Thursday, March 30, 2006

That’s Not a Man, That’s a Jellyfish*

There are times when you want to say to someone, “I have two words for you. Get help.”

That’s what I’d like to say to James Wilson. Seriously. Get the tent off the roof and invest in a marriage counselor.

Mr. Wilson is upset because his young children are affecting the level of intimacy in his marriage. The two-year-old won’t sleep without a pacifier. The two-month-old won’t sleep without Mom.

Mr. Wilson, get a grip. Like you’re the first man to have to deal with young children and their various needs.

You can’t reason with a two-month-old. Anyone who stands in judgment of parents of young kids probably – and I stress probably – doesn’t have children. I mean, there are bad parents, sure. Parents who don’t discipline. Parents who give their kids everything they want.

But a two-month-old with sleep issues? Oh yeah, there’s a news flash.

Mr. Wilson has taken to the rooftops to protest the lack of intimacy in his marriage and force his wife to deal with their children’s issues.

He says on his site that he is doing this to protest because his wife won’t take his advice (I see nothing about him considering her point of view or trying things her way) and to send a message to wives everywhere that husbands have feelings too.

Mr. Wilson, so do wives. And so do mothers.

I hope lightning zaps your tent.

I’m being brutal here, but my issue isn’t actually his concerns with his children. I worked with children for many years. I have friends with young children. I have a niece and two nephews, ages 11 years, 7 years and 9 months.

I am familiar with the issues of childhood. I’ve seen a toddler tax the patience of the most understanding person.

In fact, my sister had all of her kids sleep with them. I’m not saying I advocate this, but I must admit that for them, it worked very well. Particularly now, with Dashiell, my sister is able to sleep through the night without getting up for him because he’s in a crib that attaches to the side of the bed, and she’s been able to continue working this year (her job allows her to bring him with her to work). For her, that was important because she finally got her dream job last year, and the pregnancy wasn’t planned.

I have another friend whose baby is a nocturnal feeder. When I was visiting, I was relieved when she took the baby to bed. Then I didn’t have to hear her scream at night.

I had a cousin that sucked her thumb until she was 9. Her parents finally put molasses on her hand, cured that. What the pacifier has to do with intruding on their intimacy I don’t get, anyway.

But what really bugs me about this guy is not that they disagree with how to deal with their children. That’s not unusual. What bothers me is how he’s turned this into a public campaign. Getting signatures from random people on a website petition is going to change his wife’s mind?

Why the hell would he think she’ll change if a bunch of strangers say she should? A marriage isn’t exactly a democracy, and neither is this petition. Seriously. All the overbearing men of the world will rush to sign this in support of one man trying to put a woman in her place.

What I want to know is, where is the petition to get this ass off the roof and into the doghouse?

I’m sorry, but if evilkev ever went public like this to try to strong-arm me with petitioned support from strangers, I’d check to see if his balls had been removed when I wasn’t looking.

Because any man that I can control to the point where he feels he has to cry out to other men to support him, because we can’t talk about things and work them out like adults, is not a man. He’s a spineless jellyfish.

This isn’t a last-ditch effort – this is just a ploy for attention, to get people to take sides in his marriage. I’m sure he knows deep down that if he talks to someone with intelligence and experience – like a marriage counselor - they’ll tell him he isn’t special and he’s being unreasonable.

I don’t respect a man – or anyone - who runs away from his problems and whines for sympathy.

Mr. Wilson, you want to talk about things affecting the intimacy in marriage? Try being married to a man on call 24-7. Yep, other than when he’s working or out of town, evilkev lives with a radio attached to his hip. Last night we’d gone to bed and were talking and the tones went off. He had to jump out of bed and go running.

See me sulking about our unfinished conversation?

Happened the other day when we were out for lunch. The food came, he took one bite and the tones went off.

The reality is, it can happen any time, without warning. When we’re sharing a, ahem, private moment against the laundry room door or when we’re in the shower or – dare I say it? – when we’re in bed, the radio always has to be there. And you can’t say, “NOT NOW, dammit.”

