Have you been feeling like the only one parenting the kids lately? Are you at odds with each other over childcare responsibilities? Do you sometimes feel like you’re not only parenting your children, but your spouse too?

If you’ve answered yes to any of the above, you may not be on the same team with your spouse, which makes parenting that much more difficult and taxing. It’s not easy juggling work, household responsibilities and kids. The combined stress can make any couple feel on edge, and the last thing you want to be doing at the end of the day is battling with your significant other too.

With a little intention and patience, you can begin to work together instead of apart. Here’s five ways to effectively tackle life…and kids TOGETHER.

  1. Have a plan for the week ahead. Sit down together on Sunday night and map out the week ahead. Include work events, extra-curricular activities, meal plans and even family downtime. Be as detailed as possible. Once you can visually see what’s up ahead, you can identify areas that need both of you involved. Divvy up responsibilities ahead of time to save yourselves an unwanted argument.
  2. Ask for help when you need it. If you’re feeling tapped out by your toddler’s tantrum and dinner still isn’t on the table, ask your spouse for help. Don’t assume that your partner knows when to jump in and how, because that will surely lead to conflict.
  3. Play up areas where you really shine. If you know you’re terrible at cooking but can bring your baby out of meltdown mode with ease, then make sure you’re doing things that highlight your parenting strengths. If one parent is more patient and the other copes better on fewer hours of sleep, talk about which parenting roles are better suited for each of you and stick to them.
  4. Do it together. The most hectic times of day should be handled together. It isn’t fair for one partner to be cooking, getting the kids ready for bed AND cleaning up the dishes. This will build resentment quickly. Tackle the stress together, and you’ll find more room for yourselves at the end of the day.
  5. Make it fun. Don’t forget about important family rituals. Eating dinner together or reading your child’s favorite book before bedtime brings closeness and unity to your relationship and to your family. Don’t forget that humor and laughter are essential, so make these habits family regulars too.

These easy and effective strategies will bring you together and make all the difference in the world. You’ll not only appreciate one another other more but you’ll find the busyness of life much more tolerable.