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181: When Your Partner Refuses to Parent on the Same Page

By April 12, 2022November 7th, 2023Mastermind Parenting Podcast
181: When Your Partner Refuses to Parent on the Same Page

What do you do when you and your partner disagree on parenting styles and strategies? Unfortunately, this is the case with most of my moms. In this episode I unpack a story that is all too common. It’s a story of a volatile household, “To-Do List Sex,” and constant stress.

The mom in this story has stuck with the Mastermind Parenting program and learned new methods of parenting. She stayed in her own lane, kept slogging along, and made mistakes along the way. But she’s done her own work, created change in her mind and her life, and took a stand. She refused to sweep the issues under the rug anymore and stuck to her guns.

It wasn’t easy. Her husband is a good guy, deep down. So often, so much of the struggle is a giant miscommunication. Over time, little by little, things have gotten better. She has found ways to change patterns and hold her partner accountable. She’s been able to step into her strength and improve all the relationships in her life.

Listen to this episode for more of my thoughts and strategies on how you can move toward being a Mastermind Parent!

As always, thanks for listening, and be sure and head over to Facebook and you can join my free group Mastermind Parenting Community, where we post tips and tools and do pop up Live conversations where I do extra teaching and coaching to support you in helping your strong-willed children so that they can FEEL better and DO better. If you enjoyed this episode and think that others could benefit from listening, please share it!

About Randi Rubenstein

Randi Rubenstein helps parents with strong-willed kiddo become a happier family and enjoy the simple things again like bike rides and beach vacays.

She’s the founder of Mastermind Parenting, host of the Mastermind Parenting podcast, and author of The Parent Gap. Randi works with parents across the U.S.

At Mastermind Parenting, we believe every human deserves to have a family that gets along.

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My name is Randi Rubenstein, and welcome to the Mastermind Parenting Podcast At Mastermind Parenting, we’re on a mission to support strong-willed kids and the families that love them. You’re listening to the Mastermind Parenting Podcast with Randi Rubenstein episode 180 1. Hi guys, welcome to this week. The topic for this week is When Your Partner Refuses to Parent on the Same Page. And unfortunately, this is the case with most of my moms. Okay. So here’s a message that I just got from one of my moms. One of my mastermind moms, one of the moms in my program yesterday, she said, I just pulled into my driveway and my husband has the boys outside playing basketball with smiles on their faces.

It’s also hailing here and there. So playing. Okay. So what do we want? Like how much do we love it? When we see our people just being happy and like the circumstances aren’t perfect. It’s hailing outside. They have smiles on their faces and they’re enjoying each other and they’re playing and they’re not on freaking technology and we didn’t drive up. Like, it’s the worst when you come home and like everyone’s fighting, you walk into a war zone. So like driving up and seeing this, she was like, yes, yes, yes. Okay. Before you’re like, oh, well that’s not how my husband is or must be nice.

(1m 36s):
I want you to know that this is the same dad that embarrassed this mom season after season after season, when he coached his son’s sports teams and he cared a little too much and continuously lost his temper. But this season, you know what she had, she had the wherewithal to say, and based on getting herself to a better place and doing all the work that she’s been doing with me and just all the self-awareness work and just helping her family get to a better place.

(2m 18s):
They’re not out of the woods by any means, but just really by working on herself and learning new tools and understanding her own patterns and where they come from. And when they’re showing up, she said to her husband, she’s like, if you’re going to coach, if you’re going to volunteer to coach, can you please make a commitment to control your temper? When you lose your temper at the games, I know you’re into it. I know you’re all invested. And when you lose your temper, it’s embarrassing. It’s embarrassing. It’s not right.

(2m 59s):
This is kids rec league game. You, you are a smart, successful, and this guy’s even a litigator. Like you are smart, successful litigator with huge career. And when you show up coaching sixth grade basketball, as if we’re about to look like, like you’ve just leveraged our house and it’s all riding on this game. Like it’s freaking embarrassing for me. I feel like other people are looking at me. I feel like you’re totally out of control and it’s embarrassing.

(3m 41s):
And he said, you know, I think he got defensive actually, when she told him. But it was interesting because things changed for him based on her having the voice to actually see and acknowledge and let him know. I don’t like sitting in the stands when you’re losing your mind out there. I find it to be embarrassing. Okay. This is the same guy who also sort of expected to have sex two to three times a week. And look, nobody’s talking about this.

