“Co-parenting, just because your relationship didn’t jive, doesn’t mean your kids can’t thrive!”RaisingRidges
When two people fall in love (or lust, just saying) things start to happen. After things start happening sometimes there comes a baby…
Hold on, before you go anywhere I promise I’m not about to give you “The Talk”. No, what I am about to talk to you about is co-parenting. It may be hard to believe, but sometimes relationships don’t work out, hell sometimes there wasn’t even a relationship to begin with, but still a beautiful life was created anyway. Now of course I can’t speak for my male counterpart as it’s not right to put words into other people’s mouths, but what I can touch base on is why I think co-parenting is so important.
Honestly that’s a stupid question. The real question should be “Why not co-parent?”
No one ever gets into a new relationship or new fling and thinks ‘Man I want to have this person’s baby and I really hope that our relationship (or whatever) fails so that we can co-parent’. Not one person ever goes into having a baby hoping to split time with their kid. At least for me I know that’s not what I wanted.
Growing up I always pictured having kids with my spouse and just living the happy cookie cutter life. Unfortunately I was a wild child and things happen. My son’s father and I tried for four years to make it work, but sometimes it’s just not meant to be. Which leads to where we are today.
Our Co-Parenting Schedule
Ideally everyone wants their child 100% of the time. I’m not really sure I know anyone who truly enjoys long periods of time away from their kids. Obviously breaks are nice every once in awhile, but when it’s your new constant it kind of sucks.
The way our parenting plan goes is that my son is with his dad every other weekend, two weeks in the summer, and then odd year Holidays. You want to hear something funny? We don’t always follow the parenting plan. This is where the importance of being civil when you co-parent comes into play.
We are constantly changing the schedule and not in a bad way. Some times I need my son for a longer period of time, sometimes his dad does. My ex’s work schedule is crazy and sometimes he has to work the times he’s scheduled to have our son. When that happens we talk it out and switch things around so he doesn’t lose that time. Even during the summer if he happens to be off longer we will work it out so he gets more days.
As for Holidays? Aside from Christmas we always split the days so that we can both enjoy that time with our son.
Communication is the biggest and I mean biggest key in co parenting. If you don’t communicate then you can’t work things out.
But Not Everyone Does This
I’m not going to lie and say that this arrangement has been this cohesive from the beginning. It was far from it, but its rare that break ups ever go smoothly, especially when there are children involved. It took us some time to find this groove. I’m not saying it was easy, but I will say life is easier when we both can agree or have a civil conversation when it concerns our son.
I have met people who are still struggling to find their groove. One factor I have noticed that makes finding it difficult is the fact that the children aren’t being put first. I don’t mean that the parents aren’t fighting for time with their kids, of course they want that time, but what I mean is that they are using their children as pawns to get back at the other person.
I have seen, heard, and even read stories/situations where one person wanted the separation while the other didn’t. As you can expect those types of situations will lead to some real complications. Complications that include putting their child in the middle. This means having the child be the go to for communications, bad mouthing the other parent to the child, and basically arguing over each and every little thing imaginable just to find ways to hurt the other person.
How can you have a successful co-parenting relationship when you are constantly one upping or attacking the other parent?
I Get It, Break Ups Suck
More than likely when a relationship ends, it’s due to one person wanting to leave the situation. Whether it be because the relationship was toxic to them or they just wanted something new, whatever the reason may be the most important thing you have to remember is that your child comes first.
Literally the best thing you can do for your child is to show them that even though things went south between you and your partner, your child is still loved and the number one concern. Your child should never see any of the issues you and your partner have. All they should see is two parents working together to make sure that child has what they need.
You can blame the other person for breaking up the family, you can be hurt by the whole situation, but what you can’t do is put that child in the middle and for any moment make them feel like they are in any way at fault for the situation.
Co-Parenting The Right Way
Put your feelings aside when it comes to what you need to do for your kid. I understand that you never want to be away from your kid. Hell I hate sharing time with my kid, but you know what it’s not about me. No matter how badly I want my son all to myself, I understand how extremely important it is for him to have a relationship with his father.
I never once spoke ill about my ex to my son and I trusted my ex to do the same. He’s a child who doesn’t need to be burdened with trivial matters. My family never spoke ill about my ex in front of my son and I trusted that his family gave me the same respect. Like I’ve said before I am only speaking for myself because I will not put words in my ex’s mouth, but I think we can both agree that our son was our priority and we both wanted to make sure he wasn’t hurt in any of this.
Was it hard? Absolutely! But it wasn’t about me or my feelings. All that mattered was that our son felt loved, supported, and cared for. I wanted him to be able to play sports and look over to see not only that his parents were getting along, but that his step parents were included as well. That we were all there for him, to support him. None of that would be possible if it wasn’t for the fact that his father and I figured out what worked best in our co-parenting relationship.
Find the niche that works for your situation. Just make sure that whatever you figure out is what’s best for the child and not a selfish act for yourself. Whether you like it or not, you’re attached to this person for the rest of your life. Make it easier on yourself and just co-parent. I promise your kid will thank you.