“When it comes time to settle down, find someone who wants an equal partner. Someone who thinks women should be smart, opinionated and ambitious. Someone who values fairness and expects or, even better, wants to do his share in the home.”Sheryl Sandberg
I’m married to an amazing man. He absolutely believes that we are partners in life, in marriage, and in parenting. He respects me so much. And when we were dating, I 100% took that quality for granted.
Every girl does it—makes up a list of the perfect qualities for their dream man. Tall, handsome, funny, rich. But I have come to find that a man who is respectful and who will be a life partner is really the most important thing you can have.
When we were dating, my now husband never balked at my ambition to get my degree. After graduation when we got married and I got a full-time job, he was completely fine that I was going to be putting him through school. He was involved in our wedding planning and wanted to discuss all of it with me on the days when I felt stressed. When we got married, we combined our finances and both of us have a completely equal say in how we spend our money and what we want to buy. He’s strong enough to know that my success doesn’t take away from him as a man. That can be a rare quality, and it’s one that I’m so grateful for.
Today, I work full-time from home while my husband goes to grad school. We have a 2-year old little boy, so our lives are full of work, taking care of the home, schoolwork, and parenting. My days start early and end late, so I can do my work but still be with my son during the day. However, every single day when my husband gets home from school in the afternoon, he’ll take our son and play with him for a couple hours, so I can get some more work done. I never have to ask, he never hesitates, and it’s absolutely amazing.
Dishes, vacuuming, cooking, laundry—nothing is off-limits to this incredible partner I have. It makes me a better mother. It makes him a better father. It makes us better spouses. It makes us better people. We don’t expect the other person to have our home spotless every day, but we know that we both have an equal share of the work to do.
Every couple, married or co-parenting, needs to make sure on the same page about what they need and want from each other. Every partnership will look different based on what you want and need in your home and family. But if the discussion doesn’t happen and the expectations aren’t set, nobody will be happy.
Some couples will involve traditional partnerships, with one going to work and the other in the home with the kids. That is awesome! Others will have a mix of work and home, and that is awesome too! Whatever you and your partner choose should be for the best of the entire family, not just one or the other. And it’s vital that both partners are on the same page about their role.
But when it comes to parenting, that kind of partnership is the most important of all. It’s all too easy to get out of sync with your partner about how parenting should go, what’s okay and what’s not okay, and more. This can be confusing for kids and frustrating for the parents. Partnership and mutual respect should always prevail in your home, where kids know that you will always back each other up and that they won’t hear negative things about one parent from another.
Unfortunately, my kind of partnership just isn’t the reality in many homes for many parents.
If it’s not your reality, I’m sorry. It can be painful and hard to be out-of-step with the person you are supposed to be the most in-step with. But there are things you can do. Counseling can help spouses or co-parents get on the same page. Honest discussions about expectations can really help you know what the other person wants and needs. Regular check-ins can help you stay on the same page as your children grow up. And the most important thing is to always keep your kids at the forefront of your mind. Consider what is truly going to be best for them. As moms, we are CONSTANTLY thinking about our kids and how to make their lives better. Going into a partnership discussion with this mindset will help both parents.
And let me just give a shout-out to the single mamas out there. YOU ROCK. And you are not alone in parenting. We’re your partners in parenting. Your friends, your family, and this community. We are your partners and we want to help you!
Partners in parenting. Easier said than done. But getting on the same page can transform your parenting and make it sweeter than you ever imagined.
Maddy Low is the proud mama of a little boy named Graham who she is absolutely obsessed with. She graduated with a degree in communication from Brigham Young University, and works full time from home doing web content and web design. She’s been married to her high school sweetheart since 2015, loves writing, traveling, long walks through the aisles at Target, chocolate, and connecting with other moms.
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