Guest Post: Finding Our Styles, from Kim of Co-Pilot Mom


photo credit: The Army is Ready via photopin (license)
photo credit: The Army is Ready via photopin (license)

Coach Daddy is going global.

Please welcome today Kim from Co-Pilot mom. She’s from Canada, making her my first official guest poster from another country (unless you count New Jersey, right Ilene?).

Kim, a self-proclaimed geek (they have those in Canada, apparently), writes eloquently of life as a co-pilot to her two captains. You’re going to love her stuff, just like I do.

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Before we had children, I always assumed – and maybe my husband, David, did, as well – that I would take the lead in the whole parenting thing. I was an early childhood educator, after all – I knew a thing or two about young children. My husband worked with grown-ups in a professional environment. What did he know about parenting?

When our oldest son, Captain Alpha, was born, I tried to guide my husband’s parenting with gentle reminders:

Support his head, he likes it when you pat his back, sing to him

copilot 1David would always go along with my suggestions – he never questioned my wisdom or techniques.

Early on, though, I realized that I didn’t really know anything more about being a parent than he did. A classroom full of preschoolers did not help prepare me for feeding and diapering a newborn, or dealing with sleep-deprivation. This was uncharted territory for both of us – we were just making our way the best we could.

We found a new routine and got to know our son. I gradually found my stride and gained a little confidence. I was all about the nurturing. I loved to cuddle Alpha and read to him and when he slept, I just wanted to stare at him.

Eventually, David fell into his own parenting rhythm, too. His style emerged – a little rougher, a little more humour-infused – and yes, maybe a little more relaxed with some things.

After a while, he didn’t go along with my suggestions unquestioningly. He started to have his own opinions.

“It’s fine. He’s fine,” he would protest when I suggested that Alpha’s hat wasn’t tied or his pants were riding up too high on his chubby little legs on a chilly day.

One day I saw David bring Alpha to the change table and pretend to lay him down dramatically – in the style of a WWE-wrestling-type body slam – before placing him gently on the change pad.

When I worried aloud that he was too loud and too rough-house-y, his scoffs – and Alpha’s laughter – silenced my concerns.

nurture“This is what I do,” he would tell me. “You do nurture. I’ll do nurture slams.”

So we did. We did the diapers and the dressing and the feedings. We did the waking and the putting to sleep and the reading.

But we each bring our own pieces of parenting to our family puzzle; our individual styles make our family unique.

We found balance – when one of us was worried, the other reassured; when one of us got bogged down, the other was comic relief. Add in some cuddles and kisses – and even a few nurture slams – and we found our way as parents and deepened our connection as partners. He taught me that while expectation and worries about proper clothing are important – having fun is, too.

These days, I like to sit back and watch the wrestling and the teasing and the laughter that my boys share with their dad – for it has become one of the brightest lights in our home.

Do you and your partner have similar parenting styles?

Kim is an early childhood educator turned stay-at-home mom in Nova Scotia, Canada. She writes about co-piloting two small Captains until they are flying on their own at her blog, Co-Pilot Mom. A fan of Jane Austen, science fiction, and cooking shows, Kim often entertains fellow motorists (and embarrasses her family) by singing in the car. She is a beginning runner who is partial to coffee, chocolate and fresh bread.

You can also find Kim on Facebook and Twitter.

The Deliberate Mom
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49 thoughts on “Guest Post: Finding Our Styles, from Kim of Co-Pilot Mom”

  1. It is an honour to be here today, Eli – thank you so much for inviting me to visit! And the Canadian flag makes me feel right at home. So glad I could be your first international guest poster. 🙂

    1. I didn’t even mind translating your stuff into American. And at least I didn’t fly your flag upside down, like they did in Atlanta for the World Series. Hope you brought your passport.

  2. Before, during, and after my divorce… I was lead parent. I was nurturer, and the enforcer…. I had my own style.. and I had no one else to bounce things off of… or to … balance things with.

    3 years ago, Klay came in to our lives… and slowly and surely became Emry’s father (in love and in spirit… blood is sometimes just unimportant when it comes to family).

    At first, it was “MY WAY” because Klay had no idea about children let alone my 3 year old. And now, as Emry hits 6.5 years old… I have started to… See and Allow…. my walls to come down, and Klays parenting style to emerge. He puts me in check and I put him in it.

    It is about balance.
    It is about trust.
    And it’s always about love.

    This was a great post.

    1. Exactly! Balance, trust, love – it is about all those things, isn’t it? We each find our own way and end up being individuals; sometimes we have similarities but eventually we find our own style.

      1. It’s exactly like peanut butter and chocolate! Hahaha!

        Dude, now I want to do that… But you know… Get super chunky PB.. and then dip it in Dark Chocolate…. And then let it get a little cold… HOLY COW..

        ELI…This is YOUR fault.

  3. Going global is big time, and well worth it! Loved the post and laughed at the wrestling reference to the diaper changing. 🙂

    My husband and I are polar opposites in most things, including parenting, and some how it all just works out to a healthy balance. I like his differences in parenting, and the kids do too (they think he’s more fun, though they’d never say that out loud 😉 ). I agree but I’ll never say THAT out loud (hehe).

    1. It is really interesting because there are certain things that our boys look to my husband to do, and other things for which they will seek my help. My husband is definitely the more rough and tumble (and the biggest jokester) of the two of us.

