Co-Parenting

In our marriage vows we did not say, “Until death do us part,” we instead chose, “Until our love ends.” To both of us, that seemed much more reasonable. Our romantic Love did indeed end.

To the outside world, we seemed perfectly happy. We had two beautiful daughters together, had been through a lot as a family, and we looked great in pictures. We had both grown over the years, and not together, we had grown apart. After several honest conversations with each other. In the last one I remember we both refered to our marriage as, “beating a dead horse,” and then laughed together about how awful that phrase is, and why anyone ever would beat a dead horse. We made the decision it was over. In 2015, My husband and I finalized our divorce.

Here is the thing about divorce with kids, you are still family. You will always be family. Not in the same ways, but you are in each others lives forever. Your children love both of you. You are both their family. They need to see you support each other, to know that you communicate regularly, that they can’t play you against each other.

Ah Yes, co-parenting. No it is not always EASY… let’s be honest if it were always EASY, you’d most likely still be with that person… People grow apart and that is ok. But at one point you liked/loved this person enough to breed with them. You could have NOT had sex with them, you could have had an abortion, given the child up for adoption…You chose to have children together.

A child…children… That is a lifetime commitment. (excluding those that would harm your kids). You NEED to be friends with this person…at least acquaintances. My Ex-husband and I talk often about school, behavior, and feelings, we even support each other in our adult lives. Sometimes we share holidays and vacations. We camp on the same grounds, my partner and I have the kids part of the time and my Ex-husband comes to take them to some activities. Some things we do ALL together. We also have our own individual time with the kids. The kids know that we as parents ALL (including my partner) maintain communication.

Maybe you had an especially messy split. You may not be there yet, but with work you can at least be cordial to each other. Yes, work, much like any relationship co-parenting takes work. It is totally worth the work, because it provides balance and stability to your children. NEVER… I repeat NEVER bash the other parent in front of the kids. NEVER bash the other parent on social media (if you just can’t hold it in, write in a diary, speak to a therapist or call a trusted friend)… 

Always allow your child to spend time with their other parent and be in their life. Yes, even if they cheated on you, even if they owe child support (that is what courts are for). As long as that other parent is loving toward your child, it is in the best interest of the child to have them involved.  If you hold the child from their other parent, or speak bad about the other parent, as they grow that child will resent you. If the other parent is not a great person let the child figure that out for themselves, they will. 

Does your Ex have a new love interest? Get to know them, this person could become very influential in your child’s life. Jealousy, bitterness, anger, will get you nowhere in a healthy co-parenting scenario. Drop those emotions like the bad habits they are. This isn’t about you, this is about your kids and what is best for them.

This is being an adult…figure it out, get along. Teach them maturity by showing them maturity in your actions and words.  Do it for yourself, as a parent you need all the teamwork you can get. Do it for your kids, allow them to have as much love in their lives as possible. You can do it. You are awesome parents. YOU WILL ALWAYS put the kids first.

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