Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tag Team Parenting

Although I don't think I've ever seen an actual match, I am somewhat familiar with the general concept of tag team wrestling. According to Wikipedia (slogan: "I read it on the Internet so it must be true"), the unique rules of tag team wrestling are as follows: "In [tag] team matches, only one entrant from each team may be designated as the 'legal' or 'active' wrestler at any given moment. Two wrestlers must make physical contact (typically palm-to-palm) in order to transfer this legal status. This is known as a tag, with the participants tagging out and tagging in. Typically the wrestler who is tagging out has a 5-second count to leave the ring. The non-legal wrestlers must remain outside the ring or other legal area at all times (and avoid purposeful contact with the opposing wrestlers) or face reprimand from the referee."

This is a pretty good description of how Herb and I hand off the baby these days. Herb's been getting up with him in the morning, then after I get showered and dressed, he hands him over to me so he can get ready for work. And when Herb gets home from work in the evening, I hand him back over to him so I can get dinner ready. There isn't necessarily palm-to-palm contact for the "tag", but most of the time the partner tagging out definitely gets out of the "ring" well within the 5-second count!

But what really makes this parenting system so parallel to tag team wrestling is the reason for the handoff. In wrestling, when one team member is exhausted, or obviously losing the battle, or simply overmatched by his opponent, he tags out in favor of a teammate. In parenting, when one of you is exhausted, or obviously losing the battle, or simply overmatched, he tags out in favor of the other parent. It gives each team member/parent a chance to catch their breath, to re-evaluate the situation, and even to see how someone else approaches the situation.

The rewards are quite different, though. With successful tag-team wrestling, the best you can hope for is something like this:

But with successful tag-team parenting, you end up with something more like this:

And I know which trophy I'd rather have at the end of the day.

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