Applying Parenting Book Principles to Your Spouse


August 8, 2013 by Katia

I have a bad habit of not planning ahead or preparing for things that overwhelm me. Whether I’m faced with a seemingly mundane menu decision or a major life change, I often do the mental equivalent of this:


And then I file the whole thing in a very deep drawer called “later” and obsessively shove the “later” items back whenever they raise their ugly amorphous heads.

When it’s finally later I usually deliver, but only after I’ve thoroughly stressed myself out.

OR I let 37 Year Old deliver and then a garden and a window I did not participate in happen.


I know that to some, maybe most, information is the key to a sense of control over reality. I get that. But for me learning what to expect when you’re expecting is a daunting task if there are 543 pages of different things I could expect. Go ahead pregnancy, surprise me!

I’ve ignorantly fumbled through pregnancy having my hand held by my obstetrician, the once a week email update from Baby Centre and by prenatal classes – which is to labour what The Bachelor is to a realistic description of a relationship. I’ve turned a blind eye to the need to emotionally prepare for my own immigration. When we bought a new house, I simply showed up. And it all worked out perfectly. So much so, in fact, that I became the poster girl for denial.


What is that principle in Eastern philosophy where you just flow with life and let it take you wherever it will? Is it Tao? If so then I’m a Taoist, by accident, of course. Life kept happening to me, repeatedly, and I reacted. Or not. Whatever. But then I discovered that while you may be able to Tao it up in certain cases, you most certainly can’t react your way through motherhood. Or, as I’ve learned, through marriage.

Last week I tweeted:

The realization that I could apply the principles I was intending to use with 4 Year Old on 37 Year Old followed on the heels of a conversation I had with a girlfriend who was telling me she was applying “Happy Toddlers” to her husband.

Thrilled with the discovery, I’ve decided I had to share this with my readers.

How To Talk So Kids Will Listen – Effective Communication in Marriage

* When you feel all talked out leave a note – Faber and Mazlish note that when we feel we are not getting through to our kids and we’ve just about covered every conventional method, we could leave a note! Here’s one I left for 4 Year Old.


While the ones I leave 37 Year Old are not as colourful, in the traditional sense of the word, they are often just as effective.

* If you notice a recurring problem describe the situation instead of seeking or pointing out a culprit. Example: I see a wet towel on the floor. Example II: I see that the sofa has been pushed away from the window ledge again, leaving a gap big enough for 11 Month Old to fall through.

* If the situation is still not resolved say it with a word, one word, instead of a long naggy speech. Example: TOWEL!!!!!! Example II: AGAIN!!! (IAMTHEMILK’s note: this method is also great for the half of the couple who feels that she is not being listened to. Have you ever told your spouse that you’re going upstairs, because you need to pop into the baby’s room and check if the air conditioning is still on and to that your spouse replied “uhuh” and then asked you to go upstairs and check the air conditioning? Your dignity and marriage can be saved if next time you just chirp “upstairs” or “air conditioning”).

* Show the child a way to make amends/point out a way to be helpful – Remember that fight(s) when your spouse never acknowledged that anything had happened and it was business as usual as soon as you spoke to them? Husbands Spouses are like children. You need to gently and affectionately lovingly point out a way to be helpful. Example: “You know what would be helpful? Food.”

See? Communicating with our spouse is not as impossible as it sometimes seems.

Now tell mommy about a time you’ve used a parenting book principle of your spouse.

Hmm. That must have made you feel…

(This is an example of effective listening. You’re welcome).


This post is a Finish the Sentence Friday post on the subject of “I have a bad habit of…”. Make sure to visit our wonderful hosts. When I grow up, I want to be them.

Kristi, woohoo, welcome! at Finding Ninee

Stephanie at Mommy, For Real

Janine at Janine’s Confessions of a Mommyaholic

Kate at Can I Get Another Bottle of Whine?

Dawn at Dawn’s Disaster

Well, did you use parenting stuff on your spouse?


On a totally non-related note, I have a recommendation. This is not a sponsored recommendation. I was approached by a website called Kiinzel and they told me about their services. They are a safe environment for parents in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) who want to sell and buy children stuff without using Kijiji or Craig’s List. I haven’t used them yet but the website looks very inviting and I love the idea of not posting my information out there on Craig’s List where anyone can see it. If you’re curious visit:

37 thoughts on “Applying Parenting Book Principles to Your Spouse

  1. Parenting books can be good not just on your husband. Your dog, your boss, your neighbor! LOL

  2. Katia, I love your posts! You are so funny! I feel like in my marriage we can’t get away with this, since both of us are teachers and we know when we are using developmental psychology tactics on each other. I’ve never heard of the one word approach …. interesting.