    2. I know – I just wanted to exchange my American currency for that cool Canadian stuff. I’m glad the diaper story ended with a body slam and didn’t end with the People’s Elbow.

      You got the bad cop/good cop thing going too, but I suspect that when it comes down to it, the kids fear mom’s words more than dad’s. It didn’t used to be that way!

    1. It’s kind of like seeing your priest at Burger King or something, isn’t it? Didn’t expect that.

      Glad to see at least one dad still has some iron fist in him! Well, not iron. Aluminum.

  4. We play different roles, too, Michelle – and I find sometimes we switch them around. There are certain things that my husband is more strict about than I am – and same for him. Although we seem to be on the same page most times.

  5. Kim – I love the phrase nurture slams! I think that especially with my first, when I was so afraid of “breaking” my baby, my children’s father was the calming effect on my perpetual panic. It sounds like you both have a great balancing act going, Kim, in addition to him being able to reach things on the high shelves for you! (I loved that from your anniversary post, by the way).

    Eli – as far as New Jersey being a foreign country is concerned, there was actually a petition started last November for NJ to secede from the union, One might believe it was due to the fact that we were unable to comply with federal environmental regulations due to the overuse of hairspray. But in actuality, the reasons were financial.

    1. We do have a pretty good balancing act going; he calms my worries or helps me laugh at myself when I take things too seriously. And yes, he rescues me from having to climb chairs and counters to reach the top shelves – which is never a good idea for someone as clumsy as I am. 🙂

  6. Didn’t Texas try to secede late last year? How did that work out for them?

    I love Kim.

    It’s funny because before Scarlet was born, I just assumed my husband would be the lead parent and I’d be the one watching and learning everything. He is eight years older than me and a natural born leader (bossy) and I was pretty much still a baby myself when we were (pleasantly) surprised with my pregnancy. Something shifted in the way we parented but it didn’t happen instantly, although he will be the first to tell you that I “rocked that birth” and “made it look easy.” (it wasn’t) It was about three days in and he was trying to help me nurse. He was pretty much trying to do it for me. I’m not kidding. The man needed boobs! He didn’t have them and luckily I found my spine tucked somewhere and I’ve been using it since. Not to boss him around. Not my style. We’re mellow when we’re not bossy. What I’m saying is that I learned he was more if not as clueless as I was. And we’ve been making it look easy (it’s not) since.

    1. It isn’t easy, is it? I am not sure if he realized after I did that I really didn’t have clue, or whether we came to that conclusion at the same time. I can’t remember the moment that he found his voice – his backbone, I guess – but once he did, he has had it ever since.

  7. Yah Canada! I love Kim, and especially love she is Canadian! It is sometimes hard to let go of the idea that “we” are the only one doing things the right way. What I am always learning is how beneficial it is for my kids to have different influences and styles in their parents! They learn so much more. It makes life so much more fun. And we all learn from each other – if we are humble enough!

    1. Yay, Canada! Although I read so many blogs written by Americans, that I always say I have an American inner voice. Sometimes I want to say “y’all” – which is not a Canadian expression. 🙂
      I totally agree, Leah – we can definitely learn from other parenting styles! I think it good for the children to experience them, too, because we are all different. And in their lives they will meet many different people, with styles of their own.

  8. Love this! I love when parents balance each other out – I think it’s so important! The rough housing makes me cringe here too but yes, it is just as fun and important as cuddling. 🙂

  9. Having a balance between partners is so important. I spend more time with the kids than my husband, so they defer to me. But he is better at many things than I, including having the right amount of words (I talk too much and overwhelm them with information), talking on their level (I overshoot), and being more disciplined at getting them up and out of the house (my hobbies are largely homogeneous and involve me sitting on my butt).

    Great post!

    1. It’s good that we are different, because then they get the strengths of both mom and dad, right?
      Also? I used to do pretty well with the number of words when I spoke to my oldest. But as he has grown, so have the lengths of my explanations. Sometimes I just go on, and on. And on. I catch myself all the time. 🙂

  10. A fellow Canuck! If I just had a beer and some poutine, I’d move right on in! LOL
    A beautiful post and a great reminder that parenting style is not always a matter of right and wrong. Vive la difference! It’s a great thing that moms and dads help one another out, as well as each bringing something unique.
    Although, those slams….they always make me nervous too. The kids of course, still can’t get enough. although now my larger concern is……..hubby’s gonna throw his back out one day. LOL

    1. Mmm… poutine. And differing styles – both are so good, right?
      And yes, as the boys get older I think of that, too. The potential for wrestling injuries – my husband’s or the boys’ – increases each year. 🙂

  11. I loved this. We don’t have kids, but my husband and I have similar little arguments about the “right” way to do things. It comes out when we are playing with our friends’ kids, or even when it comes to taking care of the pets. It’s what happens when you put two opinionated people together! But the truth is, we are the right balance and have our own styles in life. Let’s hope when the kids come we can keep that balance and don’t kill each other.

    1. Your comment made me remember that I noticed differences in our styles before our children came along, Stevie – with our pets. David was the playful, pull-on-a-rope kind of pet parent; where I was more of a sit and cuddle and scratch-behind-the-ears kind of pet parent.

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