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  • Writer's pictureAndrea

Coparenting Conundrum: What to do when you feel like a single parent in a two parent home

We've all seen videos like this on social. A family out to dinner and the mom is feeding all of the kids who are on her lap while the dad peacefully eats his meal and sips his drink unbothered. There's not one single mom that can't deeply relate! At first, we smiled, but now it just pisses us off. This isn't the way it is supposed to be. Screw "traditional parenting roles." It is 2024, parenting should be an equally shared endeavor. Coparenting is only coparenting when the roles are equal (or at least close to).

There are times when a you may find yourself feeling like a single parent, even when there's a partner sitting on the other side of the couch. While the journey of motherhood is rewarding, the weight of sole responsibility can be overwhelming. What effect does single parenting have on our mental health and how can we combat it?

The Emotional Toll

It's not uncommon for moms to experience moments when the demands of childcare, household tasks, and emotional labor fall predominantly on their shoulders. When a partner is less involved, it can lead to feelings of isolation and frustration. Despite being part of a partnership, the emotional and physical toll can create a sense of being alone in the parenting journey which can lead to anger and hostility.

Open Dialogue and Communication

The first step in addressing this challenge is open communication. It's crucial to express feelings without blame, creating a safe space for dialogue. Share your emotions, concerns, and the impact on your well-being. Approach the conversation with a focus on collaboration rather than criticism, fostering understanding and connection. Include specific examples of situations where you felt alone.

Understanding Each Other's Perspectives

Understanding the reasons behind a partner's level of involvement is essential. Some people may not realize the extent of their partner's struggles or may have their own challenges to navigate. A heart-to-heart conversation allows both partners to share their perspectives, fostering empathy and laying the foundation for finding common ground. Put yourself in your partner's shoes for a moment to get some perspective.

Creating a Shared Coparenting Vision

Define a shared vision for parenting that aligns with both partners' expectations. Discuss specific roles, responsibilities, and the level of involvement each feels comfortable with. Finding a balance that honors both parents' needs and strengths creates a collaborative approach, ensuring that neither partner feels burdened or neglected.

Couple on a date night with wine

Scheduling Quality Time:

Sometimes, the issue isn't a lack of willingness but rather a misalignment in schedules or priorities. Establishing dedicated quality time as a couple and as a family can strengthen bonds and reinforce the shared commitment to parenting. This intentional time together fosters connection and a sense of unity and reminds you both of why you started this parenthood journey together.

Seeking Support

Feeling like a single parent doesn't mean you have to navigate it alone. Seek support from friends, family, or even professional counselors. Sharing your experiences with others can provide valuable insights and provide perspective on the issue. Seeking professional guidance can offer practical strategies for improving communication and collaboration within the partnership.

Encouraging Positive Reinforcement

Acknowledge and appreciate the efforts your partner does make, no matter how small. Positive reinforcement can motivate increased involvement. Celebrate the shared victories and express gratitude for the support offered. A supportive environment encourages a more engaged and participative parenting role.

Reevaluating and Adjusting Expectations

It's crucial to reassess and adjust expectations. While shared responsibilities are essential, it's also important to recognize that perfection is absolutely unattainable. Be realistic about what can be achieved and learn to prioritize tasks. This not only reduces stress but allows room for both parents to contribute in ways that suit their strengths.

Silhouette of family at the beach

The moments of feeling like a single parent can be transformative. By fostering open communication, understanding each other's perspectives, and actively working towards a shared parenting vision, couples can strengthen their connection and create a more balanced and fulfilling journey through parenthood. Remember, it takes a village, and with mutual support and understanding, the challenges become stepping stones toward a more harmonious family life.


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