You just hope you don’t accidentally press the talk button and transmit anything when the radio doesn’t intrude.

And you know what? That’s okay. There are some nights I get woken up at 3 am. There are mornings that come and evilkev’s still on a call and I don’t know where he is or how long he’ll be.

But I supported his decision to be a firefighter.

And for heaven’s sake Mr. Wilson, your wife didn’t create those children alone.

Please, go to this site and tell this guy to invest in a pair and try to act like a real mature married man.

The one thing we can all take comfort in. No matter how left of center we might be, we can rest assured, knowing there are plenty of people in the world who are much stranger than we are.

And Mr. Wilson is, in my books, the wackjob of the week. Psst, Mr. Wilson. Let me tell you what’s intruding on the intimacy in your marriage now: YOU. As long as you sleep on the roof, you’re sleeping alone, buddy.

And how the hell do you think your kids will feel when they realize you abandoned your role in the family because you were fed up with their issues? You expect your two-month-old and two-year-old to demonstrate a level of maturity that you have yet to exhibit. Who the hell is the parent? Who’s the adult? This isn’t an adult solution to an adult problem. It’s just childish.

Your family deserve better. I hope they get it, after the divorce.

*The planned post for today has been pre-empted due to my need to rant about this.


Bernita said...

One word:
She's got 3 kids - not two.
What a jerk.

Christa M. Miller said...

Yeah. There's no excuse for this. Even if she takes him for granted and he doesn't feel able to talk to her. I would wager that postpartum depression COULD be in play here (in which case: get her some help!) but I'm not familiar with the case - this is the first I've heard of it. Got my own 2yo to worry about.

I hope this mom's example of what it means to be there for her family outlasts her husband's. And I hope she finds someone better, or he gets his act together and realizes what his kids are learning RIGHT NOW from his behavior. My son doesn't even like when his Dada is at work. I can't imagine what her toddler or older child must be feeling and saying.

Bernita said...

This, without doubt, is the kind of guy who turns sex into just another chore.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Yeah, if it wasn't for the kids, I'd say he's doing her a favour and I hope she realizes it soon.

Tania said...

What a selfish jerk! He's acting like a child who isn't getting his own way, and decides to throw a loud tantrum in public. If he put as much effort into being a good husband and father as he does into his ridiculous 'strike', the family would be much better off.

I don't know what the wife is going to do, but I could never put up with someone who would (or could) do that.

Anonymous said...

I've seen wife strikes too. Just as pathetic. Actually, my cousin did one....

Sandra Ruttan said...

You know, I'm so relieved people agree with me, because every time I get on a soap box I know there's more than one side to things.

But yes, Tania - the public temper tantrum. I expect his rattle to fall over the eaves any minute now.

Jason - wife strikes? Yes, equally pathetic. People, if you feel the need to leave, it's called a separation, and it isn't a ploy for public support - it's a drastic step in your marriage that may see it come to an end.

JamesO said...

This actually ties nicely into yesterday's post about expectations (which, of course, was your intention all along, wasn't it, Sandra).

This idiot presumably wanted to have children. Did it never occur to him that procreating would add to the number of people in the relationship? He's not going to get that old intimacy back until the two month old has graduated and left home (by which time the two year old will probably be dumping grandkids on him so he can go and find a little intimacy.)

This twit (can I used the word Asshat? Can I? Please?) is so wrapped up in his own expectations, his me! me! me! that he's completely unaware that other people, with their own set of wants, needs and desires, exist out there. What a selfish, self-centred bastard.

I despair at the sheer mindlessness of people sometimes. Honestly, you should need a licence before you're allowed to breed...

Sandra Ruttan said...

I swear, it wasn't my intention! I just heard about this guy on the news last night, and thought, "There's a blog topic." Seriously.

But yeah, call his Asshat, or Buttwipe or whatever. I don't mind at all.

Your points are dead on. It's about more than his needs in the relationship now and he completely fails to grasp that, as far as I can tell.

And I COMPLETELY agree about needing a license to breed. I mean, seriously, some people are not worthy of their kids.

fidelity said...

right on. see

Anonymous said...

