Tag Team Parenting
Tag Team Parenting
Recently I was having dinner with a group of friends who all run their own businesses. Most of them had husbands with jobs and also had children under age 12. This means that their families were dealing with the usual work/family/life balance issues. With normal kids needing normal amounts of parental attention, one job, the other job, household chores, soccer carpools, commuting, shopping, supervising homework, settling the kids for bed, getting them ready for school, dealing with urgent overtime projects at work, wanting at least an occasional date night, etc., all of the families were busy — very, very busy.
One mom mentioned a system that she and her husband had worked out for the times when one parent or the other was feeling overwhelmed by a conflict between the children’s needs or demands and an urgent need to accomplish something for her business. “Tag.” That simple. As in “Tag, you’re it.” These parents had agreed that when one was feeling too stressed, he or she could simply say to the other parent “Tag,” and the second parent would take the kids to a different part of the house or even out of the house and take care of them for a while. The parent who needed to work on something or just needed a break from the kids (as most of us do, from time to time) could decompress and get back to work.
I thought it was brilliant. I wonder how many divorces would never become necessary if more parents had such clear agreements about helping each other care for their children well and also do their jobs well.
How does your family handle the stresses of family life? Comments welcome.
The author, Virginia Colin, is a Professional Family Mediator certified by the Virginia Supreme Court. She is not an attorney or a therapist. For a free consultation about whether family mediation would be helpful for you, contact her at mediatorQ@gmail.com or 703 864 2101.