Very early on in my parenting life, it was difficult to feel involved during the parenting process. I was part of it, but many of the decisions were not left up to me.
This is at no fault to Mrs. Rookie Dad. At the time, she was a teacher and I had not had much interaction with kids, let alone babies. I didn’t quite understand all of the idiosyncrasies of children, so I was OK with not making many of the decision that effected the Rookie as a baby because I was not confident in my parenting abilities.
It has changed though with the help of my wife.
4 and half years into parenting though, the tides have changed. Not necessarily to the point where I am the one making all of the parenting decisions, but where Mrs. Rookie Dad and I are now parenting as a team.
The Rookie has started the bad habit of asking one parent if he can do something and if he doesn’t get what he wants from that parent he starts to ask the other. This is when parenting as a team is important.
Take yesterday for example. The Rookie and I were outside, in between rainstorms. I was cleaning the car and suddenly we hear the slight jingle of a bell in the distance. It is the bell that I have come to hate as a parent. In fact it has spurred the next great app that will make me millions.
The Ice Cream Man.
The app, would be an app that uses GPS to track the ice cream man so that you can run your children inside and turn on something to drown out the bell. But, that is beside the point.
The Rookie was so excited that the ice cream man was coming and asking me if he could have some. To which I responded with, “No” because he had some from the ice cream man the day before.
Next thing I knew, the Rookie was throwing a huge tantrum, ran inside to ask Mrs. Rookie Dad if he could have some. She had not heard me say it but her response was the same as mine. Only to have a bigger tantrum thrown.
Parenting as a team!
I can’t tell you when Mrs. Rookie Dad and I got on this same page but somehow in the last 4 years we have started parenting as a team. Many times, when the Rookie asks us something to only go to the other parent, it happens within ear shot of either parent so we already know how to answer.
Now though, we are so much of a team that we know how each other will respond to a particular question or request from the Rookie even if we aren’t in the same room in the case of the ice cream man. It doesn’t always happen this way because even when you are parenting as a team you aren’t as in sync with each other as you would hope.
There are times that Mrs. Rookie Dad will say that the Rookie can do something but when I see him doing it, I become the hardass father, and say that he can’t. Upon finding out that Mrs. Rookie Dad said he could I let him continue on his marry way.
This is a constant battle at bath time because for some reason the Rookie wants to take his Lego men in the bath with him. Why, I have no idea because he has millions of other bath toys to play with. But it is something that he knows Mrs. Rookie Dad and myself have different answers to. Usually, I lose because no one seems to understand that Lego’s are NOT bath toys. But this is a prime example of picking your battles.
As you can tell parenting as a team isn’t always easy. It is something that you really have to work at. It took us about 2 years to finally get that we need to be a team as parents. Which seems like a no-brainer, but it isn’t always easy to figure it out.