(4m 23s):
I can’t tell you how many. I just heard this term recently where it was a woman, not a woman that I work with, but a woman in some other thing that I was listening to and she called it to Do List Sex. Like I have to Do List Sex. That’s what she said. She was like, I know that like these are the days or these are the nights. And like, I just need to get it over with. And the more I’m like talking to moms, you know, I mean, this is a very shameful topic, but I think that there are more women than not, who are having to Do List Sex. So this mom, she was having to Do List Sex. Her husband expected to have sex two to three times a week, even though quite often, their household was really volatile.

(5m 11s):
They weren’t on the same page for a really, really long time. And he shamed and belittled his wife for not bringing home a paycheck. He constantly gas litter for always being stressed out and overwhelmed. Like, what do you even do all day? Like why, what what’s stressing you out? Why are you so stressed out? Right? Like what are you doing all day? So there was just these little nuance digs. And then two to three times a week, it’s like, we’re married. Like I like to have sex. My job is really stressful. And so she was like, and she did, you know how many women are having to Do List Sex because it just makes life too difficult if they don’t.

(6m 4s):
Right. So this is also the same dad who has, even though when you sign up for Mastermind, Parenting and our programs, it’s a family membership. So I encourage both mom and dad to show up to the cause. Okay. He’s never come to a coaching call and we might say, oh, but he’s got a big job. He’s a litigator, blah, blah, blah. Guess what? Guess who’s some of my favorite favorite parents to work with are my female physicians. You know, how many of my female physicians show up on a Thursday at 11 o’clock 1130 to be on a coaching call. You know how many, a lot, a lot they schedule it in.

(6m 47s):
They schedule it in, they prioritize it. They prioritize their family. There’s plenty of professionals with very big careers. You schedule in what you prioritize. Okay? So this dad has never been on a coaching call. I don’t know that he’s ever officially listened to any of our content. He’s for sure, never turned in an accountability assignment to get feedback from me. So we have these programs and you sign up per family and you go through the program. We have this very specific way. We kind of, I don’t want anyone at the end of your long day having to like go to a computer and whatever. So like we have this whole way and we, you know, no everybody’s on their phones.

(7m 29s):
Who’s made it super mobile phone friendly. And so we have this way, we coach people and we disseminate the trainings. We send it to your phone and we have an app and there’s all these convenient ways. And then we have a way that you can submit homework and get direct feedback from me on your homework. Never. He’s never done any of that. This is the same dad who loves, loves, loves his boys and is obsessed with the latest sneaker drop. Do y’all know what that is, but who also loses his mind almost daily and yells curses, shames. And borates his boys for fighting for fighting with each other and being nasty to each other.

(8m 13s):
So he berates semi shames them. He yells at them, he curses and they’re all very volatile. Okay. So he doesn’t see that he’s doing the exact same thing that he wants them to stop doing with each other. He doesn’t see that he’s modeling the behavior that he doesn’t want. And our kids learn by what we model way more than by what we tell them to do. And he can’t see it clearly. And here’s a little preview where I’m going to talk more about why he can’t see it. Clearly. None of us can. And I’m going to talk more about that in next week’s episode. Okay. All those things being said about this stat, it’ll be fairly easy to see him as the problem.

(8m 59s):
So he’s modeling the mean behavior for his boys that he doesn’t want them to do to each other. He he’s belittling his wife and then not understanding why she might not be in the mood for sex with him. Like, I don’t know about you guys, but it’s not a big turn on for me. When somebody sees me as a loser who doesn’t get anything done all day and doesn’t see my value, like call me crazy. Not a huge turn on. Okay. He’s the coach who loses his mind at the games. Like, yeah, I’ve been around lots of these coaches.

(9m 39s):
And let me tell you something. I was judging their wives. Like, like dude, like, like tell him, he looks like a freaking lunatic. Like really like we’re dealing with nine year olds here. Like, do you think this is fun? Is that fun for the kids? When they’ve got some scary adult losing their mind? Like, no, like not okay. Act like a freaking grownup. Like, yes, I was. I was judging everyone all around. Okay. So he was that guy. And then he’s not even taking part in this amazing program that they’ve paid for refusing to learn alongside his wife and even undermining her more often than not about the new methods that the mastermind methods and how they don’t work.

(10m 28s):
They don’t work. They don’t work. So he often made life harder for her as she was trying to do something difficult. And it’s not easy. It’s not easy to learn a new way to discipline your kids and to retrain your brain. Like this is hard freaking work. So when someone is questioning you, you know, when you’re just growing your sea legs and they’re constantly telling you that your new training method is bogus, it’s not exactly motivating or supportive. Like it’s hard to learn new things. It’s kind of like when I learn something new or I read an article and then I want to tell someone else about it, but it’s some brand new concept and I’m like fumbling over trying to explain it because I just learned it myself.

