“That’s not what Mommy said!” is a line I hear virtually everyday. Or, “Mommy doesn’t do it that way.”
These responses are often spoken in the height of a task, chore or activity. As I’m getting dinner on the table, I’ve told my seven-year old that he needs to eat his ‘protein and vegetables’ before his fruit. So, yes he can have the banana, after he finishes his tuna and carrots. “Well, that’s not what Mommy said last night. As long as I finish my tuna, I can eat my fruit.” my son rolls his head with a little bit if attitude: A trait he gets from me.
My response is generally the same, “…that’s cool. But you know Mommy and Momma sometimes do things differently.” In my head I often think, is that how she does it?!
During the school year, the height of funding initiatives, or the implementation of a new project at work; my wife and I may not see each other for dinner with the kids more than one time in the week. Or, her modified workday means she spends the bulk of afternoons with the kids, where I am home as dinner is starting or finished. So we miss a lot and struggle to get five minutes of updates before I collapse a half hour after the kids.
Simple Acceptance: A strategy we have unconsciously been using is acceptance. If my wife does something one way, I am cool with it. Sometimes, I accept it as a change I make when I’m with the kids and sometimes I don’t. Either way its okay.
Open Communication: Another strategy is open communication with our children about the ways we are different. Mommy and Momma do things differently and that’s okay. In some ways, I believe that my kids will benefit from two different parenting styles. I love to read books at the dinner table or over a snack. This way we shut off the separate electronic devices, get reading time checked off before bed, and have some together time. Sharlene, enjoys cuddling with a book in bed with everyone piled on top of each other, including the dog. If I lie down, I will fall asleep. An elbow to the knee and a paw to the face simply hurts. And, I’m allergic to the dog. However we choose to read to our kids is fine and its okay when we do it differently.
The Check In: The last strategy, but often the most important is checking in with one another. When my son let’s me know there is something I’m doing differently than my wife, I check-in. I may even text her to make sure we agree to disagree, agree to do things the same, or make a decision to have a shared strategy. This way, our kids know that they will have consistency and know what to expect from their parents.
I really enjoy being able to parent my way knowing that my kids get the best of me in that moment, even if I don’t do it the way Mommy does!