According to Google, the average adult makes 35,000 decisions each and every day. Wait, what!?!?!? I know I always feel like I’ve got a lot going on but are you kidding me? I’m making that many decisions on a daily basis? That equates to a decision almost every 2.5 seconds. AND some of these decisions need to be on the same plain as my parenting partner-in-crime? Hmmmm, that seems to be asking for a lot.
I don’t know about you but ever since we were ready to start a family I’ve been reading all I can on how to raise these little human beings to be good people. I want to get it right and make sure they grow up to be responsible and caring adults. And any time I read about how long it is before their brain is fully developed, it scares me. Basically, that’s something like 25 years that they really need us to help them navigate all the feelings and decisions they have in their own lives. No pressure though.
So, two adults and at least one munchkin, where do you begin? Well step one, according to the “experts,” and by that, I mean every parent before you, the two of you need to be on the same page for parenting decisions, at least on the big stuff!
You both have a similar goal…to not screw it up, so start with something easy like, how to properly change a diaper. Oh, that’s not easy you say? There’s the correct way to change a diaper, the way I do it of course! Everyone else must be wrong. My suggestion here is to practice backing each other up on the small stuff. Maybe you don’t like the way your partner changes diapers but is it accomplishing the goal without harm to your child? Yes? Ok, then great job! There’s no need to come behind them and redo it.
I know it may not seem like a big deal but if you can be united on something as small as changing a diaper then it just might help when you get to bigger topics like healthy eating, dealing with tantrums, school decisions and EVERYTHING in the teenage years.
Step two, talk. Ok, so really this step will help you arrive at Step One so maybe these aren’t sequential steps. They’re more like a loose list of strategies to help you effectively parent
without taking the other person’s head off! 😊 Anyway, communicating is important in all aspects of life but especially in raising children. You need to be honest with your partner about things that are really important to you and they should do the same. As with any situation in which two people have to come together on something, there is GOING TO BE compromise! This time it might be you, next time it might be your partner. It will be *a little bit* easier to make a decision together if you understand each other’s priorities. And while we’re talking, remember to do this when you’re calm, not in the heat of the moment right in front of your kids. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a child seeing some healthy disagreement from their parents BUT arguing on the best way to discipline or whether Johnny must eat his veggies before having a cookie will only reveal areas for your kid to figure out ways to pit you against each other.
And if that happens? Back each other up! Make sure your child understands that if mom or dad is disciplining for something, the other one is not going to step in and override the decision. Your child might not always be thrilled with your choices but at the end of the day hopefully, they know just how much you love them and are trying to always get it right!
I’m sure all of this sounds pretty basic and you’ve heard it before but in reality, it’s not always that simple. Proper diaper changing technique is one of the least worrisome “decisions” to make and really, how do you even handle the weight of everything you as a parent, will need to determine for your child? Or what if your child is struggling with something big (school, friends, their ever-changing emotions) and you just don’t know how to proceed and help them? Here’s where your tribe comes in, and that can be a virtual or in person tribe. I’m not even sure I truly have a tribe yet but using resources like Austin Moms Blog, Facebook groups and of course Google, I can find lots of war stories from those before me! Relying on these groups and my friends and family is especially helpful and where you find out all the parenting tricks. And as with many other parts of marriage, if you find yourselves at an impasse and truly unable to come to an agreement on something important with your child, find a counselor and get that objective person to help you navigate it. Sometimes it just takes looking at the situation differently and you can figure out a way to reach common ground and agree on how to move forward.
And as far as the 35,000 decisions you have to make today, well, hopefully, there are a few easy ones in there like “should I have this glass of wine tonight?” Cheers!