You can use every negative adjective under the sun when describing life as a tag-team parent. Tag-team parenting is turn-your-hair-gray stressful mixed with a dash of I-want-to-cry-in-the-shower depressing but you have to steal the good moments when you can. If you let your stress overwhelm you then you cannot focus on your family. My family has been tag-teaming for three years and I can attest that there have been many weeks that I just hate our lifestyle. If I can keep things in perspective then life, and my attitude, improves significantly.
Have Fun When You Can
When you have the opportunity, drop everything and play. I’m not just talking about playing with the kids but with your spouse also. If you can keep this as your number one priority then you will survive the tag-team parenting lifestyle.
Let the House be Messy
I hate to say this but mom’s workload is greater than dad’s in a tag-team parenting family. Occasionally it’s the other way around but for the sake of this rule I can only speak from a mom’s perspective. Mom still does the brunt of cooking, cleaning and shopping. Let this rule go hand-in-hand with the previous one in order to keep your sanity. You cannot do it all!
If you’re like me, I can get the house clean one day just to start all over again the next day. I finally was able to let it go, a little. By the time you are done cleaning again it’s time to go grocery shopping. When you’re done with the shopping, it’s time for homework. After homework, it’s dinner, practices, showers, and bed. When all this is done then, and only then, do you actually get to go to work. If something doesn’t give then you can end up working 24-7.
Focus on the Big Picture
There has to be reason why you chose tag-team parenting. Remember that reason and try not to lose sight of the complete picture.
Are you trying to save money? I took a weekend position because it not only worked for our schedule but it also paid more. We are also saving money by not using daycare or after school care.
Are the kids better off not being in daycare? I know everyone loves all those germs and bugs that go from kid to kid and then stressing out while racing to pick up the kids before the place closes its doors but that lifestyle is not for every family. You may stress over other things but these stresses can be eliminated.
Spend Time Together
Friday nights are our family’s time together and we let very little intrude on our family time. If one of us has an obligation then we all try to go. Many Friday nights consist of just pizza and a movie. It’s not a big production; it’s just the four of us together.
Ignore What Others Say
I’ll be the first to admit that many of my relatives, mainly my mother, are completely oblivious to our schedule. I can tell them but they just don’t understand the fact that we don’t have that much time together as a family. You need to be strong at doing what’s best for your family and that may include hurting other’s feelings.
My kids recently had a four-day weekend. They were excited; I was excited, until my mom called. She wanted to keep the kids for the two days they had off. I flat out said, “No! I want to spend some time with my kids.” She was offended and I’m not sure she’s actually over it but I needed to be direct so she got the message.
Enjoy the Little Things
Sometimes all you have are the little things. I love snow days when school is canceled and all we have to do is watch movies and put together puzzles. Not every day has to be spectacular and sometimes just being together is enough to get us through to the next break.
Last May my kindergartner was sitting at dinner and casually said that he was carrying a banner for the May Crowning procession the next day. I got no other information about the event and had to go to the school’s website to find out the time. My schedule allowed me the time to go without having to take off of work.
The May Crowning was the pinnacle point as to why we tag-team parent. The tears were flowing as my kindergartner held up his banner describing Mary with as much pride as a five year old can muster. His banner held a single word: “Patience”.
More information from a tag-team parent:
A Realistic Look at Tag-Team Parenting
Marital Stress in Tag-Team Parenting
Save Money with Tag-Team Parenting