Co-Parenting! Without a doubt the most challenging responsibility that I have ever been assigned. I’ve been blessed with a great title, parent. But I have to share it with someone who under normal circumstances I would have nothing to do with, my ex-husband. Putting feelings and ego aside to raise my child with the love, nurturing and support needed to guide her into adulthood is a daily struggle. And along the way I learned some very important lessons.
Getting my ego in check was probably the hardest thing to do, and still is. I think it’s safe to say that most mama-bears can be EXTREMELY territorial when it comes to our cubs.
Where are you going with MY CHILD? Who are you bringing around MY CHILD? MY CHILD isn’t going there or doing that! MY child as opposed to OUR child. Mommy isn’t the only one who has her best interest at heart. Not including him in parental decision-making not only added to my very full plate, it forged a gap between him and OUR child. No one is promised tomorrow, heck, I’m not guaranteed the next 5min. So why continue parenting as if i had an eternity? Why handle all of the parenting myself? In the blink of an eye God could call me back home leaving my daughter in the sole care of her father. A father with no experience caring for her or making decisions for his little girl. The mere thought of that scared me straight.
I am NOT in control
I don’t control all of the pieces to this puzzle. We are two separate adults with two separate lives. That means things will come up unexpectedly and schedules will have to be rearranged. This can be challenging while in PA school. That’s when reinforcements from your support network come in to save the day. Although he is juggling a demanding job and raising a teenage son, I know he is doing the best he can with what he has. As am I. Having an open line of communication and being understanding as life throws curveballs at us is important.
Whatever happened between us, is just that – Between Us. Not him and his child. We may not do marriage well, but we are amazing at loving our daughter. I had to let go of the past and move forward. Coming to that realization lifted a huge weight off of my shoulders. It also helped to see the bigger picture – our kid.
Moving out of the way to let a father and daughter form their own unique relationship is truly one of the best parenting decisions I’ve made thus far. I know that he would never intentionally put our daughter in harms way. Knowing this made overnights and time away from home a much easier pill to swallow…. now I look forward to them so this momma can have some Kid-Free time (A huge necessity).
Choose Battles Wisely
All of the things I don’t like about her father are still very present. There is always a potential argument lurking around the corner. But I choose not to fuel the fire. Who has the energy to engage in constant bickering? Not Me! Between parenting, PA School and adulting – I really don’t have energy for more stress. We have over 10years of history. I know him well enough to diffuse an argument or persuade him to see things my way. Being pragmatic, speaking up and meeting in the middle has helped the parenting struggle immensely!
Parenting has been one hell of a journey up till now. I don’t know what co-parenting the teenager or young adult looks like nor do I know the struggles to come as other parties become involved (ie: Step-parents and half siblings) but regardless of what is ahead, we will have to adjust and continue to find a method that works for us and her.