Co-parenting is hard

Having to stay in consistent constant contact with an ex can be difficult but we do it for our children. Co-parenting or joint custody is having both parents have an active role in a child’s life. Your child’s mental and emotional well-being could affect how you co-parent. It may seem impossible to put your feelings aside when you get out of a relationship but it is possible. Not only is it possible it is necessary so you can focus on your child’s best interest. There are some situations where co-parenting may not be in the child’s best interest. For example, if a parent has a substance abuse problem it is in the child’s best interest to be active in their life. Once they are sober or at least reach out for professional help then they may be okay to be in their child’s life. Another example is if you left the relationship due to abuse. That is a major reason to not co-parent at least without having the courts involved for everyone’s safety.
It’s important to be consistent between homes. This is where co-parenting for me becomes very difficult. In my home I expect Brayden to do chores, listen to adults, have bedtimes and just be a kid. His safety is my main priority. When Brayden is at his dads house he tends to have no rules. He stays up late on school nights, runs around his dad’s neighborhood with no parental supervision. Then he has also been exposed to adult issues that he shouldn’t have to worry or even know about. It’s a constant struggle because to my almost 9 year old I am the mean parent. I am the one who doesn’t let him watch certain shows on TV or let him run around my neighborhood with no adults.
His father and I can communicate well when his mom isn’t trying to do what she wants with our child. When it comes to co-parenting it should involve the two people who are raising the child. Once you begin having a relationship with someone else that becomes another conversation. When I began dating Dalton, my ex requested that he gets to talk to him about Brayden. I was okay with that because if he ever has another serious relationship I would want that same respect.

So what are the benefits to you child by being able to have both parents get along and co-parent in a healthy way?
1. Your child will feel more secure knowing that even though their parents aren’t together. Mom and dad are always there and love them.
2. Consistency between the homes is so important. Like I said this is something that I completely struggle with. When you have two homes that have the same rules and expectations life tends to be less chaotic.
3. Having that healthy relationship even when things don’t work out is a great learning tool for your child.
4. As I mentioned earlier the emotional and mental health of your child. Having a life where your parents aren’t always arguing and yelling at each other leads to a happier life. You have a less chance of developing depression this way.
How do you know if you have a healthy co-parenting relationship or not? I found a very useful list and pulled some of what I thought was the most important from each category.
Characteristics of a healthy co-parenting relationship
• Supportive
• Flexible
• Respectful
• Fair
• Kind
• Healthy boundaries
• Being respectful about your ex’s new partner
• Being thankful for step parents
• Focus on the child’s well-being
• Being able to have positive communication between the homes

Characteristics of a unhealthy co-parenting relationship
• Trying to ruin your ex’s new relationship
• Anger when communicating
• Breaking promises to your child
• No flexibility
• Uses child to communicate
• Says bad things about your ex to the child
• Threatening court to punish the other
• Making physical threats
• Giving your child personal information about the other parent

Just by this list if you knew my co-parenting relationship you would say that it’s unhealthy. Unfortunately he’s only hurting Brayden. He does things to try and hurt me by calling me names or saying hateful things. I’ve learned he only says those things to me to make himself feel better. Whether we have children by choice or we have our children due to a unexpected miracle. Either way we made the choice to raise our children and have a good relationship with the other parent. Sadly it doesn’t always go that way. So what are some tips to co-parenting?
1. Put your bad feelings to the side. We almost always have some sort of negative feeling when a relationship ends.
2. Don’t put your child in the middle, they didn’t ask for any of this so make it as easy on them as possible.
3. Keep your conversations with you ex strictly about your child.
4. Make important decisions regarding your child together.

Always remember why we do what we do. There are so many ups and downs with co-parenting but if we keep our mind set on the reason we put up with it all it helps get through the bad times.

