Yours, Mine, & Ours: Co-parenting isn’t for the weak

July 27, 2023

Last night my ex and his wife dropped off our nine year old son after spending a few days together. For about an hour we stood outside talking, joking around and playing with the kids. If six or seven years ago you had told me this would be my reality, I would’ve laughed in your face and called you crazy. Co-parenting for us hasn’t always looked like this. In fact, it was quite the opposite. Co-parenting isn’t for the weak.

‘A’ and I were very young when we became parents and married. It wasn’t easy for either of us. As we’ve gotten older and grown into our adult selves, we’ve adjusted into our roles and it’s become easier to co-parent. All that being said, this will never be ideal. But we’re doing our best to make sure our son is living his best life whether he’s here or there. The goal is for our child to thrive.

Kids comes first – always.

When trying to make decisions, it’s only natural to think about what would benefit myself or make me the most happy. As a parent, and especially a co-parent, that’s not the case. Every decision ‘A’ and I make for Jack is always in Jack’s best interest, even if it means dealing with an inconvenience on our end.

As much as it sucks, holidays are structured around when we will or won’t have Jack. There’s never been a time when we didn’t split up holidays evenly. We respect each other’s time and realize he needs experiences and memories with each of us.

Parents are allowed to parent how they see fit.

This is something I had a difficult time with when the split was fresh. I’m not sure if it’s just me or a “mom” thing, but I’ve always felt like I know what’s best. I wanted to know everything that was going on and wanted to always be on the same page and make sure we were doing everything in sync.

Not long after we separated, I decided to see the pediatric therapist at Jack’s pediatrician. She slapped me with cold, hard truth:

How ‘A’ parents is none of my business. As long as our son is healthy, fed, clothed and safe, I have no control over how he chooses to do things during his time. That was a hard concept to grasp, but giving each other the freedom to parent has actually helped us open up to each other as co-parents.

When a situation came about a few years ago, ‘A’ was the first person I called to figure out what to do. It turned into an opportunity to tackle a problem together.

Bonus parents get equal respect.

As a child of divorce and having step-parents on both sides, this is something I’m very passionate about. Growing up was so difficult in my situation. There was a lot of resentment and shit talking. I told myself I would never put my kids in that toxic environment.

I have a lot of respect for Jack’s bonus mom. She also grew up in a divorced household, so she understands the stress and importance of co-parenting. But I genuinely just like her as a person and I think she is the perfect fit for Jack and his dad.

There have been times, for both ‘A’ and me, when accepting there would be another mom/dad in Jack’s life was really hard. We’re only human. But that has never meant disregarding their place as a bonus parent. Have I ever worried about Jack liking his bonus mom more and losing my place in his life? Absolutely. My kids are my life. But as his mom it’s my responsibility to put my insecurities aside and not let them affect his life.

Truthfully, this hasn’t even scratched the surface on what it takes to co-parent. Communication. Patience. Understanding. Empathy. There are so many factors and everyone’s circumstances are different. Nothing is perfect and it can hurt like hell. But the most important thing to remember when co-parenting is this:

Children deserve love from both parents.

Check out this book for co-parents – Between Two Homes

Read more from the blog:

Motherhood After Miscarriage

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