Navigating a relationship while taking care of kids is a lot. I never know if I'm doing it right, wrong, enough, or too much. As my children get older, my partner and I are constantly faced with new challenges — things we couldn't foresee as young, hopeful parents — and new and evolving ways parenthood is re-directing our journey through life as a couple. So if there's a list of parenting decisions only forever couples will make, I'd bet some choices we've made together are on it. If they're not, well, they damn well should be.
My partner and I have been together long enough that we've semi-perfected the art of standing as a united front when our children inevitably test us. The youngest is good at picking sides, hoping for compassion from at least one of us (usually me), while our oldest prefers to pit my partner and I against one another. As we near the teenage years with our oldest, it's more important than ever that we stick together and not let her (sometimes) raging attitude divide us. It's the whole strength in numbers thing, you know?
There are times when our generally well-behaved kids (at 10 and 5 years old), act up in ways that go beyond what we're capable of handling, so this united partnership ends up doing or saying something we never thought we'd do or say. We're not perfect, and don't always make the exact right decision when it comes to parenting, but through 13 years of togetherness I'm thrilled to say we've survived some situations I was sure would end us. Here's some of those decisions that prove our relationship was meant to be. Sure, these might not apply to you and your partner, dear reader, but that's the point: we all choose our own destinies, put in the work to make our relationships work long-term, and that always looks differently to different people. Here's what it looks like to me: