It’s 3:15 in the morning. Mom & Dad are fast asleep until their little one squirms in his bassinet & lets out the “I’m hungry” cry. Mom gets up to feed him until she realizes this is her third night in a row for night time feedings. She recently organised with her husband to alternate nights & now she’s upset because Dad is not doing his fair share. This is one of the many scenarios that will cause a parent to feel overwhelmed. It is imperative to discuss equal parental responsibilities with your partner.
Everything You Need to Know About Equal Parenting
What exactly is equal parenting? It consists of shared responsibilities parents provide for their children. It is also the act of taking care of specific tasks in the household. When my daughter Jurnee was born, my husband & I literally had to discuss a “game plan” since we were new parents.
As a mother, there were moments when I felt I was doing several tasks on my own to work around my husband’s busy work schedule. It was a struggle but we developed a basic routine to help with our parental responsibilities. Here are a few tips I’ve learned:
Communicate with Each Other
Parents must have a thorough conversation about their parental roles. If this is avoided, this will cause confusion in your daily schedule. The plan doesn’t have to be perfect. There are many ways you can arrange your roles. For instance, as Mom prepares dinner, Dad can keep the child occupied by playing games until dinner is served. Or if Dad needs to give the child a bath, Mom can prepare the bathwater in the tub & layout his pajamas. You can even create a list of daily chores by posting it on your refrigerator or adding it to each other’s calendar on your mobile phones.
Your Spouse Isn’t a Mind Reader
There will be moments when a parent feels that their spouse is not putting in their equal share on certain tasks. On the earlier scenario about night feedings, my husband & I went through this situation at one point. I would be the one getting up to feed Jurnee. I assumed he would ignore her crying at night which made me upset. For a while, I never discussed my feelings with him & the night feedings kept adding up. I couldn’t take it anymore & told him how I felt. To my surprise, he did not ignore her. He is a heavier sleeper than I am & does not hear her when she cries. So we both agreed I would nudge him to get up & remind him about his night time feedings. Simply put, if you don’t share your feelings with your spouse, he or she will never know.
Strong Support System
I believe that one person cannot do everything by themselves. Someone has to help along the way. The same goes with parenting. My husband & I never take for granted the resources we have available to help us with our parental responsibilities. We have awesome parents who share our parental roles. They are willing to give us a break every once in a while to watch our daughter. We also surround ourselves with friends with children who provide us great parental advice & encouragement. Always take advantage of the support available to you.
Team Work is Key
When you become a parent, you will learn the importance of becoming a team player. You must stick together throughout the good & bad days. If Mom sees that Dad did not wash the bottles properly, she should not get upset with him. Instead, she should share her routine of cleaning the bottles so he will understand how to do it the next time. If Dad sees the child crying as Mom tries to eat her lunch, he should find a way to occupy the child so Mom can enjoy her meal. You must be strong enough to support each other & display an act of love & care for your child. Make that acclamation that you will have each other’s back.
I didn’t know the answers of the roles of being a mother nor did my husband know the roles of being a father. We had to learn the responsibilities together. Your collaborative actions are a great pathway of grooming your child in the right direction. No matter how you arrange your equal parental roles, the key is to always be consistent, stay dedicated, & practice patience. Being a parent is a lifelong journey filled with lessons not only for your child but for yourself.
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About The Author - Felicia Johnson
Felicia Johnson is a freelance writer & blogger.
She received her Master of Arts degree in Communications from Trinity Washington University & a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications at West Virginia State University. She served as the Manager of Membership, Marketing, & Administration for the International Wood Products Association in Alexandria, VA & also served as the Editor in Chief for the International Wood magazine & Buyers guide for consumers in the imported wood industry. She was also a contributing writer for the Examiner online newsletter.
In 2012, Felicia received a certificate of appreciation for volunteering as a grant reviewer for the United Way Capital Campaign. She currently serves as a 4-year contributing writer for Grace Magazine at the First Baptist Church of Glenarden. She recently started a blog titled “My Jurnee’s Journey” to share her experiences raising her daughter & to encourage mothers throughout their journey. She currently resides in Cheltenham, MD with her husband Thomas Johnson & daughter Jurnee Johnson.
You can contact Felicia directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.