Sharing the Day-to-Day Work of Parenting –Tips for Working Couples
More than half of all couples experience a significant decrease in marital satisfaction during the first three years of parenthood. This is because many couples – including working couples – go into marriage assuming that sharing parenting duties is easy and that things will automatically fall into place when the time comes.
However, the truth is that sharing parenting duties amicably is extremely challenging; it is an acquired skill and not something that comes naturally.
Decide what “sharing” and “equal” means to you
Some couples are perfectly happy splitting child-care tasks right down the middle while others prefer to create specific mom and dad duties. Both approaches are perfectly fine and it is up to the couple to decide which one suits them best.
The split-down-the-middle approach works for couples who can resist the urge to keep score. Otherwise, it leads to even more stress and resentment. The other approach where the couple creates specific mom and dad duties works for couples who can resist the urge to nitpick meddle with each other’s duties.
Ask for what you need
Don’t wait for your spouse to notice that you need help. Ask for help, and when you do, be specific. Simply saying “I need help” may not produce the desired results. Let your partner know exactly what you need him/her to do e.g. pick up the kids from school or put the kids to bed.
Don’t set standards that your spouse cannot meet
Some parents – usually moms – have very high parenting and housekeeping standards that their spouse’s cannot meet. They believe that is their way is the right way and are constantly nitpicking and correcting their husbands.
If you are one of these parents, you need to realize that your spouse’s methods are just as valid as yours and learn to be more flexible. Otherwise, you may discourage your spouse to the point where they are no longer willing to do their share.
The stress of sharing the day-to-day work of parenting is not new to most working couples. Thankfully, it can be avoided by following the above parenting tips and marriage tips.