Parenting is hard. We all know that by now, right? One of the more difficult aspects of parenting that I don’t hear much about is co-parenting. It’s something that we all deal with, whether married, separated, divorced, or the two of you never even dated. Co-parenting is an adventure all its own. I will tell you that my ex and haven’t always done the greatest job. The first year after we divorced, I was forever thinking of ways to move out of the country so I could avoid him. I just wanted my girls to be raised my way all the time and he really got in the way of that with all that being their father stuff. And when you add in the inevitable mom guilt that comes with divorcing- yeah, it can be really hard.
For the last few years, things have gotten better. This past year in fact, has been particularly good. I’ve realized that he is a good father. Yes, he and I are very different, but that’s ok. I’ve learned that if I do have an issue I can’t immediately get mad. We have a lot of conversations now and try to get on the same page instead of proving a point or convincing one another that they’re wrong. I can see a difference in our girls. They know that if there is an issue at home, then their daddy is going to hear about it. At one point they were clearly learning how to swing things with us and since he and I did very little communicating, it worked. Now, they know that mom and dad are going to talk about anything they say, so they better tell the truth.
Recently, Maizie had her 8th birthday party and instead of having two separate parties, we had one. Everyone showed up to the same place to celebrate our girl together. I like the idea of them having one big extended family, instead of two sides. I think she really enjoyed that too. Not long ago she told me that she might want to move in with her dad. While we both agreed that she’s a bit young to make that decision and we don’t want to mess with her stability right now, I’m aware that when she is old enough to really decide, she may decide to go. As a mom, that’s so hard, but he’s trusted me many times when he didn’t necessarily agree (i.e. homeschool) so it will be my turn to trust him.
Don’t get me wrong, I am infinitely grateful that we’ve been able to work through some issues, but I realize that this isn’t possible in many cases. That’s ok too. You have to do what’s best for your children and sometimes that means keeping distance. There is no “right” way to parent. What’s important is that at the end of the day you’re there for your child; that the child has stability in some form. And don’t mistake financial security for stability because that’s not the same thing.
We all do what we have to do to get from day to day, right? This is just a little about how we make things work. We still get on each other’s nerves from time to time, but we’re here. I’m here. He’s here. Each of our spouses is here. We’re doing our best, and that’s all we can do.
How do you co-parent? What’s your best co-parenting advice?