Co-Parenting: Its Only Massive
|This book is fab & available on Amazon. The parents have a festive unmarry day and all. Great.|
I've put off writing this post because it involves other people. I don't think I have the right to write about others, especially not their personal lives. Tempering this is a desire to share what an awesome experience I've had (and currently have) with co-parenting.
Also, one more thing I want to say is that this post doesn't exist to pressure or shame other parents into doing what I'm doing. Everyone needs to find their own way and although this has been an absolute winner for us, everyone is different.
I have been co-parenting (one week on, one week off) with my ex-partner for the last four years. I had some doubts going into it, like, 'surely a child needs to have one home for stability?' Not only have my doubts been proven wrong, but my daughter is secure in the fact she has two homes (not just one).
The once-a-week drop off/pick up also makes things a lot easier. We had tried different schedules before co-parenting and this has been much more settling to my daughter. And to me. Instead of bouncing back and forth between mom's & dad's houses, she spends an entire week at each. With one change per week. Its easy to remember and to plan for.
What else about co-parenting rocks?
You get down time in the weeks the kids are at the other parent's house and are recharged & ready to rock-n-roll when the kids come home.
50/50 parenting. My daughter gets to work on her homework equally with her mom and her dad. Gets to work on art projects / play / and just hang out with us both, equally. She spends more quality time with each one of us than many kids do with each of their parents who are living together.
We split the back-to-school costs / shopping evenly.
A variety of different experiences. It sounds obvious but because my daughter's dad and I are into different things, she gets a massive amount of variety. She loves metal and gaming, both of which I encourage in her but cannot take any credit for, those are totally down to her dad. On holidays I tend to gravitate to hotels & spas or skiing so she gets those experiences with me and gets to enjoy a different (but equally cool) style of holidays when she's with her dad. I'm so grateful that she has this wealth of experiences.
If you cannot find something, you can easily assume it is at the other parents house since you, dear parent, are far too organised to lose anything, ever.
What doesn't rock about co-parenting?
I often get the question, 'Don't you miss your daughter when she's at her dad's?' Well, of course I do. But I'm not going to put my own selfishness ahead of what's in her best interest. She has a great relationship with her dad. Why would I want to get in the way of that? What sort of person would do that?
Co-ordinating playdates. We do a lot of playdates, which is fab. But when you do the week on / week off schedule, that limits the dates in your diary. I never schedule plans for her dad - that would be very uncool. His week, his plans. And I have to say, once people realise your schedule, they are very good about it. Who isn't busy these days?
|Everyone likes to see their experience represented in media, tv & books. Some great books for the kids of parents who don't live together are out there & available on Amazon.|
What do you need to start co-parenting?
Basically just a mutual desire to do so, and a commitment to be the sole parent on your 'on' week.
Usually, when parents decide not to live together anymore, one parent becomes the 'day-to-day' parent and the other parent becomes the 'weekend/occasional' parent. The parent who's been doing all the day-to-day stuff needs to give up control and let the other parent get on with her/his parenting. The parent who's only been doing weekend/occasional parenting needs to respect the work the day-to-day parent has done up until that point and get used to shouldering a lot more responsibility and active parenting.
Remember to NEVER bad mouth your ex to your kids. They'll resent you for it. Plus, if your ex is really a jerk, your kids will find that out in their own time. Bad mouthing a former partner to a child is unconscionable to me. Nobody wants to hear someone running down their parents.
Communicate with each other in a respectful way. This is a no brainer. If you have travel plans coming up, let the other person know. Don't make assumptions about their schedule and don't take them for granted. Its nice to be nice.
Enjoy your career as a co-parent!
When people find out I'm divorced they assume I'm a single mom. I love correcting them. "No. I'm a CO-PARENT!"