When my partner and I had our first child, our relationship was fairly new. We had only been dating for two years, so we weren't sure if our relationship would last or if we wanted the same things out of life. In other words, that pregnancy forced us to re-examine everything. But it wasn't until our daughter was born that our relationship was really, and I mean really, tested. Eventually I realized there are more than a few co-parenting arguments every couple has at least once, and my partner and I were no different.
Having a new baby when my partner and I were unsure about the foundation of our relationship wasn't ideal, but I learned a lot about myself and my now-husband when we decided to have a baby anyway. I realized what we had in common, what we absolutely didn't, what we were willing to compromise on, and what could be grounds for ending our relationship. It wasn't always easy to evaluate our relationship consistently, but we're different people with different goals and world views, raising a child together. We owed it to our daughter to figure out how to parent together, and that meant experiencing some growing pains and enduring a few arguments.
Of course, it's worth mentioning that there's a very real difference between an argument and an abusive fight, and in no way is a toxic relationship worth enduring so that you can "learn" about your partner. Arguments are normal, and I would argue necessary, but verbal abuse is not. That said, when arguing with your co-parent, in a healthy way, you're essentially learning how to resolve conflict, compromise with one another, and get on the same page so you can parent together, as a team. I'd say that's a good thing. So once my partner and I accepted the fact that some co-parenting arguments are totally normal, and we'd be OK regardless, raising a child together felt much, much easier. So with that in mind, here are some parenting disagreements that are totally fine, and may even bring your co-parenting relationship to a new level.
The "Whose Parents Are The Most Helpful" Argument
When my partner and I were brand new parents, deciding whose parents helped out the most, and whose parents were slacking as grandparents, became somewhat of a contest. No one won, clearly, because both sets of parents weren't the issue.
We were young and immature, trying to figure out how to parent, and co-parent, and this part of the transition into parent life was completely normal. Eventually we learned to be grateful for the help and presence of all grandparents, equally.
The "Which Family To Celebrate Holidays With" Argument
When you come from two different families, living in different states, who do you spend baby's first big holiday with? My co-parenting partner is generally passive, but back then he was more apt to object to my suggestion when I offered up my mom's place as an acceptable location to celebrate the holidays. At the core, this type of argument taught us how to compromise — an evergreen lesson.
The "Who Was Supposed To Be In Charge Of A School Thing" Argument
So, um, this parenting with another person thing doesn't necessarily get easier. In fact, I'd argue it gets harder the older your kids get. There are different obstacles in our ways now that our children are in school and we no longer have to focus on dirty diapers and nap schedules. And with two kids, there's always something going on that one, or both of us, has to attend.
I'd say a lot of arguments my partner and I have now, are the result of miscommunication. We don't always know who's supposed to be where and at what time and for how long, and it's because there was a break down in communication along the way. It's normal not to be on the same page all the time, but it's also irritating as hell.
The "Who The Better Parent Is" Argument
Parenting is a hell of a lot of work. When our firstborn was a baby, a lot of our arguments revolved around who did the most stuff. Who was waking up the most? Who was changing more diapers? Who was feeding our baby the most?
The answer? We both were. Together. As a team, we were doing the most.
The "How To Dish Out A Punishment" Argument
It's damn hard to co-parent an 11-year-old girl determined to stay in trouble all the time. Communication between my partner and I isn't always the best, so when it comes to doling out consequences, try as we might, we've argued about who let a kid off the hook too soon (him) and who gave too strong a punishment (usually me).
Sometimes we contradict one another, too, and that further confuses our children. Regardless, if you're fighting about discipline, at least you both care enough to make sure your kids are well-behaved.
The "When To Back Off" Argument
Even though I've been the consistent disciplinarian, I know I'm also somewhat of a helicopter mom and tend to (lovingly) smother my children in an attempt to keep them safe from all the things. Of course, this usually starts an argument when my partner inevitably accuses me of coddling my children.
I know that, at some point, I need to be OK backing off and letting my children enjoy more freedom, but that's not easy. My partner is way better at giving our children space, and we argue a time or two as a result.
The "You Need To Communicate Better" Argument
Communication breakdown is by far, hands down, the perpetrator of the majority of the arguments between my partner and I. Keeping open lines of communication is also the one thing my partner and I consistently work on, so at least I know we're aware of the problem. And, in the end, the arguments we've had over more than 10 years of parenting has reinforced the importance of communication. That, my friends, isn't a bad thing.
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