This blog chronicles my life as I try to balance healthy lifestyle habits with my husband's penchant for pizza rolls and my daughter's desire to watch iCarly 8 hours a day. It contains a mostly humorous, kind, and somewhat spiritual look at everyday life and the people who live it.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Tag Team Parenting

Yesterday we took our 9 1/2 year old daughter clothes shopping. While I am sure it was not as bad as it will become when she is say, 13, right now it's pretty surprisingly horrible for my husband and I. Ah the good old days when you could pick up any adorable onesie, pair it with any cute leggings and the child was dressed, happy, and content. I remember thinking that I was going through the "hard part" of dressing a child when I had to struggle onesies over my infant's still-too-large-head. I was so naive. Now the hormones have kicked in and the child is rarely happy and content.

All we needed to get were 2 pairs of jeans, 2 sweaters, and 2 long sleeved shirts. Admittedly, that's 6 items but there was a time, even a year ago, when buying 6 items could take 15 minutes, including the checkout! We were in Justice-Just for Girls for an hour, followed by a crying jag in the restaurant that lasted 10 minutes, followed by another trip to Justice (just me and my drama queen this time) that lasted another 1/2 hour.

Frequently I wonder how Steve and I will navigate the landmines of parenting our daughter: our styles are completely different, our methods generally at odds, and even our goals sometimes make it appear that we're on different teams. Yesterday, though, I figured out why we will make it through, mostly unscathed. We tag team parent. We're not the kind of parents as presented on the Cosby Show or Disney channel who appear together in the child's doorway, arms around each other's waists as they lovingly but firmly lay down the law as a unified team. We are not able to finish each other's sentences or nod along supportively as the other parent presents the thoroughly discussed-agreed-upon-and-sanctioned-discipline for the child. We actually parent best if we don't know what the other person is saying, doing, or God-forbid, caving on. We have only 1 thing in common with our parenting, but it apparently is the most important thing for us: we like each other.

My own parents were not able to jointly parent me or my 3 siblings. I don't know how much my parents loved each other but I know they never liked each other. I didn't realize how important liking your spouse was to parenting until after our daughter was born. Especially in the moment when you're not sure how much you like your much-loved child.

I can't imagine being a single parent. I need to be able to tag-off when I am fed up, irritated, irrational, tired, disinterested, bored, busy, or distracted. I need to be able to walk away for a minute, knowing that a pinch hitter will step in to save the inning. I don't know how I'll know who wins this game, but I sure am glad I'm playing on a team.

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