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July 13, 2020

30 Comments

There’s a lot of hype around sharing the parenting load (and fair enough – it’s something a lot of families are dealing with right now).

Here’s how to do it.

1. Be on the same page BEFORE you have a kid

Make sure you have the same feelings about parenthood before you enter parenthood. There’s no right way to do it – if one of you wants to be a stay at home parent and the other wants to work – fantastic. Do it. If you both want to work and you both want to share the household chores, great. If one of you wants to sit on the couch and play Xbox all day and not participate at all in the daily running of the household then there might be a bit of a problem. Hint: People who sit on the couch and play Xbox all day and don’t participate are very unlikely to change this behaviour with the addition of a child. Just a heads up.

2. Let your spouse make decisions

If you leave your significant other to take care of your kid, just let them figure it out. If you write a giant list of everything that needs to be done, you’re setting yourself up as the boss. If you leave cooked meals in the fridge, lay out pyjamas and clothes and basically pre-parent you’re taking on the brunt of the load.

Who cares if they put them in a onesie that’s too short or they give them dinner for lunch or vice versa? Let them do their thing. Otherwise you’re setting yourself up to be the person in charge in which case you’ll always be the person in charge. If that works for you, cool but I sure as hell don’t want my partner texting me asking if we have a spare bag of nappies (yes we do – massive stock of Little One’s in the cupboard under the stairs)  whenever I leave the house.

3. Put up a public front of being shared parents

This option isn’t available to everyone, but we make sure my partner takes our kid to daycare the same amount as I do. There are HEAPS of dads that do daycare drop-offs now, and it’s great. If this is available to you, do it. If you’re a part of a family where both parents work full time, there’s no reason why all the daycare drop-offs and communication has to be the mother’s responsibility. We also take it in turns to look after her when she’s sick. My job is just as important as my partners, so there’s no reason why I should have to skip work every time our kid gets sick. We take it in turns.

4. Choose your battles

I (very randomly) hated feeding our daughter when she switched to solid food/purees. I found it to be a weird mix of stressful and boring. I would have rather done anything else, so my partner took it on. Shared parenting doesn’t mean 50/50 split parenting. I do most of the bathing/getting dressed for bed. My partner usually does breakfast. I do most of her clothes shopping, he does furniture/gadget shopping. Find a groove that works for you and an arrangement that’s equitable for YOUR partnership.

5. Don’t let people congratulate your partner for doing really basic stuff

I frequently get told what an excellent father my partner is (and it’s true – he’s great!) but I don’t think anyone has told him what an excellent mother I am. The things that are expected of me are worshipped in him and it’s bollocks. If I patiently walk down the street holding my toddlers hand while she sniffs flowers and picks up rocks no one looks sideways at me. If my partner does it, the whole town stops what they’re doing to praise the Heavenly Dad God. If someone compliments your male partner for doing something they’ve also seen you do and not complimented you on it, call them out. I’ve never heard anyone praise a woman for bathing a baby and putting them to bed but it’s often comparable to the moon landing when a man does it. Call it out.

Happy shared parenting!

Do you have shared parenting in your home? Or is it a less than equal split? We’d love to know how you make it work (or not) in the comments below!

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  • Lots of great tips. My partner is a lazy as good for nothing when it comes to helping round the house. Ive nagged, I’ve moved out, I’ve gone on strike. Nothing has worked. I call myself a single mother with a partner…..he does nothing so I am a single mother

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  • I am not that lucky one whose husband shares the parenting, so it’s unless I am down with fever my husband won’t bother take care of kids, he doesn’t even do the basics like holding crying baby while I am cooking or busy doing other household work. He expects me to ask for help all the time, he is more interested in repeat watching an old movie rather than helping me so all those mums if your husband /partner is even doing basic stuff it is great.

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  • I think too it can be hard because everyone finds that some things are different from what they expected about parenting; that can throw a spanner into the best laid plans.

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  • I find my husband get more involved nd helps as my daughter gets older

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  • So true, teamwork is essential! Hubby and I are the same, plus our teens now helping pull their weight too

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  • Great parenting article, unfortunately I’ve noticed people will always congratulate the dad for helping but never make the mum feel good, well in my experience.

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  • 50/50 would be perfect but life isn’t perfect. It’s about teamwork.

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  • We’ve all different strengths, important to respect these and work well together

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  • Hubby will help out when asked but if left to his own devices he;d just watch tv!

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  • My husband is an amazing dad and has been involved since day 1. It’s important to communicate so your both on the same page especially if they are working. Sometimes it’s so easy to step in if the baby is crying but letting dads make their own mistakes and not micromanaging can encourage them to be more involved. Which is hard when all your mum hormones want to just pick the baby up!

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  • it is so hard to manage

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  • My hubby is amazing and thoughtful and considerate and always took on a shared parenting role… and continues to this day. He also shares household duties too. I won’t say I’m lucky, because we have that discussion about who decided I should do certain roles within the home!! And my hubby is never a babysitter, he’s a great Dad. He actually gets angry at other Dads who don’t take on a big enough role in their kids lives.

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  • I do most of the parenting, however, my husband works a fulltime job and does loads around the house. We both support our family – just in different ways.

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  • My late husband and I both worked and I would take on the bulk of the housework and cooking during the week and on the weekends he’d take over. It worked for us but I must admit, at times I felt like I was doing everything. When I told him how I felt he admitted he didn’t realise. That’s when he took on more responsibility of a weekend. Also found a great childminder who was a great help.

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  • I’m doing most of the brunt work, full time looking after my 10month old for his whole life. My partner is on a 2/1 roster but he feels he’s done hos contribution by doing the baby’s washing and changing the nappy bin, and coming to say hi to our son. He expects me to ask if I need help to take care of our son so I don’t get a break at all. I feel resentment towards him for being inconsiderate and even more so because he thinks he IS considerate, by doing some of the baby house chores

    Reply

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