Frumpfighter

Does anybody win with tag-team parenting?

Posted on: February 8, 2009

Husband: “Can you make it home by 6:30 so I can take pictures at the basketball game?” Me: “I’ll try.” Sure enough, when I pull in the driveway at 6:28 p.m., he is standing at the door ready for me to take over the duty of watching our son.

Such is the life of tag-team parenting which certainly isn’t confined to my house. With our professions (my husband is a recovering journalist and I’m still bitten by the sickness), our schedules have always been rather non-conventional.

Before we became parents, this schedule was at times inconvenient, but really not a big deal. My husband, Jeff, was a sports editor so it was nothing for him to be gone nearly early every night of the week covering games as well as the Saturday night shift and Kansas City Chiefs games on Sundays. Tie in that he was a high school wrestling coach…well, you get the picture. My schedule consisted of covering night meetings, working long hours on special projects and the weekend shift.

A rare moment with the three of us all together. Of course, Sage's first birhtday was celebrated at my office, because I couldn't get away that day.

A rare moment with the three of us all together in 2003. Of course, Sage's first birthday was celebrated at my office, because I couldn't get away that day.

When our son was born in 2002 after six years of marriage, our whole way of thinking changed. Gone were the days when we could be gone at the same time or could just up and leave at a moment’s notice.  The first year-and-a-half was especially challenging as we lived in Kansas and had no family around. Moving back to Iowa in 2004 to be closer to our families was a no-brainer.

Not that our schedules got any better. As swing editor of The Gazette, it is my job to, well, swing from job to job when needed. This includes night shifts, weekend shifts and everything in between. There have been times when I’ve showed up for the day shift only to be sent home because I was needed on the night shift. Swing indeed.

Jeff continued to be a wrestling coach, which requires practice, night meets and the beloved all-day Saturday tournaments. To top off our scheduling nightmare, he started a weekly newspaper in 2005 with my help. Despite what some may think, this was an incredible amount of work and we were very dedicated to it. Meetings, games, events. It all had to be covered. And it all had to be put together.  In the midst of all that craziness, somebody at work (the real, paying job) said I was too blasé, especially during mind-numbing meetings. Blasé? Try comatose.

Our schedules have changed quite a bit in the past year. We are no longer involved with the paper we started, which was tough to take when the decision was first made, but is so much better for us as a family in the long run. My “normal” schedule has gone from working every Friday and Saturday night to just working every Friday night. Jeff is now the girls’ and boys’ high school swimming coach and helps with high school softball, gigs that still require some night and Saturday events, but are much more relaxed and reasonable than the Iowa high school wrestling scene.

Oh, there is still quite a bit of tag-team parenting going on with us. I must say we could not function without the help of Jeff’s parents, Don and Barb Holmes, who live just across town. They are life-savers when it comes to watching Sage and picking him up from school when we can’t. They love spending time with their only grandson and he just loves them to death.

We are lucky to have such a support system. I know others have a much more difficult time balancing work and their personal life. Do you have a story to share? Please leave a comment or e-mail me at ajh1109@mchsi.com

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2 Responses to "Does anybody win with tag-team parenting?"

[…] Here is a new post at Does anybody win with tag-team parenting? « Frumpfighter. […]

[…] this month, Angie Holmes, a co-worker of mine, wrote a great post on tag-team parenting in her blog, Frumpfighter. She points out that in many cases, only one parent is home to care for […]

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