Before I had kids, I heard a talk from a parenting coach who suggested “if you want someone to co-parent with you, you have to let them parent their way.”


Pre-kids, this seemed really obvious and a clear way my husband and I would raise kids.  After all, this wasn’t the 1950s, we both would be contributing to our family’s finances and we both would be contributing to raising our kids.


Fast forward to actually having kids, and like so many things I thought before children — co-parenting is easier said than done.


I drive my husband crazy when I tell the kids no treats until they finish their lunch, but later give in after a ‘few more bites,’ and I really wish he would not get the kids completely wound up right before the bedtime routine starts.


But should we really be parenting the same?


Think of any other situation where people work together for a common goal, really no where do two people have the same job or are expected to do it the same way.  A baseball team needs a pitcher and a first baseman, a company needs a CEO and CFO, a high school needs an art teacher and a math teacher.  We don’t judge the successes of the art teacher by her math skills, why do we judge each other parenting skills based on our own.


It is my experience that parenting is a middle game, and one of communication and compromises.{click to tweet that!}  I try to ask for what I need more often and judge his style of school lunch making less.  I think back to that bit of pre-kid advice, he is happy to pack the school lunches,  and I have to let him do it his way…even if it is not right mine.


My husband and I don’t parent our kids the same way, but I think my husband and I each bring a unique and special thing to the parenting table.


My kids get cleaner in the bath with dad than with me.  He is way more apt to wrestle on the floor after dinner or play a board game, where I prefer to suggest ‘movie night’ after a long day. He reminds them to cover their mouths when they sneeze and enforces the “pleases” and “thank yous” more than I do.  I let my kids paint the side of the laundry room with mud, but never forget to bring diapers and snacks when we leave the house.


No matter who enforces dinnertime rules or who makes sure the doctor appointments are scheduled, my husband and I are grounded in our bigger parenting goals.  We want to raise friendly, confident, independent kids who know they are loved unconditionally, by both parents, and know they are part of bigger team—our family.

What ways do you and your partner parent differently?  Can you embrace those difference as a positive?