Equal Parenting: 11 Ways to Create an Equal Household
Here are 11 steps you can take to encourage equal parenting in your home!
Equal parenting is no longer a foreign concept. Just take a trip to any grocery store at 10 a.m. on a Tuesday and you'll see at least one model of today's dad: He's got a baby strapped into a carrier and is driving his toddler around the aisles, race-car style. And as parenting concepts change, moms and dads must navigate the treacherous waters of roles and responsibilities. Looking for some tips on how to do this?
Here are 11 ways to create an equal household:
- Be a Team
You shouldn't be a monarch, and your husband shouldn't be a dictator. Be sure to stick together and work as a team.
- Shed the 'Breadwinner' Mentality
There's no rule that says that the man needs to bring home the bacon and the woman needs to fry it up in a pan. Rethink your situation and decide who should work full time and whether or not one of you should try to work from home.
- Schedule Alone Time
Equal parenting goes beyond work and child care. It's also important that you make a schedule that allows for both you and your partner to have some time for yourselves. Perhaps you can have a girls' night out while your husband watches the kids, and then he can go watch the game with his pals the following Sunday.
- Schedule Couple Time
You and your partner also need to set aside some time to spend together -- without the kids. Just a few hours off can help to ensure that you're both on your parenting A-game!
- Make Sure That You Both Spend Time Alone With Your Newborn
But whether you or your husband goes back to work first, it's important that you both make an effort to bond with your baby from the start. Make sure that you both find time to bathe, cuddle, feed and get to know your newborn.
- Meld Your Parenting Styles
Before you got married, your husband might have been living in an apartment filled with coordinated Ikea furniture, while you showed up to your first house with your eclectic yard-sale finds. You were able to mesh your design aesthetics together, and now you need to do the same with your parenting styles. Equal parenting will be easier if you're on the same page from the beginning.
- Create a Chore Chart
These handy little inventions aren't just for kids! While crossing your fingers and hoping that your spouse will tackle half the chores probably won't work out in your favor, making a list may do the trick. Create a chart of all the tasks that need to be done -- from cleaning the bathroom to driving the kids to soccer practice -- and specify who will take on each responsibility for the week. Be sure to divide the work up as equally as possible.
- Switch Things Up
Divvy up the duties, and then switch them up! This allows both you and your spouse to explore every aspect of parenting, and it also shows your kids that their mom and dad aren't defined by certain roles.
- Throw Out the 50/50 Ideal
Be realistic about what 'equal' really means. There may be times when you have to work late and your partner has to take over dinner, dishes and bath time. Parenting perfection isn't always attainable, but that's okay. There are times when 50/50 will look more like 60/40.
- Refrain From Overstepping
There are no helicopter moms (or dads) allowed in equal parenting.
- Communicate Constantly
What works today may not work tomorrow -- and your spouse needs to know that too. Sit down and talk about what being 'equals' means to each of you, how you want to split your responsibilities and what goals you'd like to set for your family. If things don't go as planned (and when do they?), make sure that you communicate what needs to change.
Looking for more tips on how to keep the stress out of parenting? Check out 6 Tips for How to Be Happy Parents.
How does equal parenting work for your family? Tell us in the comments section below!
Erica Loop is a mom, educator and parenting writer, with an M.S. in child development. When she's not teaching, she's busy creating kids' activities for her blog, Mini Monets and Mommies.