Before we got married, we had the whole "Do you want children someday?" discussion. And for both of us the answer was yes. The conversation we never had (and which I think is fair to say most of my married friends also didn't have before marriage) is what kind of a parent do you want to be? Having pets inadvertently lets us answer that question, specifically our dog, Radar.
As cute as our dog is (see link above), Radar has some bad habits, including peeing (and occasionally pooping) in the house, eating the cat's food (and her poop on occasion), and the guinea pig's poop that's always flying out of his cage when he bucks. I know. I can't believe we let him sleep in our bed either. A lot of this has to do with the first half of his life and his old owners, who, because he is a tiny, little dog, never really trained him (or walked him). A.P. was around for these years and was pretty much the one who always walked him when he visited and then later lived with Radar.
When we took Radar in, we tried to change as much of that bad behavior as possible, but there are some things we can't change at all. Like the peeing in the house. A.P. can walk that dog at 10:50pm and an hour later, he'll still pee in the house (at least now, though, he pees on a pee pad).
But dealing with these problems has made us realize how we might deal with our children one day. And let me tell you that this is how that shit will work out: I will be the disciplinarian and A.P. will be the one who consoles and comforts (and probably is their BFF behind my back). In other words, I'm the bad cop, he's the good cop. And here's how we know: every time Radar does something bad, I reprimand him and then two minutes later A.P. scoops him up and fawns all over him. I get so mad because it basically undoes all my reprimanding and gets us nowhere. And don't think all I do is yell at the dog, because I love that dog sooo much, but I'm just a big believer in discipline/training. My cat, Zuzu, is a bit bad now because this apartment is bigger than my old one and it's harder to catch her doing bad things. But in my old apartment, she was never the type of cat to jump on the kitchen counters or tables or bookshelves, because I trained her not to do those things. Even now, she's pretty good about staying off the those things.
The thing is, I don't mind this sort of thing with a dog, but I worry about it with kids later on down the line. I guess I don't want to be the bitch who the kids hate because I'm always the one disciplining them. I worry that we'll become Claire and Phil Dunphy on Modern Family and A.P. will always be "peerenting" while I'm the one grounding children and forcing them to do chores. Because as much as I do want to make sure my kids are disciplined and respectful, I also want to have fun with them. I know I'll do that, too, but if I'm always the one enforcing the rules, I worry that I won't be the "fun" parent. I'll be avoided like the plague when it comes to asking for things. But most of all, I'll be the one who gets yelled at when the child is a teenager. I'll be the mean one who never gives the kid their way. Dammit. I guess all I can hope for is that I do enough fun stuff to even it out.
What kind of parent do you think you'll be? Have you and your significant other figured out the roles you'll play with kids later on down the line (or now if you have kids already)?
Check back later for some more Marriage Monday, but in the mean time, enjoy some Modern Family:
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(Modern Family clip via Hulu)