Great site! This issue led me to a new blog!

I actually agree with him to a point about the whole family bed thing (but WTF is up with the pacifier thing?!). However, this guy gets no sympathy from me for the sole reason that what he is doing will harm his marriage and his children. If not now, then later. He needs to grow the hell up. I know toddlers more mature than this guy.

Yet, I do not post anything on his site because that's what the guy wants: attention. He's like a little child in that it wouldn't matter if the attention were positive or negative; he's throwing a fit to see what he gets. If I were the wife, I would probably ask him to leave the house and take his strike elsewhere. If he wouldn't leave, then I would go to a family members' home for as long as it took, even if it eventually meant divorce.

Anonymous said...

Glad to see some reasonable debate on this. Sounds like that's what is lacking in his marriage - his advice sound like orders to me, and I'm guessing he's mad she won't follow them. Why not negotiate? The oldest boy was out of the bed by 6 months, it's not like she's keeping them in there very long in the grand scheme. And it's not like the bedroom is the only place you can have sex, geesh. I have a 1 year old who sleeps with me - we weren't doctrinal cosleepers, its just what worked and let us all get some sleep. I say, go with what works and be flexible about your expectations - that flexibility is really a requirement in parenting.

Erik Ivan James said...

A once stray dog now sleeps with us. The other dog, the old one, would be too if she could still jump up.

Ever hear the song "Afternoon Delight"? Wife and I like afternoon delight.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Glad to see some new faces here, and that this post has resonated with people. Even if we disagree about kids in the bed or whatever - which is totally fine, I don't have them so I'm not judging it - we can talk like civilized adults and express our views in a respectful manner.

It's really a shame this guy can't do that in his marriage.

Kate said...

I don't have any patience with men who are jealous of babies. When you have children what they need has to come before what you want.

Boy Kim said...

If The Princesses woke up in the night and had difficulty going back to sleep, or if they simply wandered in and climbed in with us, we always let them sleep with us. (One unexpected benefit of this is that I can now sleep on any surface down to 8inches wide.)

In my opinion, one of the most important things for new mothers and fathers is getting enough sleep to be able to do their day jobs (whether that is stay-at-home-mum/dad or go-out-to-work-mum/dad) to the best of their ability.

The children soon grow out of the need to share their parents' bed.

And as I did all the night feeds, I had a majority vote.

Boy Kim said...

Oh, and one more thing... men get post-natal depression too. Sometimes it's not always their fault.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Fair enough, but for the love of marriage, man, get a counselor, don't go on the roof!

I mean, if you read what this guy says, he's not depressed. He's trying to send a message to women everywhere and his wife.

Idiot. They should tattoo "loser" on his forehead while he's sleeping, backwards so that every time he looks in the mirror he remembers he's stupid.

Yeah, yeah, down to petty name-calling, but really, that's how he's acting.

R.J. Baker said...

What happened to a nice bottle of hand lotion and a Hustler Mag?

Sandra Ruttan said...

Ah, that's what I love about RJ... tell it like it is.

So glad you all feel free to discuss the props for masturbation here. So educational.

In fact, tomorrow I may discuss oral sex...

Boy Kim said...

I wasn't implying he is depressed. Or that if he is it excuses him.

I was just saying.

My apologies for being vague/unspecific/male.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Never apologize for being male! I love men! I even married one.

Bernita said...

"in a respectful manner"
Sandra, I was about to apologize for calling him an asshole, but then you called him an idiot, so I won't apologize after all - if you don't mind.

Sandra Ruttan said...

No Bernita, I don't mind.

I more was thinking that people here who did express different viewpoints (re kids in beds or not in beds) didn't attack anyone else or call names and that was respectful expression.

But this guy, his behaviour is stupid, and he's acting like an asshole. So chances are, he's both.

Melissa said...

YES! YES! YES! I am jumping up and down!! I LOVE THIS POST!