(11m 11s):
Now me, I’m always like, oh, this is such a good concept. This is such a good article. I’m no I’m going to completely butcher it, but you’ve got to learn about it even my bumbly way. And the more you teach it and practice and practice and practice, the better you get, you have more mastery about it. But when you’re just learning something new, you’re a beginner. You’re not going to be an expert teacher. Okay. You want your kids to feel like they can talk to you about absolutely anything except you often find yourself struggling for just the right words when life gets sticky, how do you handle it when your kids ask why they can’t have cookies before dinner, or maybe it’s a more serious topic like death of a loved one divorce or how to deal with a mean friend, coach or teacher?

(11m 56s):
Well, I have just the right resource for you. Go to Mastermind, Parenting dot com slash productive dash conversation to download my three-step framework. That’ll help you navigate hard conversations so that they are effective and most importantly productive So this mom, even with all of those factors, she still has stuck with this program and learned new methods. Okay. So she kept, She stayed in her own lane and she kept slogging along. And yeah, she made a lot of mistakes.

(12m 36s):
She tried to tell him many times what he was doing wrong and what she was learning, which FYI that never works, never works. All it does is pisses off the other parent and makes them usually dig their heels in more and not follow your lead. Like nobody wants to be criticized and to told, you know, pointed out all the ways they’re screwing it up, all the things they’re doing wrong, nobody wants that. So mostly she’s gotten back in and just done her own work and created change in her own mind and in her own life and changed the relationship she has with her kids.

(13m 16s):
So a few months ago with all of these factors, things really came to a head and this mom had built up her strength and she just couldn’t allow the verbal violence. And sometimes even the physical violence in the household to continue, she just couldn’t. And so she took a stand and she refused to resolve things and sweep the issues under the rug anymore. And even when her husband did his normal icing out pattern, which he had done for years, she stuck to her guns. She didn’t give in and the icing out pattern. I want you all to, to realize like it’s a very painful kind of mental torture that many people learn to do when, when we’re raised by emotionally immature parents.

(14m 9s):
So you may have had the parent that was scary and explosive, but you may have also had the parent that just gave you the cold shoulder and iced you out and both are painful. So normally when her husband cold shoulders, her, she caves, y’all like, hi, how I turned terms into verbs when he calls shoulders or she caves. And she justifies, right? Like, ah, he’s a really good guy because I know even though this whole narrative that I just painted, he actually is a really good guy. He’s just a human guy. He’s just a human person. And nobody is admitting this reality even to themselves, let alone to other people.

(14m 55s):
No one is admitting that this is what it looks like in many households. So she typically, when he ices her out, she typically justifies how he actually is a good guy and she’s got this whole other narrative and all these examples of how he’s a really good guy. And she typically just sweeps the issues, the unresolved issues under the rug. And they never get resolved. But this time she did not, she allowed the extreme discomfort of not doing that. Like sitting with him, trying to ice her out and her not solving it, sweeping it under the rug and just moving on as if it didn’t happen.

(15m 41s):
She actually allowed some distance between them for a couple of weeks. And she just refused to ignore the dynamic and the frequent adult temper tantrums that her husband had. She just refused to ignore it. She didn’t bring it up every second. She just didn’t kiss makeup and make it all better. She just sort of acted like business partners. They talked about things with the kids, they manage things. And if she was really honest, as she was with me, you know, she hit off scope and volatile herself for years. And she was ashamed at that. But more importantly, she was willing to be that version of herself anymore.

(16m 25s):
She didn’t like herself when she lost control. She didn’t like herself as that version choose various shamed about that. So her and her husband, they remained distant for a few weeks. It was very uncomfortable. And even though he kept trying to ice her out, she didn’t throw the ball back. She didn’t let it come to a head. She didn’t ignore it. She just stayed in her own lane. And she still, during this time picked up his favorite chocolate croissant on her trips to the grocery because she was like, I’m breaking up with a destructive pattern.

(17m 7s):
And if I make him mad, if I go and just try to escalate the situation and fight with him the way we typically do, and then I end up ultimately glossing over it and just blowing it off and justifying, nothing’s going to change. And he’s just doing the pattern that he’s used to. And I’m just doing the pattern that I’m used to. Both of us came from chaotic households, and this is what’s normal for us and we’re changing it, but he doesn’t know how to change it yet. I’m the leader here. And so when she was at the grocery store and she saw those chocolate croissants that he loves, she would pick them up one and that started to soften things.

