I have four sons all age seven and under. Last weekend I was left alone with them.
You read that correctly. My wife left first thing on Saturday morning and did not return until Sunday evening.
(She went to a wedding in Indiana. She didn’t just get fed up with us all…at least, that’s what she told us.)
Before you go feeling sorry for me or the kids, let me remind you of something:
I Am Their Father.
I am no stranger to feeding children, bathing them, or playing with them. I know the basic human needs: food, water, shelter, and love. Lucky for these hoodlums of mine, I am capable of giving all of these.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner were provided. I changed 5 poopy diapers on Saturday morning. They had drinks throughout the day. Naps were taken. We had a whole lot of fun. And everyone fell asleep (eventually) Saturday night.
On Sunday morning they were all bathed and clothed and we got to church 20 minutes before service started. Achievement unlocked.
Each Person Parents Differently
It is important to communicate with your spouse about the way the two of you will parent your children. The techniques and principles should align pretty tightly on what you would consider, “the big stuff.”
There’s a whole lot in the middle which can vary quite a bit. Your spouse may decide to parent a little differently but it isn’t putting the child in danger, physically or emotionally. It may be best to let those situations slide.
My wife and I have an understanding. We understand each of us takes a slightly different approach to parenting in certain situations.
When I am not around I know she may choose to discipline or reward in a different way than I do, and vice versa. We have chosen to be okay with this truth.
So when my wife needs to leave for a few hours, or even a weekend, she can feel free to do that, knowing although I may approach the weekend with out kids differently than she would, they are going to remain safe in my care.
I’ve seen a parent jump down the others throat because a child got hurt while one was away. “This would have never happened if I had been here!”
Which may or may not be true. We had to take one of our kids to the clinic because he shoved about six corn kernels in his ear and we couldn’t get them out. When did it happen? While my wife and I were sitting at the dinner table with him!
We can’t even blame it on being distracted by the tv (there isn’t one in the kitchen) or by our phones (we don’t have them out at the table).
Sometimes kids do crazy things and even the best of parents miss stopping bad from happening.
Forgive the blunders of your spouse when it comes to parenting, because a mistake of yours is right around the corner.
Choose to let go in the small areas and trust each other.
The two of you are in this journey together so it’s best to be encouraging and uplifting.
And offer to watch the kids. If one parent is at home with the kids most of the time, and that parent isn’t you, offer to give your spouse a break. Whether that’s for a couple hours of needed quiet time or a weekend away.
If you are the parent alone with the kids most often, trust your spouse to provide care.
Plus, it helps grow appreciation for the one who usually does most of the heavy lifting.
“Wow, I understand why our kids being alive is such a victory some days. Great job!” Simple phrases like that can be a great encouragement to you both.
So work together and encourage each other in this wild ride of parenting. Even more, believe in each other that you are both wonderfully capable.
Then show and over show appreciation for what each of you does, because parenting is hard you guys.