Mr. Wilson is such a fool. If he truly respected his wife, he would never get the public involved. How embarrassing for her. The fact that he is trying to kick his two-month-old out of bed is just pathetic.

Glad to see that I wasn't the only one who blogged about this today!

Phlintstone said...

OK, so maybe pitching a tent on your roof and airing your dirty laundry in public is not the best way to tackle this issue. I do relate to the feeling of helplessness that he must be feeling. I have four kids and I too have similar issues. I missed the newscast, but when I came home from work, my wife brought it to my attention. We have had discussions on this same topic in the past. I agree that having a 2 month old in one's bed may not really hinder intimacy, but believe me, a 2 month old turns into a six year old very quickly. And a 3, 4, 5 or 6 year old will definitely cramp the bed. Allow me to fully state my current situation. My wife is a stay at home Mom. As this is my 2nd Marriage, I have 4 children but together my wife and I have 3 children in common. My oldest son is 14. No worries there. His mom and I were of the same mind and got him out of our bed when his wild sleeping style made for a bad-sleeping experience for both of us. With my current wife, we have a 6-year-old daughter who will make her way to our bed 6 out of 7 nights a week. We have a 4-year-old son who has a permanent spot in our bed that is right in the middle of my wife and I. He has his own pillow and his own pee pee pad for those occasional nighttime accidents. Our youngest daughter, with the exception of a few times when she was sick, has not even smelled our bedroom. The reason for this is because we both agree that we no longer have the room in our King Sized bed. We also have 2 dogs, one of which sleeps in our bed every night. The other dog is only an occasional bed partner. Nuff said. There was a time about 1 year ago when having 2 kids and a dog in our bed every night got to be too much. We both experienced a lack of sleep from waking up 20 - 30 times per night to move the children over. All of my kids seem to be burrowers. While sleeping, they tend to burrow hands and feet under any part of my wife or myself that they can find. Like I said, about 1 year ago, we both got fed up with the sleeping or lack of sleeping situation and we put up with a week of kicking and screaming and gnashing of teeth and kept our kids out of our bed. It was painful, but they got used to it and began sleeping in their own beds. We enjoyed a few weeks of bliss before I went away for a week to Canada on Business. When I returned, I was disappointed to find that the kids were back. This time they were more firmly entrenched than before. Say all you want about the them only being children once, but I know I am a good father and a very tolerant person and this was about all that I could take. And to everyone that connected intimacy to sex, I suggest another meaning. How about lying together and falling asleep in each other's arms. What about Spooning ?? I loved spooning, at least what I can remember of it. But let's not to exclude SEX. Yes you can have sex anywhere and one can suggest creativity, but for the most part, Kids are always under foot. Why not create a place that is sacred to the Mom and Dad. A Place where you can be together as man and wife. A place where kids are optional and not mandatory. I feel that while children are a joyful by product of a marriage, they certainly do not have to define a marriage. For a marriage to stand the test of time, a decision of this magnitude should not be unilateral. If Mom and Dad end up distancing themselves from each other, or worse yet getting divorced, how will that negatively affect the children ??

Sandra Ruttan said...

The thing is, this guy isn't saying the two year old is in the bed - he's saying the two month old is.

And you can get cribs that attach on the side and it has no impact on anyone except Mom for feeding.

One thing my sister and her husband did when their daughter returned to the bedroom when her brother was born, was the got a mat for her and created a bedroll and if she came in at night she had to sleep on it. Not perfect, but a compromise.

But all of this isn't really the point. Where's the marriage counseling? Where's the effort to work this out within the home? Why do people feel the need to air their dirty laundry and invite the world to take sides in their marriage? This guy has done the damage to his marriage -he will pull his family apart, because he's not treating his wife with respect. This is how people get entrenched in their positions. Now, if she changes, it will be his victory, she'll have learned her lesson. And that's going to smart for anyone to have it seen that way.

Working out differences in marriage is hard enough. When we got our first dog, he was a rescue dog and my husband wanted me to sleep with the dog at first to get him settled. So he slept upstairs with the cats and I slept downstairs with the dog. That lasted a lot longer than either of us imagined as our husky worked through his anxiety issues.

