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Parenting Skills

Let’s be real: Some kiddie things, you do well; some things, he’s better at. Couples tell all. Compare and contrast where your parenting skills fit in!

Sarah and Dave Carleton, parents of two kids; Brunswick, Maine

She says: "Even if there are moments when the exhaustion and exasperation seem unbearable, I keep cool—most of the time. I’ve gotten really good at reminding myself to try to see things from my kids’ perspectives before I react. My husband is one of those freakishly calm people by nature; he is great at knowing—even from three rooms away—when I’m approaching my limit, and stepping in to distract the kids and shift the tone of everything to something more positive."

He says: "Sarah neglected to mention that she’s also great at trusting her instincts. She has excellent instincts! She always seems to know exactly what our kids want or need when I’m still trying to translate as the baby babbles. My talents? I’m good at sticking with projects that were way too involved for us to have started in the first place. Pull an all-nighter building a Lego set that definitely wasn’t intended for a 4-year-old? I’ll do it, even if it hurts!"

Jaquelline and Tom Bronnel, parents of four kids; Minot, North Dakota

She says: "I’m good at doing 10 things at once. It kind of goes with the territory in a big family, but I pride myself on my ability to make grilled cheese while soothing a bee sting while washing a binky while spelling random words while wiping a nose while changing a diaper. My husband is best at doing one thing at a time with his full attention, like listening to a very long description of a pee in the potty."

He says: "My wife is definitely the boss around here, and she’s good at it. I’m amazed by the way she turns chaos into order, with a smile. I tend to contribute to the chaos, I think, but I’m good at keeping our kids busy and happy by playing with them. I’ll pretend I’m the ‘baby’ and that the baby is my dad. Whatever it takes."

Maria Helena and Brian Carey, parents of two kids; Washington, D.C.

She says: "My oldest likes to say, ‘Mommy, you’re funny!’ because I make up all sorts of odd voices and accents. We also love doing crazy moves to dance songs—the sillier, the better. My husband’s better at keeping the kids entertained for hours on end. I can take care of work, some cleaning, whatever I need to do, and I know they’re having a blast with him, and that he’s wearing them out—in a good way."
He says: "Maria definitely makes the kids laugh, but she’s alsogood with discipline. I’m more of a softie—I’m maybe a little too empathetic, but I hope my kids will always feel they can tell me anything, even when they’re teenagers."

Tracey and Holt Vaughn, parents of one kid; Austin, Texas

She says: "I stay organized, keeping track of clothes, food, diapers, medicines, packing for trips, whatever. My husband makes Mason belly-laugh every day, and it fills our house with happiness."

He says: "I do make my son laugh all the time, and it’s the sweetest thing in the world. My wife? Well, she can fit more into a day than you’d think would be humanly possible. She’ll go to story time and the park, have a meeting about her start-up business, plan a party, visit with friends, and redecorate our living room, all between dawn and dusk! I don’t know how she does it."

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