Co-parenting takes strength, courage, patience, and for some – lots of wine, praying, bag punching, drawing, journaling, or whatever your outlet is. If you don’t have one: find one.
Co-parenting forms part of my existence just like my coffee. The only difference is that my coffee doesn’t taste that bad, and I don’t have to come up with ingenious ways of drinking it. My coffee doesn’t reply to my messages with anger and resentment. Nonetheless, they both form part of my life and routine.
Therefore, given my newbie state with this current and brand new beast, co-parenting, that is, I am determined to figure out how to sweeten it to an acceptable point. I don’t drink my coffee without sugar. My co-parenting should not be bitter.
Nobody can argue that a loving parent misses their child every second they are not together. It’s hard. Not having your child every day with you feels like a dagger straight into the heart. Knowing you will not be able to have your children 100% of the time is the most difficult part of a divorce. A child doesn’t cease to be your child because they are at another house. That’s your offspring. You want to make sure they are doing well every day, not just a percentage of the time. But it is not always the case, or even possible.
In my case, I am stuck co-parenting with a non-cooperative parent. I must get creative to effectively co-parent. Therefore, I will arm myself with knowledge.
I am determined to disembowel this beast. No, I am not talking about my ex. I am referring to the act, job, thought, process, journey, and/or possible abyss that co-parenting with a non-cooperative individual can be. This is not my first experience with this beast; co-parenting, that is. This is, however, my first time around realizing it will need taming. Knowledge taming. Emotional Intelligence taming. Learning and experimenting taming, and lots and lots of patience.
Co-parenting demands that we make difficult changes in our relationships with our former spouses. It is a time to redefine the relationship. If you are reading this article, then like me, you are willing to meet your co-parenting challenges head-on and take the necessary steps to be a positive influence in your child’s life. Do not let anger, pain, or other negative emotions take over. If you do, you will only increase problems for your children.
It is difficult. Trust me, I know. But it must be done. We must co-parent regardless of the level of difficulty and obstacles placed. This is a practical, yet mandatory skill essential to create and uphold a two-household family.
Remember that regardless of your ex’s thoughts, beliefs, or stance, co-parenting is just like running a two-household family. You must be the one to take the risk and concentrate on effective (often creative) ways to interact with your non-cooperative co-parent. Put the big boy pants on and keep them on. Depending on your child’s age, you are going to need them for a long time.
How can you accomplish the already difficult task of co-parenting in this situation without going bat-shit crazy? You must get creative. I came up with my own technique and version of tolerance:
I treat co-parenting as you would a tenured job with a shitty and – also tenured – coworker.
I love my tenured [parenting] job. It is the co-parenting part of it that poses problems. Nonetheless, it is a lifetime job guarantee. I worked my whole life to get this job. This is my dream job, and nothing will stand in my way. There is no provisionary period for this tenured job. I am expected to do it, and will excel at this job, because, after all, I was meant for this job. I will sacrifice for this job. Like every other tenured job, it will require more work, more commitment, and more learning.
What do you do if, like me, you are stuck with the ass of the century for the rest of your tenured career? Well, there is not much you can do about, other than prepare the best you can.
Suck it up, and skill it up. Your children deserve it.
As you go through your own co-parenting journey, try to find a method that works for you. It must be catered to your situation, as every co-parenting relationship is different. Above all, it must have your child’s best interest at hand. Mine is a high-conflict one, so if you’re registered to my blog, you will be reading lots of post on co-parenting. I promised to share my experience; we will disembowel this beast together.
Do not forget that conflict between parents is detrimental to your child’s healthy adjustment to life. Depending on their age at the time of divorce, your child will need guidance and support to adjust to a two-household life. Keeping the anti-conflict mindset will keep you calm and give you the energy and fuel to remain child-focused, manage your emotions, and take control of possible upcoming conflicting situations. It is difficult, but you MUST do it.
Your children do not have to wear permanent scars from the divorce. You are must act as their hero, not the bad guy [or gal]. You must arm yourself with knowledge, patience, and strength to help your children heal from the possible wounds of divorce. You must get that set of skills to advocate for your child.
CHILDREN ARE LIKE SPONGES, THEY HAVE AN UNCANNY ABILITY TO ADSORB THEIR SURROUNDINGS.