our two very-high-energy kids present quite the challenge to both my wife and me on a daily basis. So I was naturally extremely happy to score a copy of i need some help here! to collect some wisdom from someone who has walked in my wife's shoes, get a sense of what my wife might be experiencing with our kids when I'm at work, and gain some pearls of wisdom on how to improve my parenting skills.
When I read a book I generally look for one big takeaway that I can apply to my life right away. And while that was not very difficult to find here, I was surprised to find that my greatest takeaway was more of a marriage lesson than a parenting one tucked in the middle of a story Kathi shared from Milaka Falk.
The story is one of a pretty aggressive tantrum during which her child bit, hit, flopped, and screamed his way through Wal-Mart on a TP run. I certainly related to the tantrum story. But what struck me most was Milaka's husband's response when she told him the story (and showed him her bruises – OUCH!).
My husband sat down and had a pretty intense heart-to-heart. He said that I was his wife and that he was in charge of taking care of me and protecting me, and he would do that no matter what. He said if Buddy ever hurt me again, he'd have to answer to my hubby. He didn't do this in a threatening way, but he did make his point.
I wasn't moved by the fact that her husband had a tough conversation with Buddy. That would have happened in my home for sure.
But the “angle” he took with it surprised me.
I'm sure that I would have had the conversation from my son's perspective. (i.e. “Don't hurt your mother.).
But the perspective taken by Milaka's husband is pretty amazing and refreshing. Very different from what I expected, but I can see how it sets a tone that the parents are “one” and will protect each other. And it says a lot about how her husband feels and thinks.
A nice little reminder of the commitment I made to protect my wife and the necessity to be united in our parenting. And an awesome mindset to have as a husband in general. Something I definitely need to adopt more consistently.
Husbands: How would you handle a conversation like this after one of your kids disrespected your wife? Pretty awesome job by Milaka's husband, no? Am I the only one who would have “your mothered” the conversation?
Wives: I'd love to hear your thoughts on this – the effect it would have (if any) on you emotionally to hear your husband tell your child that you were his wife and he will protect you versus “don't hurt your mother” for example.
To me, it feels pretty different. And pretty powerful for your marriage while setting a tone (and example) for what your sons to do and daughters to expect when they're older.
I'd love to know your thoughts in the comments.
While I only shared the story that hit me closest, I'm sure you'll relate to several stories in the book. Kathi spends a lot of time exploring the emotions of a frustrated, overwhelmed, or scared parent through her strong Christian faith. She includes prayers, suggestions for when to pray, and numerous references to scripture relating to parenting challenges.
She also includes several stories from other mothers of their challenges and how they overcame difficult times with their children, stories from her own life, and practical wisdom and reflection to help guide newer parents (like me) or parents who are facing challenges from teenage or older children.