Actually, Parenting With A Passive Person Just Works

by Emily Westbrooks

When it comes to parenting, my husband is definitely the passive one out of the two of us. He's not 100 percent passive in the rest of our life, but I'm the one who gets sucked into parenting forums at 3 a.m. when I'm wondering why our daughter's nose won't stop running. I'm the one who Googles the safety standards of car seats and looks up the latest research on disciplining a toddler. Is it annoying? Sure, but with parenting, at least, there is a whole bunch reasons parenting with a passive person just works.

When my husband and I were planning our wedding we were living 5,000 miles apart. Up until the last six weeks before the wedding, I was essentially in charge of the planning and it was blissful. When he returned, however, he had a whole lot of opinions and it was infinitely more annoying. We learned that it's often better for us to have one of us take the lead and the other follow. He's in charge of travel planning, cars, and real estate. I'm in charge of the children and the house. Most days it feels like an even split.

There are drawbacks, yes, like the fact that sometimes I wish he would know why we had to move our daughter to a convertible car seat without me explaining. Still, I'm choosing to focus on the positives until the negatives become overwhelming. I should throw in the disclaimer that my husband doesn't not care about raising our daughter, he just knows I'm going to do the dirty work and made the very smart decision to let me take the lead most of the time. So, with that in mind, here's why parenting with a passive partner is actually pretty beneficial. Well, at least for us.

Because You Argue Less

My husband and I argue when we both think we're the expert on the subject. So, it stands to reason that we will argue much less when one of us has explicitly chosen to defer to the other.

Because You Go Off The Same Information

You're not duplicating efforts in research when one of you has decided to be the default researcher. Instead, one of you can pack the lunches and throw in a load of laundry while the other read the last (or first) chapter of the parenting book.

Because One Person Always Has An Answer

This is where it can get a little annoying if you don't embrace the overall arrangement. I've chosen to accept the fact that I'm the one who's going to know which sunscreen we should choose or when our daughter needs the next size up in sneakers. At least nothing falls through the cracks, though. I don't assume my husband has it covered because, well, I do.

Because One Person Is The Default Voice Of Reason

When I get too far down the looney rabbit hole of parenting ideas or fears, my partner can reign me in. He's not brainwashed by one opinion or muddled by too many sources. He can just be reasonably objective and help me work out what the answer might be.

Because One Parent Runs Backup

My partner may be passive in the research and decision making process of our child, but he backs me up on whatever the research says or whatever decision I inevitably make. If I say, "Here are the five reasons we shouldn't let her watch screens until she's 2 years old," and probably send him links to a few articles that he will skim at best, he'll back me up. It's like having an enforcer and it's pretty sweet.

Because The Go-To Parent Is Hardly Ever Wrong

I'm sure there are reasons why it's not a great thing that I'm rarely wrong, but as a new mom I must admit that constantly being correct is something of a relief. I didn't have someone second-guessing me at every turn, questioning my parenting decisions or skills. As an adoptive mom, it felt great to have the right answer on a regular basis, especially because I didn't get a chance to experience pregnancy or childbirth.

Because There's No "Good Cop"

Because we're both on the same page, there isn't a "good cop" or a "bad cop" when we're parenting. Once I do the research and make a plan, he gets on it and we're both on the same page. Our daughter knows she's going to get the same results from either of us, so neither of us has to play a good guy or bad guy role.

Because It Minimized Disappointment

Look, low expectations of my partner on the parenting side of things is OK with me. It means I don't expect someone else to do what I planned and, honestly, wanted to be in charge of anyway.

Because If You Have A Type-A Personality, It's Heaven

I don't want to hold up the whole relationship or have to do everything in our household. Trust me, as it's pretty damn impossible. With parenting, though, I don't mind taking charge and I'm pretty glad I don't have to fight for that ability with another Type A personality. I got this covered.