I love my husband dearly and we disagree on 75% of things in life—especially when it comes to parenting.
Given the fact that we come from fairly different backgrounds, it makes sense that our beliefs around how to raise children vary. To add another layer, we are a blended family, so each of us came into our marriage with children from previous relationships and have been used to making decisions on our own as single parents.
But I’ll be honest, I’m not sure I realized at first just how differently we see things when it comes to parenting our children. It has been one of our biggest challenges as a couple yet.
What’s interesting is that fundamentally our parenting styles align in so many ways. We both believe in raising our children in faith, providing them encouragement and support, and teaching them to be respectful and compassionate human beings.
It’s the little things that seem to be the cause of our squabbles.
Food and sleep are common sources of friction for us. My husband doesn’t see an issue with greasy food and the occasional cupcake for breakfast, while this is enough to give me a panic attack.
A strict bedtime wasn’t something I cared that much about (despite being a sleep coach, shhhh don’t tell) but my husband very much believes our house should be “early to bed and early to rise.”
Discipline is another area where we differ greatly. I have definitely hopped on the positive parenting train and believe strongly that our children need to feel heard and validated as often as possible. While my husband is generally a gentle giant, he sees most behaviors as an opportunity to teach accountability and doesn’t put as much thought behind the why as I do.
At first I was worried that our dissonance meant disaster and that we would certainly mess these kids up in the process (#momguilt).
But thankfully, as with most things in marriage, we have learned to find some compromise.
Part of what makes our family dynamic work, despite our differences, is the opportunity to learn from each other. More often than not, I am finding that “my way” is not always the best approach, and my interjection isn’t necessary. Likewise, he will often step aside and tag me in when he realizes that he doesn’t know how to handle certain situations.
We have been able to complement each other’s disparate styles and actually teach our children that it is possible to have very different opinions and viewpoints on things, without living in conflict.
More and more we are reminded that we are each individuals and we don’t need to change each other’s minds to have a harmonious relationship. This most certainly trickles down to our children as well.
Here’s the thing—we are both learning as we go and just when we think we’ve got this parenting thing down, we are immediately corrected. It still takes a lot of continuous effort for both of us and plenty of moments when we wonder if it will ever get easier.
Being parents has been a huge blessing and has taught us more about each other than we ever expected. Through compromise, love, and a whole lot of grace we are working together to be the best darn parents we can be. We’ve got this.