Then we got a puppy as a companion for our husky, and I was back down in the basement. All told, it was 5 months of sleeping separately.

Sex was not for the night or the bed.

And we made that kind of commitment to our pets.

I'm not sure I'd want my kids in bed with me. But right now, that's not for me to worry about. Bottom line is, every couple handles things in marriage differently, and they have to work through these things.

If this was an argument over getting a new minivan, would we expect to see this behaviour? What about if she wanted to take a job and he wanted her to stay home with the kids? Or vice versa? Would we expect to see someone take to the roof then?

This isn't about kids or sex, really. It's about how you deal with your marriage relationship as an adult. If every time I've been mad at my husband or he at me, one of us took to the roof, we'd have divorced a long time ago. That doesn't help anything. We talk things through, we resolve our differences, we build on our common ground and we let each other both save face without dishing blame.

That's a marriage. This guy, he's running a dictatorship. And signing his petition and reinforcing his little crusade is only going to keep him away from his family longer, going to make them both more resentful, and make it harder to resolve this issue.

Now, if people want to applaud that, that's their business. But he's acting like an idiot and an asshole, and not demonstrating one iota of maturity in his marriage. He's gone out there and asked the world to support him, and when you put yourself out there, some people aren't going to like what you do.

I don't. If he doesn't like my opinion, he can stick it. He put himself on the news with his behaviour and since he wants this attention (he commented quite positively on the sign and tent getting the neighbour's and wife's attention on his site) then he's going to have to take the negative with the positive.

Phlintstone said...

I don't know that I would blame him. In today's world, sending out issues over cyber space has become commonplace. An online Blog, An online petition. Who is to say what is acceptable and what is not? He is merely putting forth an issue that most likely many men and women have experienced or is currently experiencing (like me).. Maybe he is looking for some type of a miracle idea that both he and his wife can agree on.. Like I said, I relate to the feelings of frustration. The needs that I have to lie down with my wife conflict with the needs that I have to coddle and comfort my children. I believe that James too must have experienced the same dichotomy before reaching out to cyber space. I must admit that we have tried counseling, and we have had many discussions on the very same topic. I am now to the point of suffering silently. I have no intentions of leaving, but I can certainly understand how the idea to do so can become more and more attractive as time goes by.

Sandra Ruttan said...

There's one thing that's clear to me:

He's left.

And his point seems to be that he isn't going back until his wife backs down.

So it's now about winner and losers, not resolving the differences between them.

Seriously, think for a second how you'd feel if your wife went to the roof, started a website and aired her grievances about you? Do you think that would suddenly make you see things from her perspective, or make you angry?

Any time you start complaining publicly about your spouse or your marriage, you're making a bad situation much much worse. Now, I take all kinds of shots at my husband here - my regulars know that he reads my blog, occasionally comments on it. He usually sees everything before it goes up. We're very clear on it - I don't blog with an expectation for him to change, I poke fun at him sometimes (and myself) because I love him. There's a big difference.

You see, the other thing is, people presume stuff into the situation. You can believe he must have felt similar frustration to you, you can say that counseling didn't work for you so it's no big deal if he doesn't try it (not saying you said, that, I'm just saying for example, you could think that and others might).

But the point here is that this is a relationship and as far as I can tell, instead of making any real effort to work things out in their marriage, he's gone running to the rooftop. Where is the respect for his wife in this? There's no dialogue. Maybe a counselor won't fix his problems, but in the two months since kid #2 was born you can't tell me he's tried everything. And whether trying counseling - for example - would help isn't necessarily the point. How does one's spouse feel when their partner just ditches the conversation and gets a sign and moves to the roof?

I'm not at all convinced she ever had an opportunity to really hear his issues, or that there was any dialogue and attempt at understanding here at all.

We have kids- not even teenagers- divorcing their parents and fathers living in tents on rooftops. He calls it a strike - what it is is a separation. And whether he gets signatures on a petition or not, as far as I'm concerned she should change the locks and not let him back in the house without some serious marriage counseling and attempts at mutual respect here.

