Coparenting – 5 tips To Achieve a Balance
Having a baby is life changing, to say the least. A tad obvious, a moot point.
It is a journey; a vibrant, beautiful adventure of dirty nappies, gorgeous giggles, love, sleepless nights, chaos and spew.
With a baby comes new ground… how do you manage your new, chaotic life with your ‘co-parent’ be it your other half or ex partner?
Who does what? Who works? Who does the feeds? The chores?!
It is a mind fuck!
Here are 5 quick tips from personal experience and from speaking to other mummies and daddies, to help parents-to-be and new parents on their way to getting a healthy balance.
What do I mean by ‘balance’?
A state of contentment and security that the way you’re co-parenting works for YOU and your partner as individuals, and for your new little family as a unit.
This blog will likely be preaching to the choir and highlighting stuff that people already know; however, it is intended to help stressed new parents ‘regroup’ and remind them that they can absolutely coparent with ease, all it takes is a team effort!
It sounds obvious, it really does.
However, when you’re in a relationship with someone, and know them so deeply, it’s surprising how sometimes we just go with the flow with each other, make assumptions based on our personal knowledge of our partner, and forget to communicate effectively.
Example; I know that my partner is a very helpful, doting dad who will help even if exhausted. It’s easy for me to assume he is ‘ok’ at any given time when in actual fact, if I were to sit him down and coax it out of him, he’s had a shit day at work, has a banging headache and just needs to rest even though he wants to help as much as he can. The same can be said in reverse!
From our private group:
Sarah-Jayne Murphy: I think me and my hub have actually found a routine! He does help with our lil girl (22 months) he comes to all appointments for bump. He does dishes a few nights a week, hovers and bins is totally his job plus he drives me everywhere I need to go! It doesn’t sound much but he’s out breadwinner so I can’t expect too much. It hasn’t always been like this but I put that down to him being military and being away a lot for the first year of Lola’s life we even have a lie in each on the weekend constant communication got us here though x
In order to achieve a co-parenting balance, it’s good to be firm and explicit about what you need! Leading to point two below…
If your ‘usual’ pattern suddenly isn’t working, be open to change. Be flexible.
For example.. if daddy normally does bath time but tonight, he has to work late, switch it up a little – delegation isn’t set in stone. Make it work for you.
3) Take advantage of any extra help available
There’s no shame in getting all the help you can.
Grandparents. Siblings. Friends. If they’re willing to take little one out even for an hour – take it!
It’s useful to use this extra time to do important things, or even just relax; this takes some strain out of your co-parenting dynamic!
4) Take it in turns
There is nothing sweeter than ‘me time’ when you’re really in the mood for it.
However, different priorities can often clash with taking a few moments to yourself; taking it in turns to do everything, from relaxing and hobbies, to important tasks, keeps the co-parenting dynamic fair.
However, if you decide to unevenly delegate due to your own circumstances (such as one parent working and the other not), that is good too as long as you feel that you’re given a reasonable amount of time. 🙂
5) DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOU!
There is no right or wrong way to achieve balanced coparenting; the crux is that you need to do what’s best for you, your baby and your partner, and what makes your family unit happy and healthy.
A 50/50 split of tasks doesn’t suit all families – especially those where there is a single breadwinner. Some families prefer an even divide.
What matters is that both parents communicate effectively and make allowances for each other – you both work hard and do your absolute best to raise your gorgeous brood, communication helps to avoid resentment and tension building up.
It doesn’t have to be the same day to day…. one does the dishes, the other vacuums, strict schedule and delegation… it’s possible to go with the flow and function well as long as you both feel that the jobs are fairly divided based on your own household and own circumstances.
What fits the Joneses next door may not fit you. Don’t compare over coffee and feel resentful that Debbie next door gets more help, or perceive that she has it ‘better’ because it’s not true!
Thank you for reading!
Love Katie xx