Mommy Wars: Team Parenting

We had another screaming fit this morning before breakfast. At least it happened before breakfast and not during. We can usually diffuse the situation and eventually get the boy to eat if he does it before the meal. Today’s fit was sparked by the trusty husband asking the boy if he wanted some Os. The boy’s response was “no thank you.” To which the husband obliged and didn’t give him Os. The boy then proceeded to scream for 30 minutes. He also hucked a stuffed animal at the husband’s head.

The whole situation got me thinking. During the ordeal I quietly sat and ate my breakfast. I enjoyed my cup of coffee to the sound of the husband reprimanding his son for throwing toys. I did nothing to intervene. On our trip to Alaska D and I had a few conversations about discipline.

The boy constantly tells D “no.” It drives him crazy. He doesn’t tell me no nearly as much. Maybe because I am the main disciplinarian in the house. When the boy tells D no I let the two of them work it out. It is their beef not mine. I do this because the boy needs to understand that both parents are just that… parents. We aren’t there to be his best friend. We are there to be his parents. Sure daddy is still the fun one who carries him around the house upside down, but daddy still makes rules.

The boy has also learned the fine art of “if Mama tells me no, I’ll go ask Daddy.” Not gonna fly around here kid. Usually because he does it with both of us in the room.

I have seen so many mothers in my time step in to diffuse a situation between child and father. I don’t understand that. Why are mom’s not giving their spouses enough credit? Do moms really think their husbands can’t handle their child?

So this brings me to my topic of the day*:

Do you truly team parent or do you do most of the work? When you are out and about without your child do you call home to check to see “how things are going?” Do you step in when your husband is trying to discipline your child or talk them down from a tantrum? Do you feel your husband can’t handle the stresses of parenting?

*I know this is a topic for the marrieds of the group. I apologize for not keeping the Mommy Wars topics to all moms, but this is a topic that I am really interested in.

15 Comment

  1. Esther says: Reply

    We team parent. We don’t let the kids play us. Sure, the kids try. But they lose at that.

    I happen to be home much more than my husband. But the kids know we are both the parents. My husband isn’t a glorified babysitter. And conversely, I’m not some glorified maid. The kids know we are both running the show; our names are both on the mortgage.

    I never call home to check in. I only call home if there’s some emergency and/or I’m going to be detained past a reasonable amount of time, therefore I know my spouse would worry. Conversely, my husband doesn’t call and check in with me either. We both have enough self esteem to know we’re OK, and the other party is OK as well.

    My husband has only called me once, ever, when I have been away from home and he was home with all the kids. He called to say that when I got home to kiss all the kids goodnight, our then almost 2yr old son was injured pretty badly in the face, looked horrible, half his face was scabbed and/or bleeding for hours, and he didn’t want me scared to death and screaming “what happened to my BABY!!!!” in the middle of the night. I don’t know how he got the bleeding to stop as it was. The next day it was still bleeding on and off for hours. I took him to the doc and got his face coterized.

    My husband is a highly capable person. Rare is the situation that riles him. I’ve occasionally told him to just walk away for a while when he and one of the boys are angry at one another. A problem doesn’t necessarily have to be solved in that particular minute.

  2. We do team parent. I will admit, I occasionally say something to Lidia if she is not listening to him. I don’t do it because I don’t think my husband can handle it… I do it because it drives me CRAZY that she is challenging him in the first place. SO it’s really my own issue. I’m most likely to do this when I have had a day and my fuse is shortened. I’ve noticed this about myself and have been trying to keep out of it most of the time.

    Other than that, though, I don’t call to check on him when he’s with the kids. He’s pretty capable and I’m certain the kids and house will still be here when I get back šŸ˜‰ He calls to check on me here and there, but that is because I am home with the kids all day long. It’s mostly a mental health check (how are the kids today?) and an I love you and miss you šŸ™‚

    Lidia tries to play us, but we have the same rules and when she asks us something that seems fishy, one will always check with the other parent to make sure she didn’t just get a no from him/her. She’s gotten sneakier as she’s gotten older and has almost gotten us before (with the “other parent syndrome” as I call it…asking mommy when daddy just said no).

  3. Alli says: Reply

    Team parenting is definitely our goal but I do sometimes intervene when my husband is trying to handle a situation (and man aren’t there a ton of situations when you’re dealing with 2 year olds). Much like Crystal it’s because I get p.o’d that my son or daughter isn’t following their father’s instructions. I’m at home so I have to handle the discipline a majority of the time but when hubby is home I gladly let him step in and do my best to keep my distance. I too want the kiddies to know that daddy is their parent. The kids haven’t yet tried to play us off on another but I’m sure that will change.

    I don’t call to check in on my huband while I’m out. I know he is more than capable but we have much different tolerances with safety issues. I’m always imagining the worst and he doesn’t thing anything can/will happen. This drives me BONKERS!!

