Ex Etiquette: Getting Help from Your Partner

After months of frustration I took a rather unorthodox approach. Rather than spend my time nagging my husband about not stepping up to the plate, I apologized to him for robbing him of the opportunity to parent his children. In the same breath, I asked him to identify the first parenting responsibility he would like to resume. I was not playing games. I was sharing the load.

Being a real card, he said he would like to take his son dirt bike riding. I said, "Fine, but when you come back, we need to cook dinner together to demonstrate how well family members cooperate."

After we finished doing the dinner dishes (notice the "we") I asked him the next parenting responsibility he would like to resume. He thought about it for a while and decided he would like to pick our daughter up from soccer practice the next day. And, slowly, we started to share the parenting responsibilities. I can honestly say that now, the parenting responsibilities for his, mine, and ours are fairly divided.

Sometimes we have to accept the responsibility for situations we create '- and when we do, the solutions become our responsibility too. Therefore, make sure you haven't created this problem '- and if you have, put the wheels in motion to correct it.

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