I wish I could be completely transparent in regards to how I feel about custody issues and co-parenting, but I’m in the middle of my second custody/visitation battle, so I must tread lightly. Check back in a few months for the REAL!
Now that I’ve given that disclaimer, let’s get move into this Tuesday’s Tip
In an ideal world co-parenting is a breeze. It’s without drama. Both parents respect each other. They both put the children’s needs above their own. There is no baggage from the failed marriage. Communication is open. There’s no need to involve family courts and waste money on attorneys because let’s face it– No one knows what’s best for your kids, but you-THE PARENTS.
But, how many times is this actually the case? Over the past 5+ years I have tried everything possible to co-parent. Things are calm for a few months, then all hell breaks loose. The roller coaster is not only stressful on my Wife and I, but the kids as well. Wait, I guess I should give you some back story.
My ex-husband and I together for 12 years. Married and divorced TWICE! During the marriage I endured physical and emotional abuse (I have the medical records to prove it–just in case he reads this and even thinks about flipping his wig and add this to the ongoing case-don’t try me). Much of which in the presence of our children.
We are both remarried so you would think that the focus would be on the KIDS and what’s best for them right??
Hell, I think I deserve an award for attempting to co-parent considering the history
I’ve tried my best to move forward and to put the needs of the kids before any personal feelings I may have, but you know it is hard to do when you are dealing with… (bites tongue, taps on desk instead of keyboard–finish the sentence for me).
Finally I decided to throw out any hope of co-parenting and decided to disengage ALL together. Our children are 14, 12, and 10. So there is really no to communicate or put myself through the stress. I started communicating through e-mail ONLY. Only if absolutely necessary!!
I wish I would subject myself to anymore disrespect or unnecessary arguing
What I realized (with help of my Wife, Mother and Sisters) is that I was fighting to force a situation that was never going to be. Expectations were the root of much of my stress. As Mothers, you just want your kids to be happy and the #1 priority. If they are hurt, so are you two times over. If they are disappointed, the Super Mom cape comes off and the Mama Bear claws come out. For me, the key to staying in Super Mom Mode is Parallel Parenting.
“Parallel parenting is an arrangement in which divorced parents are able to co-parent by means of disengaging from each other, and having limited direct contact, in situations where they have demonstrated that they are unable to communicate with each other in a respectful manner.”
I now treat any and all communication as I do with my business clients.
Below are my tips for parallel parenting:
- Document EVERYTHING
- Do not get caught up in any back and forth. It is counterproductive
- Do not share any personal information (trust me what is shared during the calm will be used against you when the storm arises)
- Be as matter of fact as possible when you do have to communicate
- Remove all emotion. If you are emotionally affected, you can’t think clearly
- Focus all your energy on providing the best life possible for your kids
- DISENGAGE, DISENGAGE, DISENGAGE and STAY DISENGAGED!!!
I know some of you may be thinking: “but co-parenting is what’s best for the kids.” I agree, but that only works when the other parent shares the same views. If you are dealing with a Cluster B personality, co-parenting is damn near impossible.
If you are shaking your head right now or yelling “yes that is exactly what I’m dealing with”, parallel parenting is your best course of action
Like the old saying goes “If Mama ain’t happy, Ain’t nobody happy”