The decision to be a stay-at-home parent is made for the benefit of your children, but little thought is given to the challenges this will create for the couple. Sometimes the reluctance of the working parent to be involved in basic childcare duties can cause resentment to build. Rather than being an issue of competence, however, many times it is an issue of confidence.
Without realizing it, at-home parents have developed a routine and a comfort level with their children. They know what to expect and when to expect it. They tend to develop a sixth sense that tells them when trouble is brewing, and they have much more practice in this particular type of multi-tasking. For the working parent, this well-oiled machine can appear overwhelming, especially when attempts are made to help and they fail. Here are a few suggestions for at-home parents to facilitate the transfer of confidence to your mate.
Allow for mistakes. Remember that much of what has become second nature to you is not for others. You learned by trial and error, and your spouse needs to also. This may take some patience, but it helps to remember how difficult it was for you to learn initially and keep your focus on the end result, which is more shared responsibility.
Give up control. You may not officially qualify as a control freak, but you have a particular view of what works for your kids. Accept that your way is not the only way. The methods that work for you may not work for others. If you are willing to give up a little control you’ll be happier and may find that your spouse has some good ideas as well.
Communicate. If something is very important to you, take the time to teach the working parent how you would like it to be done. However, any information should be offered as a suggestion rather than a command. Chastising your spouse reduces confidence and makes future efforts less likely.
It is essential for your sanity and good for your spouse that they develop confidence in their parenting abilities. The effort put forth in the beginning will pay great dividends in the future, and the entire family will benefit.
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