Parenting Team or Going it Alone?

mother cuddling child

We are a team. The hubby and I, that is. When it comes to parenting, I wasn't sure we'd be such a dynamic duo, but it has worked out pretty well. We don't do things perfectly. Sometimes, we don't see eye-to-eye. And sometimes, we miscommunicate. Mostly though, we have had success in this adventure called parenthood.

What about you? Are you and your significant other working well as a team in parenthood?

Honestly, I didn't know how we'd fare together as parents.  Being a couple was easy (we had over 10 years to perfect that one!), but parents? When we brought our little one home, I was so proud of the hubby. I was armed and ready with years of book and hands-on child development experience. His career was about fixing things.  There weren't many other little ones around and he had not gained much experience knowing what his new role as daddy may look like. Still, it didn't matter. From the earliest days, he has been my partner – changing diapers, searching for nuks in the middle of the night, and seeking ways to be helpful when the little one was sick.

Now all this is about to change.

And I am terrified of parenting ALONE.

Why? The hubby has a new gig.

New gig? Yes, you know, a new job. Moving from the stability of a regular schedule, home every evening for dinner (and to help out with the kiddo) to a position that may take him on the road (or to China – no kidding!), I'm fretting about how this change will affect our parenting team, our daughter, and even her development.

What does it mean when one partner travels for work?

What does it mean when one spouse is on the road more than they are home? 

DOES it matter?

I'm facing the realities and of course gathering information (in other words, venting to family and friends and getting their advice!).

Have you been here? Are you here? Who is the primary caregiver in your household and how do YOU make it work?

Looking at this leap into a new reality, here are a few thoughts I'm taking with me on my new journey:

*Make time for me. Yep, it sounds terribly selfish and maybe it is, but if I lose my mind, who will be there for the munchkin? Seriously though, if you don't take care of yourself who WILL take care your child? Making time for me means I've found an awesome 16 year old in our neighborhood who is coming over every Wednesday for two hours to simply be present. I feel like I'm buying a big sister for the kiddo. What will be her role? Play with the kiddo and have dinner with us. What will I do?  The answers are endless: clean kitty litter, make dinner, walk the dogs, mop a floor – or when I really need it – sneak out for a yoga class. The bottom line is that when going at it alone, don't be afraid to find more support in your life.

*Have fun. I do love a little girl time with my daughter. There is something about mommy and daughter dates that are truly special. You know what? We're going to be having more of them in our house so I'm going to embrace this time. Dinner often becomes the downer when one person is missing so we tend to do it differently when dad is on the road. There are more picnics on the patio and more pancakes for dinner. There are also neighborhood dinners. I've found that I'm not alone in having a traveling spouse. I bet you are not alone either.


*Make plans. This one is so easy for me. I'm a planner. The hubby? Not so much. Together though, we're making plans. His planning includes communicating his on-the-road travels for work several months out. This enables me to make the plans on the home front. The plans might be as simple as a family day at home with no commitments to a family date day at the zoo. Whatever it is, put it on the calendar and don't let other things get in the way.

*Be flexible. Though it sounds so easy and is so important to parenting, I admit it, sometimes I'm not so flexible (see above about making plans). When it comes to work (and life), one will be much happier if they learn to embrace change and are receptive to it versus angry about it. I'm working on it.

What about you? Are you going at it alone? If so, what works for you?

What do you think?

Parenting Team or Going it Alone?

Jeannie Fleming-Gifford is a mama to one little lady, freelance writer, and the director of education for a non-profit community school of the arts. Graduating with a B.A. in Music and a M.A. in Child Development, Jeannie began her career in quality child development programs as a teacher, then moved into creative administrative roles with science centers, symphony orchestras and arts programs. Owner of 170+ year old house, Jeannie loves living in small town America where walks to the park and ... More

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  1. Jeanetta says:

    I’m not living with the father of my baby, but I hope we can come together as a team and not argue over ever little parenting decisions that needs to be made concerning our daughter. We don’t live in the same town and he wants me to move, I think that can be worked out but he doesn’t want her to be a vegetarian, this is a problem I don’t see us compromising on…

  2. Kevryn says:

    My husband is a marine and we have had to spend months apart. he was gone for 3 months of my last pregnancy and he missed our first son walking. I also had to move while he was gone. I made sure that i took lots of pictures and recorded things for him. As well as making sure to talk to him and letting him talk to our son as often as possible. He was also gone for a month and i was here in california with our entire family in texas. It was really hard with 2 kids but we made it through. My hubby did one of those recordable books so that our sons could have him read to them every night before they went to bed. it was really great

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