Monday, 12 March 2018

How to: Positive Co-parenting


When I get asked to write about co-parenting, I really don't want to. This experience is so new and so extremely personal to me but the thing is, I have always shared everything because it always made me feel better about everything and hey, if this helps even one other separated couple to build a better relationship for their child, then I am happy... so, with Ben's permission, here we go.



It didn't start off amazing, I openly admit. I didn't deal with our relationship ending very well. I was lost, confused and in a circumstance I never imagined I would be in. Ben didn't deal very well either. We didn't know what to do, we didn't know how to feel or what to say to each other and at the time we were angry with each other and had just lived together for three weeks knowing we had ended. Things weren't great at all. We spent the first two weeks after Ben moved out arguing with each other via text (oh yes, what a great platform to express your emotion and expect the other person to completely understand...NOT).

After two weeks of this Ben CALLED me. And it was the best thing to happen to our new relationship. And that's exactly what it is, co-parenting is a relationship. Probably not one that either of you expected to have with each other but it's a relationship none the less and like any relationship, it takes work and this one, takes a HELL of a lot of work.

Here's some things that have helped us get through these last few months while maintaining a positive environment for Achilles.

PATIENCE.

Look, you're both in a pretty shitty place right now. The relationship has ended, its obvious you both need to work on yourselves and find your feet in this new co-parenting world so it is really important to be patient with each other. No one is going to be perfect every day. Feelings will pop up every now and then because you were in love and that can't change over night. Expect confusion, hurt, and an array of both positive and negative emotions but if you can, take advantage of the fact you have this person, who knows you better than anyone, who is going through the exact same thing. Be patient and kind to each other and talk about your feelings. As uncomfortable as it may be, it helps.

TALK.

This leads me to my next point. Talk. It is really hard to talk to the person you're trying not to feel in love with anymore, every single day. But talking often, for us,  allowed us to build a friendship.  In saying all this, it is a two way street and you both have to want to speak. Even just having conversations about your day and sharing things about your child/children and just having a laugh really helps form a new relationship.

SHARE.

I could not think of anything worse than the father of my son missing out on everything. I send photos and videos to Ben of Achilles. I've had people tell me not to do this and many other things I do for Ben because "Why would you want to make it easy on him?" UMMM WHY WOULD I NOT WANT TO MAKE LIFE EASIER FOR THE FATHER OF MY CHILD? And he does the same for me. He will help whenever I ask. Why wouldn't you want the father/ mother of your child to be in a positive frame of mind and have them have as little stress as possible so they can focus on being a good person and father/ mother. The amount of negativity that has been thrown my way since Ben and I broke up has actually been ridiculous. People telling me it won't work, people telling me not to share things with him and say "let him wonder what he's missing".  I am not a negative or spiteful person and I refuse to be just because our relationship didn't work. A co-parenting relationship will not work when you hang on to these negative behaviours - LET IT GO AND JUST BE HAPPY.

KNOWING IT WON'T ALWAYS BE PERFECT.

Ok so Ben and I do better than most separated parents. I know this because I am constantly told things like "I wish my parents got along like you and Ben when I was younger" and "I wish my ex and me could get along like you and Ben". BUT please know that our co-parenting relationship isn't always perfect and that is completely ok. We go through stages where we are just civil with each other and don't really talk beyond that. So many aspects of this are new to both of us so we really cannot be perfect all the time and neither can our friendship. We also go through stages where we can't stand each other...again, completely normal, in the end, we are going through a break up and you're always going to disagree on some things.

IN THE END...

In the end, no matter what, the most important thing that makes a co-parenting relationship successful is just respecting each other. They are the other parent to your child. You don't have to be best friends or spend time together. But, we want Achilles to grow up knowing when he needs us, we will both be there and we will be able to be in the same room without our son feeling uncomfortable. Any issues we ever have will be pushed aside for the benefit of our son. It takes maturity, respect, dedication and support. I can guarantee you it is hard and challenging and it won't always be good between you. But you have to put certain things aside because it creates a positive environment for everyone. And what is better than everyone being happy? NOTHING...


Keep smiling

Tahana

8 comments :

  1. I bet that couldn’t have been easy. But I’m glad you’ve worked things out and found a system that works for you both. It’s also very brave of you to post such a personal story,

    Rochelle || www.simplesocialsister.com

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  2. I haven't gone through this but these points sound spot on. I'm glad co-parenting is going well for you guys now :)

    Di from Max The Unicorn

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  4. What a valuable blog post to be sharing! Well done to you and Ben to get to this point in your new relationship so quickly for the benefit of Achilles. Achilles is a very lucky son to have the both of you!

    Ingrid
    http://www.fabulousandfunlife.blogspot.com.au

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  5. your insight and caring nature is the reason it works so well for the two/three of you. ps love that photo. i hope its framed in A's room

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  6. I cannot even fathom how you are both so strong after everything... but for that little cutie it's what he needs and with a Mumma like you he's sure to be an amazing child growing up!
    Ebony x

    www.theblackandwhiteguide.com

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  7. The scope of your co-parenting communication may not be very broad, but what you do communicate about is very important. Clear, concise communication focused on your children makes up part of the foundation of positive co-parenting.

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