We're outnumbered—plain and simple. With three kids and two parents, the adults in my home are constantly playing zone defense. It can feel, quite literally at times, that my husband and I are getting pulled in different directions at times.
This is what we always wanted. Yes, life with three young kids is more chaotic and challenging than my husband and I could have predicted when we were newlywed 20-somethings. It's a beautiful chaos, though—and one that has not only made our family unit's bond incredibly strong, but has also made my relationship with my husband take on even more meaningful layers. No matter what, we're on the same team.
However, being on the same team doesn't mean we always have to partner up. For our family, we've found one of the best strategies to getting things done and also taking care of ourselves is to take the "divide and conquer" approach. On the average weekend day, my husband will take the kids down to the park in the morning while I organize the house. Then, in the afternoon, I get out with the kids for errands while he takes care of more tasks on the to-do list. And we always, always make sure we schedule solo time for self-care, too.
From the outside looking in, it may seem like we're just running in different directions. For us, though, that's what it takes to keep our household and family running. Then, when we're back together, we are able to feel more present.
We've come to this strategy through time—and honed it along the way. One trick we've picked up to help us while handing off the kids during the day is to simplify the transfer: We stick with the same vehicle, pack up the snacks in the morning and use the same diaper bag no matter who is out with them.
Pro tip: Find a unisex diaper bag you both love
For the longest time before this, I has a floral diaper bag tote that I picked when our first baby was on the way. Meanwhile, my husband used an old backpack and haphazardly tossed diapers, toys and snacks into it. Honestly, neither bag worked for us.
So, three kids into our parenting journey, we worked together to find a bag that we could both use. We agreed we wanted a backpack and needed both space and organization solutions. The perfect fit: A unisex diaper bag from WSEL. (That stands from Work Smart & Enjoy Life, which I love.)
For us, this bag is a winner because it's great for every kind of outing from family trips to short visits to the playground. With enough storage space for us to pack it up in the morning, we can get that work out of the way without having to restock.
More importantly, by helping each other out to make the hand-off as simple as possible, we feel like a team—even if we're playing on different courts at the same time. It's a little different than the pace we enjoyed during the early days of our relationship, but it's also a phase that makes us more grateful than ever that we picked each other.