Marriage in itself is already a big challenge for many people out there.
Add on a child or two, or more, and your entire paradigm will shift. While some marriages change for the better with a new addition to the family, most couples find themselves with more arguments and disagreements to manage.
The parenting load can be overwhelming if the balance is off. Teamwork is what you need in this child care journey, and we’re here to let you in on some tips on managing the parenting load with your spouse.
#1: Think of it as a business
For those who’ve married over passionate love, shifting your mindset to the family as a business can be the least romantic thing to do. But that’s precisely what you should do to survive the parenting voyage. You see, in a typical setting, business partners don’t always share the same workload.
One might be handling the media and investors while the other gets his hand dirty in the daily operations. As Gary Neuman, a psychotherapist, rightly points out, “No marriage can be fifty-fifty all the time.” You can strive for fairness but don’t anticipate consistent, equal responsibilities every single day.
#2: List down the to-dos
It’s easy to fall into the trap of saying, “I’m doing more than you are.” To avoid that thought spiralling downwards into something even more toxic, be sure to list down the to-dos with your significant other.
“It’s keeping track of what it takes to run your family business. Each person thinks they are doing more than the other person realises,” noted Jenny Anderson, the co-author of It’s Not You, It’s the Dishes: How to Minimise Conflict and Maximise Happiness in Your Relationship. Drawing up the list of things to do can help both parties see if either one’s under or over participating.
#3: Rank and select your tasks
Once you’ve gotten your to-dos written down, it’s time to rank them accordingly. You can do so by heeding Neuman’s suggestion:
Level 1: I like doing this.
Level 2: I can do this but need help.
Level 3: I hate doing this.
This way, you and your spouse can pick and choose the tasks you like doing or don’t mind holding responsibility for. However, if both of you have ranked a particular chore at level 3, then it would make sense for the person who can complete it within a shorter time frame to do so. Well, simply because time is precious.
Remember that communication is vital. A temporary sour feeling left to ferment and pile up can lead to resentment and emotional explosion in the long run.
If you need to discuss something with your spouse, schedule a time to sit down and talk. You can also consider a fixed weekly or bi-monthly short meeting to address impromptu changes in schedule. This will help both parties to always be in the loop for updates surrounding everyone’s needs.