Joey is now 20 months old, and Melissa says Tom has mellowed somewhat, revealing that quitting her job to stay home with their son when he was 9 months old was a turning point in Tom's controlling attitude. "I think he felt better knowing that my full-time job was to take care of Joey," she speculates. The other marriage-saving move was Melissa's decision to focus on her husband's positive qualities. "Tom's a great dad, and I'd rather have him be too involved than totally absent," she says. "Sure, he's a diva—and he's turning Joey into a diva—but he also makes life fun. I'm a really laid-back person, which is why we get along so well."
"Every parent has strengths and weaknesses," adds Paredes. "You need to decide together what each of you brings to the table. You may decide that dad's a better cook and you enjoy giving the baths. Whatever works for you as a couple is fine, as long as you give your partner the space and the freedom to do his tasks his way. As your child gets older, it's especially important for him to see his parents respecting each other's strengths."
Melissa admits she can't resist poking fun at her husband on occasion: "Joey has this T-shirt that says ‘Next tantrum in five minutes.' The other day I brought it to Tom and said, ‘I'm sorry honey, but I shrunk your shirt.' He had to laugh."