Had I known that one day I would be co-parenting with an ex, I might have thought twice about having children. But then again, who falls pregnant planning to separate from their partner for good? As the Chicago winter drew closer, I had no choice but to accept that my marriage was over, even though I didn’t want it to be.
It never occurred to me that co-parenting would be a problem until the lawyer I’d found via USAttorneys raised the topic. Surely my ex and I had always been on the same page when it came to the parenting of our children? As it turned out, we weren’t on the same page. In fact, we weren’t in the same book, and on some days, I questioned if we were even in the same library.
The first time someone from Budin Law Offices suggested a co-parenting plan, I was somewhat resistant to it. Luckily, the attorney persisted, and I soon began to see that things were not as they seemed.
Here are the plain facts about co-parenting.
If you think it’s going to be smooth sailing, think again
My ex moved out of our house and into an apartment nearby. The children would stay with him as per our visitation schedule. He let them go to bed late, fed them loads of sugar, and set up house rules, which completely contradicted mine.
We bumped heads over it time and again. Some of our most heated arguments were about what I thought was wrong with his parenting style. That was until I realized that nothing I said or threatened to do was going to change the situation.
All I could do was loosen up a bit but stick to my guns in my home and trust my children to take the values and attitudes I taught them along to their father’s house.
The real fun begins when a new partner enters the picture
My ex introduced my children to his new partner after dating her on the sly and after he’d moved her into his house. And then he had the nerve to be shocked when this plan didn’t go down very well with the kids. I had one who refused to go to his house, another who thought she was great, and another who didn’t care either way.
It devastated me that my ex seemed able to move on from our marriage so quickly. But it hurt to watch my kids as the fallout of his actions continued. My eldest daughter was so deeply hurt by her father’s deeds that my heart ached for her.
My youngest son took to the partner and started viewing her like a second mother, which was like a knife to the heart. I cut off all contact, and co-parenting became a nightmare. Luckily, I found many apps that help co-parents manage their children’s schedules without having to stay in constant communication.
Time is a great healer
It took me a few years to accept the new life I was leading. But as time passed, it became easier. I was able to be in the same vicinity as my ex without feeling the overwhelming urge to throttle him and the succession of new partners he introduced into our children’s lives.
He’s seen the error of his ways, and now his parenting is more consistent with mine. Our children are fine, if not better than they would’ve been if we’d stayed together.
The lines of communication are more open today, and we meet up often to discuss the children. We view ourselves less as former spouses and more as co-parents. It seems that we’ve finally found the same page to be on.