So Doing it Daddy Style is about parenting, but in order to be a great (co)parent, you have to constantly be on the same page. This is no easy task so I’m going to give you five things that I think are most important:
- Make time for you. Give your partner time for them. This one is super important. You both need time to workout and do a few personal things each week. This keeps you healthy both mentally and physically.
- Make time for you (plural). I will not lie, this was super tough the first year we had the triplets because having a babysitter put four kids down for bed or dealing with more than one waking up is almost impossible. We are just now starting to get out again, but we will put the kids down first and then venture out. And we are always home by midnight because it’s back in Dad mode between 6am and 7am the next day. A school administrator once reaffirmed this by telling me they have seen so many couples go through divorce in the first 2-5 years of having children. It makes sense because you are two individuals sharing a life and all of a sudden, one (or four) come along and they because your sole priority and focus. Making time for you as a couple will help to maintain your relationship and, in turn, make you better parents.
- Argue behind closed doors. What I mean is do not contradict each other in front of the children. Even if you think what your partner is saying or doing is wrong, you want to present a united front to your children. Speak to them after and agree on how you want to handle that particular situation moving forward. This will help to prevent the kids from asking Parent 1 and then going to ask Parent 2 if they do not get the response they wanted. It also keeps your kid(s) childhood magical. They do need to see you arguing or fighting with each other.
- Be present with your children when you are playing with them, explaining things to them, or even joking around. The are little blank slates. They do not have your experiences. They do not process information they way you do. Think about what you are doing or saying and how it will affect the young adults they will become. For a lot of adults, this is difficult to be that hyper-aware so this is where your partner comes into play. It is much easier process these things when you are observing it then when you are participating. Always be aware of the interactions your children are having and be ready to step in or make a mental note to discuss later if appropriate if you notice something going on that may have a negative impact on the child’s thought process or behavior.
- Set goals and have discussions on the adults that you want to raise. It is not enough to provide and play and hope for the best. You need to take them time to set goal with and for your kids. They will change over time, but if you do not have goals for milestones or the people you want them to turn out to be, you are flying blind. And talk about them. We usually discuss these at night when all the kids are down and we can finally take a deep breath and allow our brains to wind down a bit. We talk about their days, funny things they did, things they did that were not funny, what new things we have noticed, and what one might need to work on. Sharing these observations again helps us to be more connected, closer to our kids, and gives us the ability to parents in sync and to the best of our ability.
This is nowhere near a complete list, but I hope it helps. I think having four kids in two years amplified all the issues that may arise which might sound like a bad thing, but I think it also maybe made them easier to identify and therefor figure out a way to handle them faster than we would have otherwise. And I am always open to suggestions if you have them 🙂