5 Simple Ways to Share Parenting Responsibilities at Home
By Maria Sierra, La Cooquette. Maria Sierra is a paid spokesperson for HEALTHY ESSENTIALS®
If you think working from home and taking care of a baby is an easy feat, think again! Just like in any other job, schedules and spaces are needed to prevent you and your little one from going crazy. And if you have a very active child like mine, you need more than just two hands to keep everything together. Luckily, I married a man who completely adores children -- my husband, Alvaro. But even when you’re co-parenting, you and your partner’s parenting styles might be very different, so here are some tips on how to balance things while co-parenting a baby:
1. Outline a schedule from the start: On any regular day in our house, there might be videos that need to be filmed and edited or deadlines that need to be met, so we usually begin our day planning out who will be in charge of baby Isa throughout the day. Granted, our schedule is very flexible so usually we examine how many hours of work the other person needs and allocate baby time that way. Within those hours, whoever’s in charge should take care of all of babies needs: feeding, diaper changing, etc. I also like helping my husband in tasks he is either unfamiliar with or doesn’t really enjoy much. I do this by providing him with the “tools” he needs for the tasks at hand. Whenever he has to change her diapers or clothes, I make sure the clothing area is fully stacked with everything he needs. Right now we are using Johnson’s® newest line CottonTouch™ for baby shampoo and lotion. My husband loves the lotion because it’s silky smooth but doesn’t leave any residue (something VERY important for a guy). This is the only lotion I’ve found he doesn’t abhor and run away from.
2. Divide and conquer: There are certain tasks or activities that might be easier for me than for my husband and vice versa so, if the schedule allows, it’s better to assign them accordingly. For example: Isabelita eats faster whenever I feed her solids so I try to do it most of the time. However, Alvaro is an expert diaper changer - he can do it under two minutes! Not everybody works from home, but this is essential for weekends or days when you both can spend more time with the baby. This also goes for how you each spend time with baby. Try to finish your most demanding work tasks during your “baby-free” time so that whenever it’s your turn to be with your child, you can have as much quality time with baby as possible. This doesn’t mean you can’t run errands whenever it’s your turn. My husband turns market errands into “little adventures” with baby Isabel, so that it becomes something she enjoys as well!
3. Learn to trust each other: This lesson can apply when you’re considering your partner but also with a grandparent, a friend, or anyone who you let care for your child for some time. You may feel like I do, that “nobody knows my baby more than I do,” and though it might be true, that doesn’t mean other people who are close to you are incapable of caring greatly for your little one! A big part of a successful co-parenting leans on trust, and understanding that although your partner might do things a little differently than you do, you are both interested in the well-being of your kid and wouldn’t do anything to hinder their development or make them unhappy.
4. Try to meet in the middle: There will be many different occasions in which the two of you will disagree on how to raise your kid. From the smallest and randomest decisions of “how tall do socks go up her leg?,” to big discussions like choosing between the ‘cry-it-out method’ vs ‘no-cry,’ there will always room to meet in the middle. It’s tough to understand that that tiny human belongs to both of you, and that you’ll have to give in a bit in your parenting expectations, but in the end it’ll be the healthiest option for your relationship and your family.
5. Set expectations low, but strive for improvement: If you are a parent, you know that no matter how much you read about a baby’s care and behavior, each infant has his or her own personality, and sometimes things might not go as planned. Knowing and accepting this is very important to avoid going crazy if your plans don’t end up happening as you think they should. However, this doesn’t mean that you’ll settle for the least possible situation. It’s okay to have low expectations but also have certain goals that you’d like to achieve.
These tips are only the lessons I’ve learned from my own short experience with one child, but I know there are an infinite number of co-parenting possibilities. So it’s your turn: how have you dealt with it?
Maria Sierra is a paid spokesperson for HEALTHY ESSENTIALS®