So you’ve found yourself on the adventure of co-parenting, eh?
And I’ll have you know, I call it an adventure for a reason. The reason is, co-parenting and parenting in itself can be an exciting and remarkable experience alongside a whole lot of risk, vulnerability, constant change and of course, patience.
Whether you have a good relationship with your child’s other parent or not, there will be ups and downs and everything else in between.
I’ve put together my list of the top six things that I remind myself to be and do to make this whole co-parenting thing easier.
1.Let go of the past. (kind of obvious, I know, but not always the easiest). No matter what has happened prior to this moment, let it go. Let the past be the past. If you keep yourself thinking that the person is the same (and they may be, but keep reading, there’s some real goods in this), if you focus on what they were that drives you nuts, that is all you will ever be able to see. Take the blinders of the past off, and ask yourself, what else is possible? And know that you can trust that someone is going to show up the way they show up until they show up differently, it is in the letting go of that expectation that will set you free.
2)Let go of Emotion. Things may get heated. Your house rules will most likely be different than your co-parents house rules. When you feel fired up about what is going on at the other household, ask yourself: Is my child safe? Is he/she taken care of? Is this something that truly needs to be addressed, or is there a deeper something going on inside of me around this? Emotions can lead us astray and make us act crazy. Let go and release your emotions as much as possible and focus on being practical and allowing yourself to have fun in the co-parenting adventure.
3) Recognize when you’ve messed up. There have been times where I have said something not so nice, or lashed out when lashing out was not what was going to create something better for anyone. What has kept my relationship with my kiddos father relatively easy, is that both of us apologize for being a d*ck and then we move on.
- Drop the guilt. I remember in the beginning of becoming a newly single parent I felt so guilty for being the one that left and ‘tore the family apart’. Those last words were not mine, but they were told to me at least once and I let them sink in and that was not my greatest choice to allow someone else’s ideas to lead me astray from what I know. The only thing guilt is going to get you is more guilt.
5) Celebrate the wins. In fact, celebrate everything!!! Celebrate your first time in *forever* having a weekend sans kiddo…celebrate creating a schedule for your kid that actually works…celebrate when you and your kiddos other parent have a good conversation and work out something difficult. Celebrate everything…so that when things are not going the way you want them too, your life is fueled by the things that are.
6)Be kind to yourself. At the end of the day, no matter what is going on or what you think is going on, be kind to you. Stop yourself from any form of unkindness to yourself. That doesn’t help anything…ever.
This co-parenting adventure for me has been one of my greatest self discovery and self expansion experiences. Some days are tough and some days I want to go on forever because they are so much fun. The key to this is laughter, joy and surround yourself with people that support you. Remember, it is an adventure and you do get to choose how you move through it.