My years of marriage have taught me that raising kids with another person is rarely a smooth ride. Any two adults bring very different upbringings to the table, causing them to often take a different view of kids’ behavior.
But the single most important thing parenting partners do for each other is that every day, we can count on this: No matter how difficult their behavior, we know that our kids are desperately loved by at least one other human being who would walk through fire for them.
And we also know that one other person is as elated as we are when our kids do something so very right that it makes us burst our buttons with pride.
Many families don’t look like mine, with a husband and wife married for decades. But whatever the description of your family, that same shared commitment is the real treasure your children take into their adulthood.
Single parents make a family experience for their kids by including other adults who are emotionally available to love them, too. Grandparents raising their grandchildren
provide this same safety net by sharing the care of the kids with other devoted family members.
I’ve come to know several same gender couples creating an amazing upbringing for their children, surrounding them with a group of adults who are committed to their care.
The African proverb “It takes a village to raise a child” reminds us of the larger group that invests in kids and creates a culture to teach them and keep them safe. But at the center of that village are parents whose commitment is unparalleled. And when parents can share the load with another, they’re better empowered to engage their children in the resources of that village.
Co-parenting children is a messy affair much of the time. We all bring our own ideas about what kids need, and our investment in them makes us passionately sure we’re right. But the redundancy of having more than one adult available to love them provides a gracious wealth to children who can look to their left and look to their right and see love all around.