The picture looks different in each household, but most every family has one. The "easy" parent and the "hard" parent .... also loosely known as the Disciplinarian and the Softie. (NOT to be mistaken for a pushover.)
The Hard Parent has the reputation for being firm in their ways - never wavering from the rules and regulations. This parent has no problem with correction and discipline and does it with great force and a gentle ease. They're just good at it. And, ultimately, respected for it.
The Easy Parent has the reputation for "giving in" more often and struggles with discipline. They are lovers of peace and wanting everyone to be happy all the time. They are more apt to bend the rules and go with the flow in order to get that. This parent fills the gaps between the meltdown of the child and the correction of the Disciplinarian.
Both parents have their positive and negative qualities and bring both good and not-so-good to the table depending on the situation and which parent is handling it. If the Disciplinarian is handling a situation better suited for the Softie, chaos often ensues and vice versa. God distinctly gives each parent different attributes and strengths so they can all work together in one accord to make a family work functionally and beautifully.
It's all part of His plan.
In our family, Husby is more of the Disciplinarian and I am more of the Softie. Sometimes, I don't know what I would do without Husby and his ability to get on Levi's level, calmly yet forcefully explain why we do or do not do things, and correct him in a firm and gentle way. Levi totally respects his Daddy and I absolutely learn a lot about "sticking to your guns" from him. God has given Husby the gift of discipline and it creates the perfect balance in our home.
For me, it is sometimes h-a-r-d to discipline my boy. I have no problem with it if it is something Levi has blatantly done - like stealing a toy from his cousin or disobeys me by not doing as I say. That's easy. (And correction is easy. I correct him with with absolutely zero hesitancy.) It's the more tricky issues of childhood that I have a hard time sticking to - like giving Levi something different to eat if he's not eating his supper. Husby is fine with telling him that is what we are having and if you don't eat it then you don't get something else. And there I am scrounging up a peanut butter and jelly so that he will just eat SOMETHING. Or if Levi is in his bed screaming, "I need my Mommy,; I JUST NEED MY MOMMY!", Husby can totally let that go by turning up the TV and telling me not to go in there. And in 3 seconds flat, I'm cuddled up next to him telling him I'm here and everything is okay.
Hence, the Softie.
It's extra hard for me because as annoying as this sounds, Levi is just such an "easy" kid. He does everything he is told to do and his super tender heart is always eager to please. I can't recall the last time he's had to go to Time Out, because he is really good to mind and obey. Discipline, when he gets it, breaks his heart. And that breaks MY heart.
(Note: Levi is often corrected. Daily. There is a big distinction between discipline and correction. Discipline is a result of blatant disobedience. Correction is necessary and vital in teaching proper behavior. You are doing your child a disservice by avoiding correction, and I believe it should be enforced and displayed by both parents equally and as needed.)
The other evening, Husby ran into a sticky situation at work and had to stay late, supper was already cooked and on the table, and Levi refused to eat. I was exhausted from the post-holiday housework I had done all day and frustrated that supper was done and Husby was not. Levi was testing me by not even trying one bite of anything and after 10 minutes of The Battle, I lost my cool, threatened Time Out and then I lost it. I started crying.
"Levi, please just eat your food!" I said with tears streaming down my face.
It takes me by surprise when Levi pushes the limits because he's usually so good to just do what I say. But there is something about this child and food where he gets this strong will that can't be broken!
Levi took one look at me and burst into a fit of tears screaming, "don't cry, Mommy!!! I'm sorry!!! Don't cry, Mommy!!!' as he wailed and wailed. And I wailed with him. The two of us sat in the floor bawling. Over absolutely nothing .... in the grand scheme of life, that is.
Husby got home and took one look at us both and immediately jumped into the situation and saved the day. He gave me a pep-talk and lots of hugs and then tackled the Levi situation. He was calm, he was poised, and he was firm. He was exactly what we both needed.
And there are times when I think Husby is going a little hard and I am able to bring some ease to the situation, too. But, those are his stories to tell - not mine.
The situation the other day was such a picture to me of the team that God created us to be. When one is down, the other is strong. When one is out of ideas and energy, the other swoops in with a fresh perspective. When one needs a break from it all, the other relieves them. God so uniquely created Husby's personality to perfectly compliment mine .... not only in the interaction of us as husband and wife, but in our roles as Mommy and Daddy, as well. It just blows my mind! Yet another reason it is so unbelievably important to wait on the spouse GOD has created FOR YOU. Simply put, He knows exactly what he is doing.
Together, we balance our home and our vision toward our children is the exact same - to bring up God fearing, polite, respectful little boys in a loving, secure and peaceful home.
I'm fortunate to have a spouse to jumps in there and fulfills his role. I know lots of Mommy's who are left to do it all on their own and that leaves them exhausted and stressed. Plus, they always feel like "the bad guy", and that's not fair. I believe each parent needs to use and enforce their God given gifts to parent together as a whole. There are times Husby and I have role reversal days where he is extra easy and I am extra corrective. It's a fluctuation and an ever changing life experiment, this parenting gig. And just when you think you have it figured out, there's a wrench thrown in and you're left starting all over.
I'm just happy I have the perfect partner to do it with.
What does it look like in your home? Are you the Disciplinarian, the Softie or both?