Co parenting is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. For me co-parenting makes labor & delivery easy! That only lasted a few hours (or 18 hours but who’s counting?) and this co-parenting thing will last a lifetime, if you’re doing it right! Now, I am no expert but I have learned a bit in the last 5 years. Everyone’s situation is different and I understand that. So this is just a look into the journey I have had so far.
It took me some time to get here, in this place of being open and okay with not having all of the control. For me as a mother it was HARD letting go of the control. When you go from a relationship where you are the primary care taker, the person making ALL of the decisions and knowing everywhere your child is at all times. To go from that, to all of a sudden you are trying to teach yourself how to co-parent and accept not knowing everything all the time. Well, THAT is the most gut wrenching thing to have to go through. I wish it had been different because when your baby is only two years old and you feel shut out of half their life it is devastating.
Our situation was a hard one. There was a lot of bitterness on both ends. It was to this day the worst time of my life. Even though we weren’t married having a child together makes everything terribly difficult when you split from the relationship you once had. Someone does something to spite the other, and then that person calls saying some not so great words and…well, you get the point. It’s SO stressful!
Once you start to understand and put yourself in the other parents shoes it can be a little more clear. Even if it’s not, once it kind of ‘clicks’ for you and you realize that nothing else matters except for your child and their happiness (even if you think that’s what you’ve been doing this whole time) it gets easier. You have to let go of the past and forgive. Even if you never get an apology. You have to forgive for your sanity and to be a better parent.
With that being said here is how I became a better co-parent:
Even if you feel like you’re running the show and it’s your weekend. ALWAYS let the other parent know the plans. Now, you don’t need to tell them everything your child will be eating for that weekend. Just send a little text saying “Hey sleepover at so and so’s house this weekend!” Nothing too crazy. I always make sure to text and just let the other parent be aware.
Like I stated above, FORGIVE them. Yes you will always remember how things happened with them BUT look at the bright side of it. You grew from your experience. That situation taught you how to be a better person! You live and you learn right??
Always be honest. If your child tells you something the other parent did. Ask them about it. If you don’t say anything and hear what the other parent has to say then you will have all these assumptions in your head of what you think was really said. Then guess what? You’re back to being mad at the other parent. No need for all of that. Having an honest open relationship is the best way to go! It saves you from a whole lot of sleepless nights.
When I say acceptance I am saying this for EVERYONE involved. That means stepmoms, stepdads, grandparents etc. For me I have learned that when we all work together and become this big happy family it’s SO MUCH BETTER. There is no room for jealousy or bitterness. Now, yes I can say this here and act like I’m perfect. But I won’t. Was it easy for me to accept my daughter having a step mom? Definitely not. Why? Well, I think because I am a normal human! Would I like for that relationship to be a better one? Absolutely, and we will work on that!
Include each other
This ties into all of the above. Always include each other. I invite my daughter’s father and his wife to all birthday parties. I probably go a little overboard because I invite them to all my kids parties, lol. I do that in hope’s of showing them we are family! I want to make them feel comfortable and welcome into our lives because that they are. Even if that is sometimes not reciprocated that’s okay, because for me I will know that I always tried. I know one day our daughter will learn from us and see that you always have to be considerate of others.
One of my favorite things to tell myself is to lead by example and that is exactly what I intend to do. Everyday is a work in progress. That is all a part of life. This is just a big journey that we are all taking together and learning from. Not everyday is a good one but there is good in everyday!