Be the Dad 17. Be a Great Team with Mum
You are on the same Team
Be greater together. Being a great team is all about getting your strengths working together, planning and strategising your parenting and getting a unified course of action as a couple. I’d love to share with you how to achieve this team mindset, plus 5 keys on how to become a strong parenting team
It all starts with you believing ‘we are on the same team’.
‘We are on the same team’ is one of the most powerful statements that my wife and I have started making as a couple. If one of us feels attacked, the other will say ‘we’re on the same team’.
This powerful statement snaps us out of the individual/me mindset and reminds us that we have the same goals: A loving marriage, to raise great kids, to have a secure and loving household.
When you align yourselves with this mindset ‘we are on the same team’ you go from looking after yourself in the relationship to looking after the other person, your team mate. No team can lose when they are united in goals, purpose and are always looking out for the best of the other.
I love this saying, when you get married your vows pronounce ‘and two shall become one’ and then you spend the next 10 years figuring out which one.
'Just be more like me'
Early on in marriage I remember trying to make my wife more like me, although that wasn’t what I was consciously thinking, I just wanted her to think more like me. I stopped one day and thought ‘why would I want to marry someone just like me?’. I wouldn’t. When you get married you want to find someone who has strengths that are different from yours. That way when you come together in a relationship with your complementary strengths, you form a very complete whole.
The apocalypse - what 5 people would you choose to survive with
I love this question, if there was a zombie apocalypse which 5 people would you choose to be with you. You always think of gathering as many different experts as possible, diverse in their skill sets. The same is true for marriage. If you were to have a child apocalypse what two experts would you choose? Someone tidy, fun, disciplined, organised or spontaneous? You wouldn’t want two of the same people as you would get a very narrow range of skills. You would want experts in a diverse range of abilities. I bet you are thinking right now, ‘my wife and I are diverse!’
The power of two
As a well functioning team you have an amazing opportunity and potential to make much more impact than either of you could separately. As an individual you have strengths and weaknesses, as a couple your strengths will cover each others weaknesses. One of you is going to be a great planner, the other great at implementing, one of you is going to be tidy, the other spontaneous. At first your strengths might frustrate the efforts of the other person, but when you can get your strengths to work in harmony through understanding each other, Your differences are your greatest strength.
Most of the problems are misunderstandings
Why did you do that? Why would you act like that? What are you thinking? We feel like the other person is working against us and this is where the idea that we are two individuals in some kind of battle comes from. You are on the same Team. Understanding and communication starts to unravel the frustration. As you begin to talk it over, you gain understanding of what the other person thinks and how they act.
Putting language around Understanding each others strengths and Weaknesses.
Gallup strengthsfinder has been amazing for us in our marriage. Understanding each others key strengths and what they look like when they are going well and when they aren’t has been revolutionary. My wife’s main strength is Deliberative, that means that she considers all future options and weighs which one is best.
This also means a lot of ‘Why’ questions.
I used to take this as an attack on my reasoning when she would question my actions. After taking the test, I understand that she is just trying to understand my process. Knowing this has turned me from feeling attacked to being able to help her by giving an explanation of my reasoning.
Click here to find out your top five strengths, I recommend to do it as a couple:
5 Keys to having a strong parenting team
1/ Learning together
Learn and discuss parenting styles together as you read or listen to books, podcasts or videos on parenting. This way you are understanding the principle together and when it comes time to put this into effect, you are in agreement with the new technique that you have picked up. If one of you is reading and finds something great, find time later in the day to read it out to your partner and have a discussion about how this might be implemented in your parenting.
2/ Keep your relationship strong.
This is one of the most important keys in your marriage and life, you don’t want to raise great kids and then have your marriage fall to bits. Go for dates, at home and out, kiss, cuddle and romance. If you just rolemodelled loving each other, it would be one of the greatest lessons you could teach your kids. However putting into practise great parenting also creates more time and thought space to romance each other!
3/ Be in agreement, united
The kids need to know that Mum and Dad are going to have the same standard, it will give them a sense of peace and consistency. Discuss your parenting and come to agreement on what is going on and how to proceed:
How to get on the same page as a couple
1/ Find an issue
2/ Discuss the issue
3/ problem solve the issue and get educated from reading books and advice
4/ Suggest and then decide on the solution jointly and come up with a plan
5/ follow through with the plan
4/ Kid strategy: Divide and conquer
Kids will do this to you. If they don’t get a satisfactory answer from Mum, they will come to you and vica versa. There is a really easy solution. Before speaking think, ‘I wonder what Mum said’, and then ask the kids what Mum said. If their answer doesn’t seem right, because you are communicating with your wife regularly on parenting, let them know that you are going to need to talk to Mum. Plus, You don’t need to give them a ‘yes’ straight away.
5/ Spend time to plan and to debrief
Have a talk at the end of the day. How was your day? What worked, what didn’t, what should we try tomorrow? The beautiful thing, life’s gift to us is that we get a new day every sunrise to make changes and small steps towards building a great family.
So look for understanding with your wife and become a strong unified team.
Be the ‘we are a Team’ Dad!