By Neysa Ellery Taylor
2. Can you put away the laundry in your home? Do you know where everything goes?
3. When something goes wrong in your household, do the kids walk past you and go searching for your spouse to fix it?
4. Do you abdicate responsibility and leave it up to your spouse to make the big decisions?
5. Is your word your bond? Does your family believe that you are going to do what you say you are going to do?
The “slacker parent” doesn’t know how to jump into the family life again. They don’t want to do something wrong so it is easier to just stay out of it. The slacker parent tried to jump into the fray but got shot down when they didn’t do it the way the other parent did.
Do either of these parents sound familiar? So now what? How can they both turn into effective co-parents? Simple answer: the married single parent has to loosen the reins and give the slacker parent freedom to fail. The slacker parent has to assert themselves and complete tasks. That’s the simple answer. But what does that actually look like?
Tips for the Married Single Parent:
1. Open your mouth. Share your to-do list with your spouse.
2. Give your spouse room to fail. If they make a mistake, don’t rub their nose in it.
3. Let them do things their way. Who cares if they fold towels in squares instead of rectangles? Let them do it their way. Bottom line is it’s getting done.
Tips for the Slacker Parent:
1. Complete a task. Complete a task, any task. Boost your self-confidence by completing something on your to-do list.
2. Ask for help, guidance if you need it. If you haven’t been involved in a while, it’s ok to ask for help. But remember you are asking for help, not asking for your spouse to take over.
3. Make your word your bond. If you say you are going to do something, do it. Your spouse learns to trust you to help by the things that you do, not the things that you say you are going to do.
Bottom line: There is always going to be an ebb and flow to marriage and co-parenting. Sometimes you will do more, others your spouse will. But if you work to make sure that the tide doesn’t always flow one way, then you can go from a “married single parent” to an “effective co-parent.”