“Tag – your turn to be the parent!”

The other day my wife, Erin, came home from somewhere and I immediately handed her the baby, and gave her an update on what the 3-year-old was into. I was quickly headed off to my office to find some peace and quiet after a couple hours of a crying baby and an insanely persistent toddler. But before I had exited the room at a near sprint, Erin said “Hey, come down in a while. I feel like we have been doing a lot of tag-team parenting lately.”

It got me thinking about Tag-Team Parenting and Weekend Marriages. I had not given these terms any thought until then, but now with two kids I can see how both of these can quietly become an issue you may not even be consciously aware of.

Tag-team parenting traditionally consists of parents who work opposite shifts in order to care for their children. Such as one parent working day shift while the other parent works nights. But it can also mean simply handing off the kids to each other, so one of you can get a break or get some other work done. This is the one that has creeped into our life recently with the addition of our newest baby.

While we are extremely lucky in our working arrangements, I work from home and my wife works just two days a week, it can still be easy to fall into this habit of spending less time as two parents and two kids and more time with one of us watching both children while the other regains some sanity in the bath or while I go to my office to get some work done.

Its not all bad, tag-team parenting works for many families and may even be essential to their financial livelihood, but in my home I think it just happens and until now I wasn’t even really aware of it. But reflecting on it, I would like to keep it from becoming the norm. I am not saying I have a solution, my wife will always need to watch the kids while I am working, even if I am just upstairs. The great thing is that I can come down and visit whenever I need a break or to have lunch with them. (Note to self: it’s absolutely worth it to tear myself away from work at the time they are ready for lunch.) Anyways, just something I am thinking about and want to improve so that we spend more time parenting together – not to mention it’s just easier to handle kids when they don’t outnumber you.

Weekend Marriage is another issue that couples with multiple children or high-demand careers face as well. Weekend Marriage simply means that a couple is so busy during the week with all their daily duties that they have no time for each other – with the exception of possibly the weekends where they may steal a little time for themselves.

Of the 110 million married people in America today, 85 percent have a relationship that qualifies as a weekend marriage, psychotherapist Mira Kirshenbaum, author of “The Weekend Marriage: Abundant Love in a Time-Starved World” says, based on her analysis of U.S. Census Bureau figures and various time-use studies. That means 93 million Americans are currently in a weekend marriage.

So I ask myself, “Do I have a weekend marriage?” And the answer thankfully is “No.” While it is true that date nights are few and far between especially now with a new baby, but I think we understand the value and once our darling newborn starts sleeping through the night we will return to finding time to catch dinner and a movie when we can. However in the meantime, our aforementioned working arrangements allow us to have a lot of home time as a couple spent sharing the tasks of daily life. They might not be as exciting as our younger days, but having a couple hours alone to eat pizza and watch a movie in our living room on Valentine’s Day was still pretty good for us (Thanks Sara!). Or loading the family up in the car and heading out for an always adventurous shopping trip (we are learning to limit our number of stops so we don’t end up with an awful tear-filled ride home.) Or just sitting as a family for dinner almost every night listening to Ella’s hilarious chatter reminds me of growing up in a happy home where family meant everything and it was seemingly always rooted in my parents love for each other.

Love you Erin – congrats (and good luck) on your first day back to work!

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One Response to ““Tag – your turn to be the parent!””

  1. Cute Steve.