  4. Lauri says: Reply

    It’s our goal to work as a team as well and frankly I think we could do better… I do most of the day to day parenting and care taking.I do trust John with Liv…. but I have a hard time letting go. I just feel like I know her a little better.. if that makes any sense. I know what she is saying and he often cant understand her. The other day I was outside painting and John was watching Livi. She had had a blowout in her crib during nap and was screaming ” I pooped”… he never went to her. I felt like ” what the hell”. I tend to go to her right away.I never intervene if he is disciplining and vice versa. We try our best to be a united front. I know there is nothing John cant handle and have complete confidence in him.

    Great Post

  5. Nancy says: Reply

    We truly do team parent and our boys know that. They learned pretty early on that playing us off one another wasn’t going to work. If one of us puts someone in time out then that is the person to lets them out, no matter what.
    The only time we ever step in is when the parent dealing with the tantrum/discipline is obviously loosing it and needs to separate themselves from the situation.

    The only time I call home or get called is when the Man wants Cheesecake from the Factory.

  6. Esther says: Reply

    ps..I trust my spouse and he trusts me. So we don’t call in on each other when one is alone with the kids. Couples need to have confidence and trust in each other, and this is a great modeling for their children.

  7. Ani says: Reply

    Great post.

    Our goal is to team parent, but we are learning the ropes as we go along. I spend most of the day with our boy, so for the most part I set the rules and hand out punishments. BUT, when its Daddy-time, he handles it all on his own. I usually don’t call to ck in if I’m out, but my husband calls during the day to say hi and ask how the boy is doing.

    One thing we NEVER do is second guess each other – so whatever one of us says regarding discipline or time-outs goes!

    Fun thing this parenting thing, huh? šŸ™‚

  8. Carla says: Reply

    We team parent as well. The only time I step in and intervene is when I see both the trusty Dh and my son melting down and spiraling into something ugly (like Dh handing out a 3 month no toys sentence). šŸ˜‰ We uphold the other’s punishments (even though it can be quite painful…3 months no toys was ROUGH). Very rarely do they “play” us as well. It’s happened, but it’s rare that is succeeds. We have a great deal of room for improvement as well.

    I hardly call to check in, unless I’m going to be gone over night or miss bedtime.

  9. We don’t team parent exactly like I would like to because Pineapple usually goes to me and will cry if I try to hand her off. However, I leave her to M whenever possible and if they are having an issue I rarely interfere. Like you- I think they need to work it out themselves.

  10. serena says: Reply

    Being single I have noticed this issue and really wondered about it. I have seen women through themselves in between their child & husb to take over and then complain their husbands don’t help. I thought maybe it was just my perception being single.

    My parents take care of my child during the day so we have some co-parenting going on. We do speak up to back each other up “do what grandma asked you” etc.

  11. I try. And am getting better. But I’m a sucker and a bossy eldest child. Ugh. I’m trying … and hubby is getting better and not losing his temper as quickly, so that helps with the whole me not meddling thing. šŸ™‚

  12. Rhonda says: Reply

    Yeah, we team parent as much as possible. Although, I won’t kid you that it can be really hard to let go, particularly when he’s gone and comes back after I’ve been working on behavioral issues, etc. But I certainly do trust him, and I try very hard to let his relationship with the kids be his relationship.

  13. S. says: Reply

    We team parent as much as possible. But due to the hours he works, I mostly do all the work. If there is an issue, we back each other up i.e., you need to listen to your dad/mom etc. Sometimes I disagree with how he handles things (i.e. overly hard on table manners), but I wait until we are alone to discuss it. I think it is really disrespectful to act like he doesn’t know what he’s doing with them.

  14. Jenni says: Reply

    Jeff and I team parent as much as possible. We divide the parenting duties pretty equally (like I give the kids a bath while he cooks dinner), and are always there to keep each other in check during a trying situation. We also give each other breaks when needed. It helps make parenting easier, and also helps the kids learn that we are a solid unit, and the rules are the same no matter which parent you are with.

    Sometimes I do feel that Jeff gets to be more of the “fun parent” though, but that is more my fault than his. I let myself get so distracted by all the things I need to get done that I sometimes forget to just take time to play with the kids for a bit.

    Parenting is hard, there’s no doubt about it. I now have a greater respect for the single moms out there who do it all on their own.

  15. kate says: Reply

    Another singleton chiming in–probably where I have no businees chiming.

    Sometimes, it seems to me from my outsider perspective, that those moms who keep dad at arm’s length are very lonely. They want to be the center of their child’s world. They seem a little frightened at the thought that someone else (even Dad) could be important to their child. It seems that they like being the PRIMARY caregiver while relegating, albeit subconsciously, Dad to the secondary caregiver.

    I don’t think this is the case with all parents–far from it! I think a well-functioning team is certainly a joy to behold. It’s just something I’ve seen. (Don’t hate me.)

Leave a Reply