My wife and I are a good team. We have been together for more than 14 years and, though a bit war-torn, we are blessed with much of the same passion for each other that we had when we were teenagers. We are not a perfect match, rather, great compliments of each other. We’ve got some different interests, and different personality traits, but these differences are the kind that help us fit together nicely (most of the time).
So naturally, the transition to parenthood would be seamless right? I mean, we had weathered plenty of storms together by then and had even spent years working together with children. Parenting together should have been a lock, no?
Well, maybe it should have been, but it didn’t exactly work out like that. To be honest, the transition into co-parenting was the hardest one our relationship has ever withstood. It was rocky, ya’ll. Possibly the hardest part was that the difficulty blindsided us for all the reasons stated above. I mean, we were born to raise babies together. Why couldn’t we get on the same page? Why couldn’t we agree on a rhythm to how things should be done? Where was the consistency in our parenting?? I mean, every book out there tells you how important that is!
But, what if it’s not that important after all? I’ll admit that it took me a couple of years to come around to this idea, but what if it was OKAY for us to have different approaches to parenting? We have always been our own people with distinct ways of doing things, why did I think that ‘just-add-baby’ would mean we’d suddenly become carbon copies of each other? And when, exactly, did I lose sight of the value in our differences?
Well, we’re trying out a new approach now. While we do still agree that we need to be on the same page about the biggies, we give each other a little more flexibility on the day-to-day. Compromise a bit on what we can, and then let the rest of the pieces respectfully fall as they may. Our house has embraced the idea that everyone is different and will do things a bit differently – and that, is okay.
Stomping in puddles is a big no-no with my wife. Me? Go for it!
My bedtime routine includes laying down in bed with my youngest until she is asleep. That doesn’t work for my wife so she offers some kisses and cuddles, then excuses herself from the room.
I’m not big on repeating myself or giving too many reminders. My kids know that I prefer to say something once and only once (or else!). My wife is much more flexible in this area.
She’s more lax on the screen time than I am. I’m more lax on spoiling dinner with ice cream.
I’m more structured, she’s more playful.
I’ve read more than 50 parenting books. She skimmed one once…on my insistence.
One of us is more likely to raise her voice than the other (not naming any names…::ahem::).
I could go on with our differences, but the only thing that matters is the fact that we are both great moms with styles of parenting that work for us. Just as wonderful teachers can have a wide variety of teaching methods, the same can be said about parents – even co-parents.
Once in a while we’ll get a bit of questioning from the kids…”But Mama let’s us…” or “Mommy does it a different way,” and our answer to them is (ironically) consistent: “Mommy and Mama are different and sometimes do things differently.”
I’m starting to see how much freedom – and peace – that statement brings. So this year I’m working on embracing the valuable lesson that is bestowed upon my children (and I) when there is room for differences within a family.