Sharing the Task of Parenting

Last week, my friend and I were having a discussion about parenting.  As she wisely noted, what works for one family doesn't always work for another family.  For our generation, most parents are working outside of the home in some capacity.  And, more than any generation before ours, husbands are sharing in the daily tasks of parenting and homemaking. A recent study showed that parents who share caregiving for their preschool children may experience more conflict than those in which the mother is the primary caregiver.

Results showed that couples had a stronger, more supportive co-parenting relationship when the father spent more time playing with their child.  But when the father participated more in caregiving, like preparing meals for the child or giving baths, the couples were more likely to display less supportive and more undermining co-parenting behavior toward each other.

My husband and I have been trying to co-parent.  In our home, my husband takes over primary parenting duties when I am at work, and vice versa.  He is in charge of bathtime and dinnertime, and makes his own decisions about what is the best way to parent during that time.  We often talk about our ideas and strategies, in an effort to try to get on the same page with our parenting.  I am sure we would experience more conflict during that time if we were both home trying to parent, in part because toddlers are experts at playing one parent off of another.

What works (or doesn't!) in your home?  I have heard that trying to "share" tasks is often a recipe for disaster.  Rather, it is less stressful to have one parent solely responsible for a certain chore or responsibility.  That works well for things like bathtime or cooking dinner.  But, when it comes to the all-encompassing "parenting" task, how do you break that down?  And, when you're a mom managing a "job" outside of your home "job", is it good for your sanity to take over the entire task of parenting?  Isn't that undermining your spouse in a different way?

For a link to the complete article, click here: http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/fathinvolve.htm

Take a look at the article and please let me know your thoughts... I'd love to hear the ideas of other parents out there!