I don’t have a label for how my family works. Hubby and I both work part-time, flexible hours, and are both home a lot with our kids. We have a lot of family time – more than most families are able to pull off with work schedules, school schedules, etc. Since we’ve only got one in preschool twice a week, and the other is home all day, we have a lot of time that the four of us are hanging out together. Hubby and I truly are great at being each other’s advocate, staying away from the good cop/bad cop game, and not becoming the “default” parent.
We work better together.
Sometimes, our schedules lend themselves to passing the kids back and forth, and hardly seeing each other. Those are the rare, busiest days or weeks. I can see the kids (and myself) suffer. I’m not as great a cook as he is (my daughter says, “You’re a good cooker-man, Daddy!”), so when they’re with me, they get a great breakfast, okay lunch, and whatever I can find (or, let’s be honest, pick up) for dinner. When they’re with Hubby, or when we’re all together, we have well thought out, home-cooked, delicious meals. I like to be out of the house a lot, so when I’m there, we go to parks, play dates, running errands, and little trips to do other things. Hubby is a little more of a homebody, so they don’t really go anywhere if I’m gone.
The kids also get more one-on-one time with us, because sometimes if I go out, I just take one of the kids. It’s a little easier logistically (a little less buckle-unbuckle-buckle-unbuckle, am I right?) and I get special time that they aren’t pulling each other’s hair, or trying to play with the same toy. They get our undivided attention, feel our love for them as they are, not them as a group. And we are lucky to be able to love them so singularly so often.
So although my family isn’t in an easily-labeled umbrella of parenting style, I think we have our best possible situation going on. Our kids get equal parts mom and dad. As mom and dad, we get equal parts of our kids. We share responsibilities at home, like laundry, cleaning, cooking and grocery shopping. We share time off, time alone, and time at work. We share preschool drop-off, doctor’s appointments, bedtime routines, and afternoon naps when we aren’t feeling so hot (addendum: if we’re pregnant).
Am I suggesting that you all go quit your jobs, pick up part-time ones, and try to do what we’re doing? Absolutely not. I know for some people, they’d go crazy in the different-every-day schedule, and the whaddya-mean-dad-does-the-cooking? situation. But I am saying that teamwork makes it better for us. Working together is what we like to do, it’s what’s best for our kids, and what’s best for us as parents and as a married couple. We can both put our best foot forward, take a break when we’re burned out, and never worry about whether we can remember when naps are and whether or not we cleaned all the sippy cups. Being equally yoked and collaborative partners in our lifestyle brings out the best in us, and in our kids. Is there anything better than that?