The Only Piece of Marriage Advice Parents Need to Follow

I am not a parenting expert, and most certainly not a marriage expert. Both of those arenas in my life have experienced their fair share of peaks and valleys, more often than not, in tandem. Marriage in itself is a challenge. You are taking two separate lives and meshing them together to be one. Forever. Add a kid in there, and finding marital bliss is just about as difficult as doing a rubix cube blindfolded, behind your back, with one arm bound. You get the point.

For as many challenges as my marriage has been through in regards to child rearing, there is always one constant piece of advice I tell myself, and my girlfriends who are facing similar issues, over and over. In fact, this is the only piece of marriage advice you need as parents…

Do not keep score.

You cannot, no matter how tempting it may be, keep a tally of who did what, because it will never come out even. Ever. It doesn’t matter that you changed the last 42 diapers, or that your husband unloaded the dishwasher every time for the last three weeks. What matters is that you two play off of each other and find some sort of harmonious agreement on a day-to-day basis. For instance, when my husband works late, I try to have our daughter fed and bathed by the time he gets home so that they can spend quality time together for the little amount of time he gets to see her. However, lately, with the struggles of a second pregnancy, bathing her is sometimes arduous and I wait for him to get home to do it. Several nights in a row he will be in charge of bath, and I use that time to pack her lunch or get her stuff together for the following day. Not once has he come at me and said, “But I bathed her the last three times.” And not once have I said, “I packed her lunch every day for the last x amount of days. It’s your turn.”

But that wasn’t always the case.

When she was an infant, so many of our arguments centered on the annoying phrase, “it’s your turn.” Bottles, diapers, dishes, you name it, there always seemed to be someone had already done it, and therefore, it was the other person’s responsibility to take care of the need.

Can you really take turns while parenting? Does that really seem like a logical approach? Sure, maybe in the beginning stages it seems fair, but once reality sets in, and reality needs to be fed, bathed, and entertained right this minute, taking turns doesn’t seem like it should be the priority. The priority should be meeting the child’s needs.

What good does it do to a marriage to constantly be taking tally of what each person contributes? My daughter loves to play with my husband. They laugh and goof around the second he walks in the door. But when she’s sick, or tired, or hungry, she gravitates towards me. So rather than keeping score, we have learned to play on each other’s strengths.

I’ve had so many conversations with girlfriends who seem to be at their wit’s end with their spouses. “He hasn’t emptied the diaper pail in two weeks,” or “I can’t remember the last time he gave her a bath.”

It’s important to realize that we all have our strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps your spouse prefers to be in charge of entertainment {like mine}, or cooks dinner every night. Just because there isn’t a balanced tally chart of who is doing what chores, doesn’t mean there is cause for an argument.

If you find yourself mentally keeping score, I encourage you to stop. Sometimes it’s 50-50 in our house, and other times it’s more like 80-20. But day in and day out, there is always a toddler who is well taken care of and loved.

And that is, by far, more important than a scorecard.

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One Response to The Only Piece of Marriage Advice Parents Need to Follow

  1. Kaycie Greene October 14, 2015 at 3:17 pm #

    This was an amazing read! I can’t tell you how many times I did this and now there is no counting!

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