For all intents and purposes, parenting should be considered a team sport (some may even define it as a contact sport), and teamwork really does make the dream work.
Just like in sports, in parenting, there are wins, losses, and draws. There’s cheering when things go right, and tears when they don’t.
The definition of a team is a number of persons associated in some joint action. If you think about it, that’s exactly what parenting is. A number of persons are collectively raising a tiny human.
Working together as a team is typically celebrated and supported whether in the arena of sports or in a professional environment. Undercover Recruiter has outlined the successful qualities of a good team:
They communicate well with each other
They focus on goals and results
Everyone contributes their fair share
They offer each other support
Team members are diverse
They have fun
If you think about it, those are qualities that work similarly in parenting.
It is at this point that I must come clean and admit that not once have I ever opened a parenting book. I cannot claim to be doing it “right”, I’m sure by lots of standards.
I will not ever be an expert in raising children or being an outstanding wife (SPOILER ALERT: I’m not). I probably mess more things up on a daily basis than I get them right, but I do know that I’m trying my best.
I also feel like I should share that my husband and I parent together. We’ve been married for 12 years and together for almost 17.
We’ve grown up together and have been able to kind of figure out how we wanted to parent before we had our identities officially changed to “Mommy” and “Daddy”.
I think that it’s important to share these personal stats of mine because I have absolutely no experience regarding divorce, parenting in different households, or single parenting.
I can only imagine the great lengths to which parents have to go to support their children when parenting is done separately or alone.
Parenting with my husband can be hard, so my mind has drawn the assumption of far greater challenges if we weren’t in the same household. I am honest when I say that I hold a massive amount of respect for parents who have worked out how to do it separately but do so in order to put the needs of their child first.
Truthfully, even more respect for parents who have to do it on their own. You are heroes out of necessity, but heroes, nevertheless.
The only experience I can speak to is my own and that’s not even close to perfect.
With all of that being said my husband and I do parent together and run our household as a team.
Sometimes that means picking up the slack when the other person is overwhelmed. Sometimes it means communicating challenges. Sometimes it means floundering and gaining a learning experience. All of those things we do together, even when it gets messy.
Also, we do not always see eye-to-eye in the ways that we parent our kids. Though we know that we will communicate with each other on this.
We will share our reservations and what we believe the benefits to be and ultimately decide together on what we think will work best.
Goals and Results
As an example, it’s important to both of us to be involved in our children’s school, so we have made that a goal of ours…but he works full time and can’t be as available as I can working from home (ya know, pre-quarantine life when kids actually *went* to school).
But I can’t be on the Board of the Parent Faculty Association without him having to take care of some tasks at home while I get that work done.
We prioritize the things that are important to us and then work to achieve those things, together.
Contributing Our Fair Share
To that effect, there are not necessarily gender roles in our household, where tasks are assigned based on the chore being a woman’s duty or a man’s. Chores are chores, not “women’s work” or a “man’s job”.
To either of us it doesn’t matter who does the dishes or the laundry as long as it gets done. Same with cooking the meals and helping the kids with their schoolwork.
On that note, he and I have both also decided that it’s kinda-sorta-super ridiculous when a dad says that he’s “babysitting” his kids. You are not a high schooler making some extra money on the weekend.
These are *your* children. You are not babysitting them…you are PARENTING them. (*Steps off of soapbox*)
Not everything is sunshine and rainbows over here. Just like any other couple, we have our good days and our rough patches. However, we are able to offer each other support when and how we need it.
We share a family calendar on our phones, and it helps us to run our lives, and anticipate those challenging times for each other.
It also helps each of us understand testy behavior and offer support and comfort when we need it.
Team Members are Diverse
Mark is not a people-person.
He doesn’t understand why I don’t know how to say “no”, and I don’t get why he doesn’t write things down so that he doesn’t forget them.
He’s better at tackling big projects and I’m better at the finishing touches. I hate vacuuming and he hates putting the laundry away. So, we take on the things that the other has an aversion to. It’s what works for us.
Our strengths are different from each other’s, and that’s a good thing. Same goes because our deficits are different.
This means that we are able to accomplish more successfully because we can lean on each other.
It is in that light that we are able to identify under what circumstances one of us is a better leader than the other.
He tells our three daughters that I’m “the boss” because I make most of the operational decisions for us as a family, but we both know that no one is really the boss around here.
He makes decisions and consults me on them when needed. I do the same.
Sometimes he or I do crazy stuff that will work out…or worst-case scenario is that it won’t, and we will address that together as well.
I am Organized
This is my strong suit. I love being organized. It just makes so much sense to me.
This is not his jam.
If you can’t both be organized, hopefully at least one of you can be, which means that the other person can pick up the slack somewhere else, right?!?!
We Have Fun
Admittedly, not every day in our home is chock-full of fun, though love does reign supreme. Some days are full of complete chaos.
At times we are hustling so hard with work (he’s got a full-time career, we own our own business which we both work for, and I have what seems like a bajillion side-hustles), that we sometimes forget about the “fun” on a day-to-day basis.
We’re guilty of getting wrapped up in the tornado of “busy”.
BUT that means that when we take time off, we are OFF. We throw ourselves into our family and make the most memories that we can. And we’re grateful. It is because we hustle so hard that we are able to have that time, so we squeeze every ounce of joy out of it that we possibly can.
PESN: Parenting Entertainment & Sports Network
Ok, really though: how hilarious would a network dedicated to the REAL-LIFE of parenting be?!
It would show the 3 am wake-up to a vomit-soaked child and toddler bed, and the play-by-play of the rock-paper-scissors rounds for who gets to clean up what.
Seriously, imagine a sports commentator is next to you throughout one of your days, or at least 10 minutes, and just *think* of all the funny stuff that would get said.
“Will Mom allow another game to get downloaded?
“Oh, it looks like the 6-year-old is ready to ask for another snack, let’s see if she scores!”
Parenting truly is a wild ride. There are times when you’re winning, and times when your loss feels soul-crushing. Times when the odds are stacked against you, and times when you know you can go another round.
It is during all of those times that I know that I’m not doing it alone. Our family is a team, and it’s how we work. How do you make your family world spin round?!
Jenelle Stathes married her high-school sweetheart and they share their love with their three darling and fierce daughters. She works as the CEO of their small family business and as a group fitness instructor for a local gym. Jenelle was born and raised right here in Reno, Nevada, and is doing her best at living a non-judgy and tribe-loving mom life. She has experience with infertility, weight loss, body positivity, fitness, and most recently, a tummy tuck. You can follow Jenelle to laugh either with her or at her as she traverses through the daily adventures of motherhood.