CinC HOUSE and I work pretty well together when it comes to the kids. We always try to present a unified front and lend a hand when needed. We do have to be careful sometimes because we tend to feed off of each though. If one of us starts to get upset with the kids, the other starts feeling the same emotion, and it quickly spirals into a flaming circle of fury. Most of the time, however, we do a good job of working together towards the common good.
One of the reasons this works is that we know our roles. I don’t mean the "traditional" male/female roles like she should be in the kitchen and I should be in the garage. Those are incredibly outdated, and they wouldn’t really work for us anyway. Frankly, my wife is better when it comes to working with tools, and I’m a better cook…ok, she’s a better cook than me too (I bet this sentence really made her eyebrows dance though).
I’m just talking about knowing what our strengths and weaknesses are when it comes to parenting. I’ll give you an example with regards to the dinner table. Our daughter loves to cuddle when she is eating for some reason. She will keep scooting over on her chair until she’s practically on your lap. My wife, on the other hand, likes to have a protective cone of solitude around her at dinner. Our son rarely eats his food and telling him to do it just makes him eat less. Unfortunately, I cannot help it. I have to tell him to eat his food at least every 30 seconds. Could my wife and I both work on our issues? Absolutely, but it’s much easier for us and the kids if we just work around them. Therefore, at the dinner table, I always sit next to our daughter, and CinC HOUSE sits next to our son. Everyone makes it through the meal with much less stress.
Another good example is nap time. The kids absolutely refuse to go to sleep easily. If you leave them in their room, they will eventually fall asleep, but it might be dinner time before they do. The best way to deal with it is just to lay down with them. Our daughter will normally just lie there quietly, while our sons falls asleep much more actively. He likes to drive cars around his bed and talk to his pillows. CinC HOUSE actually wants to go to sleep herself during this time, and I hate taking naps. They make it difficult for me to fall asleep at night, and I wake up incredibly grumpy. Therefore, we switch roles from the dinner table. I’ll lay down with our son while she takes our daughter. The little guy can drive his cars all around because I’m not trying to fall asleep. I’m perfectly happy just reading a book. In the other bed, my wife is able to fall asleep because our girl is just laying there quietly. Both kids fall asleep quicker because we are there to keep them in bed, and nap time goes much smoother.
Other parts of the day don’t go as smoothly though. We still haven’t figured out the best solution for bedtime. We both just want the kids to go to sleep, so we can sit down and unwind for awhile, but since they don’t agree with that, it gets incredibly frustrating. We’re still trying to figure out our roles there. I tried something new (and a little different) last night that seemed to work, but I’m going to keep at it for another week or so and see how well it goes. I’ve got my fingers crossed.
For most things, we work pretty well together, and it’s awesome that we have such a supportive and healthy marriage. Of course, as the kids grow, our roles keep changing. As a military family, things are even more dynamic since I tend to be gone for fairly large chunks of time. My wife has to assume many more roles, and once I return, we have to figure things out all over again. Overall though, this is something that tends to work really well for us.