On our street, there are eight houses. Two of them belong to retired couples (empty nesters). Two belong to single men and the other four (ours included) belong to families. Of those four, two of the families have stay-at-home moms with working husbands. One is a dual-income family.
And then there’s us.
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We don’t fit the mold. We go against the current. And even after a decade, we still get the odd stares and whimsical looks when we tell people that I work outside the home while my husband is a stay-at-home dad to our two children. Still, we press on because this arrangement works for us. Our children are happy, healthy and we as a family are fulfilled.
On my Web site for working wives of stay-at-home dads, ParenTeam, I talk about ways that working moms can stay motivated and support our stay-at-home husbands. Through my site, I’ve had the opportunity to meet many SAHDs and their working wives, and the most well adjusted of them say the exact same thing that I discuss at length on my site: the key to success in a SAHD family is TEAMWORK.
Working together as a parenting team is a good way to stay connected, maintain open communication and promote a positive sense of family among yourselves and your littlest teammates. In fact, whether you’re part of a SAHD family or not, the basics of team parenting are just as relevant.
So how can you foster teamwork in your own home? Start by making your home a place that fosters critical thinking, creative problem solving and innovation. Create a family environment in which …
- Different viewpoints are appreciated rather than snubbed.
- People listen to each other and encourage new ideas and suggestions.
- People are encouraged to go out on a limb and introduce new ideas.
- Criticisms are constructive and positive.
- Dialogue (exchanges of viewpoints) is encouraged.
- Many perspectives are heard before important decisions are made.
- Debates focus on issues and ideas (as opposed to people and their relationships).
When conflicts arise, and they often do, the challenge is to develop the sensitivity, understanding, and skills to harness and channel the energy that is produced by conflicts toward positive outcomes and creative solutions. A good team is able to quickly adjust its mindset, think and behave in new ways, and adapt to new circumstances.
Jamie Hayden is the operator of ParenTeam
resource for working wives of stay-at-home dads.