Marriage isn't a one-way street. Most problems that come into it are pretty close in the share of blame. You talk from the perspective of having much older kids, and that's one thing, but this guy is not in the exact same position as you. Talk to me when the kids are 5, 6, 7, when counseling has failed.

But really, this is why you have marriage counseling to begin with and discuss parenting issues and philosophies. Okay, people change over time, but too many couples gloss this over and never discuss how they want to approach raising children.

This guy wants his 15 minutes, as far as I'm concerned. He's doing it at the expense of his marriage.

I'll tell you something. My dad didn't even come to the hospital when I was born because I was a girl. 4 days old and home before he ever saw me. You think we've had a great relationship? I've always known I wasn't wanted, and in our case it's way beyond that to a history of family problems I won't bore you with. I haven't seen him in 11 years.

Now, forget your sympathies with this guy. Think for a minute about how his kids will feel. This can't be a secret - there's media coverage up the yin yang. His kids will know about this.

You think that they'll have a healthy relationship with him when they find out?

I doubt it.

Phlintstone said...

I see where we are both biased in opposite directions. The kids are way too young to be affected by this in any way. From the brief interview with the wife that I saw, I gathered that she was not interested in compromising her stance. She flippantly commented that he would be back. I can almost see through my own eyes his pleas falling on deaf ears. She will brook no arguments on this issue. I make no suggestion that from the brief glimpses that we have seen into their lives that any of us can truly say what has transpired before this fiasco got launched onto the cyber highways, But I choose to speak as eloquently as I can on his behalf as it seems that at least on this BLOG, the cards are stacked against him. I also feel that he has a valid beef. Because I am in a similar position, it is not hard for me to believe that he has tried to discuss this with his wife. It is not hard to believe that he too just rolls over each night and silently wishes that he could be spooning. It is not hard to believe that he too is not trying to end his marriage, but clumsily trying to meet somewhere in the middle. Where is the middle on this ? Allowing the children in your bed sometimes ? I would even be happy with that, but I doubt it would work... And I'll say it again. Before you know it, a 2 month old turns into a 6 year old. I can tell you from experience that the older they get, the more difficult it will be to get them out of your bed. I applaud his being proactive with the 2 month old before they get too used to needing that parental contact to sleep at night. Additionally, I must also admit that the longer this goes on, the harder my heart gets. If I have discussed on several occasions with my wife my desires/needs to have a Parental bed free of children and she continually ignores my attempts at communicating this all to important topic, then how do I keep from dying on the inside just a little bit more each and every day that this goes on. I now feel that suffering silently this way is a coward’s way out. James heroically challenges this situation with all the tools that he has at his disposal. He will not let his marriage fade slowly into the night. He will fight !! Go James !!

Bonnie Calhoun said...

I'm there for ya', girlfriend...just not when I'm asleep...which is where I am right about now!!!

Practically Perfect said...

I've voiced my opinions in several places over the internet, and feel so strongly that I would like to voice them here, also.

This "man" needs to stop with the power struggle and work WITH his wife on the issues in their marriage. This is not "letting her win" or anything like that. It's what grown-ups do when they have marital problems. They work them out instead of taking the easy way out of co-parenting, instead of taking the easy way out of resolving issues, instead of just ignoring the family. He needs help, and I really encourage his wife to seek a divorce for what he's put her through with airing their "dirty laundry" through several media sources.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Thanks Bonnie, and PPIEW - I agree with you. I don't care what people think of kids in bed or kids not in bed - this is not the way you resolve issues in a marriage, and I'm glad you're supporting this woman by voicing your opinions too.

Anonymous said...

This guy is a registered sex offender. From googling the type of conviction, I think he is guilty of forcibly raping a minor. Look up MICHIGAN SEX OFFENDER. Go to the police website that shows up. Type in his name: JAMES WILSON. Age about 33. Lives in Redford. ding ding! That's the one. His wife and children have bigger problems than his being on the roof. Notice -- his blog is down, now that the cat is out of the bag.

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