In a traditional family, most parents enter into parenting with discussions on how they are going to do things with their kids. Together they decide the rules, what flies, and what doesn't. I have never been a parent in a traditional family, so since I have been a parent, I have been the one who has decided what is best for my son, Christian. Well, until my husband, Roger, and I got married, then I had to take his feelings into consideration. In our blended family, we have both had to work with each other to figure out the best course of action with our kids. Frankly, I hate it. I want to do what I want to do as a parent, and I don't want to be wrong. Without hesitation, however, I can say there are many times where Roger has had a better point of view on the situation and ultimately had a better course of action as we parent together.
In our early years of marriage, issues about the kids were our biggest point of contention. In fact, there were very few other things that we argued about. We just did things differently. I can't say one way was right and one way was wrong, just different. It was true, as well, that Roger knew what worked best for my step-children, Alex and Adam, and I knew how best to attend to Christian. As the years have gone on, we have learned to listen to each other better, take each other's advice and discuss situations so that we are both on the same page before jumping in with both feet. Our parenting has become like a fine waltz, although there are still times when I think I should slow dance, and Roger wants to disco.
Things still come up with our kids that we don't see eye to eye on how things should be handled, and if it is something concerning Christian, I still see myself automatically jumping on the defensive, rather than listening and considering what Roger has to suggest. I guess I feel as though I still know Christian best and know what he will receive, but there are also things that Roger knows better than I. He knows what it is like to be a 20 year old young man - I have no clue. He knows what a man needs to feel and act like a man...I really can't relate. He also knows about being a dad, which is different than being a mom.
Having gone through so many years as a single parent, I think it is easy to stick to that "I'm in this alone" mentality, when in fact, I don't have to be. It's the beauty of the blended family. It takes time, and work, but we entered into this arrangement, marriage, life, because this was a person we wanted to partake in everything with, and that includes parenting. So, why aren't we letting them in and letting them help? (I'm preaching to the choir here) Why aren't I letting Roger help me with parenting? We have been do-si-doing for 10 years now...isn't it time I let him hold my hand? As with every job, it's easier with a team - many hands make light work.
So the next time a situation arises, when your spouse is suggesting something that is hard for you to hear: Stop, listen and consider. Talk it out and figure out how the two of you can work together as parents for the best of your children. You're in this together....accept their help. They love you and all that you are, and that includes your children.