The Parenting Partnership: For Couples and Singles

Next week is Mother’s Day, so if you haven’t already you are about to be inundated with articles, blogs, status updates, commercials, and who knows what else that will talk about Mother’s Day.  My blog for today will not be talking about Mother’s Day, but I assure you next weekend I will join the crowd that shouts about Mother’s Day from the highest of heights.

For today I want to explore the idea of parenting as a team.  No parent is an island; therefore, each should always be working with someone, or multiple someones, to get through the roller coaster that is parenting.  Those of us that have a partner, spouse, mate to share the load with should count ourselves lucky.  We have someone we can turn to that understands what is happening in our house and in our life.  Single parents don’t have the same luxury we do, but there are ways to find help and support no matter what your situation.

Parenting with a Mate

The most important thing to remember is that there is no fix-all scenario that will fit every set of parents.  I have simply put together a list of ideas that I feel can greatly assist in creating a successful parenting partnership.

  1. Share the load in a way that works for everyone.  You know your schedule, you know your strengths, so you determine what split works for you.  Even a stay-at-home parent needs something other than chores or errands in his/her life.
  2. List all tasks and divvy them fairly.  This continues the previous idea, but it can’t be restated enough.  No one parent should be entirely responsible for all tasks, but it’s important to balance the load by taking available time and strengths into consideration.
  3. Help each other find balance.  We each have various levels of work, family, chores, alone time, and other items that we need in our life.  Work together to find a way to separate what needs to be done in a way that doesn’t drain or overwhelm.

Single Parents are Amazing

The work of a single parent is never-ending, so it is very easy to get discouraged or run down.  Single parents are often forced to take on all of the parental responsibilities and work responsibilities that are shared by parenting couples.  That’s a ton of work, yet they do it because they love their children.  I am not a single parent, so I can only extrapolate their life based on the times I’ve had alone with my girls.  So based on my lack of knowledge and from past discussions with friends I have just a couple of tips for single parents:

  1. Find someone to lean on.  You may not have someone to divvy tasks with, but it’s extremely important that you have an ear, a shoulder, and a hand at the ready when you need it.  Friends and family may not be overtly telling you to call them, but there is likely someone willing to help.
  2. Join a Moms/Dads/Single Parents/Parents Group.  These groups allow you to come together to celebrate and commiserate with other people in similar situations.  You are not alone in this.  I know that some cities, libraries, and churches have these types of groups available, but I’m sure they are in other places as well.

Try, Try Again

Remember that not everything will work for everyone, and even if it is going to work it may fail at first.  Don’t give up on finding balance simply because it’s hard work.  Parenting is not likely to be easy.  We need to put forth the effort to better mold our children.  A balanced partnership will lead to a better life for you, your partner, your children, and all those around you.  So prepare for some hard work and get yourself some balance.


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