Coparenting in a Reciprocal Relationship

Me and my husband both travel more than the average bear. He tends more towards regional work in an effort to keep the nonprofit movement that we are a part of, thriving. I tend to travel more for trainings and personal development.

Our marriage is a delicate balance of supporting each other so that we can thrive as individuals, and in our marriage, our vocational careers, and coparenting.

So it really grinds my gears when people say things like ”it’s so nice that your husband lets you do that.” I would like to clarify in this exact moment my husband doesn’t let me do anything. He is committed to and supportive of the furthering of myself as an individual and then I in turn support him.

Or people say stuff like ” oh you are such a good dad.” because he spending time with our kids in public spaces. Nobody ever gave me a gold star for taking my kids grocery shopping. Don’t justify shitty parenting by pretending that ordinary parenting is exemplary when performed by a man. It takes two people to make a kid, it takes (at least) two people to raise a kid.

Because that is the way it supposed to work, a reciprocal relationship. We both share the responsibilities of raising our children, cooking and cleaning, and emotionally supporting our marriage. When I hear my friends talk about their partners that never wash a dish, read a bedtime story, or don’t fold laundry I wonder why that individual didn’t start flipping tables over a long time ago. Because let me tell you, that shit wouldn’t fly in my house. That reciprocal participation goes both ways. If I am not pulling my weight around the house my husband let’s me know.

My husband doesn’t need to let me do things. This is because he is considerate enough to acknowledge the fact that I myself am an individual with my own needs. So he doesn’t allow me to do anything, he encourages me to do things. He nominates me for roles in our community at large. He sees my potential at times when I may even doubt it myself. He doesn’t need to let me do anything because he supports me to do the things I want to do.

And sure these are all the general ideas and strivings for in our relationship. And there are areas that we as individuals can be blinded to and it’s our role is responsible partners to shed light in those areas. A few years ago I was struggling with burn out and fatigue. It was in part due to the amount of responsibility my husband had personally taken on diminishing his ability to support in the home life and consequently affecting my own work life. Part of the solution had to be looking at our resources as a family. Not just what can he do on his own, and what can I do on my own, but looking at the totality of our shared responsibilities within a marriage, and then our work responsibilities came second to those and then we could make a sustainable plan for ourselves and our family. This was not an easy process and it was really hard for both of us to accept our own limitations and to take ownership of how our work life can trump and negatively affect our home life if we do not respect this delicate balance.

So it’s not that we always got this, but we are both equally invested to making it work for both of us. One of us doesn’t go down with the sinking ship we both go down with the sinking ship and feel responsible for how we got to that point. And if you don’t have a partner that’s doing that for you then you need to reevaluate and make yourself a priority.

I think we put it really well in our vows. I will be the link upon which you ascend. We take turns holding the other up. Take turn holding each other in our highest light. Take turns being the primary parent. And in taking these turns and affording each other opportunities for space and growth our bond grows stronger. Reciprocity is where it’s at.

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