Parenting 101: 7 Tips To Share The Load

Parenting 101: 7 Tips To Share The Load

With more women than ever in full-time work and new shared parental leave on offer, deciding whose job it is to be there for the children is a tricky task. And whether you’ve sacrificed part of your career to stay at home or let go of time spent with your children to pursue goals at work, it’s easy to feel like your partner just isn’t doing their fair share. Here are seven ways to be better at teamwork…

Play To Your Strengths

Whether it's mowing the lawn or volunteering for the PTA, each person probably has one thing they’re better at. Knowing exactly which jobs are yours is bound to help things run more smoothly day to day. In busier weeks, one person might have to pick up the slack – just don’t make it a regular habit, says founder of the School for Mother’s podcast and mother of ten – yes, you heard us right – Danusia Malina Derben. Danusia also suggests avoiding falling into the trap of taking on habitual tasks: “It’s good to be mindful about the gendered nature of domestic chores and parental tasks; these are often divided less by strengths but typically by gender. It can be liberating to explore this and to shake things up.”

Be Fastidious About Diary Syncing

Taking the time to sit down together on a Sunday night to compare diaries could help you both navigate unexpected hiccups ahead of time. Be sure each other is aware of events you both need to know about, from school plays and parents’ evenings to reminders about nights out and time off. Try syncing your iPhone calendars or scribbling things down on a family planner in the kitchen so everyone knows who’s expected where and when. It might just force you and your other half to delagate a bit more. 

Give Each Other A Night Off

Having just one night each a week where you don’t have to be a parent will help ensure some much-needed balance. Whether it’s heading out for a drink with the girls or just running a hot bath, think of it as time all to yourself. If that’s just not realistic, think about alternating lie-ins at the weekend. Claire Holness, a mum of five boys, and founder of Sweetbeginnings Babycare and The Nurturing Hearts Club, agrees: “Parenting is exhausting and sleep deprivation can affect our relationships. Recognising when each other needs a break is important.”

Be Realistic About Money

It’s probable that if you only make a third of the money – or none at all – most of the child-raising will fall to you. And it’s important to remember how unlikely it is that everything gets split 50:50, so try not to resent your partner’s limited involvement if they’re busy being the breadwinner. If you’re keen to maintain your own career but the money just doesn’t match up to your spouse’s, have a think about how to make it work for everyone involved. Whether it’s taking something on part-time or developing a side hustle, try to think of it as giving you equal amounts of flexibility and self-fulfilment.

Outsource Where You Can

It could be worth seeing if there’s room in the budget for some extra help. Whether it’s a housekeeper or someone to keep on top of things in the garden, decide what it is your daily schedule just doesn’t allow for. If work is a top priority for both of you, try setting money aside for some extra support on weekdays. It might mean sacrificing other small luxuries like daily coffees or an expensive gym membership, but it’s up to you to decide what’;s going to work best for your family. 

Find A Community

Things are never easy when we feel like we’re in it alone, and leaning only on each other might have its limits. Try reaching out to other mums and dads at school or nursery to see if you can share drop offs or arrange a weekly playdate. Aside from being awell-deserved break, it’ll give you the chance to chat to other parents who might be going through the same thing. 

Let Go Of Perfect

No one gets it right day in, day out. There’ll be tantrums, meltdowns and times where you feel like it’s all too much. And while it’s natural to want to do what’s best for your children, ‘best’ doesn’t equal perfect. It might be worth staying away from social media if you’re really struggling, says parenting expert Angela Spencer. “We have forgotten to disconnect from our screens and reconnect with ourselves, which is where we need to start. Parents should live by their own expectations and choices and ignore the pressure of others, however hard it may be.”

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