Strengthening A Sense Of Partnership In Parenting, Around The House, And In Life


Strengthening A Sense Of Partnership In Parenting, Around The House, And In LifeParents are in the thick of it. The goodness of having a child or multiple children and yet the incredible hard work and feat of caring for children while also maintaining careers and a place to live is unbelievable. Consider the process of all that takes place in the morning hours just to get going for the day. If you are exhausted by 9am, it’s understandable. I think we can safely say it’s the equivalent of some kind of arduous challenge – both physically and mentally – to get yourself and your children ready for the day, much less all the rest that comes as the day goes on!

As I go about parenting and spending time observing and talking with others, I see and hear so much overwhelm and exhaustion.

It seems like there’s always more to do, and that dynamic of feeling like your head is barely above water is real and prevalent. I think we can all relate to that dynamic and would like to come out from under it, so that there is less overwhelm, more lightness, and more joy as we go about our parenting and our days in general. 

What has made an impression on me is how parents with partners sometimes still feel so alone in the parenting realm. It seems like that only makes what is already challenging in the parenting/career/home realm so much harder.

If you can relate to that dynamic and would love to increase a sense of partnership, of “we-ness,” of being in it together, this post is for you! 

Being Seen, Heard, And Understood

Many times, there can be some kind of spoken or often unspoken dynamic between partners of seeing one person’s role as more important than the other. The reality is that providing financially for children and caring for children are both incredibly important. However you and your partner navigate working and physically caring for children, one role is not less than the other. 

If you do not feel seen or validated in your role, this is something to advocate for. Consider communicating to your partner about what this would mean to you. We give our partners so much support when we can genuinely show and feel respect for what they are doing. 

If you have tried that, and there’s still no validation, make sure you are at least validating the significance of what you are contributing with yourself and with others you interact with. Whether working for pay or work and care that is unpaid, both are of incredible significance and ultimately are focused on the same end goal–showing love and support to your child!

Needing More Help

If you find yourself often feeling overwhelmed with thoughts running through your head of how much better it would feel if there were more hands-on help from your partner, then consider problem solving. This activity can either first be done individually or in collaboration with your partner. If you work independently, be sure to come together for discussion afterwards.

Take a few minutes to write down your typical daily job description of what you do to care for your children and your home. Circle the tasks that you are more genuinely glad to do or that align more with chores and tasks that you enjoy more than your partner. Underline any that your partner typically takes care of. Then star any that would mean the world to you for your partner to either take on more consistently or even sometimes when he or she is home and available. If resources allow, you can also get creative and consider if there is anything that can be outsourced to lighten the load. Communicate with your partner about your results and insights.

When you are ready, consider panning out from daily tasks to weekly or other tasks including financial provision. This helps create a more grounded, accurate picture of all that goes into caring for children both in terms of physically caring for them and providing for them financially as well as maintaining a home. Even just naming these things can go a long way in helping validate the significance of what you or your partner are contributing.  Who shops for gifts for others? Who ensures the kids have clothes? Who schedules and takes kids to dentist appointments? Who changes air filters? Who cleans out filthy gutters, etc.? How are bills paid in terms of having the resources to pay and also who takes the time to actually pay them, etc.?

If one partner is truly not present to help in a tangible way at home daily because of their schedule, elevate what might feel most helpful on the weekends. What would a partner taking care of breakfast one weekend morning and allowing the other partner to sleep in feel like? What would let you know and trust that you are parenting your child(ren) as a team?

Beware Of Resentment

If you find yourself in a cycle of experiencing growing resentment, take note. Resentment never helps a relationship thrive. What support do you need to help break this cycle? What needs to be worked through, so that you feel more connected to and supported by your partner? 

This can be done through honest communication with your partner and by working to voice what you need as well as listening to your partner’s perspective. This can also be done with the support of a third party if you feel stuck or like you need the space and support to talk through these dynamics.

At the deepest level, it is typically much less about equally dividing up tasks and so much more about feeling seen, heard, and valued. Feeling respected and giving respect are basic human needs and are often enhanced through effective communication as you work to advocate for what you need and also hear what your partner needs.

For more about lessening the overwhelm, be sure to read this, and if feeling overwhelmed in general, consider reading this. If experiencing resentment towards your partner, consider reading this.