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Readers reply to critical moms, insecure dads

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From battles over breast-feeding to babies in the grown-up bed, moms and dads don't always see eye-to-eye when it comes to parenting. In a recent story on how a mom's words of criticism or encouragement affects a father's involvement in child care, we asked you to share the biggest child care debates between you and your partner.

One father bemoaned that after more than 50 years, "I NEVER do it right, according to her." On the other hand, Lily from Elkhart, Ill., says dads should speak up if they want to take a stand, but they "need to realize as a new mom our hormones are still wacky."

Read on for more reader responses:

As much as women say "I Want Help" with the kids, they subtly, and maybe even subconsciously, take the man's confidence away. The worst is when your child needs discipline and when the father tries to give it, and after the child cries and runs into the mother's arms. She consoles the child and the father is left on the outside looking in!!

—Don, Sandy Springs, Ga.

My son was getting so happy and agitated to be with his dad in the middle of the night that I could not calm him down, and I asked my husband to stop taking our son at night. Now, I am sowing the seeds I planted three years ago - my husband learned that I can manage without him, and refuses to get up at night.

—Helen, Fair Lawn

My daughter's father took my daughter home to his mother's while she was 6 months old. His mother told him that the reason she was not crawling was because I had her on formula instead of real milk, so he decided to change her to real milk. This made her very sick and she had to go to the hospital. This was the only debate we ever had.

—Kelly, Fresno, Calif.

My husband followed a pattern of doing chores or taking care of the children very sloppily so that I would "criticize" him, therefore causing friction and he in turn always backed off and usually I ended doing practically everything, from chores to child rearing ...Women need to be wiser and recognize that many times, it is harder for men to actively participate in what was considered as a woman's job until recently, and that many will try to back off from chores and childrearing because it is the easy thing to do ... Criticizing, nagging, being offensive will do nothing positive. You need to use reverse psychology, and hopefully you will get what you need from them. If you don't, then start considering seriously whether you want to spend the rest of your life with such a selfish person.

—EMN, Millis, Mass.

Dads need to realize that as a new mom our hormones are still wacky (heck they seem to be wacky until we reach menopause) ... just learn to take a firm (but gentle) stand. At least speak up and tell us how are words/actions make you feel.

—Lily, Elkhart, Ill.

My biggest battle is that my wife thinks it's okay for the baby to sleep in the bed with us. He's 4 months now and when he whimpers at night she will take him from the crib to sleep with us while I am asleep so I won't argue with her, then claim he wouldn't go back into the crib. She doesn't realize her actions are why and refuses to let me get up with the baby. She then fusses with me because she doesn't get enough sleep.


Actually, my husband and I never had issues regarding our children. (We have two). The responsibilities always laid on me, as my husband understands me and my needs...the kids are mine therefore he backs off and allows me to do things my way. And our children know it. His theory is that 'I'm the mom. They are MY children and he will help when needed.' He is a GREAT, EXCEPTIONAL father. But we each play our roles with the kids. He's the playmate, I'm the fixer/caretaker. I'm MOM. There is a sense of protection that overcomes a woman when she has a child. I'm thankful my husband understood my need to be the "MOM" and allowed me to do what I felt was needed. ... But when they were very young, yes, I did it all. And my husband 'helped' only when asked. As far as I'm concerned, the kids came out of me...I brought them in to this world, so they are mine! If my husband wanted the control, he should have had the kids himself, or married a woman who didn't care about her children. I'm mom, therefore I make the rules when it comes to the kids. If he doesn't like it, he can have his own....

—KJ, Tucson, Ariz.

I wanted my wife to breast-feed our children. I cited all the reports on how beneficial it would be for them. She refused. She was embarrassed by the sight of her breasts, did not want them to get bigger and she did not want to deal with the tenderness.

—Anonymous, Boulder Hill, Ill.

While [the story] was about a baby, I can assure you that it applies in MANY other circumstances. I don't help out much in any situation as I NEVER do it right according to her. In 50+ years, she still hasn't learned how to get help.


During the first 2 weeks, my son had trouble breast-feeding and my husband was very critical of me when I was needing his support. He got so mean that I threw a yogurt container and hit him in the head and collapsed in tears asking why did I have this baby? The baby learned to breast-feed, and my husband is an involved dad.

—Melissa, New York, N.Y.

The biggest debates in our household was medications that were prescribed. "Did you give the baby the medicine at this exact time" to me if it was near or a round about the required time to give the medication was okay. I would give the baby its medication but to her it was a big deal where as I saw it as "if the baby gets the medication" then the medication would do its job no matter what time it was.

—James, San Antonio, Texas

I felt that my husband did not supervise my son carefully enough. He "watched" my 1 year old son as if he were "watching" an 8 year old.

—Lisa, South Jersey