By Maye Yao Co Say
The reality of today’s parenting life is multi-faceted and demanding, to say the least. There are many aspects of a child’s life that parents look out for. From health, emotional security, school, security, and so much more, is there a “supermom” who can cover all bases?
In the past, whether one was working or not, taking care of the home was a mom’s responsibility. Women are expected to cook, clean, and take care of their children. That said, with the passing of generations, the owner of these responsibilities has shifted. When I was growing up, my dad worked but he would also religiously cook our Sunday brunches. I believe there has been a gradual development to “ParenTeam.”
I learned about ParenTeam from a Millennial friend. From my understanding, a ParenTeam is a couple that involves themselves jointly in the holistic development of their child. Fathers don’t mind changing diapers, burping their babies, and carrying them around the mall with infant carriers. Today, there is the reality that, at times, a woman’s job is more demanding than the husband’s. There are also emotional reasons. Some dads longed to be closer to their own dads, and would like to correct this with their own children.
For me, a ParenTeam is necessary in raising kids today. I thank my husband for his dedication to our family. Together, I believe our ParenTeam has taught our kids the following:
When the kids see both parents perform tasks for them and the family, the kids are also most likely to become aware of doing their part. They grow up knowing they have a stake in the success of the family.
Marriage and dreams can go hand in hand.
I want my kids, especially my daughter, to see that by being a ParenTeam, my husband and I are able to grow and pursue our life’s passions.
Self-sufficient and self-reliant
I want my kids, especially my son, to learn household chores that they will need to do when they go off to college or when they get married. I want them to learn early on that there are no gender-specific tasks.
Redefining parental measures.
It used to be that a father’s success is measured by how much he can provide for the family, and a mother’s success is how much time she spends with her family. ParenTeam, for me, redefines parental measures for our kids. It teaches kids that both parents try their best to contribute to the family the best way they know how.
Today, I believe that ParenTeam has evolved even further. It has extended to teamwork with our own community. When my kids were babies, my goal was directed toward raising them to be happy and healthy. I recognized my potential shortcomings in time and energy, because my work demanded a lot of time, effort, and even travel. I’ve always sought out an ecosystem that is loving enough to care for my kids like I would as a mom. I grew up in an extended family household with so much love from my grandparents, aunts, and nanny. I had great teachers who I felt treated me like their own child. Whatever I have become today was a result of this loving world I was very lucky to have.
Hence, I also wanted this for my kids. Below are the five T’s I have formulated in building a healthy ParenTeam ecosystem:
Target – Set and align goals with your ParenTeam. My son’s nanny was with us for ten years.
I would sit down with her and discuss our developmental goals for Marcus. We would have periodic and candid late-night discussions on his progress, as well as her wins and frustrations with my son.
Turfs – It is good to delineate “turfs” early on based on specialty. For example, my husband’s turfs are my kids’ athletic life and disciplining my kids. My dad’s turf is learning our Chinese dialect Fookien. My sister’s turf is to be my daughter’s sounding board. This means that when issues come up, each can give our opinions, but the heavier say is the one who “owns that turf.”
Time – There has to be an “in” and “out” time. It is effective to be in good spirits when handling kids. It is impossible to always be patient or be fully attentive. We all need a break.
Travel – It’s a very good learning exercise for our kids. My kids have traveled with family members and coaches without us. This gives them a great bonding time in building their own memories together, as well as teaching them adaptability.
Talks – Parent-Teacher Conference (PTC), family bonding, and time with friends are great ways to update your “community” with your child’s progress and your worries. It’s the best time to thank them for their continuous care and support for your child.
Last, but not the least, I always remember that as lucky as I am to have such a strong support system in my ParenTeam, I should also be as good of a ParenTeam to others.
Maye Yao Co Say is a grateful wife to Vinson and a self-declared ‘fun’ mom to Meagan and Marcus. She is the chief operating officer of a local distribution company. Her lifelong passions are child education, literature, and making a difference.