 

Disclaimer: I don’t own the rights to this picture. i am not a medical professional. if you are having a medical emergency please contact 911 immediately. This blog is for informational purposes only. if you believe you may have a medical issue contact your local medical provider

 

references:
http://www.helpguide.org
http://www.verywellfamily.com

Divorce: Expectation vs Reality

This is a very personal post for me because I never imagined that at 30 years old I’d be divorced with 2 kids. When I was a little girl I envisioned my wedding day as most little girls do . What they don’t tell you about in those fairy tales is what happens if life happens and things don’t work out. While getting a divorce is what we needed, it’s not what we wanted or hoped for our family. The only plus side on my end of the situation was being able to find myself again. I figured out how to love myself for me and not for anyone else. I found some new hobbies and things that I enjoyed besides taking care of my boys.
 
There were so many factors that led to making the decision to leave my husband. In the 5 years that we were together we had many ups and downs but when it came down to what we had more of, we had more bad than good. We had both been emotionally unfaithful at one point or another during our relationship. But it was still infidelity. We would argue a lot. Sometimes over stupid things and sometimes over serious things like money. My mental health issues got brought up a lot because like I have mentioned in “My Journey” post I was bad about taking my medications. I will be the first to admit I was/am terrible at communication. I tend to hold everything in until someone pushes me over the edge then I explode.  A lot of our issues could have been fixed if we both could have sat down, stayed calm and talked but we couldn’t do that.
 
Divorce can become very difficult and take a very long time depending on what all is involved. When there are children involved and the parents don’t get along it can be a very drawn out process and even more painful process.
 
According to the CDC the marriage rate is 6.9 to 1,000 of the total population. The divorce rate is 3.2 to 1,000 of the total population. (www.cdc.gov) some of the main reasons people file for divorce are:
 
  • Infidelity
  • Money
  • Communication
  • Lack of intimacy
  • Abuse
  • Weight gain
  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Not being prepared for marriage
I expected that my divorce would be extremely difficult and drawn out because of our 2 year old son. The fact that we both wanted custody and we weren’t getting along at the time, but for the sake of our son we were able to sit down together and set up a parenting plan that worked for both of us. We worked with both of our schedules and worked for what was best for our son. We only had to go to court twice. We also had to go to a family in transitions class which is required by the courts.  The Judge actually praised us for how we were able to go through this process without bringing all our drama into the courtroom.
 
I still struggle at times because I look at divorce as failing my marriage. I have to remind myself we are all human and as humans we are not perfect. I admit that I failed to keep my commitment to my vows and to my husband but at some point we all do fail at something.
 
When you are healing from a divorce it’s very important to be patient with yourself and give yourself time to heal. We all heal differently so take all the time you need. Replaying the past won’t help you change the outcome so don’t look backwards. Look forward because we can only change going forward. Forgiving someone is hard when moving on, but forgiving someone who hurt you is one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. I read somewhere that if you look in the mirror and say “[name] I forgive you” then say “I forgive myself”. It can be very helpful.
 
Mental health during a separation and divorce
 
Divorce can be very hard on anyone. When adding someone with mental health condition it can get even worse. There are some things you can do to help with this process. Here are some things you can do to help.
 
  • Keep moving! Don’t lay around the house unless you are going to sleep. Stay busy will help keep your mind from going to those bad places.
  • Don’t self-medicate. Iif you are depressed and it’s not getting any better contact your local medical provider to get some help. There is no shame in needing some help especially during a hard period in your life.
  • Pamper yourself. Watch a funny movie, take a bubble bath, have a night out with friends, do a craft or something you enjoy.
  • Write down all your thoughts, it’s something for you so get it all out of your head and onto paper.
  • Have a support system!
 
After 10 months of being a part Dalton and I have been working on our relationship and are doing amazing. Our kids are happy and healthy and excited to see us together and have their family back together.  We couldn’t ask for anything more right now.
 

 

Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to this picture. I am not a medical professional, if you are having a medical emergency please contact 911 immediately. This post is for informational purposes only. If you believe you have a medical issue contact your local medical provider.