Parenting is the toughest job any of us will ever do. The good news is that in two-parent families we don't have to do it alone. Having a partner by our side can provide comfort, support, and perspective.
But it's not always smooth sailing. Oftentimes, you may not see eye to eye with your spouse on important decisions and that can lead to unnecessary drama and hard feelings.
Here are a few tips to improve the teamwork with your spouse:
It sounds basic and easy but it can be challenging. As parents, we must be honest with our spouse about our concerns for our children, no matter how far-fetched they may seem. If you can voice your fears and worries with each other before an issue grows out of control, you'll be much more equipped to handle it. Constant communication eliminates assumptions and makes everyone's lives easier.
We know when big decisions are looming and in the course of our hectic lives it can be difficult to face them head-on. If you communicate with your spouse and discuss the options that lie ahead you will make better, more informed choices. For instance, if your child can't wait to get her driver's license, both of you need to discuss all of the ramifications of that decision and how it affects everyone's lives in the family well ahead of time.
3. Don't undermine.
In the heat of the moment when dealing with a family crisis, we might make snap decisions. If that choice doesn't comport with your opinion and you speak up about it, it can look like you are undermining your spouse. For example, if your spouse punishes your son and you disagree, in many cases you should keep your mouth shut. The decision's been made and you can talk about it with your spouse one-on-one later.
4. Talk privately.
In some cases it might be prudent to take a step back, retreat to a private place and discuss an issue alone with your spouse instead of in front of your children. Once you've reached a consensus, go back to your kids and inform them together of the choice you made.
5. United front.
It's important that your children know that both parents are on the same page. Even if you don't agree with the ultimate decision, stand by your one another's side and don't let on about your feelings. If your kids see a crack in the wall, they might try to exploit it to get their way.
6. Be flexible.
This is easy to think about and hard as heck to do. We all have our values and our bedrock beliefs that we won't budge on. Sometimes they may be in contrast with our spouse's beliefs. There may be instances while raising our children that we'll need to re-evaluate those values in order to solve a problem with our spouse.
7. Be an example of teamwork.
This may seem to contradict #4 but there may be occasions where it will have a positive, long-lasting impact for your kids to see you sorting out things together. Whether the topic is mundane (which movie to go see) or more significant, if you and your wife can discuss things openly, share opinions, and reach a decision, watching that process will be beneficial to your children.
8. Talk to someone.
If you are struggling to make decisions with your spouse and constantly feel that you are forced to give in or find it tough to be flexible, you might want to consult a marriage counselor. There's no shame in asking for help.