The Tag Team Approach

My husband and I recently had our first real experience with what I call "tag-team" parenting. Our daughter is two years and five months old; up until this point I've never been overwhelmed while doing my motherly duties.

Until the other night.

It had been a long day. I was tired. She was in a wound up mood, bouncing off the walls and running laps around our tiny house. Most of the time, I'm able to shrug that off.

She's a kid. She's got excess energy. It's better for her to be wild now so she'll sleep later. I don't mind coming home tired and jumping into play with her. It's my job, as a mother. I accept that whole-heartedly. I treasure the fact that she even wants to spend time with me, and most of the time, I can push through the fatigue and enjoy the last hours of the day with her.

But the other night. What a night.

I reached the end of my rope. For the first time ever since becoming "Mom" in 2007. Through the screaming nights of infancy and the trials and tribulations of teething, I've held my own. I've never had to ask my husband, or anyone else, to step in for a moment. I've never been to the breaking point before. It's a scary point to reach, I'll admit.

My nerves were fried. I was hot all over. I could hear and feel my pulse pounding my ears. It was just a mixed up emotion of anger and exhaustion and nervousness and guilt. I just couldn't do it. I had to ask my husband to step in, to take her away - to do something, anything before I completely snapped.

Afterwards, I felt guilty. She wasn't being that bad, was she? Hadn't I been through many other worse situations with her before? Why was this moment, this time so much different?

A million questions later and a good thirty minutes to myself, I decided to just talk to my husband. I needed to explain myself, try and make some sense of the situation. He was a little bewildered with me. He'd never seen me like that; he'd never been put in that situation before. I'm always the one who takes charge of the bad moments, the one who can handle anything.

Screaming in the grocery store. Crying for two solid hours in the car. Up sick all night and the next day, too. No diapers left in the bag. Gum in the hair. Clothes ruined with nothing clean in sight. No wipes. No pacifier. No milk. No blanket. NO PROBLEM.

I am "Mom", hear me soothe. I can handle anything. But I couldn't handle that night. For reasons I can't explain, I just couldn't deal.

And I'm very grateful for my husband. There are moments when I completely question his parenting methods and think to myself "what are you doing?!" - our styles are different, for sure. But he recognized I'd reached my limit. He took control in an instant and removed the tension from the situation. He was my partner in parenting for the moment, and he allowed me the opportunity to step away and regroup.

I honestly don't know how single parents do it. I have nothing but respect these individuals who juggle work and kids and everything that goes between, in and around all of that. It's a huge blessing and burden that I can't imagine doing alone.

Tag-team parenting for us works. It's nothing something I'm proud of having to do. It's not something I hope we have to do a lot in the future. I hope to always keep my cool 99.9% of the time.

But it's nice to know someone's there for that other 00.1% of the time. It's nice to know someone's got my back.


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