Parenting as a Team Even When You’re Not on the Same Page: Summer Playback Series – 305

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Today's episode addresses a common question many parents face: “How do I get my partner on the same parenting page?”

Parenting is tough, and it gets even trickier when you and your partner have different approaches. These differences can lead to frustration, conflict, and even strain the relationship.

If you find yourself in this situation, you’re not alone.

Tune in to discover how you and your partner can work together effectively, even when your parenting styles differ.

HERE’S WHAT YOU’LL DISCOVER:

  • How to embrace your partner's differences
  • How to find and focus on common ground
  • What it means to be a team
  • How to let go of the need to control
  • Episode 129 – The Mama Drama Triangle
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LISTEN TO THE SHOW:

Transcript

You are listening to the Less Drama More Mama podcast, episode 305: Parenting as a Team Even When You’re Not on the Same Page, week five of the Summer Playback Series

This is Less Drama More Mama, the podcast for moms who want to feel calm, in control, and confident about how to handle anything life throws their way. If you’re ready to go from feeling frazzled and disrespected to feeling calm and connected, this is the podcast for you. I’m your host, Pam Howard.

Hey, Mama. For today’s Summer Playback we’re revisiting episode 149 that tackles the common question: how do I get my partner on the same parenting page? It’s something many of my clients struggle with, so in this episode, we’ll explore how to work together as parents, even when we have different styles.

I want to remind you that I am taking private clients this summer and would love to help you end your power struggles and create a peaceful home. Head over to lessdramamoremama.com/mini to sign up for a free call with me to find out more. And now, please enjoy today’s summer playback.

***

In honor of Father’s Day, I wanted to address an issue that comes up a lot in my coaching: how to get dads on the same parenting page. Which is basically code for, “How do I get my husband to do what I want him to do and what I think is right?”

I get it. I’ve been there. When I was married, I was very critical of my husband’s parenting, especially when Marissa was a baby. Having spent my entire pregnancy reading every parenting book I could get my hands on, my mind constantly swirled with loads of contradicting information. It seemed like whenever he made a parenting decision, I had data to support why it was the incorrect choice. Then, if he chose differently the next time, I second-guessed myself and re-evaluated my initial line of reasoning. Nothing he did ever seemed good enough. But my controlling behavior really had nothing to do with him. He’d always been an involved father and quite capable of making good decisions. In fact, he had way more experience with babies than I ever did. The truth was that I felt so inept as a new mom that my anxiety about doing everything “right” led me to micromanage his every move. And on an unconscious level, I probably wanted him to feel the same level of inadequacy as a parent, so I wouldn’t feel as bad about myself. The more confident I became in my parenting, the less concerned I was with what he did.

I know from my conversations with other moms that I’m not the only woman who behaves this way. Unfortunately, it’s pretty common. John Gottman, a top researcher on marriage, cautions couples who are critical of each other that when criticism becomes pervasive, it can often lead to more harmful effects such as contempt, defensiveness, and avoidance. Don’t think for a minute that your criticism is helping your man become a better dad. It’s much more likely to slowly beat him down and push him away. And, when you’re busy criticizing, you’re likely not noticing and appreciating the good stuff. If you’re like most people, you were probably attracted to traits in your partner that you, yourself, lack. His strengths are your weaknesses and vice versa. You balance each other out. One of you is spontaneous, the other’s more cautious. One is frugal, the other loves to impulse shop. One enjoys being social, the other prefers to stay home. When you switch from being partners to becoming co-parents, these differences show up in relation to managing the kids. He’s anxious, you’re calm. You’re punitive, he’s permissive. These differences can often cause tension in the relationship. While it’s definitely easier when parents agree, the truth is that no two people are completely alike, and no two parents will handle situations exactly the same way. In fact, I believe that trying to always be on the same page sets couples up to be in competition with each other over whose approach is better, which creates even more conflict.

You and your partner have different histories and experiences that have shaped your individual values, attitudes, and beliefs. You have unique triggers – those thoughts that evoke feelings of anger, resentment, fear, insecurity, and guilt. You have different expectations and standards rooted in the messages you received growing up. Recognize that each of you has strengths and weaknesses and that your kids will benefit from learning to manage their relationships with different types of people. He’s not supposed to do it the way you do. You don’t have to be on the same page to be on the same team. And being a team doesn’t mean you do it the same. When you think about teams, sports teams, for example, there are different players with different strengths and responsibilities that make up the team. The pitcher doesn’t tell the shortstop how to do his job. And the kicker doesn’t tell the quarterback how to do his. They’re each responsible for doing what they do best. In the same way, you’re responsible for your relationship with your kids as their mother, and your partner is responsible for his relationship with your kids as their father.

Even if your partner has a much stricter or more lenient approach than you do, it’s not your business to interfere in his relationship with the kids. They need to develop their own relationships with each other, separate from you, and learn how to navigate the ups and downs. Of course, I’m not referring to any kind of severely abusive or neglectful behavior here. But when you interfere in other people’s relationships, you get caught in the Mama Drama Triangle that I talked about in episode 129 with being a rescuer, a victim, or a persecutor.

I mean, no one likes to be told they’re doing it wrong. Or even that they could be doing it better. Our natural reaction is to get defensive and dig our heels in deeper. We resist change, and we want to be right until we, ourselves, become open to doing things a different way. That’s why I won’t coach anyone who doesn’t want to be coached. It’s just not effective. So, when you accept your partner for who he is, let go of being right, and focus on how you want to show up rather than on how he’s showing up, you’ll both be a lot happier and end up working more as a team.

I want you to stop and ask yourself: How are you already on the same team? In what ways is he doing it right? How is he the perfect dad for your kids? Your kids are supposed to have the exact relationship with him that they do right now, for better or worse. His style may be unlike yours, but remember that his differences attracted you to him in the first place. Your kids will benefit from each of your approaches, so support each other’s choices, reinforce each other’s decisions and demonstrate unity whenever you can. Not only will it help your kids, it’ll also strengthen your relationship with their dad. Have a wonderful Father’s Day, and I’ll talk to you again next week. Bye, bye.

If you enjoy listening to this podcast, and you’re ready to feel calmer, more confident and more at peace in your family and life, I invite you to sign up for a free consultation with me to learn about how my coaching can help you achieve the exact life you want. You’ll take the concepts and tools I share in the podcast and apply them to your own life, and as your coach I’ll be there to support you every step of the way. Go to lessdramamoremama.com/mini and sign up now.

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As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Certified Master Parenting Coach, and former K-8 School Counselor, I’m on a mission to empower moms to feel calmer and more connected to their kids.

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