(17m 49s):
She put it on the counter. She didn’t make a big deal. She’s like, oh, I got you. One of those chocolate croissants. He was like, oh wow, thanks. It was just like a little peace offering, but she did not gloss over the issue. She stood her ground and she held him accountable. She pushed him, pushed for therapy. He’s refused so far refuses to go to therapy. Divorce had even been mentioned, but mostly she just kept working on herself. She just kept getting stronger herself. There really wasn’t anything dramatic. You guys that happened like no big come to Jesus conversation.

(18m 32s):
She just kept doing the right thing and refusing to operate in a volatile way. And they just started sort of getting along better. And her husband has all of a sudden started displaying many of the mastermind methods that he used to challenge her on. And he told her how he was able, how he really was able to be such a great coach this season and never lose his temper was Lee. He had a sentence in his mind. Don’t embarrass my wife. Don’t embarrass my wife. Don’t miss my wife. He literally controlled his reactivity with a mantra, with a mantra.

(19m 14s):
Don’t embarrass my wife. That was his mantra. You guys like, we think of what monitors would need to be all fluffy. It’s just like a sentence that you’re coming back to. That’s going to keep you accountable to yourself and out of reactivity, it helped him to control his impulses. Don’t bearish, your wife don’t be, or your, I don’t miss your wife, which is really his way of saying like calm people, solve problems, calm people, solve problems. Like you got this buddy, you got this. And let’s go back to the texts I read at the very beginning. She said, I just pulled into my driveway. Now, based on that whole story, do you all see why this was such a, what I call a pause for applause moment?

(19m 56s):
Like this was the trophy she gets for her hard work. She says just pulled into my driveway, has been, has the boys outside playing basketball with smiles on their faces, it’s hailing and they’re still playing. You know what I said to her, my response to that was I get such a high where marriages start improving because of the woman getting healthier and more empowered. This has actually been a recent discovery for me since my mom died last summer. And I think it’s another reason that I do what I do is to help women. Like my mom curate the calmer climate in their homes that I would have wanted growing up.

(20m 40s):
And I think my mom would have wanted to. And this mom, she said, things are shifting. Things are changing. Little by little things are changing. I’m liking my husband more. He’s liking himself more. He is a good guy. He is a good guy. So often, so much between us has been a big, giant miscommunication. Really more than anything. It’s just been lots and lots of miscommunication. And it’s not feeling like to Do List Sex anymore, right? Like she’s like, I’m liking him more.

(21m 21s):
I really am. We’re getting along better. We’re more connected. This mom took control of her family. You know, we can create a narrative where we make the other person, the villain. And I think all of us, I mean, you know, she was like, look, she’s like, there’s plenty of stuff I’ve done too. And I do that. I don’t feel proud about either. We ended in this state like running this very volatile household because we didn’t know how to do it differently. And now I’m learning. And so we’re, she was, you know, allowing herself to be Gaslight and put in all these positions of like, what do you do all day now?

(22m 4s):
She’s like, what do I do all day? I retrained my brain. I changed the dynamic of my family. I’m helping me and all the people in my hair. And she doesn’t need to say this to her husband. She has nothing to prove. She’s saying this to herself. It’s the opposite of sitting around eating Bon bons. She is changing patterns, really like patterns that these chaotic dysfunctional patterns that have been passed down from the generations before she is digging into this work changing patterns, she’s changing her life and her family’s life. So this is what I got for you guys this week.

(22m 46s):
I think my point really is, is yes, in a perfect world. It’s, I’ve got two parents, two willing parents who are coming to me and they’re both digging in and learning the tools and taking it seriously and doing the work to transform their lives and their families. And also the majority of the time, it’s just the mom who comes on board and she doesn’t know yet how to hold her husband accountable or how to even just model the things that she’s learning. So it’s one of my favorite parts of what I do is I love watching women find their voices step into their strength and just feel better about themselves and improve all the relationships in their lives.

(23m 39s):
It’s really a beautiful thing. Okay. Have a great week guys. Thanks for listening today, guys. I hope you picked up some tips tools, maybe some baby steps for creating more balance and boundaries in your life. And I just wanted to let you know, if you want to continue moving the needle forward in creating this for yourself, having a happier household. I want you to go to my website and check out Mastermind, Parenting dot com. We have three beginning programs, and if you need some accountability and more support, then please look for the one that would be a good fit for you. And as always, we’re on all the social channels under Mastermind Parenting on Instagram, it’s mastermind, underscore parenting.

(24m 28s):
And you know, periodically I do pop up on different Instagram lives, Facebook lives, where I give you teaching and coaching. And I love engaging with you live to help you help your strong-willed kids so that they can feel better because when they feel better, they do better. And I love, love, love, getting to know you guys. So thanks for listening. If you liked this podcast, please don’t forget to subscribe, rate and review super, super appreciative.


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