My wife of ten years and I have an amazing son, age six. I get out with my old friends, one night during the week - going for dinner, watching the hockey game, or seeing a movie.
However, my wife has no life outside our son (and me). No interest in a girl's night out, no friends. This is her choice, as I'd love for her to get out once in a while.
She obsesses about our son's health, and is extremely over-protective of him.
He has mild asthma. He's not sickly, enjoys activities with his peers as well as us. He occasionally acts up in school, but is never in the wrong, according to my wife.
When it comes to discussing which camp to send him to during the summer, her concerns about asthma make her reject a sports camp. Travel time on a bus is also a factor. I see no problem with either as long as he enjoys himself.
I've seen him participate in events like any other child without difficulty.
Her over-protectiveness has strained my relationship with my childhood friends (both male). Once, my friend's daughter, six, came over for a play date. My wife watched them like a hawk and claims the daughter intentionally tried to grab my son's genitals.
I know the daughter well and she wouldn't do this intentionally. My guess is she was trying to tickle him in the stomach and missed.
I couldn't believe an adult would even think of this about young kids. I spoke to my buddy about it and he told his wife. She's decided that my wife isn't welcome at their house, which prevents our getting together on weekends with our families, something I miss.
My wife shows little trust in my parenting judgment. If he's sick and I take his temperature, it's not good enough. She repeats the process ten minutes later.
Her actions are straining our marriage. How do I get her to understand that she's a little over-protective, to chill out, and enjoy life? She thinks that going for counselling is a sign of weakness.
See his asthma doctor together. Becoming medically knowledgeable specific to your son's asthma level, and learning how to avoid making him neurotic, are important to do together, to make decisions from equal competence.
Discuss sports camp, bus travel, etc. Ask what the boy needs to learn - when to use a puffer, or stop an activity, etc.
Similarly, go to school meetings with her, and ask to be informed too, when the teacher reports his misbehaviour. For the child's sake, you need to help her - NOT convince her (that's just a power struggle) - to see the boy as normal along with a few specific needs.
There are many parenting books in the self-help category. Search to find one that addresses this kind of one-sided control. If you two can get closer on raising the child, other issues (e.g. her overwhelming sense of mother-responsibility that's consumed all her time and interests) will be easier to tackle next.
Note: in the "tickle game" some children do get curious about the other's genitals. At six, with a parent watching, it's not a sexual assault. She could've easily diverted the girl, and later taught your son to know how to tell someone that they can't touch his private parts even in play.
Also, you shouldn't have told your friend, which helped create the bigger problem.
My husband and I often attend dinners at my warm, inviting, in-laws' home. However, my MIL leaves her cooked meat/turkey out on the counter - no refrigeration, no warming - for six hours!
My SIL then carved it, without washing his hands, and used his fingers to handle each cut piece. Neither our girls nor me ate any of it. My husband did, and was the only one who later had a very upset stomach and nausea.
My in-laws are very "touchy" when being told anything negative. We don't want to hurt them. I've offered to cook and bring the meat, but they refuse.
Feeling At Risk
Disarm the in-laws, with concern for their health. Bring information - just Google the latest warnings about food-safety (particularly poultry) - which both their son and you should present, as if newly discovered yourselves. Do this before the next dinner get-together.
Include the worrisome health effects, especially on seniors.
Tip of the day:
Power struggles over parenting methods affect not only the couple, but also the children.