Our 5 Best Team Parenting Tips
Drew and I had a lot to learn when Maxwell joined us in the world..
In case you didn’t know, Max was a spirited little man and we were brand new to parenting. He had LONG and trying witching hours (aka when babies cry and there isn’t a darn thing you can do about) that lasted hours and hours. We once called the pediatrician’s after hour’s number because we thought there was something wrong with him. I’ll never forget the nurse on the other end saying, “Call us back if he doesn’t stop in another 4 hours.”
Wait, what? This is just normal that our baby would cry for 4 hours?!
Drew and I were NOT the best at working together or communicating during Max’s trying period. We’ve grown quite a bit when it comes to working together. Today and with Drew’s help, we wanted to share our best tips!
5 Best Tips for Team Parenting
It is EASY to want to take the stress of parenting out on each other. Whether you are going through a sleep regression, teething period, or those long nights with multiple wakeups are lasting longer than expected…the going can get tough. There have been times when I’ve fallen SO short on this tip. BUT, since Trey joined us Drew and I have REALLY focused on this one. If we need the other person to do something, we ask kindly. We say thank you for big and small things. Take away point: Your partner will respond much better to honey than a bee sting. Slow down, take a deep breath and ask kindly.
Let the other person take care of themselves.
It is no secret that Drew and I are both committed to getting our workouts in. We both strive to workout 4-5 times a week and often hit that mark. We’ve had to adjust many times in the last 21 months of parenthood, but we know that this helps both of us keep our stress/anxiety down. We don’t make the other person feel bad about taking the time to workout, actually it is quite the opposite. We cheer each other on and make sure the other person can find the time to get to the gym or out on a run. Take away point: Maybe you and your partner have different self-care things that us, but it isn’t selfish for either of you to take care of yourselves. In fact, Drew and I know we’re both better parents and partners for it.
Communication is key.
This point may seem obvious, but hear me out. When Trey came onto the scene, like a lot of other babies he had fussy periods. Although not for as long of a time as Max, he’d give us an hour or two of his own version of witching hour each night. Since this was in the evening it landed during our family time. Drew would typically keep on playing with Max as I tried to soothe, swaddle, sway, feed, change, do anything I could for Trey to no avail. I would watch Drew and Max running around, laughing, splashing in the bath tub, shooting hoops, having a hoot. I started to feel jealous that I always had the crying baby and Drew had the happy toddler (Max’s best time is at night). I told Drew these feelings one night when it was just the two of us. We talked through it. Drew completely saw my points and said that he defaulted to Max because he KNEW how to make him happy or get him anything he needed. He felt like he was still learning Trey and often thought when he was crying he needed to be breastfed. I told Drew that wasn’t always the case and we decided we’d do a better job of taking turns during the fussy periods. Over the next week and then continuing onward, Drew would look over at me and say, “Switch?!” or come over and take crying Trey out of my arms. Take away point: I calmly and clearly communicated my problem to Drew. He listened well. We agreed on the fix.
Not keeping score.
Drew and I learned that we were getting nowhere fast by saying, “Well I emptied the Diaper Genie last time, so you can this time” or “I always breastfeed Trey, so you should change all of his diapers.” We had to grow and realize that we’re on the SAME team, not opposing ones. Sure, we might have to revise strategy from time to time but we understand that we have a mutual goal to keep our babies and ourselves as happy and healthy as we can. Take away point: You are on the SAME team, SAME team, SAME team…let go of the scoreboard.
Keep on doing fun things.
Y’all, I’ve had to improve in this area SO much. As a first time mama to Maxwell, I felt a lot more in control if I was at home. I was nervous that we would go somewhere and Max would cry and freak out and I wouldn’t be able to soothe him. I would put this pressure on myself in public places that I needed to be able to stop my baby’s crying so that people could enjoy themselves. Even though by nature I’m easy going and Drew is a planner, HE was the one that continued to push me out of my comfort zone. Every time we would leave the house (no matter how Max acted), I would thank him when we returned home. I felt much happier and more alive when we ventured out. Fast forward to having two babies, Drew and I do more now than we did with JUST Max. I’m much more comfortable in my mommin’ skills. This doesn’t mean that I can always soothe my babies or keep them quiet in a restaurant, but this means that I’ve learned everything will be okay. Drew, Max, Trey and I go on an adventure or two most weekends and we’re much happier for it. Take away point: If you have anxiety about leaving your house, I WAS you. You will get more experienced and more comfortable with it. Doing fun things as a family keeps the whole team happy.
originally posted on balancedames.com