I've been married for eight years and a parent for six. I'm not an expert at either, but I’ve made enough mistakes to speak to what doesn’t work. My marriage is far from ruined, but each and every one of these parenting stumbles has put a strain on my partnership. Thankfully, there's room for mistakes and friction in a strong relationship, but left unchecked these argument starters could become marriage enders. Nobody is the perfect parent or the perfect partner, and trying to be good at both is no easy feat, but avoiding these pitfalls certainly can’t hurt.
1. Not making time for each other. Let’s face it, raising kids takes tons of time and energy but you’ve got to make sure that you reserve some of that for your partner. Find time to connect about more than logistics. Have fun, laugh, be intimate and remind each other why you started a family together in the first place.
2. Not making time for yourself. Another mistake that's so easy to make is losing yourself completely to your family. You’ve got to make time for yourself. It’s not selfish—it’s essential.
3. Not having fun as a family. It can get really easy to tag-team parenting in a way that leaves very little time for family togetherness. Interacting as a family unit, especially when it’s something fun, is a great way to boost marital morale.
Don’t shoulder the burden of all the chores and childcare and then harbor resentment that you must do it all.
4. Not asking for help. If you’re going to find the time for yourself, your partner and your family, you're going to need help. You can’t be afraid to ask for it. It's especially important that your significant other knows what you need from them. Don’t shoulder the burden of all the chores and childcare and then harbor resentment that you must do it all. Ask for help and make sure you get it.
5. Micromanaging your child’s care. In order for you to get the help you need, you must let go of control. If your partner takes over bedtime duties, let them get it done in the way that works for them. You can’t expect others to do things exactly like you do. Believe me, relinquishing control can be extremely hard, but holding on to it drives a wedge in your marriage.
6. Differing discipline. While it’s extremely important that both parents are allowed their own parenting style, it is also key that they don’t undermine each other. Do your best to get on the same page and act as a united front; nothing breeds resentment like being thrown under the bus. It’s especially unfair if one parent is always required to be the disciplinarian.
7. Sharing your bed with your kids. The family bed situation may not be a problem if both parents are happy with the sleeping arrangement. But if sharing your bed with your kids is cutting into quality sleep and/or romantic intimacy, it might not be what is ultimately best for your family.