8/13/12

The importance of a cohesive parenting team

Good parenting starts with a cohesive team.  Unfortunately, I thought good parenting started with my husband understanding my ideas, plans, and goals, and then implement them according to my specifications. I am the mother, I have the God given gift of Mothers Instinct, no way could he know better than me? Plus, from what I had heard and experienced, most dads are happy to take the backseat.  However, my husband had other ideas about that. He had plans and ideas and every intention of implementing them as well. Needless to say the first couple of weeks...er…months of our son’s life were not met with a cohesive mom and dad parenting team.  

Wanting to be super hands on, the man was not ‘gelling’ at all with my, “I can do it myself” mentality! Nothing would frustrate me more than when he would question me or try to tell me how to do something with our son. Yes, I was doing the same to him, but felt completely justified. I was the one with the all-important mother’s instinct! 

By the second month of my son’s life I was mentally and physically exhausted. I needed a break from being a do-it-all super mom. So, after lots of “discussions” and a few tears, I started to slowly, albeit reluctantly, begin to let my husband implement some of his own ideas and plans. After about a week or two of letting the hubs do his thing, I started to see the clear difference between my methods and his.  I was very soft and wouldn’t let Oliver shed a tear. I’d jump at the first whimper. I lived according to the hours and minutes of the day so I could keep our son on his strict schedule. Dear old dad didn’t care about schedules, he wanted to play and laugh and be silly with our son all day.  We were polar opposite parents.  Oliver was striving in this environment.

Today at six months old, Oliver has completely benefited from having polar opposite parents, working together as a team.  I know I would have self destructed, and ruined my marriage, had I not relaxed and let my husband be the father he always dreamt of being. We parent very differently, and that’s actually a really good thing. Even though I understand the need, I still cannot stand the sound of Oliver struggling while he is learning to crawl or stay down for tummy time. The hubs doesn’t seem to mind as he pushes our son to his next milestone.  On the flip side, he still cannot stand sticking to the “baby’s routine,” but he completely understands the purpose of it. We have learned to stay out of each other’s way in those situations. 

Another important aspect of a strong parenting team is the ability to take turns and share the work. At first I did it all; feeding, bathing, rocking to sleep, cleaning, everything… I would run to beat the hubs, no way could he do anything for our son faster or better than me.  Trust me, there is noting worse you can do to your teammate than shut him out of the game. The shut out could completely backfire and you single handedly are feeding, bathing and cleaning up after your child forever.  Plus, sharing the work has helped me to realize the hubs is better at a lot of things, and it makes him a very proud papa to show me.  This has helped our relationship immensely. 

We take turns with everything now.  Except I am not a huge fan of bath time, and hubs is not a huge fan of feeding Oliver his solids, so every night I feed Ollie and dad bathes him.  We both respectively enjoy these tasks, so it works out great. We take turns with soothing Oliver back to sleep, changing diapers, playtime, walks, reading books, and most important giving each other breaks.  

I’ve learned, the hard way, the extreme importance of having a strong cohesive parenting team.  Being able to trust my teammate to take over when I am going to pass out is so important for my sanity as a mother.   For my husband, it’s important that his teammate trusts him and doesn’t stand over him with the hawk eye of, unnecessary, concern. We have a very long and winding road of parenting ahead of us, knowing we can depend on each other and share the ups and downs equally is the only way to make that road as smooth and enjoyable as possible. 



A quick note: All of you single parents out there doing the job of two, being a team of one, well done. Your job is is not an easy one.  


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Two confused parents=One amused baby Hopelessly we are trying raise a baby who is clearly smarter than both of us. April is an award-winning writer and blogger. Her work has been published in over ten countries and four languages. From books to newspapers, to print/online magazines and everything in between, you can find her work. For more on April, Visit AprilMcCormick.com

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