When we’re thinking about the word empowerment, we often focus on how we’re empowering our children to grow into the best people they can be, or how to empower ourselves to lean into our authenticity, talents, ambitions. Another lens to consider is whether you and your partner are equally empowered in your relationship. As dual-career couples, parenting responsibilities will be shared, time together might be limited and tensions can often be strained when there’s a sense you’re just not ‘on the same page’. Consider how much you and your partner
- Align on how you want to raise your children?
- Consciously integrating or evolving each of your own childhood experiences?
- Play to each other’s strengths?
- Have a shared view of your future?
If any of these are misaligned, here are a few conversations to help close the gap.
Agree a family philosophy.
The way that we parent and our vision of what a positive family experience should look like are so influenced by our own experiences growing up – whether we want to replicate or replace these memories. Discussing your values with your partner (and your kids, if they’re old enough) is a cornerstone for building clarity. It shows up in how you set boundaries, how you discipline, how and when you spend time together as a family, how you share domestic responsibilities.
It’s common to think your values are aligned. Maybe you know that respect is an important value for you. But have you talked about what respect means to you, how does everyone show respect to each other in the house or to others outside the house?
When deciding on your values, talk about why each of them are important for you and for your children, how you want to embed these into your daily life and how they will serve you as parents or your children as they get older.
Talk about your strengths and weaknesses.
If we want to build more equal parenting partnerships and transform traditional gender / social stereotypes, we need to move away from ‘blue jobs’ and ‘pink jobs’. It might be an easy way to assign household chores, especially if there’s a lack of ‘fairness’ in how much each person is doing on a day to day basis. However, the simplification of ‘blue vs pink’ jobs doesn’t help bridge the divide of typical gender roles in the house, or lean into the things that we enjoy the most.
Instead, focus on what each of you are good at. Where there are areas you both don’t enjoy, how can you tackle these together or outsource as much as possible. Whatever the solution is, agree it together rather than assuming responsibility because of its traditional gender stereotype.
Talk about your priorities.
Whether these are your individual or family priorities, you need to be clear on what the things are that matter most to you, how you’ll make critical decisions and how you’ll handle challenges. For example :
- Are your career choices based on financial need or ambition?
- What are the most important times of the week / year that you will be together as a family?
- How will you manage work when one of your children is sick?
- What are you financially aiming for and what choices do you need to make to support that?
Your values are the foundation for a stronger, more empowered partnership and family unit. The impact of this clarity will be felt in your child’s life for years to come.
This article was written by Rachel Childs. Rachel is a couples coach who helps working parents navigate their transition through parenthood as a dual-career couple. You can find out more and book a free discovery call through Rachel’s profile page: https://www.careeringintomotherhood.com/coach/rachel-childs/
November 1, 2023