Sunday, March 20, 2016

On Co-Parenting

A friend of mine was recently divorced.  They divided the things acquired over years of marriage between the two of them and went their separate ways.  They do not have children.  They could, quite possibly, never see each other again.

The father of my children and I are divorced.  We divided almost everything from 15 years of marriage between the two us. But because of our children, we cannot go our separate ways.  We see each other at least once a week and communicate via email regularly.  Early in the divorce I wished we could go our separate ways and never see each other again.  I had to remind myself often that I divorced my ex-husband.  My children did not divorce their father. And I hoped their father believed the same.  I have made every decision involving them with this in mind, determined to make the fracture in their lives as painless and small as possible.

I cannot say that anything about divorce, from a child's perspective, is small.  Their time is split between two parents, to homes, two families.  They have two of everything; two toothbrushes, two wardrobes, two bedrooms stocked with toys. This also results in two trips to Disney, two visits from Santa, two birthday cakes.  This sounds like a pretty good deal.  I am still aware of the possibility that these doubled items and events may or may not make up for not having the opportunity to hear both parents sing happy birthday at the same time.  I hope it is.

There have been several times when their father and I did not agree when it came to making decisions for the kids.  Those times have become less frequent as he and I have improved our ability to communicate with each other, both in expressing our thoughts and in really hearing what the other is trying to say.  "Assume best intentions" is one of the other things I repeat to myself often.  As my children's parents become more adept at co-parenting, they grow even happier and more confident.  I know that even though we aren't parenting the way we thought we would when we brought our children into this world, we are doing it right.

I've heard some parents say that since their divorce, they are now single parents.  I know this may truly be the case for some, but not most.  I remember parenting before divorce.  That was the time I felt like I was a single parent.  Now?  I raise my children with my husband and I co-parent with my children's father and his wife. My children now have four parents who love them beyond measure. When co-parenting is done right, when divorced parents prioritize their children and set aside their personal differences, leaving the past in the past, the kids benefit.  I see this every day with my kids.

My children are not surviving divorce, they are thriving.


  1. Your slice took me back to when I was newly divorced and then to reflect on my experience as well as my children's. To this day I do not talk with my ex. My children do not either. It is sad that he has broken ties with them but we were all happier apart from him.

  2. It sounds like you and your ex-husband have done an amazing job to make that happen. So glad!

  3. What an honest look into your co-parenting experience. I can only pray that my sister could find the strength, patience and communication tools to do the same for her daughter.

  4. WOW!!! I am right there with you. I was so worried when I got my divorce that my kids would suffer but they have thrived as well. I know it is hard, having 2 places to live and sometimes my Junior in High School can sneak through the cracks and get away with things because there is not enough eyes watching in unison, but he is thriving.
    Congratulations on working on a positive co-parenting situation. It is hard. But if done right, everyone benefits.
    Great post.

  5. I loved the last line...a happy ending to divorce is not always possible!

  6. This slice speaks volumes. Your children, I'm sure, will value the time you've taken to make sure lines of communication are open between you and their father.