Sharing resources of time and energy with other parents benefits our children, our families and our personal well-being. When we share, we shed the tendency to criticize, judge and compare and we realize that each and every one us is always enough.
When parents create networks of value or connections among individuals, this leads to reciprocity, trustworthiness and a social intercourse that cultivates child, parent and family well-being.
Reciprocity is a deep, human instinct. It is the basic currency of social life and it makes the transaction costs of everyday parenting less burdensome (think carpooling, sharing meals, swapping playdates). We’ve learned these lessons from our primal ancestors who engaged in cooperative breeding practices to ensure the survival of the child, parent and group.
Among the !Kung foragers of the Kalahari, babies are held by a father, grandmother, older sibling or other adult 25 percent of the time. Among the Efe foragers of Central Africa, babies spend 60 percent of their daylight hours toted around by somebody other than their mother.
From our primal ancestors to modern-day parents, cooperative parenting in groups and relying on support from others are effective survival strategies.
When we work together as parents and share challenges, accomplishments, parenting strategies and resources, we are less burdened by the pressure to do it all ourselves. This also creates more space and relief in the day-to-day life of parenting, affording us more time to focus on the self and accomplish personal goals.
Sharing with other parents takes you beyond surviving to thriving because other people matter and the good life is a social life.
Share your your stories, perspectives and experiences here.
Submit a parent tip here.