  3. Ok, this was totally worth the wait and then some. Seriously Katia, you had me cracking up on how to deal with one’s spouse and will totally have to remember this the next time I want my husband to do something. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for linking this one up!!! 🙂

  4. Lizzi Rogers says:

    Never! Because Husby has a radar for it and immediately has a temper tantrum about me treating him like a child (ironic, non?) so I have to try to get very creative. And often fail at it.

  5. bookofmohs says:

    Hey, as a husband I have to concede, you’re right, some of us can be a bit child-like, so i see how a parenting book could come in handy for us. But don’t you kind of love that about us? At least a little 😉 great post!

  6. I love this. Right this very minute, there is a sign from me on our refrigerator to my husband about how to redirect Tucker’s behavior. There’s also a sign to me from me on our cabinet saying that I do NOT need to eat Doritos. I’ll let you know how these work out. You know what would be helpful? Reading this!!

  7. butternutb says:

    I do this aaaaaaaaaaalll the time. ‘I would like it if you told me when I need to move my head away from the side mirror in advance, rather than shouting Sweeeeetie at me.’. ‘I see a wet towel on the floor’. ‘I see crumbs all over the sofa’. But what makes me feel weird is that he never has any problems with things that I do? Am I just perfect? Or is he..

  8. […] I have a bad habit of not planning ahead or preparing for things that overwhelm me.  […]

  9. Jean says:

    I’ve used conflict techniques I taught my students with my husband- “I heard you say…” The baby tools teach us o downshift when we have a behavior issue with kids, I think adults(husbands) need the same thing.:)

    • Katia says:

      To be completely honest when I was reading the book I was identifying with the kids in the book, realizing that some of these techniques would totally work on me!

  10. LOL! Sadly notes don’t work on my husband. It’s like I’ve written in invisible ink. He doesn’t read text messages either. Where does that leave us? LOL!

  11. Ha! I’ve always said that my hubs is just like having another kid, only bigger! But I never really thought about this approach. Might have to give it a try . . . . .

  12. Dana says:

    It sounds like an excellent approach, but my husband would instantly know what I was doing and get pissed off. I should also mention that I haven’t read a parenting book in over a decade, so I’m a bit rusty. Maybe you can just talk to him for me, Katia?

  13. Karen says:

    OMG…so loving this post…going to try some of this with my hubby…they really are like little kids, LOL.

  14. I had honestly never thought about this. I have thought a lot about applying teaching classroom techniques to my son (and have been wildly unsuccessful so far). You could have a career as a marriage therapist, Katia! Although I’m afraid too that my husband would see right through this strategy.

  15. I do the Barbara Colorosso, “Do you want to do the dishes or fold the laundry?” thing… 🙂 Awesome post, Katia.

  16. basicallyb says:

    Loving the pointers! Taking notes over here.

  17. I’m a planner, but I tend to go into things with rose-colored glasses on. When I worked in an office, I saw changes as exciting and was eager to get the new thing underway, not considering how much more work it would add – then reality would set in and I was miserable. I do this for a lot of things – not thinking about the challenges that probably will come with changes/decisions. I love your denial picture – awesome!

  18. Well, first, how can I not love the Tao approach to life? That’s a given. Second, it sounds like it’s mostly working for you, so is this really a bad habit? I say stick with what works! Maybe some tweaks? And, third, I will definitely try some of those approaches on my husband too. I need to try something new, because we clearly aren’t getting anywhere with our current methods of communication!

  19. Aditi says:

    Haha 🙂 loved this post!! How many time I’ve said to my hsband “You’re such a child” & “I already have you, don’t need a second kid right now”…time to put the above techniques into action!

    • Katia says:

      Thank you so much, Aditi! Completely agree. I have to sometimes spend 45 minutes trying to convince my husband to wake up and I always tell myself it’s like having a teenager.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Between 2014-2015:

BlogHer '13 Voices of the Year Community Keynote Honoree
Scary Mommy
The Epistolarians


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 15,942 other followers

No Instagram images were found.

Blogarama - The Blog Directory
Finish the Sentence Friday
%d bloggers like this: