I like to think of parenting as a true team effort.
I'm the mom, and Wes is the dad. But it seems like the roles of mom and dad are slightly, or very, different from family to family.
I love being with my kids. I hog them for preschool (by doing Joyschool at home), create my own "kids' camp" at home with me so I can keep them home just a few more months before school starts. I get overwhelmed and busy and tired at times, but my role as a mother keeps me completely fulfilled and happy. I am pretty easygoing and mellow most of the time. I have NO desire to work away from home.
Wes is a pretty involved dad. He works hard and plays hard. He is a ball of energy and the kids love it! It's contagious and we all play hard when Daddy's home. Wes is also a great peacemaker. Sometimes it's a good thing because I probably fall into the category of "passionate people". ;) We can always count on Wes to keep his cool and blow off his steam playing volleyball or working out. He does withdraw a little when he's upset, where I normally like to face the problem. I feel like we are very compatible as a couple and as a parenting partnership.
We make a great team. Wes is strong where I am weak and vice versa. But how do we make sure that we play on one another's strengths and keep a good offense? How do I keep him "in the know" about all the important stuff with our kids? How do we prioritize their needs as well as ours? How do we stand as a united front that can serve as a strong foundation for our family to rely on?
The answer for us has been simple: five-facet reviews.
This was a concept taught to me on numerous occasion from the Eyres. It's in a few of their books (I don't remember which ones, but I do know it's mentioned in several) also. But I've been thinking about the reviews a lot lately since the last Motherhood Retreat I went on back in April. Richard Eyre was there and was saying that doing the five-facet reviews was, in his opinion, one of the best ways to involve dads. It's divided out and conquered, which is just how ment typically operate, so it can be extremely effective.
Wes and I have been doing five-facet reviews for about a year now, and I would have to say it right at the top of the list of things I would consider one of the best things we've done for our kids.
What is a five-facet review? For us, we sit down for about 10-20 minutes (we only have three small children, this obviously will take longer as your family grows in number and age) and talk about each child and their five facets. (The five facets are: physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual.) We've dealt with many issues already from potty-training to separation anxiety to bottle attachment to eczema. It's amazing how when you stop and think about your kids every month, from two different perspectives, how many little things you can nip in the bud long before they become big things.
*in fact, sometimes, on my own, I'll secretly interview Wes for his own five-facet review. I'm slick, so he doesn't know I'm doing it. Afterwards ( a few minutes to a day or two later), I try to give it a quick rundown myself, to make sure I think Wes is happy and doing well and knows how much I love him. I'll also do this for myself sometimes. I think doing this has been a big part of keeping our marriage as strong and happy and fulfilling as it is. Just a little tidbit.
For us, five-facet reviews truly are a must because we want to have a good offense. I don't think it matters how you do them - just making sure they happen consistently is what's important. I feel so grateful to have been taught to use this simple and effective tool early on in my parenting. It's already made a world of difference in our lives.