Why it’s important to Parent as a Team
Do you struggle with feeling like you do all the work, or you feel like you and your partner often disagree on how to parent or what our priorities as parents should be?
Parenting is one of the most rewarding, albeit challenging roles we will ever face–it has no limits, it’s 24/7, and requires the ability to pivot quickly and frequently. It’s important to remember then, that you and your partner are in this together.
So how can you make yourselves successful as parents and keep your relationship strong?
As parents, there will be many different roles and hats that you will need to wear. As this role is so challenging, in order for you and your spouse to be successful, you must always remember that you need to work together–both for the success of your children but also to keep your relationship healthy and strong. As your family begins to grow and the dynamics of your relationship will change, it is important to discuss with your partner how you see yourselves in the new roles of parents. This is a discussion that may need to be revisited often as your family changes, or even just when you feel your own needs aren’t being met.
Topics for discussion with your partner may include things like, if someone will stay home with the kids – who will it be and for how long, what are the things you need to include in your day, what external help is needed to make sure that no one is spread too thinly, and so on. In addition to the responsibility and logistical questions, it is important to check in with your partner about things they enjoy doing with your child. They may love the bedtime routine, while you enjoy bathtime or visa versa. If there’s a certain time of day you dread, what are some solutions to make it better? How can you both work together to feel more positive and successful?
From my own personal experience, I feel that the more we communicate and work as a team, the more successful our relationship is, and in return, the better parents we are. It has taken several years to feel like we are in a good rhythm and even then, we still need to keep adapting together as the children’s needs shift. What I have found works best when I start to feel overwhelmed, is to readdress where I need help from my partner. It is important to keep the line of communication open so that one parent doesn’t feel as though all the worries are put on their shoulders.
These roles you determine will shift as your family grows, your children’s needs evolve, or you develop personally/professionally. And while these shifts are due to your children getting older and taking on more activities, it will also shift with their changing developmental phases. For example, a hard time of day for me is often bedtime. Lately, I feel like it can often be a challenging time of day — when everyone needs you at once — so this is a time where I can use more help and communicating this need has made it easier.
There is no one answer for what will work for you and your partner. Variables that you need to consider include personalities, preferences, if one person primarily takes care of the children, if one parent travels for work, and if you are truly able to split things evenly. The key is figuring out what works best for your family. And while the early years are demanding on us physically and emotionally, it is important to keep those channels of communication open and honest so that you have a strong foundation to grow with your family’s needs.